Encouragement

Moving Forward

Sometimes I get stuck. I get stuck in my pain. Stuck in my depression. Even stuck in my joy. I just get stuck.  My illness can stop me in my tracks.  It sneaks up on me at the worst possible moment and blindsides me.  Granted, there are times when I can feel a mania or a depression coming on, but not often.  My moods usually start with a great deal of unexplained anxiety which I quickly blame on this situation or that commitment. But, no, it’s usually a mood episode. My illness makes it difficult, at times, to keep moving forward with my life.  It debilitates me.

But God wants me to move forward. He wants you to move forward. But how? What do we do when all we can see is our illnesses stepping over our boundaries and we are stuck?  I always turn to God. I search Scripture, pray and meditate, but what if I am seeking the wrong thing?

I go to God with my moods and my darkness or with my over abundant happiness that indicates a mania and I always expect Him to make it better. I wait for Him to move in my life and give me relief, so that I can move forward. And He does.

21 Empowering Quotes on Faith To Help You Keep Moving Forward

But what if the catalyst that moves us forward has less to do with what he does and more to do with who he is? What if we sought God for the sheer pleasure of who he is and not what he can do?  I think we would find a God we never knew.  Yes, He is our loving Father, our truest friend and our rock, but can He be so much more. Yes, He can.  In Him we have a treasure we have not fully discovered.  I don’t think anyone will truly know Him this side of Heaven, but we can search. 

Deuteronomy 4:29 says “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul”.

We need to take the time to seek God for who he is.  He will still give us the ability to persevere when our world becomes chaos but seeking him for who he is will give us a depth of relationship that we may not have. Our main goal is to know him and to love him with a reciprocal love.  We yearn for that even if we don’t realize it.

Don’t allow yourself to get stuck. And if you are stuck, don’t stay there. By seeking him, you will find the catalyst to move into the life God has chosen for you.  Keep moving forward!

Mental Health

In Desperate Need

I tend not to make the best decisions when I am afraid.  I strive to find the easiest way out of my fear, even if that decision will lead to more unrest for my spirit. It’s more of a reaction than a decision. I grab at anything, whether good or bad, to alleviate my discomfort.  Have you ever done the same thing?  Maybe you haven’t.  Maybe you’re that person who doesn’t allow fear to cloud your judgment. Kudos to you! But for me, and I’m sure many others, reacting out of our fears is the norm.  What I really need to do is pray. Pray first. Instead of reacting and making a bad decision, prayer needs to be the first action.

Crafting A Prayer — Graham Cooke.

When we are fearful, our decision-making ability gets skewed.  We forget that God is watching and waiting for us to turn to Him.  But why do we pray as a last resort? Maybe we don’t think God can handle our fears.  Maybe we think our fears are to great to be relieved. Maybe we’ve married our fears and don’t want to let them go.  That may sound odd, but it happens.  We can get so accustomed to being afraid that we think it is part of our emotional makeup.  But God did not create us to be afraid.  Did you know that the words “fear not” appear 365 times in the Bible? Clearly God has set the mandate to not be afraid. 

Fear has gained momentum since we have begun to navigate through the waters of the Corona Virus.  People are right to be concerned and we need to be vigilant to do the social distancing and protocols put down by our respective Governments.  We need to be safe and smart, but we need not fear. We need to pray.  It is only through prayer that we will be able to find rest.  Many are reacting out of fear which is leading to bad decisions.  People putting themselves and others at risk because they do not think through their decisions. They react.

As believers, we know God is in control and we know that this will end eventually. We can be assured of that.  Please do not make a decision based on your fear.  Seek God and find out His plan.  Read His promises. Cast your cares.  I know it’s difficult.  I am having the same issues. But I know the one who is in control. So do you.  Trust in Him and pray and allow God to comfort and reassure you. Don’t’ make a decision out of a reaction. It will usually be the wrong path.  Keep strong in the Lord and make prayer as important as breathing. We’ll get through this. Together.

Encouragement, Mental Health

Quiet Acceptance

Have you ever met that one person who, no matter what is happening in their lives, they accept it with quietness and resolve? They never ask, “why me”? They don’t throw a fit or become angry. I have met such people throughout my life, and I stand in amazement at their ability to accept and move on.

When I was first diagnosed, I spent a great deal of time in denial, anger, non-compliance. My diagnosis seemed like a death sentence. Will I ever be the same as I once was, and other such questions ran through my mind. How is this diagnosis going to change my life? I was not very accepting of my newfound friend.

But as the years passed, I quietly accepted my illness and I viewed this as a great victory! I could look at myself in the mirror and see me, but with a different lens. I was now a person with a chronic illness that would never go away, and I could work with that.

My Bipolar has changed my life in so many ways. Some bad. Some good. I can no longer work a “normal” job, but God has opened opportunities to write and I am grateful. I can no longer stay up past 10:00 because I know it will make me ill. Getting enough sleep is paramount to a well psyche. I know that at any time I can go way up or way down and I must be prepared to handle the chaos those moods bring. Do you have a similar challenge?

