Emotional and Mental Health – Healing our Thoughts and Emotions

It is healthy for us to take an inventory of our thoughts and feelings every day (John 7:24). This prevents negative thoughts and emotions from piling up in our soul and exploding at the least provocation.

 

Satan’s lies, our own insecurities and neurosis from our past, and the world’s judgment on us keep us captive to negative thinking. Yet, God’s Word admonishes us to take our thoughts captive in Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

We tend to dwell on this temporal earth embroiled by human reasoning and trapped by the hour glass of time – still eating from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil and attempting to save our self (Genesis 2:17, 3:5).

 

These negative constraints affect our thoughts and emotions. We attempt to improve our self, but whatever is conceived by the flesh can be aborted by the flesh. We live on a hamster’s wheel – always running, but getting nowhere fast. However, there is hope for us in God (Psalm 63:2:5; Romans 15:13).

 

God chose us and loved us while we were still sinners (John 15:16; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:8). At salvation, He makes us His Children and co-heirs with Jesus (Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17). His Spirit is building us into His house (Hebrews 3:6).

 

We cannot craft any lasting changes to our character in order to earn His love. He makes us clean – not by our good deeds and intentions, but by the blood of Christ (John 15:3; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Psalm 127:1).

 

Jesus makes us wise, righteous, redeemed and a new creation; so that we glory in the Lord rather than to take the credit (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). Christ in us continually draws us into a more intimate union with Himself and our Father (Colossians 1:20). We simply obey (John 14:15).

 

Prayer:

 

Father God, Your love frees us from doubt and condemnation, which are fed to us by our own insecurities, the world’s condemnation and Satan’s lies. Please draw our loved ones away from the seduction of this world, deliver them from the lies of the devil, and allow them to feel Your love and conviction cascading over them like a waterfall.

 

In You there is no shame for our failings and idiosyncrasies, only love and acceptance just the way we are (Romans 5:8). Your Spirit perfects us through a lifetime of sanctifying exercises (1 Thessalonians 5:23). You make us one with You and Jesus Christ through His residing presence and Your Spirit’s sanctifying work in us until You become our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus is one with us in spirit and in truth; and He brings us into His rest in His perfect peace and love as we keep our soul focused on Christ in us. – Colossians 1:27; Isaiah 26:3

 

Advertisements

From Frightened to Freedom

As a young wife and mother of three, my life was hectic at best. On top of this, I viewed life and reacted to its challenges and issues from a codependent and perfectionistic attitude – double trouble.

 

I wanted to please everyone, so they would like and love me; I thought that the only way to accomplish this feat was to be perfect. I was under the delusion that if I loved and served everyone – even to the detriment of myself – they would love me in return.

 

However, all I did was to teach people to take me for granted and to treat me like a doormat and their unpaid servant – chief cook, bottle washer, baby sitter, housekeeper and problem solver. People took advantage of me, which stressed me out even further.

 

I even did this with God. I attempted to keep every “jot and tittle of the law” (Matthew 5:18), hoping to please God with my undying service, in order to earn His love. I turned into a foolish “Galatian” and ran myself ragged, meeting myself coming and going (Galatians 3:1-3).

 

Stress kept me from sleeping and sleeplessness made me grouchy, which caused me to be short-tempered with those I loved. I hated who I was…I hated me, but I had no idea how to change things.

 

My self-esteem was in the bottom of the tank and I felt like I was drowning in the details of life. Finally, in desperation, I started researching codependence: what caused it and how to get free from it.

 

I learned that I had to stop neglecting my own needs every day and to allow others to meet their own needs once in a while. The books promised that they would still love me anyway, even if I did not “earn” it.

 

I figured that even if they did not love me, then they had no true feelings for me in the first place. I also translated this into the spiritual realm. God already loved me when I was a lost sinner, and He would always love me unconditionally (Romans 5:8); therefore, I could enter His rest and enjoy His favor.

 

This fact stopped the codependence dead in its tracks. I did a 180 degree turn around and walked away from this driven lifestyle. God’s Spirit broke the shackles of expectations that I allowed to chain me to a meager existence.

