How Do I Help Others Understand Depression & Anxiety?

Philip Long 


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Depression is a dark, lonely place. For me, it feels as though I am trapped, drowning, with no hope of rescue. This has been my reality for as long as I can remember.

For me, depression feels as though I am trapped, drowning, with no hope of rescue.

I’ve seen counselors, taken the gamut of medications and been unofficially diagnosed with a bunch of guesses. On bad days, I think I’m just what a misguided but well-meaning friend suggested: a worrywart.

One out of six adults will experience depression in their lifetime.

Chances are if you don’t, you have a friend who struggles.

Depression must not be dismissed.

When I was 6 years old, I used to wander the playground at school, fighting the negative scripts that ran through my head.

My family moved a lot, but I don’t think I was a sad kid. I was raised in a loving home, and my life is filled with good memories. But there’s always been a lingering fear in my mind.

Today, I’m 38, a writer and happily married with two children. Still, I have days when my inner world is in such upheaval I can’t get out of bed. So I stay in, nursing a headache fueled by inner voices of condemnation.

Real life doesn’t afford staying in bed. In those moments, I feel profoundly broken.

Christians have a way of shooting the wounded. Even I am guilty of this. When I meet someone who is struggling, my first instinct is to fix him. If I can fix him, I think to myself, I’ll feel better; I will have done some good, and I can move on.

More often, though, our attempts to fix simply reveal our lack of understanding.

God does the opposite. God meets us where we are, and he sticks with us.

In the Bible, there is a story of a man named Elijah who was being chased by a queen named Jezebel. He begged God to let him die. Rather than fixing him or his predicament, God offered him rest. God allowed him to sleep, feeding him for two days. Later, they talked (1 Kings 19:1-18).

When Abraham, childless and discouraged, sat in his tent and cried, God showed up. Rather than reasoning with him, God offered Abraham hope as they walked and counted the stars (Genesis 15:1-6).

The problem with depression is that when people say it’s all in your head, they are absolutely correct.

The problem with depression is that when people say it’s all in your head, they are absolutely correct. As the cells in your brain become unable to transmit or receive the right signals to regulate mood, your body may slow down, your stomach may tighten. You may lose your appetite, or gain one. You may want to sleep all the time, you may not be able to sleep, and on and on.

Depression and anxiety are as baffling as we humans are complex. There’s no simple solution, and acting like there is one is like throwing salt on the wound. My situation is not the same as someone else’s.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t help. The following are a few things I’ve learned that were good for me. Maybe they will help you navigate your own, or a friend’s, depression or anxiety:

  • Remember that you are not a mental health professional. (I’m not either, by the way.) Don’t come with authority, trying to fix; come with love, trying to understand.
  • Make no assumptions. As a friend of mine put it, “Depression is idiosyncratic; it’s not a one-size-fits-all condition.”
  • Be present and listen.
  • Assure friends that you want to hear what they’re going through. We often hide, assuming our inner struggles will drive others away.
  • Pray. Only God knows the full story.
  • Embrace the complexity. Each situation is unique. What works for one individual may not work for another. Medication, exercise, diet, prayer, Scripture, meditating on Scripture and healthy leisure are all proven helps, but overemphasizing the benefits of one to the exclusion of others can be problematic. Think holistically.

* The content of this article is not intended to endorse or be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have.

Next Steps

https://www.cru.org/us/en/blog/life-and-relationships/emotions/help-others-understand-depression-anxiety.html

Dealing with Emotions | Holiday Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

November 27, 2021 by Curt Landry Ministries

Table of Contents

Many of you experience intense emotions during the holiday season. You are around family members who can provoke stress and anxiety. You are in situations that can be overwhelming. So then, how do you deal with the strong emotions of holiday anxiety, depression, and stress?

Understand the Battle of Holiday Anxiety

First, you must understand the battle is not against flesh and blood. The enemy uses anything he can to trip you up—situations, people, things, places, thoughts, and words. So then, when you are in stressful circumstances, remember that the enemy is prowling around like a lion. 

His only purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy the blessings that God wants to release in your life. He knows that you are more likely to allow circumstances to influence your emotions during highly emotional seasons such as the holidays. He wants holiday anxiety, depression, and stress to rule in your heart rather than the love and peace of Yeshua. 

Second, once your mouth starts to speak out of the emotional stress and holiday anxiety in your heart, the enemy has a foothold in your life. Remember, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (see Luke 6:45). If the enemy can get you to speak in agreement with the anxiety, he knows your mind is no longer thinking on heavenly things. 

Third, be aware of familiar spirits, habits, and patterns in your family. Do you find yourself battling the same spirit or influence year after year during the holidays? Holiday anxiety can be an indication that familiar spirits and generational curses are running through your family line. 

Take note of them and ask Holy Spirit to reveal their source. Click here to learn more about identifying generational curses. 

Once you understand the battle, you know which armor to put on—God’s! Then, you can move forward in victory.

7 Ways to Battle Against Holiday Anxiety

A napkin that says "There is always something to be thankful for." next to a pen and cup of coffee on a wooden background.

