Tag Archives: Heavenly Father

Battling Insomnia & Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.

Lately I’ve heard many people mention their inability to sleep at night. This is a

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

frustrating problem! Sleep is crucial to our physical and mental well-being, as well as our ability to fulfill our daily tasks. Insomnia isn’t normally something I struggle with, but unfortunately I’ve also had my recent bouts of it. There are a few key things that I’ve found helpful for myself, and I will share a few of those tips, as well as some others. Did you know that the journey to falling asleep more easily actually starts long before your head hits the pillow? Here are a few tips that may be useful in battling insomnia and falling asleep more easily:

 

Exercise regularly. There are actually studies which have found that exercise promotes falling asleep easier. Exercise may even help your Circadian rhythm to harmonize itself.

Write a to-do list for the next day. If you find yourself worried about all that has been left undone, write it down. That way you can relax a bit more while also not being stressed out about forgetting what you need to do the next day.

Limit your screen time before bed. It’s best to cut out screens a few hours before you go to bed. If you do find yourself needing to using screens, there are actually glasses you can wear which will help to block out some of the light and allow you to use screens without disrupting your body’s clock. There are also apps that you can download for your phone or computer, including Twilight, which will cut out some of the unnecessary brightness after a certain hour.

Make sure that light isn’t interfering with your ability to sleep. For those living in big cities, streetlights filtering in through the windows can make it very difficult to sleep. When there is light, your body has difficulty falling asleep because light normally means daytime! There is something called “blackout blinds” which are very effective in making a room dark and promoting better sleep. Make sure that any alarm clocks or other electronics aren’t shining where you can see them.

Watch your caffeine intake. Some people need to cut out caffeine after a certain hour of the day, or else they will have great difficulty falling asleep. You may need to limit caffeine throughout the day. Figure out your body’s unique makeup. For myself, I’ve had to cut out caffeine completely. I’m a huge tea-drinker, but after some terrible nights of not being able to fall asleep and feeling wired, I realized that it’s just not worth it. I stick to caffeine-free herbal teas now.

Drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed. I’ve definitely found this to be calming and helping me to wind down. There are many varieties of chamomile tea at the store. At one point I was drinking chamomile tea with lavender, which I really enjoyed. I think a cup of chamomile tea actually helps me to sleep more deeply and get a better night’s sleep as well.

Journal. If you are finding yourself going through a lot, this can be especially helpful. Journal is a relaxing and meditative practice. If you have a lot on your mind, journaling can help you to process this, and to possibly feel less stressed out.

Pray. I’ve written before about the Examen. This prayer is a great way to wind down and wrap up your day. The prayer consists of different parts, but basically you are processing your day before your Creator, including how you are feeling God’s presence, as well as ways that you can do better in life. Any way that you can connect with God at the end of the day can be relaxing and bring more contentment to your life in general.

Are you anxious? Everyone has troubles and challenges. If you are finding that anxiety is having effects on your life, including your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep, please talk to a counselor. There is no shame in doing so! Not only will you find yourself better able to sleep as your anxiety improves, but you’ll also find yourself living a life of greater freedom in all areas!

I hope that you find some or all of these tips helpful! Happy sleeping!

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Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
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To Be Alive.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.~Ephesians 2:10

I celebrated my birthday recently. I’m not going to tell you how old I am…Most people are shocked at my age anyway, since youthful genes run in my family. Additionally, I’m quite petite. Put simply, the number doesn’t matter. These days, I’m pondering life and the lessons I’ve gained more than before.

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

I no longer put societal expectations about age and the timeline for God’s plan for my life together. God has given us each a different story to write. It’s refreshing that none of us is exactly the same. We can always learn from one another and the different ways that God works in each our lives. It can be difficult to understand why the Father gifts one person in a certain way and not another person, but He is sovereign. Only He knows why, as tough as that can be for us to swallow.

In the past year, I had many opportunities to actually “walk in faith.” By the world’s standards, I went about a lot of things in a way that isn’t normally recommended. I think some people think I’m crazy for the peace I’ve gained from Christ about certain areas of my life. But you know what? We serve a faithful, all-powerful God. He has never let me down, and I know that same faithfulness will continue this year and forever.

I am astounded when I think upon the gift of life. Earthly life is definitely not perfect and there are always struggles of various types. Yet when I ponder that this life is a gift, and I could have never existed at all, or even not been given the chance to live…It puts it into a whole new perspective! What a tremendous gift, to live, learn, and love.

