Tag Archives: priorities

Life balance: If you need wisdom, ask…

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

pexels-photo-260907

A Frenchman,  looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting. “Excusez-moi, parlez vous Francais?” he tries. The Americans stare at him.

“Parlare Italiano?” No response. “Hablan ustedes Espanol?” Still nothing. The Frenchman drives away.

The first American turns to the second and says, “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language.”

“Why?” says the other. “That guy knew three languages, and it didn’t do him any good!”

I guess it is okay for me to make dumb-American jokes since I am one. American, I mean. Uh hmm.

Big decisions, even if they seem small to other people, are stressful. To know the better and best way to go, asking the one with the answers makes sense!

James 1:5-8 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

When I’ve asked God for direction, resulting confusion means I do not like his answer. Waiting for the other eeny to make moe leaves me perplexed.  Lack of inner peace, tells me I’m not following his guidance.

Obedience to God simply means trusting him to have the best answers, and taking his word for it. If a choice to become involved or not in a person’s life or in a cause or service project has you worrying about the cost of time, energy, emotions, etc., pause to answer the following questions.

Grounding questions

  1. What is your goal? Positive, meaningful connections need validation, love that acts, and sincere, non-critical acceptance. Are you providing these things in relationships? Are you too busy to connect meaningfully with people in your sphere?
  2. How will accepting another role affect your family? Self-sacrifice without considering others who will be affected may be ego-centric.  Do we have the right to force sacrifice on unwilling family members?
  3. Ephesians 6:7 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” People may be assuming, begging, or sweetly inviting you to participate in their vision. Some have a great plan for your life! Do you know what is God’s will?
  4. Ask, is this act of service in YOUR wheelhouse?
  5. What role do you play in this person’s life, or in this service project?
  6. Are you balancing self-care and rest with self-sacrifice? Rest without self-care may be a symptom of depression. Self-care without any self-sacrifice could be selfishness.  Self-sacrifice without rest or self-care is possibly martyrdom.
  7. Are you setting “boundaries” out of apathy or avoidance?  Do you consider Proverbs 3:27, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act”?
  8. Are you over-committed now?

Here are a few options for over-commitment

→ add a time limit to your commitment      → gather a team to finish faster     → change the duty to suit your yeses (different time/day, etc)      → delegate a replacement person    → pay for it to be done by someone else     → Say, “This is more than I thought I was signing up for”     → Say, “This is interfering with other obligations (or health)”     → bite the bullet, take responsibility for over-promising, and walk away     →count your financial and time investment as loss and move on

Today’s Helpful Word  

Acts 6:2,3 – delegating

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, [some Jews who were active in Greek culture] among them complained against the [traditional] Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

 

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.

Let Life Seasons Guide Your Best Boundaries

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

trees by lake against sky during winter
Photo by Natalija Mislevicha on Pexels.com

I’m binge-watching ER when I have time. (Is it technically a binge if you have to schedule it in? Whatever.) The emergency room drama originally aired for 15 seasons. Characters came, left, and returned. Plots twisted amid sirens, explosions, and the occasional surprise birthday party that never seemed to surprise anyone.

The episode I last finished featured Alan Alda, playing a frustrated doctor who had recently received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. He had to stop treating patients and begin teaching instead. His portrayal has me thinking about the seasons of our lives, and not in a melancholy way.

Seasons of life are helpful guides for deciding where to draw boundaries.

For example, my current life season is busy. Leisure time has to be penciled in because my physical health demands it. Imagine that a recently married young adult with a baby on the way, is beginning a new career. Do you think this is the time for him to take on leading a scout troop? 

Below is a list of many life seasons we may pass through.  Obligations, free time, and energy vary as the years pass.  

