Luke 12:29 - And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.
We’ve just passed through the holiday season and are now heading into the New Year. Many people make New Year’s resolutions centering on an area of their life that they are seeking to change.
But for some, their New Year’s resolutions aren’t just to improve their financial or career goals, but to gain back some of the control that they lost during the past year.
What I’m talking about is loss of control due to an addiction. Addictions can wrap chains around our ankles making it almost impossible to break free from its control over their lives.
The most common addictions are tobacco, alcohol and drugs, but the kind of addiction I’m thinking of is an addiction to food. Yes, many peoples’ New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. That’s a good goal. And with the new diets, like the Mediterranean or Keto diet, they provide a pretty good chance of success.
I’m not here to judge the benefits of one diet over the other. But I’m talking about something that has a stronger pull on us – a food addiction. I want my readers to believe they can break free from habits that control them. Loss of control can cause you to feel that you can’t live without a certain food such as sugar or chocolate.
To many this problem can seem trivial. But to those of us who are constantly thinking about food, it can affect all areas of our lives. The problem with a food addiction is that it can point to a much deeper problem. Here are some examples:
Whatever the reason that you feel you’ve lost control over your addiction to food there is hope. Myfitnesspal.com in their article, “5 Steps to Take Control of Food Addiction,” provides a plan of action. Some examples are following a structured meal plan because it can help you set safe boundaries with food; and, learn healthy coping strategies which can include finding out your reasons for overeating.
Thoughts of food have visited your mind almost all of the time, and you didn’t develop your food addiction over night. Breaking your addiction will also not happen without time and working at it. As you begin to use some of the suggestions in the article above and with God’s help, you will begin to stop worrying about what you eat and how much of it. I know this all may seem impossible, but it is possible to overcome your addiction to food.
Isaiah 57:18 - I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him.
It’s one thing to hit a road block.
It’s one thing to get side tracked.
It’s one thing to lose your way.
It’s one thing to say, “This just can’t be happening.”
You see, it’s one thing when it’s our life that has been road blocked, side traced, to have lost your way and to not believe what is happening in your life.
Pain hurts. It burns inside our hearts. We want to give up. Throw in the towel. Cry until there’s nothing left to cry for.
But when it’s someone you care about that’s hurting, there just aren’t words to what you feel.
There are times when someone you care about decides by their own choices to take a wrong path and finds themselves hurting; but when it’s nothing that they’ve done to cause it, it digs deep into our hearts and we find ourselves wanting to take their pain away.
And maybe you can help with that.
Here are some ideas:
When someone else is hurting, it can be difficult to know what to do about it. Here are some additional suggestions on what you can do on huffpost.com in their article, “5 Powerful Ways to Help Someone in Emotional Pain,” including let the person have their pain. Don’t try to talk them out of their feelings. Also, ask the person what they need. They may want to talk to you, but they also may want to be left alone for now.
As the Bible verse above says, know that God sees the pain your friend or family member is experiencing, and has said that he will heal them. He will guide them to the help they need and restore comfort to them. Be ready to be part of that process, if called upon to do so.
Ephesians 4:2 - Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Patience. Don’t you just hate it when a voice comes over your phone telling you that you have an eleven minute wait time for your call to go through? I know I do. I get impatient when it’s not just eleven minutes that go by, but even one minute to wait. There’s something wrong in that, I instinctively know. But I still find my aggravation growing as I hear, “Please continue to hold for the next person available.” And while I’m waiting, they’re playing Christmas music. Like that’s supposed to help me be patient.
The Christmas season is full of waiting.
But what about the people whose job it is to put us on hold? Do you find yourself lashing out when someone finally does come on the line? It’s not just this example that shows our impatient reactions.
What about waiting in line at the store? Do you look ahead of you and think that if only the clerk worked a little faster you wouldn’t have to wait?
Waiting and impatience seem to go hand-in-hand. And though during the Christmas season, with all the joy it holds, it may seem strange that your impatience grows as each day grows closer to Christmas. And how can we be an example to the world for why we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas when we act no different than those who only celebrate Santa Claus and presents?
Womansday.com has some ideas on getting rid of Christmas impatience in their article, “31 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas.” Here’s a couple: Schedule a break. Take one day or even one afternoon off and take a drive out into the country. Another example is to seek the out-of-the-way cashier. Find a courtesy counter or service desk to pay for your items.
