Psalm 34:4 - I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
When we were children our fears were along the line of fear of the monster under the bed or fear of jumping off the high dive at the swimming pool. As adults, our fears are much different.
According to LISTVERSE.com in their article, “Top Ten Strong Human Fears,” fear of failure is the number one fear.
Any one of the fears listed in the article can take a hold of us and shake us to the bone. Fear can keep us from moving forward. Thinksimplenow.com provides us with some ways to overcome our fears. Follow the link below to read the article.
The Bible also provides us an example and way of making fear take flight.
In the Bible verse above, Psalm 34, David was running away from King Saul who wanted to kill him. He escaped to Gath. David at first had his eyes focused on the fear of the king of Gath and acted as though he was crazy before the king. The king sent David away because God never took his eyes off David, even though David had taken his eyes off of God.
After this, David turned to the Lord and he sent him an escape route to a cave in Adullum, along with four hundred people who were also on the run. Though David had valid fears, this time he turned to the Lord and asked for his help. The Lord helped David and God not only provided an escape route, but he also gave David an escape from his fears.
Even though we may have every good reason to be afraid, God won’t desert us. He knows when we are in turmoil, and he is ready to calm our fears. We just need to turn to God and trust that he will provide a way of escape in our hearts from our fears.
What fears do you battle the most? To leave a comment just click on the blue "comments" below. I look forward to hearing from you
Psalm 44:21 - Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?
All across America people are sitting in churches, PTA meetings, in cubicles at work and at the dinner table at home. They put smiles on their faces trying to hold onto control and not give even a hint of the secret they hold inside.
So what is this secret? Two words – mental illness.
Whether it be depression, anxiety, PTSD, or Bipolar Disorder they all hold a stigma. Many don’t know how to deal with it when it affects a friend or loved one. They want to pretend it doesn’t exist so they pull away. If you’re the one who has a mental illness you may not know how to handle it either. And it’s almost like people treat you as if it’s somehow your fault and that you can “snap out of it” if you want.
So, how big of a problem is this? According to christianitytoday.com in their article, “1 in 4 Pastors Have Struggled with Mental Illness, Finds LifeWay and Focus on the Family,” one in four U.S. adults, including pastors, experience mental illness in a given year.
Many pastors have compassion for those who are mentally ill, just as they comfort those living with physical illness. However, they appear to find it difficult when speaking to a larger audience.
Perhaps it is difficult for pastors to speak about mental illness from the pulpit, because they also suffer from some form of mental illness.
So, what’s a person or a church to do? Let’s take a look at the Bible. God knows our secret struggles and has compassion and comfort waiting to touch our hearts, just as he’s been touching hearts throughout biblical times.
There are many people in the Bible who struggled with mental health issues. Moses, Elijah and Paul thought about suicide (Numbers 11:15, 1 Kings 19:4; Philippians 1:20-26). Jacob, Job and David went through seasons of depression (Genesis 37:35; Job 3:11 and Psalm 38:6). Jesus was also among those who felt emotions like we do including anger, distress and sorrow. Paul, one of the great heroes of our faith was not healed from all of his struggles. Whether they were physical or mental we don’t know. But we do know he cried out for help, and it wasn’t God’s will for him to be healed (2 Corinthians12).
I know it’s a risk, but never be afraid to cry out for help from God and from others. Keeping your mental illness hidden in a secret place only keeps you from being the only person who can help someone suffering. Take the risk. I did. And when I did I found others who had seasons, and sometimes lifetimes, of struggling with mental health. God meant for us to be together in our efforts to remove the stigma of mental health and bring the help others are waiting for.
Have you or someone you know struggled to find help and support from those around you with your mental illness? If you found help, would you be willing to share how you did? To leave a comment, just click on the blue "comments" below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Exodus 35:35 - He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers--all of them skilled workers and designers.
A few weeks ago I received a gift from a friend. It was a little strange to me at first, because it was a coloring book. But when I opened the pages and saw the intricate pictures I could color, I got a little excited!
So, what’s with this new craze? Is it just a bunch of adults wanting to pretend they’re kids again or is there real value in adult coloring books?
For me, when I sat down and picked up a colored pencil and started coloring I noticed my body began to relax. I also found, when I felt a bit anxious about something, when I picked up my coloring book it was like peace filled my mind and flowed down onto the design I was coloring. It brought out the creative side of me. I stopped worrying. I was able to focus on something else for the ten or fifteen minutes that I sat down and colored. In addition, I found that on the nights that I spent ten to fifteen minutes before bed coloring I slept better.