I was an idea of the God of the universe! So were you, and every other person in existence at any time. I don’t think our minds can fully comprehend it. What is also profound is that each of us were created for a specific & unique purpose!

I can’t wait to grow closer to Jesus Christ during this next year of my life and to see how He leads me further into the purpose I was created for…

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Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash

Parenting and Our Good, Good Father.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”–Matthew 5:48

Parenting is a topic often on my mind. It’s a huge responsibility, greater than anyone could ever imagine. The spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional

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Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

health of a precious human being is at stake! When I reflect about becoming a parent someday, I’m filled with great joy. It’s one of the biggest dreams of my life. However, the reality sinks in that I am very much still a person “in process.” What is the prominent way that children learn character? By observing their parents–both their actions and whether their words make sense with the reality of their actions. When you become a parent, you’re going to have little eyes and ears observing everything you do and say. That goes for even when you don’t expect it. How can I expect a child to turn out a certain way when I myself am living in a different way? If my character isn’t matching what I hope the character of my child will match…How will I teach them? The good news is, we have God’s grace. Even in spite of our shortcomings, God’s grace can work in all circumstances. It’s still working on me, and will be each day until I die. I’ll never be a perfect parent–no parent on earth will be.

 

Yet, I had a very important realization: I can continually learn from THE perfect and best parent: our Heavenly Father! As I grow into a deeper relationship with God and come to know more and Who He is, I learn from His character. As I journey closer and closer (walking by faith) to the day that I become a parent,  I’m going to look at His character and see more of the type of parent I want to be. Most of all, I pray that I can give any child, any person that comes into my life, a glimpse into His deep love and Who He really is. 

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Courtesy of John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash.com

 

Mental Health Series Pt. V: Finance.

(Note: I want to begin with a disclaimer that I am very much still figuring things out in this area. However, I’ll leave you with words from the Bible and some thoughts and ideas I’ve gleaned through sermons, readings, conversations…Please feel free to add your thoughts and what you’ve learned in the comments as well!)

Finances are a tremendous source of stress for people all over the world. In fact, I’m sure that if you were to survey people about their biggest sources of stress, finance would be in the top 3 for the majority of people. Finance equates in a big way with our ability to survive and achieve a certain quality of life. It even affects our relationships; one cause of marital discord and divorce is disagreement over finances. As with all aspects of our lives, the lenses with which we view finance is influenced by our faith.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ” Matthew 6:25-33

Jesus tells us clearly that our Heavenly Father is looking out for us. He will provide for us, and we are valuable to Him! We are to place our priorities on the Kingdom of God first. He also warns us that worrying is not productive. Worrying doesn’t take away our troubles or find a solution. Instead of worrying about your situation, pray for solutions!

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

Did you know that Jesus was not talking about an actual sewing needle? He was talking about a narrow gate into Jerusalem, which was named “Eye of the Needle.” In order to get through this gate, all of the possessions that a camel was carrying needed to be unloaded. The camel could then get through, but would also need to hunch down and go through very carefully in order to fit. It seems then, that we must rid ourselves of attachment to material possessions. Wealth does not disqualify one from the Kingdom of God. It is what one does with the wealth that makes a difference. I believe that peace will come to our minds and hearts when we stop trying to keep up with others, and we realize that our greatest treasures are not to be found materially. When we learn to find joy in our relationships with God and other people, and find the beauty that surrounds us in our lives, we will be free from much stress.

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“Eye of the Needle Gate, Jerusalem”–Photo from Biblepicturegallery.com

However, we know that we cannot survive without food, shelter, and the other necessities of life. God provides, as we read in the passage from Matthew. Though God provides for us, we cannot simply sit idle and wait. We need to do our part. He has given us many gifts and talents to be used. In certain economies, jobs may not be available in the area you studied or have experience. Learning a new skill and finding a creative way to apply it can be a great way to increase your income. It can also be a good way to lessen your stress level and learn not to rely on one employer. (And sometimes, despite our efforts, God does provide in amazing ways without our expecting it!)

Many times, one’s workplace, boss, or coworkers can negatively affect their mental health. Finding a new job isn’t always feasible. In these cases, a counselor can be helpful in dealing with stress and areas of concern. Finding healthy ways to cope for as long as you are in that environment will be of benefit to you.