Choosing some of the examples in the article above and trying them out may be just what you need to find some Christmas patience. Take a look at the Bible verse above. We are supposed to be patient and bear with one another in love. And, yes, that means during the Christmas season we are to be even gentler with those around us; even the clerk at the register checking out your gifts.
Christmas is a wonderful season if we let it be. Let’s remember to have Christmas patience, and it will help us enjoy the season more.
Colossians 3:12 - Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Recently there was a violent earthquake in Alaska. Those who live there knew of the danger that faced them every day because of the history of earthquakes surrounding them. But it’s where they live. It’s not easy to find a new place to live when you don’t have the finances to do so. And, it’s where their families live, so they stay and rebuild.
However, what do people do when they live through a horrific earthquake, hurricane or wildfire and there’s no place to go for miles around where they lived. What do they do when there’s nothing left to go home to?
As I have written about in previous posts, this is what my mom faced in the wake of a wildfire. It was like as if her town had been wiped away. This also meant that there will be no rebuilding for at least a year, because of the need to repair infrastructure including water, sewer, and power along with making sure that all toxic materials have been removed.
So now what?
The many displaced residents have been forced into temporary shelters or they have fled to other cities.
And I can say with certainty, whether someone has been in a shelter or a new area, many stories have been told of how the victims’ trauma has been met with kindness and compassion.
There has been the provision of food and clothing, blankets and tents, and all along the way the two steps of kindness and compassion are leading many to find themselves on the road to healing from the tragedy.
This is what my mom has met at every turn.
Time-after-time, she has been met with kindness and compassion.
She has cried. They have cried.
She has laughed. They have laughed.
She has been confused. They have helped her figure things out.
Yes, kindness and compassion go a long way in the healing process. Here’s a few ways you can help a victim:
Reader’s Digest (rd.com) post the article, “15 Ways You Can Help After a Natural Disaster (Hint: It’s Rarely Donate Clothes),” and suggests to think of children by donating toys, snacks or juices; also, hosting a food drive or donating your skills to your community.
With a little help from each one of us, by showing kindness and compassion, it will go a long way to help natural disaster victims begin to heal. The Bible verse above speaks of kindness and compassion like clothes we put on. So as you change your clothes or shoes during the day remember the victims of a natural disaster that has recently happened and be the hands and feet that bring relief.
Psalm 68:6 - God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
Here we are with the Christmas season upon us. Everyone is rushing to the malls or outlet stores to find just the right gift to buy for a special someone. Then after you’ve finished shopping, you return home to wrap your presents and place them under your Christmas tree waiting for the day your family will gather.
Wait a minute.
You’re returning home with the presents
You’re returning home to wrap the presents
You’re returning home to a Christmas tree to put them under
You’re returning home to look for your favorite cookie recipe
You’re returning home to bake the cookies
You’re returning home to wait for the day the family all gathers
But what if you don’t have a place you can call home?
It certainly feels like you have no home for the holidays.
What you may be experiencing is grief over the kind of Christmas you used to have. The article, “64 Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holidays,” on whatsyourgrief.com provides us with some answers. Though the article is primarily talking about grieving over a lost loved one, I believe there are some suggestions that also work when grieving over not having a “home” at Christmas. Here are some of their ideas: Acknowledge the holidays will be tough this year; talk to your kids about how things will be different, and letting them know that it’s okay to be sad over what they’ve lost, and it’s okay to also feel happy because it’s Christmas.
And lastly one of my ideas: Though you may not feel like celebrating this Christmas, allow your family to step in and help you through the grieving process. If they live nearby let them pick you up and take you to their home. It may not be your home, but it may help you feel a piece of Christmas joy. After all, God placed us in families for a reason. They can be the ones who shower comfort on us when we need it the most.
1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV - For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
You feel it rising up inside you.
Why would someone do this to me? Why would they enter my home and cause such disharmony? Why would they treat me like some stray cat that’s just skin and bones? Not belonging to anyone. Not being wanted by anyone. And certainly not respected by the one who walked in my door.
But it happens.
So our emotional wellbeing takes a hit, and it throws our life into confusion.
Some call it anxiety.
Some call it depression.
Some call it PTSD.
Others just say we’re weak.
And we have to make a decision: What are we going to do about the pain that was left at our doorstep? Will we do the usual and pretend it didn’t hurt us? Will we smile and walk through our day not letting anyone know the hurt that’s building up inside?
