Tag Archives: relationships

Jesus Offers Safety in the World of Emotions and Vulnerability

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

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When emotions are stifled as a child, you never learn how to use or regulate them.

Adult friends have said over the years, “You are open to a point, and then no one can cross that line;” or “You seem unapproachable. Above all the rest of us.”

What friends did not know is the guilt I carried and the continuous reel of tongue lashings I gave myself every day for feeling, let alone sharing any of those feelings whether happy or not-so happy. Vulnerability was downright threatening because of what I would do to myself.

I wasn’t honest about that. God knows I needed help, lots of it, but it seemed too much to ask.

I didn’t want to burden anyone with it and didn’t know what to say anyway. Yet that led to crashes that did burden people in big ways. Rarely reaching out or reaching out in ways that would not actually lead to help, kept me stuck.

Oh believe me, I kept begging – for someone, anyone – to meet my needs. Desperately screaming all my life- does anyone care? I hurt, I’m sad, I’m lost! Angrily demanding, why aren’t you rescuing me?

No one heard because I didn’t scream out loud.

Vulnerability for Wellness

When we come out of unloving or abusive families, it is common to feel different from everyone else, like we are on the outside of a huge secret. We may not know how or where to find emotional safety – or even believe it exists.

In Christ, we are amazingly safe to be vulnerable with people. He led me to wise counselors and then helped me to lower my shield. Learning openness and honesty has not only been freeing, but it helps other people to come out from the shadows.

Vulnerability is hard. We fear jumping off that proverbial cliff of trust – what if no one is there to respond in meaningful or healthy ways? We are afraid that rejection or apathy or even betrayal will leave us in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

It could happen – from the human standpoint.

In Christ though, we have safety. He is our enduring Catcher. Vulnerability with others is important for mental health and well-being. Landing in the tender clutch of Jesus makes jumping worth the risk.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for you.

 

**** 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 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. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

11 Mother’s Days. I am grateful for that much

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

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For the first ten years of my life, mom was a part-time college student, attending one class at a time. She set an example of ‘it’s never too late’ by learning to drive and graduating college in her forties. She retired and started a new career at 65.

A diagnosis of breast cancer did not stop her from looking forward. As she was wheeled into surgery for a mastectomy, I asked how she was feeling. “I wish I didn’t have to go through it” she said. “But this too will pass.”

And she would know.

Dad practiced what is known as Systematic Parental Alienation. That is, he tried to destroy our mother through using my brother and me. To drive a wedge between us and her, he told many lies inconsistent with her character. He said we did not have to listen to her because she did not deserve our respect. He said she would leave us soon. He said everything was her fault.  

All those years Mom struggled to develop loving relationships with her kids, she was met with resistance. She was unaware of the brainwashing we were receiving from dad. He did a very good job at causing us to believe his claim that she was an unfit parent. 

She and I missed out on a normal mother-daughter relationship for thirty years.  Finally, twelve years removed from Dad’s daily input, the blinders lifted. I apologized for my attitude, and she rejoiced.

Mom and I had eleven years together before she died. I can complain that we were cheated of more, or express gratitude that we had that much. Her example of never too late, inspires me to begin fresh each day. Beyond every sorrow is new hope, new light, and another chance to walk closely with those we love. 

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Today’s Helpful Word  

Proverbs 31:28

“Her children rise up and call her blessed…”

**** 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 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. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

Growing Up in Dysfunction is Not the End of Your Story

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

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On the negative end, my home of origin was characterized by lies, open hostility and violence. Of course most dysfunctional and abusive homes are not 100% angry.  There is the quietness of calm before an eruption, the safety of being in public, and perhaps good hearts who try to make the best of a terrible situation. 

Inconsistency was normal to me. Since there was little exposure to anything else, the emotional weather fluctuations were simply matters of adjustment. That does not mean they were not harmful. They were.

Motives do not determine the rightness or wrongness of hurtful behavior. Harming  people is wrong. Abuse is abuse. In my opinion, many families would benefit from counseling and parenting classes. Often, people do not understand how to react in healthy ways to life’s and family stress.

However, no one in my childhood family received any such help. In relationships where most everyone is in survival mode, there is little connection on higher planes. Parents are caught up in adult drama, and children’s issues are often set aside.  

I learned a sense of home and family could exist only in the dreamy make-believe world of denial. This is where I devoted my energies for the better part of 53 years. 

It took dropping into the lowest pit before I could conceive the truth.  Therapists, doctors, and friends spoke a different perspective until firm belief faded into doubt, then the shadow of a doubt disappeared, and now I live in joy. 

No, I do not think homes are perfect. Ever. Families struggle at different levels of intensity. The solid truth I finally grasped is three-part:

  1. It is never too late to start fresh. Life changed dramatically for me in my fifties.
  2. Nothing in this world is permanent. Something may feel great for a time, nonetheless it is temporary.
  3. There is only one home that is permanent, perfect, and promised. That home is described in an old song by Keith Green. He said in his Prodigal Son Suite, “I’ve learned home is where you are.” He was referring to Jesus.  