 

When I entered into God’s rest, I found a security and warmth that I missed all my life. Over the ensuing years, the comfort of God’s rest brought me more peace and joy than I ever dreamed possible; and He continually supplies all of my needs with His glorious riches.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You so much for Your grace and mercy, which lead us in Your everlasting way (John 10:28-30; 1 Peter 5:10). You teach us lessons all along life’s path and You bring us into ever-increasing intimacy with Your presence within us. When we let go of the impossible demands of pleasing people and focus instead on walking by the direction of Your Spirit moment by moment, we enter into Your rest, we receive Your gift of mercy and love, and we learn to trust in Your wisdom.

 

Due to Christ’s saving redemption on Calvary’s cross, we are no longer slaves of the demon of perfectionism. Instead, we follow the leading of Your Spirit and rest in Your goodness and grace. We trust in You with our whole heart; acknowledge You in all of our thoughts, words and deeds; and glorify You as You direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

God invites us to bask in His love; abide in His peace and hide under His wings when life scares us (Psalm 91:4); we learn to accept love when it is given and to serve others only when God’s Spirit leads us to do so; this prevents burn-out and promotes joy in living regardless of our circumstances.

 

Health for the Body of Christ

God’s plan for humanity is not a conglomeration of various unrelated events with a hodgepodge of results. It is as orderly and detailed as the planets in orbit around the sun.

 

God arranged the planets to all sit at just the right angle and spacing, especially the earth. Our world tilts at the exact slant it needs to support life. Its composition consists of the perfect combination of chemical elements and matter to ensure our existence.

 

King Jesus is also establishing His Kingdom on the earth in order to physically abide with everyone who is humble enough to accept His call on their life. He incorporates us into His Body of Believers throughout generations and nations from the beginning of time.

 

God designed His Body so that when one member suffers, we all suffer; and when one member rejoices, we all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). Unfortunately, Satan makes sure that his character attributes of jealousy, covetousness and pride steal these ideal circumstances from us.

 

This causes God’s Body to operate dysfunctionally, to think more of our self than anyone else, to keep our own priorities as our focus and to lack any concern for those around us who, by their own choices (John 3:18), are lost and destined to spend eternity in hell.

 

Many people spend more time on vacations than in service to God’s Body; more money on their toys and gadgets than on the ministries of the church which promote God’s Kingdom, and more focus on their own agenda and endeavors than on the will of God.

 

They often reject one church Body for another, divorcing their former church family without one regret. They disfigure God’s Body – like an eye rolling down the path of life, leaving one church with only one eye and their next church with more than the two eyes it needs (1 Corinthians 12:14-22).

 

Sometimes, disgruntled people refuse to attend any church at all, despising a part of the Bride of Christ, which Jesus gave His life to redeem (2 Corinthians 11:2). They cut themselves off from the fellowship and blessings of their church family.

 

At times, certain people in our church Body may exasperate us or are irritating and hard to live with, but Christ is patient with us (Romans 5:8), and we can allow the fruit of God’s Spirit to help us to be patient with His Body as well (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that when we determine to put our self first, to divorce Your Bride, or to stir up trouble with gossip and dissention, this says more about our character than the short-comings within Your Body. Help us to attain spiritual maturity through Christ in us, so that we can love Your Bride unconditionally and to serve with tireless devotion in the church where You plant us (Luke 6:32).

 

Your grace enables us to love others as Christ loves us, sacrificially, patiently and selflessly. You do not require us to “like” anyone else, but You do expect us to love them with the love of Christ within us. Help us to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, by stepping up and serving Your Bride where we see areas of need.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our Great Physician is a skilled surgeon who continually operates on the heart of each of us, to give us new life in Him in order to resolve life’s most complex issues, to bring peace in the more tumultuous circumstances and to draw us to the truth of His Word as we all continually abide in His presence.

Emotional and Mental Health – The Center of God’s Will

Most people are either on top of the world right now, or buried under the burden of frustration, discouragement and disappointment. Jesus Christ makes the difference in both of these instances.

 

Even if someone is totally successful and right where their goals led them over the last few years, they may be as unsatisfied and unfulfilled as they were when they started their journey to the top.

 

Many people give up at this point and opt for a simpler life, downgrading their salary and vocational expectations for a quieter and less stressful lifestyle.

 

For Believers, living in the center of God’s will is the only place where we find complete contentment. He may continue to lead us in the vein in which we started – adding an altered mindset, or He may change our circumstances completely.