1) Be thankful.

It is easy to go to a place of victim or lack mentality. So, thankfulness is a choice and a discipline. When you choose thankfulness, you act in the opposite sprit of victim and lack. This is when you come out of a carnal mindset, focusing only on what you see in the physical, and come into agreement with a Christlike mindset, focusing on what is true in the spirit. 

Declaration

“I am a new creation in Christ. I will take off any anger, wrath, malice, and blasphemy. I remove any filthy language out of my mouth. Any old man habits and patterns are removed from me by the blood of Jesus. I decree that I am renewed in knowledge according to the image of Yeshua. His Spirit lives within me. I am the elect of God, holy and beloved. I will put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, and will forgive because I am forgiven. I will put on the love of God, which is the bond of perfection.”

  • Look up and meditate on Colossians 3:8-17. 
  • Ask the Spirit to press out the old thoughts and replace them with His Word. 
  • Write it down and start decreeing all or parts of this scripture passage. 

2) Create a gratitude and identity list.

Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of what we do have and who we are. When we stop and think about the blessings the Lord has given us and our true identity in Him, the lies from the enemy get quieter. 

Declaration

“I am chosen before the foundation of the world, predestined to adoption. I have every spiritual blessing available to me. I believe this and receive it, in Yeshua’s name! I will not focus on what I don’t have, but rather repent and turn my eyes to see all that I have been given through Christ: redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, blessings, an inheritance, protection, acceptance, and promises!”

  • Look up and meditate on Ephesians 1. 
  • Ask the Spirit to remind you of every spiritual blessing you’ve been given and who you are in Yeshua. 
  • Write down the words from Ephesians 1 that speak the loudest to you in this season. 

3) Focus on who God is. 

When you are meditating on who you are, you also must remember who the Lord is. You can only be the new creation He says you are if He is who He says He is. Because of Him, you are everything in Ephesians 1. 

Declaration

“Lord God, You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. You are the author and perfector of my faith. You are Immanuel, God with us. You are my deliverer and redeemer. You are Adonai, and cornerstone. Lord God, You are my intercessor and advocate. You act on my behalf. You are faithful and true to Your Word as I enter into any battle.”

  • The book of John goes through the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus: I am the bread of life; I am the light of the world; I am the door; I am the good shepherd; I am the resurrection and the life; I am the way, the truth, and the life; I am the true vine. Go deeper into the character of God by reading through 25 names that describe His and power each day leading up to Christmas by getting this download. 
  • Ask the Spirit to reveal more of who He is. 
  • Write down the names that He highlights to you. 
Click here to learn the names of God!

4) Remember, you are not alone. 

Anxiety and depression go hand in hand. The spirit of depression capitalizes on the lie of “You are alone.” It couples with other lies such as: No one understands. No one gets your situation. Through God’s Word, you can challenge these thoughts with truth and fight holiday anxiety and depression. 

Declaration

“God’s Word says that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Jesus said He did not leave me as an orphan, but that I have His Spirit dwelling within me, guiding me and walking with me through every family interaction, holiday party, and other get-togethers. I trust Your Word over my emotions, Lord!”

5) Pray. 

In the busyness of the season, your head is filled with thoughts, and you naturally don’t speak or listen to the Father as much. Therefore, take time to pray intentionally. You can post a prayer on your bathroom mirror, in your car, or at your computer. These notes will remind you to simply stop and pray, giving thanks, focusing on who you are in Him, and who He is. 

Declaration 

“I am pausing to remember that God dwells within me. I dwell in the secret place and abide under the Almighty’s shadow. The Lord is my refuge and strength. I trust You, Lord! You deliver me from sickness and pestilence. You shield me. I may see a thousand fall, but nothing will come near me because I am not visiting Your secret place, I am dwelling there! You give Your angels charge over me to keep me in Your ways. I love You, Lord, and You promise to deliver me in my time of trouble.”

  • Get the Psalm 91 Prayer here. Pray it often. 
  • Meditate on verses that speak to you. 
  • Write them down and use them to battle the holiday anxiety you feel during this season. 

6) Take time to rest. 

Man wearing athletic clothing resting against concrete wall, sitting next to plastic water bottle and backpack.

Holiday anxiety and stress can be difficult to battle when you are physically tired. Take time to rest during this season. This might mean you need to cut out certain activities, saying no when your flesh wants to say yes. Saying no and intentionally resting can protect you against holiday anxiety. 

Declaration

“I will pause, turn to the Lord, and will find rest. Lord, You make me lie down in green pastures. I declare that none of my work will be in vain. I surrender my steps to You. Give me everything You have for me today, nothing more and nothing less. Create margin in my life so that I can be restored. In peace, I will lie down and sleep. You are the One who makes me dwell in safety.”

  • Look up and meditate on verses such as Psalm 4:8, Psalm 127:2, and Matthew 11:28-30.
  • Ask the Lord what He wants you to cut out during this season. 
  • Listen to His voice and accept doors that close. If you’ve been prayerful, these are gifts from the Lord to usher in the rest you need. 