I have yet to meet someone with a mental illness who can say they have it all together. I don’t think that person exists. If he or she does, I want to meet them and pick their brain! But I have met people who have accepted their illness quietly, no fanfare, no pity party, just accepted. They amaze me. I am, now, that person. I have accepted and moved on and I try to help others to accept their illness quietly and with grace. We can all get to acceptance. We must stop fighting who we are in our illnesses and move into who God has created us to be. That person involves all the aspects that make up the new us.

It is so easy to be angry and upset. Confusion and bitterness can creep in and take us captive. We must be diligent in our fight for acceptance. If we can’t accept our illness and learn to love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to do the same? We must make the change in order to help change the attitudes of others.

Quietly accept your illness. Live your life from a place of victory. Make the changes you need to make. Become who God has called you to become. It is a journey that starts with acceptance.

Mental Health

Just Snap out of it!

Just Snap out of it!

When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2003, most people in my circle did not understand what that meant, both for me and for them. I had some family say it was just female problems. Some said that I was faking it. Some said it was just a bunch of mumbo jumbo, I even had one person say I was demon possessed. Woe! That was a shock. But the thing that bothered me the most was when people would tell me to “just snap out of it”. Those five words were so hurtful.

Did they actually think my behavior was on purpose? That I was in control of what was going on inside me, that was manifesting in these odd behaviors? Well, in a word…yes. You see, my family and friends had never encountered someone with a mental illness. They didn’t understand all the nuances such a diagnosis would bring. I didn’t understand any better, I just knew that if I could just “snap out of it” I would! But I couldn’t. I wasn’t in control. Has that ever happened to you?

Telling someone with depression to "just snap out of it" is like ...

I’m sure that you were hurt by words spoken over you in ignorance by people you loved. I know that understanding and acceptance for you and your family was a long, hard road. Maybe it still is. I would like to tell you that it gets better, it does, but it never gets to the point of comfortable. My closest family members, my husband, and my children, understand and accept my illness as a part of who I am. But I still have people close to me who would rather not discuss it and if I show symptoms of mania or depression, it shuts them down. They just don’t want to deal with it. I don’t want to deal with it, but it is a part of me that is not going to just fade away. It’s hard. It’s scary. It’s tiring. But, through it all, I have never been abandoned or judged by Jesus!

When I don’t understand or have been hurt by words spoken out of ignorance, I know I can turn to God for comfort and healing. I can lose myself in his love and grace and know that I am His child and am truly loved. I am not trying to imply that my family and friends do not love me, they do, a great deal. They just don’t always understand my illness. That’s ok. I’ve learned that being on the outside is difficult and no matter how much they try to empathize, they will never totally understand. I may never totally understand. But God does.

If you find yourself buried in negativity and misunderstanding by your friends and family, turn to God. He will always help you to feel better. To feel whole even in your brokenness. It is in those moments that God shines. He will bring light into your darkness. He will bring his healing salve into your hurt. Trust Him. The next time someone says, “just snap out of it”, maybe you can smile through your pain and know that God does not expect you to “just snap out of it”. He’s in there with you. And if you are reading this as a loved one, please know that we cannot “just snap out of it”. Our illnesses are part of who we are now, so please try to understand and support us. We love you.

Shalom.

Mental Health

In Desperate Need

Crafting A Prayer — Graham Cooke.

I tend not to make the best decisions when I am afraid.  I strive to find the easiest way out of my fear, even if that decision will lead to more unrest for my spirit. It’s more of a reaction than a decision. I grab at anything, whether good or bad, to alleviate my discomfort.  Have you ever done the same thing?  Maybe you haven’t.  Maybe you’re that person who doesn’t allow fear to cloud your judgment. Kudos to you! But for me, and I’m sure many others, reacting out of our fears is the norm.  What I really need to do is pray. Pray first. Instead of reacting and making a bad decision, prayer needs to be the first action.

When we are fearful, our decision-making ability gets skewed.  We forget that God is watching and waiting for us to turn to Him.  But why do we pray as a last resort? Maybe we don’t think God can handle our fears.  Maybe we think our fears are to great to be relieved. Maybe we’ve married our fears and don’t want to let them go.  That may sound odd, but it happens.  We can get so accustomed to being afraid that we think it is part of our emotional makeup.  But God did not create us to be afraid.  Did you know that the words “fear not” appear 365 times in the Bible? Clearly God has set the mandate to not be afraid. 

Fear has gained momentum since we have begun to navigate through the waters of the Corona Virus.  People are right to be concerned and we need to be vigilant to do the social distancing and protocols put down by our respective Governments.  We need to be safe and smart, but we need not fear. We need to pray.  It is only through prayer that we will be able to find rest.  Many are reacting out of fear which is leading to bad decisions.  People putting themselves and others at risk because they do not think through their decisions. They react. As believers, we know God is in control and we know that this will end eventually. We can be assured of that.  Please do not make a decision based on your fear.  Seek God and find out His plan.  Read His promises. Cast your cares.  I know it’s difficult.  I am having the same issues. But I know the one who is in control. So do you.  Trust in Him and pray and allow God to comfort and reassure you. Don’t’ make a decision out of a reaction. It will usually be the wrong path.  Keep strong in the Lord and make prayer as important as breathing. We’ll get through this. Together.