 

It all hinges on finding and fulfilling God’s directives for our life (Proverbs 3:5-6). We completely surrender our will and plans to Him, and live by the direction of His Holy Spirit instead of our human desires.

 

Even if God leads us through some valley or trial, we find His purpose for us in it. We can witness of His mercy and grace to a fellow traveler, learn a needed lesson, view His provision for us in a whole new light, and grow in our intimacy with Him through it all (1 Peter 4:12).

 

We learn to depend on His Body during our trials, to grow closer to our spouse, family and church family; our faith grows in the fact that we can count on certain people to help us and that God never fails us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, some trials devastate us to our very core. They shake the foundations of our trust in You and our faith in humanity. Yet, we often survive these unhappy circumstances with enduring blessings that we never would have experienced without them. Remind us to focus on You in the good times and the bad, giving You praise for each instance as we focus on You – You never change (Hebrews 13:8).

 

Help us to see life from Your viewpoint rather than our limited, human perspective. Spur us to remain faithful to You in spite of them. We look at life now through Your unfailing love and comfort, according to Your promises and provision (Psalm 119:75-76). Demonstrate Yourself to us in all of Your power and majesty.

 

Thought for the Day:

Prayerfully surrendering our trials to God allows us to gain His perspective on what seems like a turn of bad luck; we ask God’s Spirit for His wisdom and direction; and we come through these times of testing with a deeper faith and stronger spiritual, mental and emotional fortitude than we ever experienced in our life in the past.

 

 

A Positive Lifestyle

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). With each sunrise, God’s mercies are fresh, new and rejuvenating (Lamentations 3:22-24). This is true whether we are in the midst of a hail storm of trials, or free of all worry and stress.

 

God sends us hugs throughout every single day: the alignment of numbers on the digital clock, a new flower in our garden, the sunrise and set, a formation in the clouds, a stranger’s smile, an unexpected check in the mail, our neighbor’s manicured lawn and flowerbeds, etc.

 

We can even create positive experiences for our self, our mate and our children to enjoy throughout the day – refreshing treats that minister to the body and soul.

 

Rather than listening to the negative self-talk in our mind, programmed there by Satan’s lies and people in our past, we can look in the mirror and tell our soul what we like about our self – our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual assets.

 

We can give joy away if we smile at a stranger, make a new friend, start a new ministry, and practice encouraging others. This brings joy to our soul as well as theirs. Here are other ideas.

 

Plan the menu for the week full of your favorite foods. Take a break from your perpetual diet and eat a pizza full of toppings you enjoy, and indulge in one soft drink that was your favorite as a child.

 

Adopting a pet gives us a focus outside of our self and saves the life of an abused or unwanted animal. Write cards or letters, emails and make phone calls to shut-ins, neglected family members and those in the hospital.

 

Starting a new hobby that we have always wanted to try or auditing an interesting class at the local college improves our soul. Listening to uplifting music in the comfort of our recliner or even dancing around the house as we dust will still our troubled soul.

 

We can take time to lay flat in silence on the couch or bed and take deep breaths – this releases much needed endorphins and oxygen into our bloodstream.

 

Watching a comedy on TV or in a movie will help us to laugh and lighten our mood. Spending time in nature, walking through the grass in bare feet or gardening will help us to connect with the beneficial chemical output of the earth.

 

Think of your own ways to enhance the joy in your life. We can even start a support group with “Secret Santa’s”, prayer partners to share our burdens, and Bible study groups in our neighborhood. The list is endless.

 

Prayer:

Father God, too often we allow Satan to drown us in the worries, stress and burdens in life. We forget that You are our burden bearer and our Provider. You sustain us through good times and bad. You encourage us with Your Word and by Your Spirit. You teach us to encourage one another.

 

Remind us that Your Spirit abides within us with constant words of love and affirmation, and Your Word is full of verses written by people who experienced similar circumstances to our own. Your Word is a light to our path and a lamp for our feet (Psalm 119:105). We love you with all of our body, spirit and soul – our feelings, choices and emotions.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our positive, Christ-centered focus initiates the joy, strength, inspiration and creativity in our life, which all come from God’s Holy Spirit within us.

