Tag Archives: trust

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Free Indeed

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

Freedom is the resounding word in the U.S.A. this week.  Freedom means choice.  Without choices, no one is free.

Of course, our American government makes laws with which some of us disagree.  Citizens cannot make choices outside the law.  Murderous attacks like the one at a newspaper company a few days ago happen when people ignore the law.  That is anarchy.  Anarchy leaves no one free.

Freedom 

Freedom is not absence of absolutes. It is the ability to choose what, and whom to believe.

I started working for a locally headquartered non-profit earlier this year. This corporation’s mission is to teach Christian principles of faith to the public-at-large.  Within the laws of freedom in this country is the right to free speech.  The Wisdom of God Corp. wants to talk about our concept of God. 

The first billboard goes up for one month beginning tomorrow.  The website offers compelling and gentle answers to heavy questions such as, “Who is God?” and “Are questions of morality answerable without existence of a spiritual world?” 

As for idealism, the billboard says someone is offering true freedom.  Who is doing the promising?  What does “Free Indeed” mean?

Jesus said it

Too often, Jesus is misquoted, misrepresented, and shoved into a cloud of mystery.  His message was quite simple and clear.

He said he is God’s Son:  John 10:36  “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?…” 

John 10:24,25  “‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’  Jesus answered,  ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe.'”

We are free to choose between believing Jesus or those who argue he was merely a man.

He said he is the way to God:  John 14: 6,7 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.'”

We are free to repent and enjoy  the relationship we can have with God because of the  death and resurrection of His Son.

He promised peace in a divisive world:  John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We are free to trust in the unfailing character of a good God,  or to return to temporary “solutions” that fail us repeatedly. 

He promised to come back and take believers with him: John 14:1  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me… I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. “

We are free to choose where to place our hope – in the here and now, in fallible people, or in the promises of eternal life with Jesus. 

Freedom means choices.  Free Indeed is the guarantee that comes with choosing  Christ Jesus, the Savior and redeemer of our souls.  

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.

Wise Advice for Finding Emotionally Safe Listeners

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

It seems a healthy idea to think through our choices of confidants.  Not everyone is safe. 

So-called friends who gossip and speak insultingly of you behind your back are not trustworthy. Unfortunately, because they want to be in-the-know, you may find them close by when you need to share.

Don’t.

You can recognize them by their choice of words or tone when they talk about others. A woman asked recently about defining gossip. Gossip is talking about a person behind their back without his or her permission. One article, Bible Verses About Gossip*, says it  this way, “Whether the people talking didn’t mean direct harm, the result of gossip is always broken trust and hurt feelings. Gossip can be defined as information about the behavior or personal life of other people, often without the full truth revealed or known.”

I made a costly mistake confiding in a woman  who often told me about intimate troubles of other people.  Seeing the problem, I rationalized it away.  Later I realized she shared even the most private of confessions and admissions with her husband. She inserted negative judgments into half-true stories she told  mutual friends. 

It pays to feel out a person’s attitudes before opening up. With regard to mental health topics, simple questions like, “What do you think about all the talk on mental illness in the news these days?” will help reveal stigmatized views. 

Take your time. Look at character traits. What have you witnessed?  Does this person have control over her tongue or is she opinionated to a fault?  Does he patronize or condescend?

When we are in pain, or blinded by a desperate need to trust, we may rationalize the behavior of others.  This is normal. I encourage you to develop a carefully selected group of friends who over time prove they are safe.  It is also a good idea to have a therapist or pastor in your corner. 

Once you have a trustworthy support system,  take a risk. We do need each other, after all. 

Today’s Helpful Word

 **********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, 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.

*Bible Verses About Gossip. Compiled and Edited by BibleStudyTools Staff on 2/4/2015. Retrieved on May 5, 2018 from https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/

 

Had I Known – A Poem for the Fearful

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

Whether a  dream, goal, friendship, treatment plan, or any other relationship or effort will end in disappointment is something we cannot know.  We are certainly guaranteed to stay stuck if we do not take a risk.

