Today the second reading was from Philippians. If we followed St. Paul’s advice, we would have a lot more peace in our lives! We would learn to dwell on God instead of cluttering our lives with worry. Our minds would be so much more inspired and pure as well. Soak in this powerful passage and let’s start off the week in a great way!
“Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9
Happy Sunday, readers! I hope you have a blessed and rejuvenating day!
Due to my large school load and needing to take care of my own mental health, I am putting the mental health series on hold. (Practice what you preach!) Don’t worry, I will pick back up when things slow down over here!
Happy feast day of St. Therese! May her “Little Way” continue to inspire us to love Jesus and our neighbor. May we live heroic lives which draw us closer to Christ and His cross, no matter what our sufferings may be. St. Therese, pray for us!
I came across an email sent to me nearly 2 years ago. This email was packed to the brim with encouragement that I needed today! It was prophetic, if you will. I remembered the basics of the email and searched for it, seeking the treasures found within. Even now, 2 years later, the inspiration echoed.
I sent a “thank you” email to the person who had sent the email! I pray that they will be encouraged and built up by my act of thanking them! I wonder how many other people they have encouraged and will encourage?
You never know how much it will encourage someone to hear how they have encouraged you! Encouragers can get tired. Sometimes those who give encouragement rarely receive encouragement themselves. It’s important to make others aware of how they have impacted our lives! Gratitude is so important for our own state of mind, in addition to refreshing the people who have touched our lives!
If someone gave you a word to change the course of your life 10, 20, even 30 years ago…Reach out! Thank them and tell them how they changed your life or your mindset.
If a friend helped you last week with something seemingly small…Say “thank you!” Tell them why you appreciate them.
If you’ve never thanked your parents for the sacrifices they made raising you…Say “thank you” and let them know how they shaped you to be who you are today.
You could say thank you with words, some homemade baked goods, a card, an email, flowers, taking them out to coffee, a spiritual bouquet …The possibilities are endless!
Your “thank you” could mean more than you ever know!
Seeing a counselor can be a great way to move forward if you are struggling in some way. There is often a stigma about going to counseling, as if counseling is something only reserved for “crazy” people. The truth is, we all need help sometimes. Proverbs 11:14 evens tells us “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Think about it: would you make a huge life decision without talking to someone first? Do you talk to friends or elders when you need another perspective?
A counselor is an objective, outside person.Counselors do work with people battling severe mental illnesses, but they also work with ordinary people trying to make their way through life. Counselors can help you dig deep inside of yourself to discover where lies and pain came in, and figure out how to put the broken pieces back together. They can walk with you as go through any kind of past or present trauma, grief, tragedy, or unexpected life situation. A solid counselor can help you pinpoint where certain behaviors or feelings are coming from (anger, overeating, excessive drinking, etc.) and move forward into more healthy ways of behaving and relating. They can help if you are struggling with depression or anxiety or map out a plan for healthy ways to manage stress.
When you meet with a counselor, you will set goals for yourself. Your counselor will check in with you occasionally about how you are doing on your goals and if there is any way he/she can assist you in meeting them. In this way, you could even think of your counselor as accountability partner as you seek stronger mental health and a better life!
About 80% of people who attend counseling have found benefits in doing so.
A few possible benefits you may find from counseling:
Increased insight about self and relationships
Increased hope and positive outlook
Lessened feelings of anxiety
I want to tell you to be careful of whom you go to, if you are seeking counseling.There are people who have entered therapy and come out in bad shape due to faulty counseling or incompetent counselors. Also, I encourage Christian counseling! A Christian counselor will look at God’s word and the truth that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. They will not forget the spiritual component of you. Find a counselor you are comfortable with and who you feel actually listens to and hears you. The process is not always easy–it forces you to confront truths about yourself and your past (or present) that may not be pretty. Yet the goal is for healing and wholeness. Counseling holds benefits for many types of people! There is no shame in seeing a counselor if you are struggling with your thought patterns or difficult situations in life, past or present!
Have you gone to counseling and found benefits in dong so? Do you have any questions about counseling?
We are all a part of one another and can’t exist except in relation to others. Our past, present, and future relationships all have (or will have) a profound effect on us, whether we realize it or not. Thus, we will start the series with relationships!
So, how do we work toward positive mental health in regard to our relationships?
Build a strong support community. It is so important to surround yourself with people who are positive and who build
you up, helping you to grow in healthy ways. People who criticize or undermine you just aren’t worth your time. (If you are searching for community, pray! It will and can come to you in interesting ways! A solid church home is important as well.) Think about it this way: Are the people you spend time with helping you grow closer to the person God created you to be, or does your time with them leaving you feeling like an inferior version of yourself? (“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Learn signs of abusiverelationships and get out! (Here is a number you can call if you are in the USA and need help getting out of an abusive relationship.) These relationships are immensely harmful to your mental health/emotional state, and their impact is very negative. Find freedom and go back to the step above.
Recognize where your current sources of difficulty may have come from past relationships. If you grew up with a father who told you that you were useless–or a father who just didn’t seem to care–it’s going to affect you today. This goes for any kind of abuse, neglect, rejection, etc. Bring these to the Lord, and if needed, to a counselor (no shame!). All of us have these areas, even if we are not aware of them. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring these specific areas to light and to heal them.
If you are taking care of others, don’t forget to take care of you! Most of us are taking care of someone, whether it be as a parent, a teacher, or helping your grandparent or older parent. Self-care will go a long way for not only your mental health, but also for the relationship. An empty vessel cannot fill other vessels. If you forget to take care of yourself and keep pouring out on the other person, you may even grow to resent them.
Set boundaries. This goes along with the above point. Even Jesus set boundaries. Remember when He went away on the boat Himself? The crowds even tried to follow Him (Matthew 14:13). Boundaries are important in managing stress and doing only what you can. Again, you need to be filled up. Boundaries are important in building healthy relationships. A relationship is unhealthy if one person walks all over another or takes advantage. People need to be clear and honest about their boundaries with one another.
Forgive. The main person you are hurting by not forgiving is yourself. Not only that, you are harming your relationship with God! (If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.(Matthew 6:14-15)) Forgiveness is seriously important. When you hold onto hate or anger, it can lead to bitterness and anger. These do not lead to positive mental health, and even affect our physical health negatively.
Last, but definitely not least, keep your relationship with God first! If you are truly seeking Him, it will keep you grounded. It doesn’t mean life will be perfect and that you won’t struggle with any type of mental health difficulty, such as depression or anxiety. Having God in your life will give you the grace and tools to fight whatever battles you face. I’ll touch on this more in the faith and mental health post.
Events are hitting the world that turn realities upside down. Events are happening in our personal lives to turn our lives upside down. I believe that now is a corporate sifting time. Whether it be through a natural disaster, a breakup, a job loss, or any other event that turns life in a totally different direction…The Lord is sifting hearts, and purifying them. He is seeking continued faithfulness from those who have been faithful. He is desperately trying to get the attention of those who are far, and those who have never known Him. The thing is, our trials ultimately aren’t to push us to lean on worldly sources. They are meant to lead us into the arms of our Heavenly Father. When events happen that are simply beyond our control, and we feel that we simply cannot do it any longer…That is the time when nothing is left to lean on but Him, and it is the time to surrender!
I don’t know what is happening in your life. Maybe you’ve been devastated by a hurricane, and the home you invested so much money and love into is now gone. Maybe you’ve done what you thought God was calling you to do, and life looks like a mess. Perhaps you or a loved one were just diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness. Friend, no matter what, your Creator is looking for your heart.He doesn’t care if your heart is in pieces–He’s in the business of putting broken hearts back together. Jesus wants to be with you through all you are facing or ever will face. He wants to walk with you through it all. Most of all, He wants to welcome you into Heaven one day, the place where broken hearts and pain will be no more.
Give Him your heart. Let Him hold you and carry you through this life, and onto eternity with Him one sweet day.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
As some of you know, I am attending school to become a counselor. Through my own life experiences and career experiences, my eyes have been opened to the great need for discussions and more knowledge about mental health. I am disappointed to see the stigma that exists around mental health, even in the year 2017.Counseling is still viewed by some as something for crazy or “messed up” people. For some, mental health has a negative connotation and is equated with shame.
I want to play a part in helping to break free of the stigma of mental health! Jesus came that we would have life to the full! (John 10:10) Our mental health is an important aspect of living an abundant life, and living life to the full.
I hope to bring awareness of the importance of mental health and how it affects us all! I pray that all may take steps to improved mental health and never be ashamed to ask for help when they are struggling!
I will be posting one post a week for the series. I am not sure yet how long the series will last. How many posts will depend on the demand of topics. Here is what I plan to cover so far:
-Counseling and mental health
-Food and mental health
-Relationships and mental health
-Faith and mental health
Are there any other topics you would like to see related to mental health? Don’t be shy! I want to write what YOU are interested in reading!
Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.