⇒ Youth    Young adult    Middle age     Mature

⇒ School    New career    Career prime    Career change    Retirement    Unemployed   

⇒ Single   Newly married    Married, no children   Married with children    Single  again   

⇒ Exploring volunteerism     Regular volunteer work     Irregular volunteer work     Change of volunteer focus      No volunteer work

⇒ Physically Healthy     Emotionally stable     Mentally healthy     Physical and/or mental health challenges      Burned-out      Disabled

⇒ Financially dependent    Financially free      Limited income    Poverty

⇒ You have adult children     You have grandchildren     Other family living with you      Care-taking or other exceptional family demands

What seasons are you in today? How can recognizing this help you make wise decisions with your time and money?

No one can do it all at every stage of life; Even in a TV show, the more selfless ER characters have to carefully select their priorities in order to be effective and make a powerful difference.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Ephesians 2:9-11

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Yes or No Exchange: You Have the Power to Plan for Freedom and Joy

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

man standing on street
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Every YES is a NO.  Every NO is a YES

What? It’s true.

This is not about lying or playing jokes. It is fact that each time you agree to a plan or activity, you are simultaneously choosing not to to do something else. Every yes is a no.

Flip it, and your every no is a yes to an alternative. 

This matters when priorities are lost in the mix.  Under my list of primary yeses, I would include my faith, family, and myself. If that sounds selfish, keep in mind that my faith demands service to others, and doing so is part of my joy and purpose.  It is trickiest when the more intimate parts of my relationship with Jesus  (like prayer) and self-care (like sleep) compete for time due to busyness. 

That is where planning and structure come in.

Establish priorities 

1. What are your current commitmentsthings and people you cannot ignore without disastrous consequences? Be specific.

2. What are your values? What kind of person do you want to be? List by most important.

3. What do you want? Decide what you want in your relationships, and for yourself. Write down what you sincerely hope for generally, long-term, short-term, and in the situation you are in now.

Asking ‘what do I want’  can shed light on why you are in a situation.

If you want someone else to change, this is out of your control. If a person is regularly crossing your boundaries and not changing even when you are communicative about the issue, maybe it’s time to ask, is this the relationship I want?

4. Are your own needs met? Y/N Which ones are not met?

You have legitimate basic needs, too. If they are not met you will grow weak. Think about what you must have to know joy. What do you need to be happy? Where are you on your list of priorities? Are you on your list? Put yourself on your list.

5. Are you engaging specific goals and priorities that support your values?  Which ones?

6.After completing this analysis,  think of all the activities in which you are involved.

List what you believe are your YESes and NOs

In the end, know it is you making your decisions. You are not trapped. You have the power to plan for freedom and joy.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 32:8-11

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

Many sorrows come to the wicked,
    but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
    Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

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.

Compassionate Boundaries: Self-Care (Fourth of Series)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2013  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry 

We are generally nice people, right? We feel deeply when someone we care about is in emotional pain. Depression and especially suicide catch our attention as they should. If a loved one is struggling with one or both of those, we want to help. 

Here is a story from my week. In two days I had as many conversations with persons who talked about possibly attempting suicide. Familiar with their circumstances, I understood they were already in safe hands and protected.  Otherwise, I would not have talked to them at all. I would have called 9.1.1.  

The aftereffects took my by surprise.  Sleeplessness owns my nights.  

Half a week earlier I was sick.  There was the typical time off followed by the twice as busy catch-up day. Doctor appointments, a social event, handling a funeral dinner for about 20 people, and taking care of a sick husband about did me in.

My recovery is brand-spankin’ new. Therapy sessions are challenging. Because of this week’s unusual schedule, I am missing my support system and feel alone. 

No wonder insomnia has a foothold.  You get the point.

I forgot to care of me. As a result of sleeplessness, both a meeting and a lunch are canceled. This blog is a day late.  Exhaustion threatens recovery and mental health. All this, because I said yes too often and ignored my needs.  

One extra yes leads to another and another in part because situations are rarely as simple as they seem at first. Then we go too far. 

If you read about my week and wonder what were my options, you will benefit from thinking it through. Look also at your days and measure all you are doing for others.

  • Is self-care on your agenda?
  • Do you have enough energy to care for your priorities?
  • Do you even have a life?