Had I Known

Had I known…

I would have run

kept quiet

hid

secrets would be secret

bravery, silenced

 

Had I known…

my spirit would still be caged

 

What are few to thousands more who…

reject

fear

avoid

lie

dismiss?

Had I known…

I would have embraced few’s misery

and escaped “freedom’s” disappointments

 

Yes, I would not have cared to fight

and not won

 

It is good God holds a mysterious future!

Because I did not know, I…

took a risk 

believed you

gave it my best

Now I know…

taking a chance was worth it

because life grew from intolerable

to hopeful

to promising

to fulfilling

 

I would not have tried – had I known

So glad I did not know…

that you would  break and run

and leave in silence 

Today’s Helpful Word

Deuteronomy 31:8 

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 **********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 are yours.

Anxiety Rises With World News

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

Natural disasters have a way of raising anxiety levels.  There is good reason for that because we want safety and normalcy, and we mourn when people are hurt.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires are unpredictable too. Generally, we do not enjoy  uncertainty when so much is at stake.

A son inherits a business

Many years ago, a dad died. Suddenly, his young son had to take over the family business and responsibilities. He was feeling scared and inadequate, so he said to God, “I can’t do it without you.”

He was successful for ten years before a powerful and influential enemy tried to take over the business and steal everything the son owned. Again the young man said, “God, I can’t do this without you,” and the severe opposition soon ceased.

For twenty years, everything continued well.  A second conniving competitor emerged, attempting to force a merger between his and the son’s businesses. Commerce and security were threatened.

This time the son panicked and turned to a third competitor for help. “I can’t do this without you.,” he said.  By partnering with a less threatening enemy, he gave up his freedom.  Their scheme worked, only now he was bound to someone who wanted to fight him for everything.

A wise man of God came to him and said, “You did it now! You lost your chance to be clear of this kind of trouble. From now on you will struggle to keep everything you have!”

Frustrated, the son used his influence to cause the wise man of God to lose his job. His attitude soured under pressure from the combative business arrangement.  He became mean and merciless toward people who depended on him.

Eventually, a potentially fatal disease scared him. He said to his doctors, “I can’t do this without you!” Soon after, he died.

Who was this man?

This man’s name was Asa. Ruling ancient Judah was the family business.  Asa and his dad were royals, serving as kings. The last six of forty-one years in charge of the nation were nothing but conflict.

Competitors and enemies were other kings trying to conquer his land and people. When Asa humbly remembered that he was but a human, and trusted in God’s power, Judah flourished.  Both he and his people paid a great price for his proud self-reliance.

Anxiety is normal in the face of recent disasters and rumors of war.  It is impossible to control external events or other people.  Choosing to depend on the Highest Power takes a load off our backs and minds.

I know the future is uncertain and feel anxiety rising. How much anxiety interferes with my functioning and peace is determined each day I choose to confess as Asa once did, “God, I can’t do this without you.”

And mean it.

Today’s Helpful Word

Ephesians 3 (NCV)

With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen.

*********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.

Feelin’ Like a Fool: 6 Tools for Listening to Your Relationship Instincts

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

 

*******

you told me to trust my gut

i didn’t

and trusted you

*******

Trust is not always trust. Sometimes it is a glorified denial of the obvious.  Or, it is an emotional wish list, a want-it-to-be-true-and-so-it-is delusion.  Like naïve children, we are easily led by smooth talk,  sweet offers, and a maudlin performance.  Only we are not innocent anymore, are we? Ignoring our wiser instincts dooms us to repeat choices that consistently lead to pain.

Trust is earned, we say. However,  cheap promises wrapped in smiles gain top wages quickly. We want a friend, so when a nice person reaches out we grasp with both hands. We are lonely, and let our standards flex for any companion. “Oh, but he is a nice guy” we tell ourselves and any who will listen. “She’s a good friend, always there for me,” we say in defense.

