Tag Archives: life

Follow this Plan for Stronger Emotional Health and Relationships

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

You live inside a cube with a window and door. Each of us does.

With you in your cube are what you value, and what makes you who you are. Your family, church, job, and hobby are in there. So are your favorite entertainments, and deep thoughts. In one corner is a dark spot of flaws and selfish behaviors.

All our cubes are filled in the same manner.

As you go throughout your day, bumping into other cubes, maybe annoyance grows.  Inside your private space with unchallenged ideas, you feel safe.

It is simple to dehumanize others we refuse to see.

Observe and connect

Open your window and watch from a distance superficially.  Possibly some faces look back at you making assumptions. You presume to know what they are thinking.

Communication is empty of understanding.

Ah, the door. Swing it wide and invite others in! Expose the real you. Take responsibility for your decisions. When you and at least one other person are welcome to enter and leave each other’s cubes freely, your basic human need for positive, meaningful connection will be met!

There is joyous give and take, generous communication, forgiveness, and honesty about darker egos. That is how we learn and grow.

Be emotionally healthy

You have no control over whether other cubes open. Let them go. You will not have freedom with everyone. However, it is not healthy to stay hidden inside, never reaching out, sharing, or helping.

It is not healthy to allow someone else to live in your cube trying to meet all your needs. It is equally not healthy and is dangerous to stay in another person’s cube, living for his or her happiness.

Whether family, friends, or romance, choose relationships wisely.  Within a positive and meaningful connection you need validation, to know someone values you enough to be involved, and genuine acceptance. Look for these.

A connection is ready 

Jesus offers all three.  He knows every second of your existence. This validation and acceptance is proven in Psalm 139. Jesus also showed how much he values you when he left heaven to sacrifice his body for your eternal soul.

If people in your life refuse to connect, remember you have One who always wants you to know him as he knows you.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 139: 1, 16 

“You have searched me, Lord and you know me… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” 


NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

5 Times The Redeemer

“Counted as Nothing at All…” 4 Choices Lead to a Life of Significance. Part Four

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Your significance is not up for debate. However, do you wish your life had more meaning? Do you wonder if you are making a mark on the world? In parts one, two, and three of this four-part series, you learn some options for developing a meaningful existence, and for knowing that you are.  This is the last part. 

(4) Choose the promise

No doubt you have heard the phrase, “God has a plan for your life.” According to the “born-again” Christian viewpoint it is true, however only by surrendering to God can we live it out.  This may sound like only so much hogwash to some people. To those who believe or are willing to believe, this is the essence of hope for us, our families, and the world.

The short of it is that God’s plan for each person (as explained well in the 5 chapters of  1 John) is faith in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation. Beyond that, we are called to live in love toward God and each other.

Love. What a concept. Pure love is patient and kind, and does not envy or boast. It is not proud or rude. It is not looking out for #1 all the time, but is invested in the wellbeing of others. Love does not grow angry quickly, and holds no grudges.  It does not get excited about things that displease God, but is happy when truth wins out.  Love is protective, hopeful,  trusts wisely,  and perseveres. God-honoring love never fails.* 

That sounds amazing, does it not? This world could use more love like that.

When we step away from ourselves and surrender to God’s plan,  he turns what we may perceive as straw into gold. This is the promise that makes it clear our significance is not decided by circumstances or other people:

Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” 

You do not have the power to know everything good that results from obeying God. Nevertheless, by choosing how you want to feel,  wisely selecting a standard for measuring significance,  and living by your values, you will know you have a meaningful existence.   

By grasping God’s promise, you can be at peace, believing it is all worth it.   

Today’s Helpful Word

*Based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8


“Counted as Nothing at All…” 4 Choices Lead to a Life of Significance. Part Three

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Your life matters. Period. Do you believe that?  By following my recommendation in part one of this four-part series, you have opportunity to choose how you want to feel.  In part two, you can choose the standard by which to measure your significance. 

Here is the third of four choices that lead to being certain yours is a meaningful existence. 

(3) Choose what kind of person you want to be 

We have to live with ourselves. That is tough to do if regret, memories of failure, or a sense of worthlessness fills our minds.  Two simple questions have the power to lift those burdens if we answer honestly and take action.

What kind of person do I want to be? 

What steps will I take today toward becoming that person?

Remember Phyllis, the retired woman from parts one and two of this series. She feels lonely, hides from social interaction due to shame over her weight, and misses being needed like she was on her job for many years.

As far as I know, she has not asked these questions. If she did, she might be surprised to discover her values once again. 