Oh, I’ve done it that way before. And it made my heart bleed and my head pound anyway. I could hide it for a while, but then it breaks free and I’ve got to deal with it. But even as I’m trying to figure out my next step, confusion enters and decides it wants to be center stage.
Yes, emotional pain can cause confusion. Huffpost.com in their article, “4 Ways to Find Direction When You Are Feeling Confused,” discusses what to do to overcome your confusion and find the joy such as accept where you are in the middle of the fog, confusion, and feelings of “stuckness;” and, focus on what you know and what you feel sure about.
Confusion does accompany emotional pain, but as the article above talks about, we can get through it and sometimes even use it for good in our lives. Take a look at the Bible verse above. You may feel like God is manufacturing circumstances that cause you to be confused, but in fact God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Lean into God, and he will give you the wisdom you need to sort out the confusion and find that peace again.
2 Corinthians 12:20 - For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
Jealousy. That old, ugly head just keeps popping up.
You have this friend who has had a rough life so:
Then, you learn that they’re successful and no longer living a rough life.
Jealousy. That old, ugly head isn’t just popping up, but it’s blocking your eyesight.
You raise up an angry fist and say, “I wanted them to succeed, but what about me? Why do I have to endure another season of hardship and pain while they don’t?”
It’s a funny thing watching your friend finally succeed, and still you’re not happy about it. You’d think you’d be the one who is clapping their hands and cheering them on to victory. But you’re not.
The reason why might be that you can’t reach your goals unless you champion someone else to reach theirs. Even if it means you’re now the one failing.
Push aside your angry words, and fist raised up in anger then:
This is not only the way to victory for them but for you, also. So how do we move past jealousy and be proud of someone else? Here are some of the suggestions you’ll find on joegirard.com in his article, “Be Proud, Not Jealous.” Think positive thoughts about other people whose success is likely to invite envy; also, replace jealousy with admiration, and envy with pride.
It won’t be easy to get rid of jealousy, but it will be worth it. All that energy you wasted when you were angry can now be channeled into moving forward. Take a look at the Bible verse above. The apostle Paul was writing to the church in Corinth. They were having trouble with anger and jealousy. God helped that church to move past the way they were feeling and acting. He can do the same for us to help us become proud of someone else’s success. That way you can continue to be there for your friend. After all, there are still moments while you are moving toward your goals when you stumble and fall and could really use someone to be there for you and encourage you to keep going and not give up. Be the person who stands by their friends whether you’re the one in a season of rough times, or a friend is in trouble. Tell them you’re proud of them for not giving up. Then you can be proud of yourself for not giving up either.
Proverbs 14:30 - A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
When you battle a chronic health or mental health issue you may find yourself home most of the time. How that home looks can influence where your emotional health falls.
It’s important to create a peaceful, beautiful atmosphere around you.
Here are some other ideas on how to create a peaceful atmosphere in your home on goodhousekeeping.com in their article, “10 Real-Life Tricks for Creating a Calm, Peaceful Home,” such as giving everything in your entryway a home by installing hooks to hang coats on and making room in the entry closet for shoes and boots. Another of their ideas is to ensure that your day ends on a soothing, luxurious note by using fresh and soft sheets and blankets on your bed so you can relax into them at night.
The important thing to remember is to create an atmosphere in your home which allows you to look about and see beauty and organization. This change can be effective in lessoning the stress you have in your life. Also, as you work on your home you may find yourself excited once more to complete unfinished projects or read an article in one of your magazines you’d forgotten about.
But also give yourself a break. Things don’t have to be done perfectly in your home. A few areas of disorganization is okay. Just so long as it isn’t a theme in every room of your home. And don’t think that you have to finish everything overnight. Choose one room and then move on from there. Pretty soon you’ll begin to feel a sense of comfort and joy even inside your own home.
Having a peaceful heart, as the Bible verse above says, can give life to your body. Less stress equals a healthier heart and it may even add years to your life. Peace is a gift that God freely gives. It’s not something you can muster up in your own strength. God will give you the wisdom you need because your home’s atmosphere really does matter especially to God.
Psalm 34:15 - The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.
Against the far corner of the room stood an old grandfather clock. Its top most part housed the clock works and almost reached the ceiling. The clock was made of a light-colored wood with glass etchings covering the clock face. The chimes hung gracefully and traveled ever downward with each movement of the pendulum.