All along, our gut tells us something is amiss. We ignore it as usual.  This time is different, we argue. Life has taught me well, I am more aware, and sharper on the lookout. Certainly, this decision to trust is based on insight.

Minutes to years later, we awake yet again.  An older, but none the wiser face meets us in the mirror. How? Why? It’s me, isn’t it.  I am the one who cannot be trusted.  I am the fool.

What if our emotional needs for connection could be met in meaningful, lasting relationships? Discover healthy romance and friendships by using these six tools.

  1. Trust your first reaction.  How simple it is to dismiss those initial inner warnings when we meet someone new. For some of us, it is difficult to draw boundaries and easy to second-guess our judgment.  When an emotion or another person tells you to trust, pause, recall your first instinct, and honor it.  
  2. Trust your experiences.   People have taken advantage of you. You have shared your story with gossips, spent your money on the lazy, or offered loyalty to a betrayer.  You have also met kind people,  and witnessed flourishing relationships. Thoughtfully gather your learned wisdom and write it down. Apply it to future decisions. 
  3. Trust the trustworthy first. You have people in your life who have never deceived or abused you, or you know of those who will not. These might be parents, old friends, siblings, or even therapists. Instead of falling recklessly into another potential mess, ask those trustworthy  persons for perspective.  Place your trust in the tried and faithful before handing it over to someone new. 
  4. Know what you want and need.  We inadvertently leave ourselves behind when a search for love or companionship calls us to focus on another person.  Think about what you must have to know joy. Consider your values and likes and dislikes.  Do you need laughs, openness, touch, or gentle words? Know what kind of person will fit with your personality. 
  5. Know when to say NO.  Recognize signs of an abuser. Read this article and be prepared. Written for the dating crowd, it is yet broadly applicable.  Watch out too for the control freak.  If a potential friend corrects you or others regularly, or if her comments sound parental or condescending, it is time to walk away. These behaviors only get worse.  Gossip does too.
  6. Take your time. Do not be the only pursuer. Wait. The trap of one-sided pursuit may feel familiar. It only leads to dark and lonely places.  As painful as it may be, allowing for the passage of time to prove a person’s character and trustworthiness is your best investment. Give only what you do not fear losing at first.  Offer more of your time, story, and energy gradually over months to a year, testing for the response you want.  

Finally, pray. If you are a follower of Christ, saved by his blood and sacrifice, then you can count on God’s guidance through the leading of the Holy Spirit.  If you are not yet a believer, go here for a user-friendly site designed to answer your questions.  

photo-24784637-praying-businessmanToday’s Helpful Word

Psalm 32:8,9 

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.”

**********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.

 

 

 

For Peace of Mind, Embrace Your Complete Past As-Is

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

Hundreds of uncategorized blog posts.  Hundreds of old posts in need of editing. Hundreds.

Day after day for the last three and a half months I have worked at repairing five years of work. At the start in 2012, some of my ideas were incomplete and in a few cases, wrong.  By ditching the most questionable and fixing the rest, I am rewriting history. Within a few weeks the archives will seem as if I’ve been articulate from the beginning. 

That is how I want to be understood and remembered. Well-spoken, wise, helpful… also non-conformist, irreverent, challenging the status quo and false piety.  Ironically, I may be better known as the opposite of the above, at least by some people. 

One mother said, “I wish my teenagers could remember their early years when we shared so much laughter. They will not remember me from then – they will only recall these tougher years when I have to be strict and more disciplinary.”

Darn it. She’s right. The negatives of my family of origin are easily recalled. I’ve written and spoken about the open hostility, emotional neglect, and abuse. However, am I rewriting history by focusing only on the bad (albeit very bad) stories? Truth needs no repair.  Fuzzy and shrouded good memories are still memories.  

Some of my fondest remembrances are due to my dad, the same man I credit with near-total destruction of my childhood. It’s confusing, and yet reality.

He took me for long drives, allowing me to choose “turn right” or “turn left”.  Once convinced I had him thoroughly lost, his challenge was to get us home, which invariably he did. 