__________________

Other posts in this series: Friendship (1) ; God’s Example (2)Values and Family (3) ;  How to Say No (5) ; Motives Beware! (6)Refuse Blame (7) ; Refer to Experts (8)  ; How to Say Yes (9)

__________________

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

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.

 

*Sleeping by LUSI on rgbstock.com

Compassionate Boundaries: Values and Family (Third in Series)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Mike wants to help. He genuinely cares that his co-worker Michelle is stressed-out with a dinner party, busy with sick children, has to run her mother to the airport, and will be late to this week’s meeting. She asked him if he would start the meeting for her, which involves more than just being in attendance.

If he says yes to Michelle, Mike will be gathering notebooks and pens, a laptop and projector, making the coffee, and greeting 20 people. It will be his job to help everyone feel comfortable.

Normally, Mike is shy. He is quite good at shaking the hand of a customer, easily discussing business, weather, and sports scores. It’s a different challenge altogether to make small talk with people he barely knows. While Michelle is fun on every occasion, he is more reserved. 

Already he is apprehensive with the meeting two days away! I should say yes, he thinks. Besides, she has no one else to ask.

Michelle thanks him profusely. Mike feels pleased. I’m doing the right thing, he reassures himself. 

He calls his wife, Gloria. The phone rings for some time. She’s slowing down. He pictures her easing out of bed and across the room.

“Hello?” She sounds weak.

“Hi Honey!” Mike sounds as positive as possible. “I will be unable to go to the doctor with you Thursday. Don’t worry, I’m sure Margie can give you a ride.”

Silence lingers for half a minute. “Mike, you said you would go.”

“I know, but Michelle needs me to start the meeting and I couldn’t let her down. You understand.”

“I need you too.”

“Honey, call Margie and she’ll take you. She enjoys helping out.” Mike feels angry that his wife is not simply letting him off the hook.

More silence, then a short sigh. “OK.”

Two days of busyness and worry finally land Mike in the meeting room.  He’d spent the past evening going over the list in his head of attendees, and imagining what he could say to each.  Sure, he’d told his son to wait when he said he had something important to talk about. Matt can hold off.  It can’t be that urgent, he whispers to his conflicted heart. 

Everyone sits. Mike is ready with his opening statements when his cellphone goes off. He sees it is Matt calling. Turning the phone off with a stab of guilt, he apologizes for the interruption and continues.

That evening at home, he notices his son is later than usual. “What is Matt up to?” he asks Gloria.

“He’s taking the entrance exam.”

Confused, Mike says, “Entrance to what?”

“Matt decided to attend Cambridge University.”

“Cambridge! But that’s all the way over in England! What makes him think he can get into that prestigious school?”

“Mike, he has top honors in mathematics.”

“I know that.”

“In the state.” Gloria watches Mike’s reaction as surprise and pride cross his face, then dissolve into a troubled look.

“When did all this happen?” he says.

“Mike, you are gone so much. Matt wanted to tell you. He wanted to discuss schools with you. In the last few months it seems you have been rarely available to him.”

“I helped Mr. Franklin with closing his business, been taking you to your treatments, teaching Sunday School, not to mention my job…” Mike’s words fade at Gloria’s answer.

“You haven’t taken me to the doctor in six months.  Mike, I’m fighting this disease alone.”

Our values shape our boundaries

Look over your priorities. What, and whom, do you value most? Decide this, and be aware of your time. By knowing what we must and want to say yes to, we will know where to draw healthy boundaries.

Saying yes is the same as saying no because an exchange has to happen. Do you want to say no to your highest values by answering yes to everything other than? 

Draw careful boundaries    

The best yeses fold out of thoughtful consideration. Put effort into this. No matter how noble a kind act of service may seem, it is not so wonderful if it leaves behind those who matter most.  

__________________

Other posts in this series: Friendship (1) ; God’s Example (2) Self-Care (4) ;  How to Say No (5) ; Motives Beware! (6)Refuse Blame (7) ; Refer to Experts (8)  ; How to Say Yes (9)

__________________

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

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.