Encouragement, Mental Health

Fear Less

Well, we have made it through another week of social distancing.  I know this is pressing us to our personal ends, but we pray that it will soon be over.  As I have talked about before, fear and anxiety are common companions these days and we are crying out to God, in unison, to please bring an end to this pandemic.  But, while we are crying out together, have you felt like taking more than your fear and anxiety to God.  Have you felt like crying or screaming, or just throwing something to vent the feelings you have inside?  Well, I have. But I smile and pretend that I am holding up just fine. I’m sure you do as well.

We do not really know how to navigate these new waters.  Our days are spent wondering and at times worrying about whether we, or a loved one will contract this virus. And if one of us does, will we survive it? Should we be doing more, or less, in order to stay safe?  We don’t want to show our true feelings to those around us.  We want to spare them the concern we feel, especially if we are a Mom or Dad.  We are supposed to be strong…have all the answers, but we don’t. But I know someone who does.  Our Father in Heaven.

As we are being strong for our loved ones, we can go to God with our fears and anxieties.  We do not have to pretend we’ve got it all together.  We can be true and honest with our Father.  We don’t have to pretend. We can cry, scream, break a few things if we need to. God is not afraid of our feelings; He is also not surprised by them either.

I know, at times, we feel out of control.  We have never lived through something as serious and as unknown as this pandemic. I cannot sit here and tell you that all is well, because it’s not. But I can tell you God is still in control.  He is not sitting up in Heaven, unaware. No, He’s very much in tune with our lives.  He knows our fears, and our doubts, and we do have doubts, but these emotions do not have to cripple us.  We can get through this, even if we must do it afraid.

I often say, “press into God” and I mean that with every fiber of my being.  If you want peace during these times.  If you want to quiet the fear and doubt, get into the Word.  Find out what God says about the emotions you are feeling. Find out His way to deal.  Do not be afraid to vent to God.  He is big enough. Actually, He is enough. We need not worry or fear. Our Father is on the throne. The World is still His. We are still His. Take comfort in the fact that He loves you.  You are sacred. You are His and He will never leave us or forsake us. That is His promise. Stand on it, believe it, live it. Shalom!

Encouragement, Mental Health

Weather the Storm

Someone said that we are always close to a storm; either we’re walking into a storm, enduring a storm, or coming out of a storm. I find this to be true in my life and I’m sure most of you can say it is true for you. So, I guess the question is not “what do we do if we go through a storm”, but “how do we get through the storm we’re in?”

My first inclination when things start getting rough and darkness begins to creep it’s way in is not to run headlong into the arms of my Savior, but to turn inward and isolate from the pain or the fear or whatever emotion is clamoring at me. It isn’t until I become desperate that I run to God.  Why? Why do I let my storm get me so off course that God is the last person I run to instead of the first?  I believe that it is because I have a lack of faith.  A lack of faith that God can take away the pain and the darkness and pull me up out of my storm.

It’s easy to have faith when things are going well. But what about now?  Right now, the World is in a place of chaos.  Our normal has been replaced with uncertainty and fear.  I know that this Virus is on everyone’s lips and no matter what you do, you cannot get away from hearing about it.  But what would happen if we put great faith in front of our fear? What would it look like, globally if everyone turned to Jesus during these trying times? Well, I can say there would be a great deal more peace. A great deal more healings. A great deal more comfort.  Actually, there would be a turn for the better in all areas.

So why are we turning to the media, and the Government, and the Scientist for answers when we should be turning to God…lack of faith.  Now I cannot speak for everyone and I am not trying to generalize the actions and reactions of people during this time, but I can say that for myself, it has been a lack of faith.  I’m sure some of you can say the same thing.  Kudos to those saints who dove right to their knees when all of this broke loose! I am glad you were praying. But to all of the rest, including myself, who has allowed a lack of faith because of fear, to keep you from your knees, it’s OK.  God is all knowing, and our lack of faith does not surprise Him.

But we do not have to stay sidelined because of our insecurity.  We can start right where we are, and Jesus will meet us there.  Right in the place of our fear, anxiety, and in the storm.  This virus may be the biggest storm we go though.  It is certainly one of the scariest for me and my family, but if we do not strengthen our faith in prayer and drop to our knees to pray for an end to this pandemic, then we are not doing the one thing that can stop it.  Only through God will we find the answers.  Only though God can we find the cure.  We need to be praying, with faith, that God will end this and destroy this virus! He is the only one who can.

This storm is great.  The fear is real. But our God is bigger than the storm.  Take your faith, even if it as a bit anemic right now and pray.  God will strengthen us for this battle, but we must allow Him to work and to do that, we must pray! Seek Him and He will make Himself known, and He will bring Himself glory through this.  This is our collective storm. Let’s enter the battle with faith…great faith!