One last point: get rid of debt, and stay out. Debt can cause great stress. Depending on one’s level of debt, it can also take much money away from the other needs of life and cause you to be overworked. Dave Ramsey‘s books can be a good place to start in learning more about living debt-free and how to go about the process. Additionally, some loans will also allow you to pay based on income; look into this if you need to.

Takeaway points:

  • Pray for and actively work toward financial solutions. There are many aspects to this. Perhaps you could start with very small investments when you have a little extra money. You could also start carrying a business card and be prepared when networking connections come along. Learning new skills that can lead to more income is another aspect.
  • Curb worrying and turn to prayer instead. Train yourself to turn your worries to prayer.
  • Find healthy ways to deal with workplace stress. A counselor could help you with this. These articles also have some good ideas. Sometimes an environment is toxic, and you will need to find a healthier workplace situation for your mental health.
  • Free yourself from debt, and don’t let yourself get into debt again. When you think about it, debt is actually a form of slavery! Too many people are in debt beyond their means, causing great distress.
  • Learn to find your greatest treasure in God, relationships, and the simple beauties of life.
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Photo by Peter Lloyd on Unsplash

Next up: food and mental health! (It will be the last post in the series!)

Past posts from the series:

Mental Health Series Pt. 1: Relationships

Mental Health Series Pt. II: Counseling

Mental Health Series Pt. III: Faith

Mental Health Series Pt. IV: Higher Education

The Top 3 Lessons I Learned in 2017.

Our Creator is continually molding us, using our experiences and allowing others that can draw out our best self, if we let them. At the end of each year, I like to take time and look back on the year. This year was a year of numerous changes in every aspect of my life. Reflecting back on 2017, I see how much I’ve been able to learn and mature. Without all the complexity, and if I had stayed in my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have been pushed to growth. Most of all, without these changes, I would not have developed a closer relationship with my Savior. Without further ado, here are the top 3 lessons I learned in 2017.

1. Faith truly is believing in the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” There were certain decisions I made in faith, with wise consult, realizing God was leading me in a new direction. People thought I was crazy at times (even if they didn’t say it). In each situation, God came through. In fact, He came through in the nick of time in the last instance! Faith is not easy. I learned how uncomfortable it can be to live in the discomfort of now while not yet having the answer of how the situation would play out. But a life of faith brings us into a closer relationship with God. Walking by faith means sometimes taking the first step forward when you don’t know exactly where you’ll step next, or why you’re being asked to step that way! God is truly faithful.

2. Always surround yourself with positive people who truly want the best for you. When it comes down to it, the people you thought were in your corner…May not actually care about you as much as you thought. In difficult times, people will show their true character. Look at the character of those around you. Just as we are called to “test every spirit,” it’s important to examine the character of those influencing us. Negativity and criticism pull you down more than you can imagine. Unfortunately, I had to learn that the hard way. Going forward, I’m eager to spend time with the people who encourage me and build me up, and building new relationships of this sort. Positive relationships are life-giving and bring joy.

3. When I am weak, Christ is strong. I’m actually a little bit in awe when I look back on the year. A lot has happened in one year! Especially when it came to school, I sometimes wondered how I was going to finish strong. With Christ, we are overcomers. Leaning on Him, we can accomplish so much more than we ever thought possible! We can make it through situations that seem impossible. With Christ, I made it through difficult job changes, grueling semesters of school, and (by the end of the year) multiple moves. I’m going to keep leaning on Christ’s strength as life continues to change and require great persistence!

What lessons have you learned in 2017?

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Photo by Ryan Graybill on Unsplash

He Wants Your Heart.

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. (Though I don’t believe He is causing these disasters, for some reason He is allowing them.) 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! 

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Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

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

 

The Word on Wednesday-Seasons.

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

We grasp at the seasons we consider good. The being born seasons, the planting seasons where we joyfully await the fruit of our labor. The building and healing seasons, and the laughing and dancing seasons. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything, a season for everything under the heavens. All of the seasons are necessary. Without the different seasons, we would not grow. We would not learn to rely on our Heavenly Father if the seasons were all easy.

I know that many believers, and the world in general, are enduring the difficult seasons: uprooting seasons, seasons where there is emptiness and mourning. There is even threat of killing and war. In these circumstances, we learn to lean on the Lord and His steady faithfulness. We learn to better love our neighbor. We learn to await His promises, and the joyous seasons. Embrace your season. This earthly life is temporary. Seasons don’t last forever, but the enduring love of our Father does. 

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Photo by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash