Tag Archives: healing

Mental Health Series Pt. II: Counseling.

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
  • Stronger relationships
  • Increased confidence
  • 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?

 Next up: faith and mental health!

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Mental Health Series Pt. I: Relationships.

For the sake of this series, we will define mental health as including: “emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” (Definition taken from: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health/index.html)

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
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    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 abusive relationships 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.

Next up: counseling and mental health!

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Kindness Heals.

All I can say is that this has been a rough week. Sunday I sat in the car shop for 6 hours after church and paid over $300, a very unanticipated expense. Another unexpected event happened that evening that knocked me off balance and involved a dear friend. Not to mention I am perpetually feeling [very] stretched with my new schedule of working full-time and being a student, as well as  trying to do all the basic things that life requires. It was a week where many things just seemed to go wrong from the start.

However, I thank Jesus that He extended His love through others. Many blessings were present in the midst of the setbacks of the week.

On Valentine’s Day, my roommate gifted my single self with a card & a few items to pamper myself with.

One night, I had a child care job taking care of a delightful and very intelligent 4-year old.

Today, I called in sick to work. Most of the day was spent in bed. This evening, a friend was unexpectedly in the area, a friend I hadn’t seen in months. My friend bought me a bowl of pho. It was so healing to talk over good food with a friend about what had been going on in my life and hear about the very exciting events recently happening in his life.

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The pho was nourishment for my tired body. The kindness was healing for my bruised heart.

Don’t underestimate the power of kindness! The Lord can work through your actions to bring much healing.

Choose Life.

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.”~Deuteronomy 30:19

Today marks 44 years since abortion was legalized in the United States. It is a solemn day to think about. It is estimated that close to 59,000,000 abortions have been performed in the United States of America since that time.

Death begets death. Abortion not only takes the life of a child, but brings other

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deaths as well. The women who have been left depressed and feeling lifeless. The mothers who now have difficulty parenting and attaching to their children, due to previous abortions. Mothers who lost their life due to a botched abortion. Women who have taken their own lives because they simply couldn’t deal with the pain.

The fathers who grieve for their child aborted against their will, and the fathers who will never know they had a child. The fathers who pressured a woman into abortion and abdicated the authority they were to have in the relationship. The fathers who now realize their sin and find it difficult to live with themselves. Siblings feeling an emptiness in their life and not knowing why. Grandparents with empty arms. The list goes on.

Despite the many problems with the new United States presidential administration, I believe that God will bless their decision for this nation to choose life. A nation that chooses death cannot live, in the physical or spiritual sense. This nation sets the precedent for other nations in many regards. The world looks to America for example. We praise God that it appears life will be chosen and promises will be kept good on.

 

Check out this prayer for all children. Please also pray for the women who grieve after an abortion or abortions. (Are you grieving after an abortion? Has your life never been the same? Find help! There is healing, forgiveness, and new life in Jesus Christ.)

Today, we look to the Author of Life for help in respecting and defending all life. We pray to be a people that is truly pro-life and for all life–beginning with the tiniest life, at conception.

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Soaking up the Sonshine.

All of us need to soak up the Sonshine. Yes, you read that right. Sonshine. We need to soak up the radiance and love of Jesus! (The blog is named Sunflower Sojourn for a reason!)

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My city was blessed with a beautiful, bright and sunny day for Easter Sunday. Truly, I believe it was a bonus gift from Jesus on the day we celebrate His Resurrection! Today was dark and gloomy. What a stark contrast. The light of Jesus lights up our lives and our world. Without Him, we are in darkness. Living in this area, I see how the lack of sunlight affects people, especially their moods and even their interactions with others. It is the same when we aren’t spending time with the Lord. We need to soak up His presence and live in His love every moment. My time spent out in the sun yesterday was refreshing to body, mind, and soul. I forgot how wonderful it is to bask in the sunlight because it had been so long. When we spend time with the Son, we are also refreshed.

My hope for you during this Easter season is that you can bask in Jesus Christ and know His love and light in your life even more than before! Even if you’re living in a dark climate, you can always soak up Jesus, the Son of God. You are choosing the better part!

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”~Matthew 11:28

God’s Healing Grace

“We are all sinners. But God heals us with an abundance of grace, mercy and tenderness.”~Pope Francis

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Don’t ever think that you’re too far gone. It’s never too late for grace. If you open your heart, Jesus will heal you every day.

The worst sinners can become the greatest saints. The most broken people can become whole. It is not on their own account, but on the grace of God working within them. Don’t doubt grace. Believe in God’s abundance of grace, mercy, and tenderness.

Sit still, get quiet, and let yourself feel aware of your littleness, your brokenness. But don’t stay there. Ask your Father to reveal how He sees you. Listen. Let His grace flow through you and bring you closer to Him and to your healing.

It will come in time, my friend, the healing work of God. Believe it.