Tag Archives: relationship with God

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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    Photo by Pablo Varela on Unsplash

    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
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Pondering Strength.

Strength isn’t built overnight. It comes through weathering stormy seasons and emerging after you didn’t think it was possible. It is like building muscle. You can’t build muscle unless you are consistently working out and even gradually moving up to more difficult workouts or higher weights. You build strength by weathering small and large storms. I think a person can be born with a tendency for strength, but they must undergo some difficulty for that strength to be tested and built up.

There are not-so-distant seasons of my life where I look back and wonder “how did I do that?” Was that really me who lived through those things and made those hard decisions that didn’t make sense to others? Where I am now, I wonder, too. How am I living through this crazy season where nothing has stayed the same?  The answer: grace. The grace of God was sufficient for that time. Grace is sufficient for today, too.

In whatever you are facing, His grace will be sufficient for you. I can’t promise you that it will be easy. But I can promise God is faithful. He tests us for our good. He loves us way too much for us to stay the same. Where we encounter difficulty, we can also cling to His grace and supernatural strength. 

There will be a day when you look back and wonder how you made it. And you will make it. Take your Heavenly Father’s hand and discover the depths of His love as you go through the depths of difficulty. Discover who you really are. Let the storm transform you into a pillar of strength.  

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”~1 Peter 1:6-7

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Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash

 

Book Review: Josiah’s Fire

I just finished reading one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. The book is called Josiah’s Fire, and is written by the mother of Josiah, Tahni Cullen.

Josiah means “the fire of the Lord.” Josiah truly grew to fit this name. Josiah was born in 2005 and developed as a typical child would.

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Image from Amazon

However, around the age of 2, his family members noticed that something was amiss. He lost all the words that he said before, and no longer made eye contact. He seemed unreachable. Eventually, he was diagnosed with autism. Josiah’s mom was heartbroken about this diagnosis, and especially heartbroken that she could no longer communicate with her son. However, Josiah later began to communicate in amazing ways. The family obtained an iPad. Josiah began to type what was going on in his head (though he was still seemingly learning to read)–and his parents were blown away.

Josiah’s writing’s revealed deep spiritual truths. His writings are beautiful and poetic. “Run to the dazzling river of life. You come out like a dry man, only saturated in plans.” This young boy, even less than 9 years old at the time many of the things were written, knew details about heaven, and details about family members he had never met. Little Josiah was even given messages and encouragements to bring to specific people. God even revealed to him the shopping mall where a witch would be, and Josiah asked his mom to take him there. Jesus gave Josiah a message to bring to the witch, a message telling her to turn from her current life and worship Him. Though he cannot speak, Josiah truly demonstrates God’s fire and brings a call for renewal. “God is demonstrating “father” in every movement of His life. Gentle Father, joyful one, bold in every way, but gentle toward people who are faced with sin.”

Autism and other disorders are very misunderstood. The people who live with these disorders are often viewed as if they are not intelligent. Josiah knocks this myth out of the water. It was interesting to read his insights and his frustrations about how his body did not do the things he wanted it to, and how he longed for healing and to communicate verbally again.

If you are struggling with your beliefs about God, or simply looking for an inspirational book. I would recommend this book. It’s a great read, though I did have to put it down a few (or a lot!) of times to ponder because the insights are so colossal! 

Have you read Josiah’s Fire? What are your thoughts?

Creating Space.

It’s that time again! I am over at Modern Ruth Project for my monthly post. My post (for July) focuses on creating space. I talk about how God called me out of my job and onto focus on other aspects of me. Space is scary, because we don’t know what it will be filled with. And sometimes, God simply gives us space so that there is nothing to distract us from Him!

Go check out my post! I especially recommend it if you are also going through any type of change or unexpected circumstance.

Don’t be afraid of space, because space allows room to grow!

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Single Sundays-Finding Wisdom and Clarity.

“How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to get insight rather than silver!”~Proverbs 16:16

I hope you are having a very blessed Sunday that includes lots of peaceful time with the Lord & fellowship with others! Today is the last Single Sundays post, as it is the last Sunday in February. Today I will focus on how being single provides ample opportunities to gain wisdom & clarity for your life and future marriage. Without further ado, read below some of the reasons why being single for a longer time can actually be a blessing!

