Tag Archives: relationship

What Does “I Don’t Have a Religion, I Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus,” Mean? (and what does it have to do with mental health?) Part 2 of 2

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

person standing on slope glacier mountain
Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

To have a relationship with Jesus is to have a relationship with God. For that connection to be so personal and close, is indeed amazing. In part 1 of this post, I explained God’s side of this two-way agreement.  Today, let us discover how to react to his unending love.

Our positive and meaningful response to God

One quote from Jesus that has received a lot of press, is “Love your neighbor.” Most people seem to have heard it whether they know where it came from or not. Many probably are not aware it is only part of a powerful statement.

A man asked Jesus which one of all God’s rules and regulations was the most important. Jesus’ surprising answer was this: 

”Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”  (Mark 12:30).

As I see it and believe other scriptures support, heart is equated with emotions, soul with faithfulness, mind with knowledge and understanding, and strength with will. We can feel sincere love for him, put him above all else, study the Bible to know him, and choose to obey his words. 

“The second is this,” Jesus continued. “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31).

Well, that narrows it down, doesn’t it? Our side of the relationship with God is to love him and love others. How does that look in the day-to-day?

We do what God says: 1 John 5:3 “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome…”

We believe and love: 1 John 3:2And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”

We practice love: 1 John 3: 16-18 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

We study the Bible as a whole: Psalm 1:1,2   “Blessed is the one… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”

We study the Bible to grow our faith: Romans 10:17  “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

We pray: Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

We do not hold back in prayer: Ephesians 6:18  “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Mental health needs to love and be loved. Love is an action, and a choice we make each day, that can overpower thoughts to the contrary. Love is not apathy. Love is what God wants. Love is who he is.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 John 4:13-16

  “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

 God is love…” 

 

***** 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. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

What Does “I Don’t Have a Religion, I Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus,” Mean? (and what does it have to do with mental health?) Part 1 of 2

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

25305931 helping hands

It probably sounds strange to think a person can have a personal relationship with deity. Yet that is where faith begins.

Positive and meaningful relationships are two-way. The best ones also meet the needs of each person. With God, there is no failure on his part to provide validation, acceptance, and endless love.

Our connection to God is through Jesus, as he is quoted in the Bible in the book of John (14:6).  “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” It is God’s only begotten Son’s sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection that makes relationship with him, and eternal life possible.  

Rather than arrogant, his is an invitation to the amazing life-giving presence of God. 

God’s positive and meaningful connection with us

God knows every second of our existence, every thought, every deed, what we have done and felt, and what others have done to us. He knows us and shares in our joy and sorrow. This is validation that who we are and what we experience matters.

God knows us: Psalm 139:1-5  “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”

God shares in human sorrow: Exodus 3:7  “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.”

God loves us enough to take action. Yes, he accepts us as we are, but loves us too much to leave us there. God proved he values us when he moved beyond “so loved the world” to “gave his only begotten son.” As another example, we also read that compassion moved Jesus many times to heal the sick and feed crowds.

God’s love acts: John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God supports us in trouble: Psalm 94:18-19  “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

God’s love and acceptance of us as individuals is proven in that he knew how we would cause him pain, and made us anyway. He is always calling and revealing himself.

God welcomes us: Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

God forgives when we ask:  Psalm 130:3-4   “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”

Mental health is more accessible when we have validation, acceptance, and active love from another person. My relationship with Jesus gives me all of that and more in spades.

If you want more information on where I stand, see my statement of faith page. The next blog will describe how we respond in this relationship. What does God get out of it?

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 14:23 

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with 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.

 

 

What Can I Say to Pull My Depressed Loved One Out of It?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Husband comforts young wife, isolated on white

At a conference recently, a woman asked me, “How do you pull someone out of depression? What can I say to make him feel better?” My answer was of the bad-news-good news type.

First, the bad news.

You cannot.

You want your loved one to return to normal. Perhaps your spouse is not working and the lower-income is a challenge. You wonder when depression will loosen its grip and your relationship restored. Your children suffer because the parent in depression does  not play with them.

Maybe it is your friend with depression. You miss your friendship. The walks you used to take together, shopping sprees, watching your favorite teams fight it out on ESPN – all of this is gone. All your friend does is sit in front of the TV or stay in bed. I know it is difficult.

You would likely never say, “Why are you not working your construction job with two broken legs?” or “Go out with me – you only have a 104 degree fever!” In much the same way, complaining and frustration will never snap your loved one out of depression. 

As deep is your longing to fix all this, you do not have the power to change someone’s depression and make them normal. 

Now for the good news!

Repeatedly, from dozens of people who struggle with depression, one common thread emerges. All I want is to know someone cares.  This is good news because it is simple for you to do and makes a meaningful difference. These same people have suggestions for  expressing positive messages that help: 

  • Silence is okay if you are next to me while I hide under the covers. Silence from a distance hurts.
  • Say hello. I do not need my space, I need you. 
  • Send me a text, an email, an IM, a card – anything! Let me know my life matters to you.  Keep in touch even if it takes a week, month, several months…
  • If you say you will visit, do it. I am counting desperately on that.
  • Small gestures speak many words. Bring me a coffee, or a glass of water. 
  • Mention you miss me. 
  • Remember who we were and remind me you believe we can be that again. 
  • Acknowledge I am doing what I know to do. Applaud my efforts – any effort.
  • Tell me it will be hard, but I have what it takes to get through this. 
  • Ask me outright, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Call 911 if I express any plans or intent to do so. If I’m angry, it will be temporary, and I will be alive knowing you care.
  • When you see progress, let me know you notice
  • If you tell me to “take a pill,” you are being a jerk. If you remind me to take my medications, you are kind. 
  • I may not be able to believe you when you tell me you love me or care. Tell me anyway.

Believe it or not, most people who struggle with depression do not receive the treatment they need. Untreated or under treated, they live in ever-deepening cycles of helplessness and despair. The majority who do receive proper treatment go on to lead more fulfilling and satisfying lives! 

Here’s the no-brainer. Help your loved one reach out for what could change his or her life.  Most people find a combination of medication and talk therapy most effective. 

You are in charge of you

You are not helpless or trapped. You have total control over your choices. Will you take care of yourself? 

You need healthy boundaries to protect your wellbeing. See my nine-part series on compassionate boundaries. Go to Part One to begin.

You need support. Talk about what you are going through with a friend or professional. You are not alone!

Go out and do fun things. Treat yourself to a pedicure, a walk in the park, movie night, or whatever will remind you that you matter too. Eat right, sleep well, and focus on your basic needs.

***** 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.