The clock was a prized possession of its owner having been built by her father many years ago before he passed. But though it was the owners pride and joy, the clock did not bring her peace, but a constant reminder of how behind she got with her work each day. The clock served as a commanding general handing out commands with each beat, and she felt like she was always being watched.
It was as if the General was pointing his finger at her and bending down to catch her in the act of taking even a short break. And so it drove her onward with each sound of the clock. When the chimes rang out, at quarter, half, three-quarter and hour they always made her jump.
She thought off moving the clock into a more secluded part of the house instead of in the living room which she passed through during the day. You see, she did not leave her home each day to venture out into the world to her job, because she was a writer and her home was her work place. And so the General’s eyes were ever upon her.
This tale of the clock and its owner doesn’t stop with just the grandfather clock. In almost every room of her home, there stood a clock ticking out the time as if they were captains and privates in the General’s army.
Some people have the fortune of being more laid back than others. The clocks that sit upon their desks and bedside tables don’t threaten them nor do they demand attention. The purpose of the clock for them is just to mark the time. Nothing more. Nothing less. They didn’t feel the presence of someone watching their every move.
Wrestling with feelings of inadequacy is one reason why we can struggle with feeling watched. We may have failed many times in the past to be who others think we should be, and believe we will always let those around us down.
Thesciencealert.com in their article, “Ever Feel Like You’re Being Watched? It’s Not You,” suggests some ideas of why your feel watched. One possibility is that your observer has noticed you turning around, and looked up at you in return, so even though you’re being watched, it’s only because you’ve turned around. Another one is some slight clue has alerted you to the presence of someone else. This article provides several other reasons for feeling watched that may not be on purpose at all.
Back to our story about the General. At any given time we can give up the sense of being watched. As the article above discusses, we can begin to believe someone’s eyes on us isn’t on purpose to catch us failing, and we can begin again to believe we are doing a good job with each task that is assigned to us in the day. This way, in a sense, we can stop feeling like we’re being watched even at home simply by not winding up the grandfather clock.
Know also, that the eyes of the Lord are always on us. He knows our fears of inadequacy and can hear our cries to be set free from them. He also sees that we are doing the best that we can with what we have. He will comfort our hearts and help us to stop believing we are always being watched only to see if we will fail, but also when we succeed.
Proverbs 4:25-26 - Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
They say that things come in three’s –
My washing machine spills out water from the hose connected to the hot water
My microwave oven suddenly stops working while cooking dinner
Then, wait for it, I go out to my car to drive to a repair shop but it won’t start
Yes, three’s. That’s if you believe in that superstition. Yet sometimes that’s what happens.
But some of us have found that our lives don’t just come in three’s, but four’s, five’s, and you get the picture. Everywhere I look it feels like my life is falling apart.
Things break down like the washing machine, microwave and car. But our bodies break down because of multiple chronic health issues, also. And, the worst of all, those we love fall asleep and never wake up.
When life is crumbling around you, do you ever feel like maybe you’d like to fall asleep and not wake up? Do you just want to stop the merry-go-round and jump off?
But what if your life suddenly takes a turn around? Good things start happening in three’s.
You get the job you wanted
You make a new friend who likes the things you do
You finally get that vacation you’ve waited for so long
But are you excited, or are you waiting for the other foot to fall and for everything to start falling apart again? It’s a difficult place to be. You’ve been so used to things going wrong that you’ve lost the art of finding the good and basking in all its sunlight and peace.
Depression doesn’t only take away your joy; it can increase the likelihood that bad things are always on the horizon, because that’s all you’re looking for.
Yet you say to me, “You just don’t know my life. There can’t possibly be anything good. Can’t you see that my life is falling apart all around me?” Though I haven’t lived your life, I’ve lived long enough to know that even if there isn’t anything you can find that’s good right now, keep pushing forward with your eyes looking up. You can’t find the good if you keep your head down all the time.
Marcandangel.com, in their article, “8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong,” list some good suggestions for helping you see things differently. They include everything in life is temporary and don’t be ashamed of the scars life has left you because they are symbols of your strength.
Finally, just as the Bible verse above says, always keep your eyes looking straight and directly before you. If you constantly look at all of the negative circumstances all around, your path may stray off course and you may find yourself sinking in sand. Let’s keep our feet on the bedrock and know you’re gonna make it through feeling like your life is falling apart.
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.