Only God, His Word, and His only begotten Son Jesus never change. God’s love welcomes and embraces the most tired and broken of hearts. He holds those who live in denial and dysfunction. 

Our job is to accept Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Your story, my story, are not over!

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

**** 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 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. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

 

 

If Someone is Hurting You, Does He or She Love You?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2013 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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In Christine’s search for love,  trouble never had difficulty finding her. She fell for the lie of love from strangers and family. Finally she married a man who said his love was for forever, yet even then was knowingly deceitful.

Is it any wonder Christine does not know what real love is?

Love is not, Love is

Love is not a claim of love. Love is not warm fuzzy feelings.

Love is a choice to care about another person.  Love is an action, it is truth, it never fails.

That is not to say we do not let loved ones down. We will because we are human. Love is a continuous desire to not fail, and does not disappear when times are rough. Love stops doing what is wrong and learns to do what is right.

Fuzzy warm feelings may disintegrate; love will remain. It may look different, but is active and true. For example,  a broken marriage does not have to end in bitterness.

Love is not martyrdom or playing the doormat. It is not giving someone everything they want. Love stands up for what is best.

3 test cases

(1) Her husband calls. Audrey hesitates to answer the phone because she knows what will come of it. Her unemployed status has disappointed him. He will assume the position of her boss by informing her exactly how she is failing.   

Does he love her?

(2) Andrew  ducks every time he walks through that door.  His mother used to hide behind it and swat him when he returned from school.  She passed away last year, and the duty of cleaning up her estate fell to him. Even after several months he continues to  tense for a sprint at the sight of that door.  

Did she ever love him?

(3) Anna  enjoys her adult children and rejoices in their independence. She made mistakes as a parent,  yet was willing to listen to her children’s points of view.   No one had been swatted from behind doors, or insulted for mistakes. She grins as she recalls all the spilled milk.  No one had been made to feel a fool.

Did she, does she love them?

My opinion: According to a professional source, the first two stories are examples of people loving the best they know how. I disagree. Story three matches that description better.

I am not willing to call abuse love at all. While no one loves perfectly, love is not selfish. Damaging behavior committed in a reckless and thoughtless manner is selfish. Not considering another person’s pain (or joys) is selfish.

Warm fuzzy feelings may come and go, yet ignoring a person’s plea to stop treating them a certain way because it hurts them,  is definitely selfish.

What do you think? 

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 13: 8-10

 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor…

Biblical definition of love           In Christ we are loved forever

God’s love in our dark times 

 

***** 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.

*all names have been changed

Have You Learned to Not Trust Relationships? Here are 5 Other Ways to Look at It

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

woman with yellow backpack standing on hanging bridge with trees
Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

Distrust in relationships is comparable to the experience of a man who has no interest in daring exploits and yet receives a gift certificate for a free bungee jumping course.

He feels some obligation to the giver and does not want to disappoint. Consequently, the wary recruit slowly makes his way to the site while the question to undertake the exercise or not lingers unresolved in his mind.

Each tentative step is agonizing. His natural inclination is to run away, however his original motive and a desire to deny his fear compels him forward.

Conversations with regular jumpers and trained professionals draw assurances it is safe. They show off the equipment as the unlikely participant handles it, tugging, and feeling its strength. It seems it might be secure.

He watches as others jump successfully and listens attentively to the experts who seem to know their sport. Only now, it is his turn. Strapped tightly to the bungee cord, he daringly allows his feet to leave solid ground.

That is when it hits him.

He is now in mid-air, his fate completely dependent on the honesty and knowledge of the people above. He might mumble an expletive under his breath at this point or scream loudly. He possibly thinks, This cord might break, or they may walk away and leave me dangling here, and it will be my fault for trusting.

Allowing built-in fears to override current reality is similar to that scenario, except that those conditioned to doubt people and fear relationships experience the walk to the bungee jump site each time they have an opportunity to trust.

Past poor judgment calls have left them sore and more apprehensive than ever. Not only do they struggle to have faith in other people, the terror of having confidence in oneself is the shaky base underneath it all.

Can this change? I say yes.

5 ways to look at trust

  1. Caution is wisdom. The first time someone reveals to you that he or she is  untrustworthy – believe it.
  2. Reconsider what you learned about trust. Is trust really all or nothing? Is everyone a liar except you?
  3. Reconsider the ones who taught you to distrust. Were they emotionally capable of trust themselves?  Were they bitter?  Are they narcissistic?
  4. Build a support system of safe people. Take your time, but do not stall out.
  5. Trust is easier once we experience it. Over the years, my trust in God’s goodness has grown. There is much more to know about his character than what some people say in reaction to difficulties. Like a beginner bungee jumper, trusting enough to take the first step toward God will open your worldview.

That first step is sincerely reaching out to his Son, Jesus.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 33: 2-5

Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing 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. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 Is it Really Okay for a Christian to Say “No, I Cannot Help You”? (Part 1)

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

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If you feel unkind unless you agree to help when asked, consider the following.

Boundaries are what we stop ourselves from accepting in our lives, not what we stop another person from doing. We have no control over people’s choices or external events. How we choose to react is our responsibility.

1. Are boundaries a godly choice?  Jesus set this example. When the Savior of the world preached and healed the crying masses, he did not stay and fix everyone’s problems. He was teaching us that it is not only necessary to say no sometimes, it is godly to love fully with boundaries in place.

2. It is easier to say yes when I mean no. How can boundaries help? Boundaries are godly because they keep us honest. Have you agreed, with a smile, to volunteer in the church while inwardly groaning, “Noooooooooo”? Of course Christians who are serious about their faith want to show love. However, Romans 12:9 says, “Love must be sincere…”

Sometimes, secret preferences are expressed through indirect means like passive/aggressive behavior, manipulation, complaining, or anger. For these reasons, expressing honest boundaries is kind.

If time, skill, or energy are lacking, we do not have to pretend we are available. Ephesians 4:25-30 tells us “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.“

3. Isn’t it best to patiently wait for a person to change?  Boundaries are godly because they prevent us from enabling sin. God held to boundaries with ancient Israel. He set out laws, and warned against breaking them. Those who insisted on rebellion sometimes received further warning. Finally, he removed his blessings until they repented. This was love. He knew his way was best for all concerned.

This principle guides us in toxic situations and relationships in which we end up making excuses for the one who wrongs us. We continue to move our boundaries to accommodate them, and eventually lose our peace of mind (or safety).

Arrows shot in our direction are not ours to catch! Proverbs 22:3 says “ A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge…“

Today’s Helpful Word  

Mark 1:35-39 
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages— so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

**** 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.

 

 

 

Dear Supports, The Line Between Concern and Control is Not So Fine. Here are 10 Differences

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

people sitting in front of wooden table
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

A mother in her late sixties consistently criticized her forty-something son’s job hunt, marriage, and child-rearing. In turn, her daughter-in-law sent her accusatory letters telling her to back-off. 

Over many years, a variety of people had tried to tell the elder woman that her controlling attitude was damaging to her family relationships and ability to work well with others. For as many years, her stubbornness told a different tale; she knew she was right. 

Finally, after losing two careers and a lifetime of closeness to her children, she asked, “What am I doing wrong?”

She asked me. Her question stirred a thoughtful process that led to the following ten-point general comparison between concern and control. 

As supports of anyone who struggles with mental illness, abuse, or addiction, our role is often uncomfortable. We have to make a decision, deep in our character, as to whether we will respect each person’s freedom to choose. After offering what help is reasonable, will we let go?

Two supports in my own struggle with major depression showed opposing attitudes. One said,  “God brought us together so I can fix you.” The other said, “You are powerful, Nancy. You can get through this.” 

Which one do you suppose is still my friend?

Control versus Concern- what is the difference?

1. Concern wants to extend love above all else. Control desires results above all else.

2. Concern is humble and eager to learn. Control knows the answer.

3. Concern actively listens and validates with genuine interest.  Control does not listen.

4. Concern offers hope based on knowledge, insight, and wisdom.  Control offers pat answers, quick-fix solutions, or false hope based on incomplete understanding of a person and his or her needs.

5. Concern accepts responsibility for one’s own life, and patiently leaves others to take responsibility for theirs. Control criticizes, manipulates, and tries to force its will. 

6. Concern offers help when asked, or asks before helping. Control assumes ways to “fix” a situation or person with or without consent.

7. Concern respects the privacy of others.  Control shares what is told in confidence, and  wants in on gossip and rumor.

8. Concern feels some worry, yet also experiences peace by letting go. Control repeatedly expresses frustration and disappointment at slow or unwanted results.

9. Concern feels empathy, pain, or grief, but does not have to own what is not one’s problem. Control takes personally another person’s troubles. 

10. Concern of a Christian believer points people to Jesus. Control is self-worship that can blind others to God’s miraculous power. 

This is not about perfection, it is about growth in love. We all can pass between concern and control at moments. However, making the mistake of living as a controlling person harms relationships and damages those for whom you care so much.

Today’s Helpful Word  

James 3:13-18

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth…  

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

 

***** 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.

Love Draws Boundaries

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

man standing on riverbank
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When Jesus went off by himself to pray and walked away from the crying masses, he was teaching us that it is not only necessary to say no sometimes, it is godly to love fully with boundaries in place. If it feels like you are selfish or unkind unless you agree to jump whenever a friend or loved one says they need you, consider the following.