Being single provides time to gain wisdom. Wisdom is a gift from God. Very young people can be endowed with more wisdom than an elderly person. However, God grants many of

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us the gift of wisdom over time and through experiences and growing in our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Experiences can take years to amass for many of us. Sometimes we even need to re-learn the same lessons over and over during a period of years. During your time of being a single person, you can find wisdom about marriage. You will be able to observe many relationships & marriages. This will give you a vantage point to determine qualities you hope for in a partner. Your observation of different relationships and talking to those you know who are courting, engaged, or married will give you wisdom. You will be able to learn from the successes, challenges, and even mistakes of others.

Being single gives you time to gain clarity. As I wrote in the post last week, marrying young can turn out to be detrimental for some, as they have not yet realized their callings. They may not have had the time and experiences to clarify their purpose that those who are single for a longer period of time have. A person who waits longer for marriage is generally more mature and has had more life experiences to gain clarity about what direction their life is headed. A time of singleness (and past relationships) can also provide clarity about what you are and are not looking for in a marriage partner.

The clarity you find as a single person can bless your marriage, future family, and maybe even a ministry as husband and wife. As you grow older, your vision grows wider.

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You are more aware of the direction your life is headed in. I am in the midst of some big decisions, decisions that could affect my husband & our children. These decisions have come about due to wisdom and clarity I have gained about my purpose & the vision I have gained for my (and my husband’s) future family. As a person in my younger twenties, I did not have full clarity about these visions for my life.  I am grateful now that I have a clear vision for moving forward into marriage and family life. If you are in ministry or feeling called to ministry, it will be good to know the realities ahead of time so you and your spouse can be on the same page. Sometimes the Lord calls couples into ministry together, so you may even be looking for someone ministering in a similar or complimentary way. That clarity is very freeing.

What opportunities has your time of singleness provided to gain wisdom and clarity?

Choosing the Better Part.

Lately I’ve been learning the lesson that Jesus taught Martha about choosing the better part. And it’s a lesson that I will need to continually learn as my life evolves.

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman

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found on pinterest

named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”~Luke 10:38-42

Before I’ve written about how difficult it is to balance my job, school, and all the other aspects of my life at this point. I’ve learned without prayer, it all falls apart. Without Jesus as my Pilot, I crash. Sitting at the feet of Jesus fills me up. The Living Water fills me up to pour out to others and into my callings in life at this time.  It is all about relationship. When I neglect my other relationships, too, things do not go well. Community brings a sense of peace and focus to me that I lack on my own. I need time with Jesus, and I need time with others who love me and encourage me (while I do the same for them). 

Choosing the better part means choosing relationship over the tasks that “need” to be done.

I’m learning what it means to choose the better part. I want to set aside my “important” tasks and sit at the feet of Jesus. It is there where I gain all I need. It is the better part, and it cannot be taken from us, as Jesus Himself tells us.

Simple Ways to Stick Close to God Throughout the Day

I don’t know about you, but some days I feel pulled further and further from God. Frustrating situations, stress, uncertainties, and just plain busyness pull me deeper into myself. It shouldn’t be like that. Each day we have opportunities to come to know God more through the situations we encounter. So, what are a few simple ways to stick close to God throughout the day and keep Him at the center?

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1. Carry your Bible with you. In the waiting room or at the bus stop, get into the Word! It’s amazing how much time we spend waiting each day, or those little snatches of time we don’t realize we have. When others see you carrying a Bible, they too, may be inspired in their relationship with the Lord! 2. Keep a prayer list close by, or in multiple places. This can be a list of general intentions (such as for particular people, situations in your life, or needs in the world) to remember to pray for. It could also be things in your life you want to remember to thank God for. You could put this on a bulletin board, or even on the dash of your car. This is a great way to stay steeped in prayer each day. 3. Wear a religious bracelet or necklace. You will be reminded to turn your mind to God whenever you see your rosary bracelet or adjust your necklace. Other people may comment or ask you, and again you’ll have an opportunity to turn to God. 4. Start or end your day with Mass. Starting the day with the Eucharist will give you strength and peace to carry you through the day. Ending the day with the Eucharist will keep your mind oriented to where you’ll be going after work or school, and also help to settle you after what may have been a trying day. Now, these are very simple ideas, but they are a start. Do you have any other ideas or strategies for keeping God front and center each day?