Tag Archives: salvation

Love, Circumstances, Regret, Eternity: 4 Contexts Where Accepting Life on Life’s Terms Changes Everything

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

What’s sadly amusing is that people (let’s be honest, it is each of us) who need to learn life lessons often do not believe they have a problem.

I heard a notorious complainer and backbiter announce that she had once attended a conference on negativity.  One man struggled with coping and  refused therapy. He had never entered a professional mental healthcare office, yet claimed it would not help.

Accepting life on life’s terms is tricky. Instead, we often try to control circumstances or other people, and strive for comfort.   

Personal Power

Reputations, health, and safety are subject to events outside our control. No matter the wisdom or lack of sense behind our choices, good  and not-so-good will result. Jesus said God sends rain on the just and on the unjust*.  Life’s terms are reality.

Nonetheless, we have control over our behavior and responses. That is powerful!

I switched from railing against difficulties and fighting to improve the past, to focusing on changing me. Now a matured worldview, attitude, and belief system provide a deep sense of hope and purpose that eluded me before.

Do you see how far you’ve come since one to ten years ago? Change happens in truth. Honest introspection is not difficult. Simply by asking, “Why do I feel/believe/behave this way? Am I the person I want to be?”,  your escape from endless cycles begins. 

Life’s terms 

Relationships:   No human loves unconditionally and no one stays forever. These are not true because people are uncaring, rather it is that we are fallible, and incapable of perfectly meeting another’s needs. These are life’s terms.

Accepting these terms allows for rejoicing at how many people care sincerely and imperfectly.  Shared happiness and pain create a sense of community and personal fulfillment. This replaces the anguish of manipulating or insisting relationships match our design. Grace and freedom reign.

Circumstances:  Events outside ourselves are often confusing and seem to have trajectories of their own. It is impossible to slam on the brakes and stop all the nonsense. These are life’s terms. 

Accepting life’s terms means no set of circumstances has to complete our story. Looking for  options and focusing on what is next, spares us from paralyzing fear and hopelessness. We can create, share ideas, pray, and involve ourselves in a message of hope.   

Personal history:  The past is full of regrets and “can’t believe I did that”.  Consequences of poorer choices are not always avoidable. These are life’s terms. 

Accepting those terms allows us to make needed amends, and jumpstart the present.  How many of us would spend days hiding if we constantly stared at all our mistakes? Knowing the past cannot be fixed, we transfer energy toward influencing today for the good of humankind. 

Salvation:  No past choices determine our eternal future. Zero.  Starting now, putting faith in Jesus means we can believe our gifts, strengths, and weaknesses have purpose in the hands of a sovereign God. He sees his beloved (if somewhat confused) children through eyes of forgiveness and delight.

These are His terms, for which we can feel relief and gladness. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 19:21 

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,  but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. 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, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

*https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+5&version=ESV

Last Night’s Dream is a Lesson For Today. Be Ready.

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

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Do you ever wonder what your dreams mean? I had one last night. Maybe you will see in it what I see. 

Several old friends of mine, including one pastor,  were planning to get-together and hold a meeting.  This gathering would be both a chance to celebrate seeing one another again, and serve a distinctly Christian purpose.  It may have been worship, BIble study, prayer, or any and all the above.

Initiated by the pastor, the invitation was a call to fellowship. Everyone invited was a follower of Christ Jesus.  Numbered among us were musicians, teachers, artists, writers, and a nurse.  I was excited to go!

We were asked to wear formal attire.  For the women, that meant full-length gowns.  This also sounded fun. With every intention to attend,  I waited until only a few days before the event to look for suitable clothes.  

Once I realized the shortage of time, my attitude sank almost immediately into self-pity.  “It’s not my fault I don’t have a gown.  I’ve been busy. It’s easy for everyone else.”

Laziness followed. “The right kind of dress is at the store, I should go buy one. Nah, that’s too much trouble. Besides, home is so comfortable.  I want to stay  until it is necessary to leave.”

Then came blame.  “He (the pastor) shouldn’t be asking so much.  Shame on him for making it difficult. Maybe I won’t go just to spite him.”

Self-doubt was close behind.  “Nancy, this is your fault. You won’t find a nice dress now, nothing will be good enough. You are the one who ought to feel ashamed.”

I ran to my closet. Maybe something would do.  A brown, denim-like skirt caught  my eye. It was very old and faded. For a moment I considered piecing it into a homemade gown.  Nothing else matched it, and it was too ugly anyway.   

Time was running out. Rationalizing began.

 “What could be so important we have to dress-up? I’m smarter than to fall for that silly idea.  I’ll just show up in jeans.”  Fear I would be rejected at the door nixed that idea.

“It’s going to be a stupid get-together. I don’t need to be there. No one will care. I’ve got too much to do here anyway.”  With a shrug and defeatist mindset,  I chose not to go. 

Using a metaphor, Jesus  described the gathering of his followers in heaven as a banquet. Everyone is invited. The dress code is white robes. Some invitees said they were too busy. One showed up without a white robe and was sent away.

No amount of searching among our belongings will produce such a robe. Our best options are old, faded, and dirty.  Nothing of our past or present qualifies us for eternal life with God. 

Where is hope then? It is in the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus.  When we surrender our will, and take him in as Savior and Lord,  our inner selves are figuratively washed clean by his blood.  He is the only one who gives away these “white robes.” He already purchased them – they are ours for the asking.

A songwriter once wrote,Teach us to number our days,  that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Indeed, I hope we count our days rightly and understand their brevity.  

Today is the day to drop our excuses.  He is coming back soon. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Refusing to Give Up the Chains of Control: Where I Would Be Without Jesus

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries 

Someone recently said, “I do not know where I’d be without Jesus.” Well, I do.

I would be dead.

God only knows what would have killed me and at what age, because deep anger controlled my choices. Uninhibited by rules of conduct or good character, screaming at strangers and defying authority seemed right.

I felt little concern for life’s outcomes.  Before I paid attention to Jesus’ insistence on a change of heart, I was on a path to becoming a felon and practicing alcoholic.  I  held a mocking disdain of all things God-related, and believed myself smarter than people of faith.  Future children might have been aborted.

Jesus found me at fifteen years old.  He took this terrified, enraged, traumatized, bitter, brain-washed, humanity and self-hating girl, and gently spoke with love. Initially I fought him, refusing to give up the chains of control. Even after I surrendered and chose to honor him with my life,  not everything changed. God’s salvation does not turn us on a dime.

Mine was a sometimes on and often off friendship with God. I cheated on him with other “gods,” most often turning to food and other people for relief from emotional pain. Throughout every poor choice, the Holy Spirit pointed me back to the source of life, who is Jesus.

False core beliefs about my lack of value and place in the world helped to create some of the confusion and fear of change.  Years passed while God chiseled at my heart of stone. He used his Holy Word the Bible, our conversations in prayer, my awkward obedience, wise counsel, and suffering, to slowly bring to the forefront his original design.

God stopped death from claiming me several times.  At 49, I came to a crashing end of me. All those temporal and lesser “gods” had failed.  God saved my life once more, and by doing so forced me to consider placing all my reason for being and hope on his shoulders.

Where would I be without Jesus?  Without his interference I would be dead.  He alone knows the details of the might-have-beens.

What matters is that Jesus never left, and loved me too much to leave me the same.

Today’s Helpful Word

Ezekiel 36:26  (NLT)

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

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.