Knowing our values – certain of what is most important to us – is a guideline for decisions. Unfocused, I think all too often we allow days and years to slip past, sometimes complaining as they go.  A victim mindset is one that blames circumstances and others for disappointments. A defeatist mindset finds no reason to strive for better. Fear paralyzes us from moving forward. Questioning whether to remain the same is healthy.

I value helping people. This has been the driving force behind most of my choices. That does not mean I always do it well, or that I haven’t made colossal mistakes. Yet because helping is important, I take steps toward learning how. 

What about you? What kind of person do you want to be? What steps will you take today toward becoming that person?

Putting romance novels aside, perhaps Phyllis would enjoy reading to seniors or to children. Maybe joining her outgoing husband on one of his volunteer projects would bring her joy.  She has to decide if hiding at home or being needed is most important to her. 

How you answer these two questions will determine the power that regret, shame, and feeling worthless have in your future. Deciding to live by positive values will change your idea of the past. It will not own you anymore. You will look in the mirror and better like who you see. 

Each small step forward is a game-changer. 

Stay tuned for the final part of this series. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Joshua 24:15

“…then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…  But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”   -Joshua


“Counted as Nothing at All…” 4 Choices Lead to a Life of Significance. Part Two

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Do you want to know your life is important? In part one of this four-part series, I recommended you choose how you want to feel. Do you want to view yourself as minimally significant, or would you prefer to feel that each day of your life counts?

Here is part two of your four choices that lead to a meaningful existence. 

(2) Choose your measuring stick

In early America, measuring was arbitrary. A yard of fabric for instance, was measured from the elbow to the tips of one’s fingers. Fabric merchants would sometimes hire help with short arms to cut and sell the product. 

The government’s Weights and Measures Department was founded about the same time as 36 inches was adopted as the official yard. Now we have yard sticks.  

We all have measuring sticks by which we judge human behavior. A sense of personal value may raise or lower depending whether we meet our standards or not. 

Phyllis used to work with young people. Her job was vital to an entire community. She deserves a relaxing retirement, yet she misses helping others. She enjoys being needed. 

Then why does she waste time now? In part one I introduced you to her,  a retiree who hides from public view as much as possible. Her measuring stick is the opinions of others. Supposedly, if her weight were under control she would find a means of interacting with the world. 

Other popular yet temporary measuring sticks include money, fame, the approval of others, and achievement.  Problem is, money goes away in an instant sometimes. Positive opinions of others fail to hold us up because opinions change, and so does how we react to them.  Setting goals helps with motivation, yet  they are subject to shifting perceptions and moods.  A standard by which to build a more meaningful life depends on its permanence. 

You, Phyllis, and I can choose to believe that unseen does not equal unimportant. Regret and failure are not the end of a story. Proof of this is in millions of people’s stories all over the world. Notice those.  Take in that you have options.   

Ultimately, I care about God’s out-of-the-box point of view. 

“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”  (1 Corinthians 1: 26-29, italics mine).

By allowing God to define what is great, I have reassurance in my worst moments of discouragement. 

Be assured, your life’s significance is not in question. Perhaps how you measure significance keeps you stuck.   

Stay tuned for your next choice that leads to knowing you matter.

Today’s Helpful Word

Genesis 1: 27-31

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…  God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. “


How to Become Who You Want to Be

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2015  Nancy Virden

861Ok, who do you want to be?

Let’s get to the point: We are not in control of external events, however we are in control of our responses. Our responses will define who we are in the eyes of God, others, and ourselves.

So let me ask again, who do you want to be?

For two and a half years, a three by five foot handwritten sign hung on my office wall challenging me each day to respond to, What kind of person do I want to be? What step will I take today toward becoming that person? 

For about a year I read that with a bit of resentment and much negativity. I didn’t want to put up the effort to even decide who and what, let alone make changes. One memory is of facing the sign and sticking my tongue out at it! Many days its message was ignored.

Nonetheless, I’d placed it there. The same motivation forced me to confront it consistently regardless how I felt. During what I believed was recovery from a major depression episode, it became clear I was actually experiencing a much grander change. Life, and my responses to it were adjusted. I didn’t want to repeat old behaviors that left me ashamed.photo-24758778-vector-image-of-green-arrow-and-blue-bar-graph.

Specific goals came later. The sign is no longer up, not because I don’t need to consider the questions, but because they are now automatic in my thought processing. Both my wall and mind have space for a plethora of affirmative answers.

Taking small steps toward who we want to be today is healthy and makes us stronger. It’s a mistake to chase colossal ambitions that overwhelm our current strength. One day at time, practice will change our hearts, and give us momentum.


NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com