 

 

 

God Provides

When someone asks me how I feel, most of the time I am going to say, “GREAT!” I am well passed the prime of my life, I have flat feet and I have a spine that is so distorted that my chiro does not understand how I am living such a normal life.

 

I have to pace myself as I age, but I am like the energizer bunny. It is not due to a type A personality, because I do not have one! I am a melancholy and an introvert from birth.

 

However, I have learned that there is a seed for a miracle in each trial. For instance, while I learned to survive a divorce by my husband of 22 years, God revealed Satan’s lies that I was alone and abandoned. He taught me His truth that He is my husband and that He alone is my strength and my provider (Isaiah 54:5; Psalm 54:4).

 

Also, I was t-boned in a car accident in 1995 that broke 11 ribs on my left side, punctured my left lung, gave me a concussion, filled the left side of my face with glass and broke the pinky finger on my left hand.

 

Yet, I was discharged from the hospital the next day after the accident. I was back to work as a full-charge bookkeeper in one week, and I never took one pain pill. God provided for me above all expectations, amazing my doctors and everyone who suffered through even one broken rib.

 

The Spirit of God continually provides me with supernatural strength and wisdom to combat any physical impairments, and His joy and peace pervade every facet of my life.

 

Over the years, God taught me to live in the Spirit and not to dwell on the temporal aspects of life for very long, because every instance of tribulation is a new adventure in Christ and a spiritual phenomenon just waiting to happen.

 

Prayer:

Father God, I prefer peace, order and stability, but life has a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect it. Even so, You always fill me with Your joy, which is my strength through any tribulation (Nehemiah 8:10). I despise change, but You taught me to handle it with flexibility and joyful acceptance as I witness Your provision for me.

 

I love the life You gave to me. I enjoy my family and I adore the husband You provided, because he is so adorable! I love people and I never meet a stranger. I enjoy my opportunities of service to You as a wife, mother, grandmother, homemaker, and in the ministry of Your Army as a spiritual mentor and a Pastor’s wife. I give You all the praise, which is due to Your name.

 

Thought for the Day:

God leads us and guides us each moment of the day; and He keeps us on His straight and narrow path, because of the spiritual enemies of His Kingdom. – Psalm 23:3, 5

 

Union with Christ – The Second Adam

The Trinity comes to abide in us once we repent of our sin and surrender our life to God. The more we die to our flesh, the more room we have for the fullness of God in us to fill our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions (Ephesians 3:19).

 

When God’s Spirit rebirths our spirit from the death of sin, we are spiritually alive in complete union with God. What the “first Adam” lost for us, the “last Adam” – Jesus Christ – regained for us (1 Corinthians 15:45).

 

God created us to enjoy fellowship with Him; but sin, Adam’s and ours, keeps us separated from this union. However, Jesus’ death and resurrection gave us the opportunity to repent and to believe in His work for us on Calvary’s cross.

 

We may or may not have this world’s goods, but we learn to live in contentment with the power of Christ’s redemption and His resurrection life filling us to the brim (Philippians 4:12; John 11:25-26).

 

Since Jesus experienced the wrath of God over the sins of the whole world – past, present and future (Isaiah 53:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:21), we never die again. Though our body will go to the grave, our soul and spirit live on with Christ for eternity (1 John 5:12).

 

God longs to restore this intimacy with His creation and calls us all to repentance (Acts 13:39; John 3:15-18). He fills us with His presence and His Spirit; and no matter what happens in our body or our mind, we find our joy and fulfillment only in Him.

 

God makes us a new creation, and our life changes for the better from that moment on (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is the center of our identity. As we walk in His Spirit, everything we think, say and do comes from Him (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

Prayer:

Father God, I will both lie down in peace and sleep because You alone make me to dwell in safety. I pray for the persecuted church, for all of the Saints, for the abused and for the babies and children in this world who lack nurturing and care. Lord, give them the comfort of Your love, peace and joy in spite of their earthly circumstances.

 

Help us to recognize the little blessings, which You give to us all day long, to prove to us that You care for us even now. I thank You for Your daily mercy and grace, and for Your ever-present help for us in every time of need (Psalm 4:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

God puts the mind of Christ within us and we focus on the spiritual, eternal aspects of our union with Him, rather than the foolish and confounding aspects of life on this earth. – 1 Corinthians 1:27-28