I decided I’d do some research and find out if there were other people who were having positive results.
Medicaldaily.com in their article, “The Therapeutic Science of Adult Coloring Books: How This Childhood Pastime Helps Adults Relieve Stress,” you'll some benefits from adult coloring books such as lowering blood pressure.
What’s also interesting about this new craze is the popularity of adult coloring books is worldwide. Some books have even appeared on the best sellers’ list.
While researching, I also stumbled upon a website that allows you to color online. Choose the link below and you’ll be whisked away to an online coloring book program. With a click of your mouse, you’ll color a part of a picture. It’s really quite amazing to be able to choose a design and the colors you want to use and then see it appear.
Even the Bible talks about creativity and skill. Just check out the verses above. It shows how God fills us with all kinds of skill. And yes, that means adult coloring books.
Other kinds of activities such as crossword puzzles or knitting can also be relaxing. What helps you? To leave a comment just click on the blue "comments" below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Acts 17:24-25 - The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
Today I’m going to do something that I haven’t done as of yet. Because of its importance and application to chronic pain, illness and emotional pain, I’m going to be doing a cross-over. I’ll be using the same article in both chronic pain and emotional pain blogs. The topic is our breathing.
Many do not know just how effective this weapon is. Just as women use breathing techniques to help with the pain from labor, breathing can also be used for those suffering from pain.
First, let’s take a look at what our usual breathing pattern is. Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your abdomen. Notice which hand rises first and what happens when you exhale. Does your abdomen swell with each breath or does your chest rise first? The usual way to breathe only uses the upper lungs. This limits the amount of oxygen the body has available.
Now, I want you to keep breathing, but this time I want you to allow the air to fill your abdomen first and then chest. Breathe normally again. Can you feel the difference? Let’s do another exercise.
Breathe in filling both your abdomen and your chest cavity to the count of four. Briefly hold your breath, and then release the air slowly through your lips to the count of eight. It may take you some practice to consistently fill to four and release to eight seconds.
This type of breathing was taught to me, by a nurse, when I was in the hospital and in a great deal of pain. At that point I would’ve tried almost anything to help the pain go away. I really didn’t think it was going to make any difference. Yet, it not only helped with the pain it also helped me to relax. Now I have a weapon I can take out any time whether I’m experiencing pain or anxiety.
Just as the verses above point out – God even gives us our very breath. It’s one of his gifts to us. It’s what keeps us alive and can be the gift that lowers our pain.
To leave a comment just click on the blue "comments" below. I look forward to hearing from you.
James 3:7 - All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind.
Having pets can be fun, but some pets are also known to be therapeutic. They will love on us, instead of yell at us. They will follow us from room-to-room, instead of leaving us. And yes, in their own way, they can talk to us.
Dogs love unconditionally. No matter what happens, they will come back. You’ll see them with their tails wagging, and they’ll come and sit at your feet, or jump up on your lap.
Part of the reason that dogs appear to love unconditionally is because they have only a short-term memory. According to a new study in the article, “Many Animals - Including Your Dog - May Have Horrible Short-Term Memories,” on news.nationalgeographic.com dogs may forget an event within minutes after it happened. They can be trained, because if you teach them commands over and over, dogs will learn to follow those commands. Dogs also learn to recognize people who are in their master’s circle of friends.
Now cats on the other hand, well, they’re of another kind. Cross hairs with a cat and they’ll walk around the house with their heads held up as if to say, “I’m not going to forget this,” and cats will be sure to let you know about it.
So does this mean that I’m a “dog person” and not a “cat person”? No. I love all animals, (well, not snakes), and at one time or another I’ve had fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, rats, birds, cats and dogs.
However, some animals can be more than just pets. Dogs, in particular, are trained and used not only for Seeing Eye dogs, but also therapy dogs. Dogs were first trained as therapy dogs in 1976, according to wikipedia.org in their article, “Therapy Dog,” a nurse noticed how well her patients did when she brought her Golden Retriever to work. From there, trained therapy dogs became in demand.
My dog, though not officially registered, is to me by far a therapy dog. She came to me well-trained by her first master and quickly grew to know when I am upset or in pain. She’ll come to me and look up at me with her expressive eyes, or she’ll simply place her head upon my shoulder.
And so, we’ve seen how animals can play an import role in the lives of their masters. Just as the Bible verse above talks about taming animals, dogs can be trained to be sensitive to those in pain.
To learn more about therapy dogs choose the link below.
Do you have a pet who is sensitive to how you're feeling? To leave a comment just click on the blue "comments" below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.