On these fun outings he would point out falling stars, roaming deer, full moons, and other points of nature. In those days, falling stars were rare, and deer were not often seen. He would say, “Remember – this is once in a lifetime.” 

He could not have known that one day deer would leisurely munch in my backyard, or that meteor showers would be forecast. You see, it is not the end story that determines a memory’s value. What made it special in the first place was quantity time with my dad.

So it is when pain pierces a nice memory.  Good does not become fake when simultaneously mixed with evil. Most of my life I separated the two, and obliterated positive experiences from my mind. If hurt, betrayal, or abuse was reality, then pleasantry, trust, and safety were not. 

I write this as a warning to anyone who thinks similarly. That black and white interpretation of life will remove peace of mind and prevent joy.  

I urge you to look at both realities. Yes, some memories are agonizing. Accepting that fact is hard yet healing. Also factual are those moments beauty, kindness, or reprieve flavored life. Try very hard to focus on those. Give your past a break by embracing history in its fulness.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 32:22

And I said, “This is my fate;
    the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

*********

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.

 

People Always Leave. Loneliness and Faith

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

nj6wqm4Ever kick yourself for opening up, trusting another person only to have them leave your life? If so, you are not alone.

Eight years ago, the director of a Cleveland, Ohio city-wide ministry told me, “People come and go.  For a time they may speak into your life and then God will move them on. People always leave, and you should expect that.”

I reacted in shock and disbelief. No, friends are supposed to stay together forever. Family is forever. Those who say they care are to stick by you. It could not be true that people always leave.

Interesting that I would have that point of view considering my family of origin splintered years earlier. However, within twelve months of her warning, I had moved to Philadelphia leaving many people behind. Connections in the East did not follow me back to Ohio.

People always leave.

In support groups and conversations with those who are struggling, a common theme is loneliness. Vulnerability comes hard sometimes, especially when one is used to rejection or abandonment. Trust can take years while all the tiptoeing and testing repeatedly provide evidence whether a person is staying or going.

Acute loneliness though, can block healthy reactions to red flags. This is why sometimes people end up abused, trusting the wrong person, or failing to understand parameters in a professional relationship. It is also why some people  kill themselves.

Wise counselors ought to be aware of this. When they are not, havoc can ensue. It would be nice if all of us grasped it and treated each other with more kindness.

There is One who stays. He said, “Even if your father and mother abandon you, I never will.”* In what could seem like contradiction, he did physically leave those who walked alongside him for three years. However, on his way out he repeated the promise, “I am with you even to the end of the world.”**

Unlike people who go away, he left behind his presence in the form of a Spirit.  I am talking about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I long for Jesus to be here in body form because I want a hug or to see his eyes looking at me. Truth is, if he was limited to muscles, skin, and bones he would not be available for everyone all the time.

As painful as it is to regret trusting a human who betrays that trust or just disappears from one’s life, that agony does not compare to the peace found in Jesus’ presence.  I have not felt all of my struggles go away just because I pray. There is relief, though. By spending time with him I know I am loved by God, can believe my life still matters, and willingness to reach out again for support is renewed.

The director was right. People always leave. Even if they do not literally turn away, humans still have to leave the room, go to the store, interact with other people, go to work, and so on. We cannot be a 24-hour presence for anyone else.

On my worst days, when loneliness, major depression, and grief due to loss of relationship coincide, I can cry out to Jesus. Even if all I can pray is, “help,” I know he does. There is comfort in knowing him as my Savior and being his disciple.

You see why, don’t you? He is a promise keeper.

He never leaves.

msnkhksToday’s Helpful Word

John 16:7

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” -Jesus (‘Helper’ is the Holy Spirit).

*********

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.

– Looking out to sea pic from SCOTTMLIDDELL at rgbstock.com

-praying hands pic by XYMONAU at rgbstock.com

*Psalm 27:10

**Matthew 28:20

Have You Counted Your Friends Lately?

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

cropped-photo-24765818-man-with-their-arms-putting-on-the-shoulder-of-one-another.jpg

Have you counted your friends lately? I don’t mean the crowd on your Facebook friends list. It’s not the acquaintances you see at church every Sunday, or coworkers with whom you share gripes about the boss who will be there for you at your loneliest hour. Peripheral friends – those fun and wonderful people in your social circle – no, I’m not talking about them, either.

Have you counted your friends lately?

Those who through time, effort, struggle, joy, and shared experiences have bonded so close to your own soul that you know peace when you are with them, are the friends to count. In these hard-earned friendships there is no fear, and trust is not an issue for even the most jaded heart.

Confidence has been earned by saving each other’s lives repeatedly.

Don’t tell my mom!  Keep this between us, ok?  Can you pick me up (in the middle of the night)? I’m crying so hard I can’t see. Thanks for not leaving me when I was at my worst. Yes, I’ll drop everything, where do you need me?

Have you counted your friends lately?

These are the ones you think to contact when there is good news, a funny joke, or a spurt of energy. They are few in number – maybe 2 or 3 at the most. They have your back. They will be there at the funerals and in the hospital, at the bedside, and on the phone. They reach out to you when you are hiding from the world.  You make mistakes and know they laugh with you, never at you. You do the same for them. 

Have you counted your friends lately?

You are blessed if you have them. If not, start by being a friend. Take your time, allow relationship to develop naturally, be trustworthy, and develop your strength of character. 

I’ve counted my friends lately, and I’m grateful. I am blessed indeed.

********

COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

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.

 

Breaking Curtis

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2012 Nancy Virden

Curtis was about ten years old. He was quick to laugh, and liked to talk to me. Occasionally photo-24706729-skateboard-and-kidhe would more shyly attend the children’s gatherings I led than at other times. It was always nice to see him come along with his three younger sisters.

For a reason no longer remembered, I found myself in his parents’ living room talking with his mother. Out of a backroom roared an angry, belligerent man, obviously under the influence. He was, as we used to say, drunk out of his gourd.

“You little piece of s—!” he bellowed at his son. “You are a nothing and always will be a nothing. You’re a f…… waste of my time. Why don’t you just GO TO HELL!”

Apparently, he thought one of Curtis’ teachers from school had dropped by to give a bad report. He continued to holler even after his wife introduced me. He couldn’t have cared less who I was; his intent was to take out on his son whatever pressures he felt. Maybe he had a  hangover? Perhaps he was having a bad week? If you have read my blogs, you know I do not care what he was suffering. It is never excusable to talk to another person that way. Especially to a child.  

His wife tried to make light of the scene. “Oh, he just talks that way sometimes.”

If shame has a color, that was the shade of the young boy’s face. If a beaten down spirit has a body language, that was how he stood.  God help him.

An amazing characteristic of God is his ability to take what is broken and make it whole. No one is beyond repair.

We struggle to imagine our spirit restored. Others testify to it.  Maybe Curtis’ will only be patched, the new cloth threatening to rip at the seams as surely as the original did. Perhaps he will try to drown pain under a self-medication. He might continue a legacy of abuse. I pray for him still.

There is only one thing has ever successfully restored my soul. No, it wasn’t going to church, it wasn’t prayer or Bible reading. Even therapy could not fix me. These alone could not change my life because all the effort was mine to control. What I decided to try, to how much energy to use, was my decision alone. 

The answer to my daily fight against brokenness is giving up control.

Complete surrender to God  is yielding to his process for healing.  A popular worship song says, “Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name. Taking my sin my cross my shame, I rise up to bless your name. You are my all in all. When I fall down you pick me up, when I am dry you fill my cup. You are my all in all.”*

There is no promise in scripture that we can live on earth pain-free. That is not what I am describing. Neither am I implying that the Bible, prayer, or therapy are not three of the keys to wellness. They are.

Today Curtis is about to become an adult. Neither he nor any of us are eqipped to make ourselves whole. Hope and meaning through the struggle are found in surrender to Christ.

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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

*You Are My All in All. By Dennis Jernigan