Boundaries protect our ability to love 

How often have you felt something you signed up to do was too much, and you were tempted to shut yourself in and never say yes again to anyone? Contrary to what we often assume, boundaries save relationships.

About 8 years ago, I hit a needy patch. I reached out to two friends whom I’ll call Ms. Boundaries and Ms. Intentions.

Ms. Boundaries listened to my sorrows and expressed concern. She said, “I’ll check on you soon”, and she did. There were days between her contacts. My emotions told me I needed her more than that. She was patient, compassionate, and assured me she cared, but drew her boundary. She was not slave to my emotions, not co-dependent, and not a doormat. She made no false promises.

Ms. Intentions also listened to my sorrows. She said “I’m here for you. Anything you need. Contact me any time.” My pain seemed all consuming to me, so it was easy to take her up on her offer. She answered every plea.

Ms. Intentions burned-out and seemed to resent her loss of freedom. Her inability to say “no” encouraged my dependence on her. Suddenly, she disappeared from my life. I haven’t heard from her since.

These years later, Ms. Boundaries and I are still friends. Knowing her limits and preserving herself saved our relationship for which I am grateful.

Which individuals actually show support in positive, meaningful, and effective ways? Is it the one who gives freely and gladly, or the one who gives with a smile while internally cringing? The person who does not make easy promises; or the one who fails to deliver on impulsively offered promises? The friend who remains a friend, or the ex-friend who walks away in frustration?

Love draws boundaries.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Proverbs 19:2 (CJB) 

“To act without knowing how you function is not good; and if you rush ahead, you will miss your goal.”

 

***** 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.

Are You Handling Your Complicated Life, Or is It Handling You?

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

Most of us want to be the type of person others can count on. We hope we are a good friend, spouse, parent, and worker.  

Life’s dramas and stressors sometimes overshadow these most important parts of living.  Are you the person you want to be? 

Think about your challenges with life balance, and with making positive and meaningful connections. Then ask if your way is working.  If it is not, perhaps you would like to join me in trying a different way, one proven successful.

How Jesus handled his complicated life

One of the reasons Jesus could serve as he did is because of his boundaries. Jesus loved well and practiced self-care. Unless we embrace his how-to, we cannot expect to experience the effectiveness, freedom, and wisdom he did.

1. He knew his mission; do you know yours?

One morning, while it was still dark, Jesus left where he was staying and went off alone to pray.  Later, several men went to look for him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you!”

Jesus said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages— so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Paraphrased from Mark 1:35-38)

Notice Jesus did not serve everyone when it would detain him from his priorities. He knew when to say yes or no regardless of pressure from others.

2. His getaways versus your getaways

In the Bible book of Matthew, we read an account of one of Jesus’ very busy days. As it was growing dusk,  he decided to feed the crowd gathered to hear him preach. They had been together for three days and were hungry.

After he miraculously stretched a few fish and loaves of bread into enough meals to satisfy about 8000 people, he dismissed everyone and went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  It is recorded that shortly before dawn he came back down and joined his disciples. (Paraphrase of Matthew 14: 15 -25 )

Israel, where this took place, generally experiences dusk at 7pm and dawn at 6am. Allowing time for his disciples to pass out the food and to clean-up, it appears Jesus was in prayer for about 8 hours.  This is how he re-energized, by spending time with His Heavenly Father. 

3. Joy was his source of strength.

It was the prophet Nehemiah who encouraged his people to choose joy because it would give them strength to do God’s will. He said, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8: 8-10)

Jesus came right out and said, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12

His joy was complete due to obedience to God his Father, and by giving and receiving love. Is this where you find joy?

4. Jesus’ choices versus your choices

John the Baptist was a great preacher in Jesus’ time. He was a relative of Jesus and a friend.  He was murdered when they both were about 31 years old. When Jesus heard what happened, he withdrew to a private place, no doubt to grieve and pray. 

Crowds followed anyway. When Jesus saw them, he “had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Paraphrase of Matthew 14:12-14)

Jesus made room for service when it was inconvenient, setting aside his personal grief momentarily.  However, this was not his only response.

5. Jesus held to boundaries. Do you?

Jesus was a celebrity, with clamoring fans from all over his country and beyond. Huge crowds wanted to hear him and have him heal their sick bodies, and ill sons, daughters, friends, servants, and other loved ones.  Some wanted him to raise their dead. 

Look at what Jesus did. He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Paraphrase of Luke 5:15-16 Sometimes he simply withdrew from the needs and demands of a hurting world, and made room for self-care.

You can see it is not selfish to balance your life. Not everyone needs you all the time.  It is wise to weigh your priorities and pro-actively seek joy. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

 Amos 4:13
“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind … the Lord God Almighty is his name.”

 

 

***** 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.