Romans 12:2 - Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Our world is full of opposites that happen at the same time:
Even what’s sweet can taste bitter when you have too much of it.
It can be 75 degrees inside during the winter and you feel cold, but it can be 75 degrees in the summer and still feel hot.
You can feel overweight at 140 pounds, but 140 is a great number if you used to weigh 180 pounds.
You can live inside your home, but you also live outside of the city.
So it is with our lives - There can be something bad going on at the same time as something good. You can have a headache yet still enjoy your ice cream. And, you can feel upbeat while everything around you is pulling you down into the downbeat.
And even though our world tries to drag us down into the darkest pit because of all of the anger that rages around us, it still boils down to our perspective.
Feeling down can be all consuming. We know that:
It can be so bad that it makes us physically hurt.
It can be so bad that people begin to stay away from us because they can’t stand to see us hurting and down.
It can be so bad that all we see in the world is tainted by dark glasses.
But now let’s change our individual perspective. Can this happen:
You are down because you live with chronic pain, but a friend stops by and you enjoy their company. You may even smile. What you’re going through hasn’t changed. You still are battling that downward pull, but when your friend shows up you find a moment of your day when you can feel something other than just that negative feeling.
But how do I change my perspective to live upbeat even if it’s only for a moment each day? Read this article, “How to Stay Positive: 11 Smart Habits,” on positivityblog.com and learn how to stay positive in spite of what going on around you. You can even how to stay positive in the face of criticism.
Each day we have the choice to allow the world to cause us to live in the downbeat pull of negativity and never measuring up, or we can choose to take the perspective of what is good. So choose, as the Bible verse above says, and do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Then you’ll know what to do with your day, and it may just surprise you when you find yourself more and more living on the upbeat.
Isaiah 59:14 - So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.
Honesty. It’s a rare quality in our world today. People lie and cheat believing that no one will catch on. After all, it’s so easy to avoid the truth; to be something that you are not. And who will know if you’re not honest?
What might seem strange to you, though, is that being honest doesn’t just apply to the workplace or to cheating on a spouse. Dishonesty can also apply to those in emotional pain.
It’s easier to keep closed up and put on a fake smile. You just pull out a mask and put it on; never letting the world see the real you. Why would you do that? It’s about not wanting to be hurt again.
You’ve tried that before, being honest about a mental illness and then being torn to shreds with the other person oblivious to the damage they’re doing. They just don’t want to deal with it. They don’t like the “touchy feely” conversations.
Honesty is important not just to the other person in a relationship. It’s important to be honest with yourself. Whether it’s about a mental illness, or something in your relationships; though honesty may be difficult, it’s worth striving towards. Your emotional well-being will have a chance to grow and bloom if you do.
Learn how to become honest with others in your life by reading the article, "How to be Honest," on wikihow.com. Some of there suggestions like how to figure out why you lie and who you lie to can help you search inside your heart to find out what's keeping you from being more honest.
Being honest is worth the risk. By being honest with yourself and others you’ll find your relationships grow and you’ll feel better about yourself. Your mental health will have a better chance of healing in a place of honesty than in dishonesty.
Also, as the Bible verse above says truth may have stumbled and fallen in the streets of the world, but they don’t have to stumble in your world. Make a way to allow honesty to enter your life.
Psalm 34:18 - The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
This world we live in, this country we live in, this place we live in can all come to an emotional halt after incidents like what happened recently in Las Vegas.
No one could’ve fathomed such a thing happening while attending a country music concert or any event. So many people were left broken, both the victims and their families.
We know there is evil in our world and people who would push their agenda on others. But how can any difference be made? Was the violent action of one man to draw attention to a cause? We don’t seem to have the answers.
I don’t think there are any that would make sense and bring healing to those affected. We just know we’re broken.
However, there are things we can do to help bring healing. Here are some steps you can take that may lead toward healing; such as taking a break from watching the news on TV, in the article, “Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting,” from the American Psychological Association.
And remember: God is close to the broken and he will be close to you, so turn to him and find healing from the affects of the trauma you experienced.
Isaiah 65:2 - All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations.
It used to be thought, that only children create an imaginary world in their minds; one that can even bring to life an imaginary friend.
This was often helpful for children living in a stressful or abusive family situation to help them cope with the pain. With their imaginary friend beside them, they felt more secure and sometimes safer even if they weren’t.
But children aren’t the only ones who live in an imaginary world. Adults do also. This kind of imaginary world though isn’t just about your mind daydreaming or fantasizing. This kind of imaginary world draws the adult onto the landscape of escapism.
As life turns up a notch and you can’t let go of the way things are, onto the stage of your thoughts enter actors who do what you want them to do. This is different than relaxation sessions where you focus on a landscape in your mind to help release tension.
With escapism you start living in a world where things turning out the way you want them to become your reality in your mind. And the more time you spend in your altered reality, the harder it becomes to live in the real world.
And, sometimes you get to the point where you don’t know which world is the real one. This is the real danger.
What we all need in life is to not live in our minds but to be conscience of the present and live there. What can help ground you to your present moment is called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is living completely in the moment. You're aware of your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and the environment around you. The article, “Getting Started with Mindfulness,” on greatergood.berkley.edu will provide you with information on mindfulness such as the benefits of practicing mindfulness, and a few components of mindfulness.
So the next time your mind turns to escapism, as the Bible verse above talks about, try using some of the suggestions above and give mindfulness a try to ground you to the present.
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.