7) Stay in the Word.

Busyness steals so much during the holiday season… prayer time, family time, and quiet time. Staying in the Word protects you. It protects your mind, will, and emotions. The Word brings life. Staying in the Word is tied to taking time to rest; this might mean you need to say no to something else. Take even a few minutes each morning to get quiet with the Lord and meditate on a few verses.

Declaration

“The Word is sharp, cutting out any lie that tries to influence my heart and mind. It is good for training me up for every good and righteous work. The Word lights my path and keeps me pure. It gives me knowledge and understanding. It is my daily manna, sustaining me throughout the day.”

  • Look up and meditate on passages such as Proverbs 2:6, Psalm 33:4, Matthew 4:4, and Psalm 119.
  • Write down the passages that speak to your heart. 
  • Declare them throughout your day. 

The Takeaway

Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that we are what we think. Think and dwell on the heavenly things. 

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

—Philippians 4:8

There is less room in your thought-life for holiday anxiety to creep in when you activate Philippians 4:8.

When holiday anxiety does creep in, follow the principle James wrote…

“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

—James 4:6-8

Do this…

  • Remember, the enemy uses holiday anxiety to trip you up
  • Humbly come before the Lord with prayer and thanksgiving 
  • Declare His Word: who He is and who you are
  • Rest and stay in His Word
  • Pray

The enemy will use thoughts and situations to put pressure on you, causing holiday anxiety. But submit to the Lord, resist the enemy, cleanse your heart so that you speak after the covenant rather than after the holiday anxiety, and you will be postured for victory in this season! 

How to Help Students Fighting Anxiety and Depression

By Isaac Jenkins -October 14, 2021

Here are six ideas that have helped struggling students.

The room was so full they were having to turn students away.

Last winter, I attended the yearly Cru winter conference in Fort Worth, Texas, with around 800 students. One afternoon there were multiple break out seminars students could attend.

I just happened to walk by a large conference room with a sign outside which read, “Dealing with Anxiety and Depression.” Inside the room students filled all of the chairs and floor space. Students outside wanted in, but were being redirected to other workshops.

I knew this was a growing issue in the college culture, but this was the first time I had seen it on such a large scale. When I was in college, I don’t think the room would have been half full.

When spring semester started a few weeks later, I attended a luncheon with our dean of students. When I told her how shocked I was to see a room overflowing with students wanting to hear more on dealing with anxiety and depression, she responded by saying that over the past two falls they have had hundreds more emails and students calling the “hotline” dealing with these symptoms. They have had to hire additional counselors to meet the overwhelming need.

I also mentioned my growing concern to a director of student conduct at a major university, and he believes students’ skyrocketing mental health concerns will soon be the No. 1 crisis we have to deal with at our universities—a greater issue even than frat parties and drugs on campus.

I by no means have an exhaustive answer to this complex issue, but as we face this together on our campuses, I would like to pass on a few ideas I have shared with students who are battling feelings of anxiety or depression:

1. God Knows You Intimately and Has a Plan For Your Life.

A common lie students will believe is that what they are doing in life has no purpose and does not matter. They have to understand that who they are and what they are doing right now actually matters to God.

King David had every reason to be stressed out and anxious at multiple times in his life when people were trying to kill him, yet he says:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” —Psalm 139:13–16

The psalmist understood that God knew him intimately and had a plan for his life. He also understood that God was the one looking after him, and he did not have to go through life alone.

Psalm 119 is another picture of David crying out to God in his suffering. He freely approaches the Lord with his burdens, knowing his God is gracious and kind.

The 4+ hours a day students are spending looking at social media only compounds the lie that they don’t matter and everyone else is doing better or looking better than they are.

Challenge them to spend less time on social media looking at what the world is doing and focus more on God’s promises of what He will do in His Word.

Jesus also addresses this idea in Matthew 6:25-33. He basically challenges His listeners to not be anxious about anything because we belong to God, and ultimately He has our back.

God is the great provider and will take care of even our most basic needs.

I have been in ministry for 30 years, and I have had to trust in Him completely to supply my needs. I love to share with students how God has been faithful to provide during those 30 years!

2. The Joy of the Abundant and Fulfilling Life Is Actually in Dying.

German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, served his church faithfully during World War 2. One of the most famous quotes from his book, The Cost of Discipleship is:

“When God calls a man, He bids him come and die.”

This idea is essential throughout the New Testament and is the foundation for following Christ. Three of the four Gospels record Jesus saying:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” —Matthew 16:24–25; Mark 8:34–35; Luke 9:23–24.

Living out the Christian faith is actually dying to self and living for Christ. The apostle Paul even called himself a bond servant and slave to Christ.

I challenge students to visualize placing everything they worry about and stress over in their hand and then imagine opening their hand and presenting all of it to God. As they do this I encourage them to let Him take away the things they don’t need and place the things they do need into their hand.

3. Dying to Self Literally Causes Us to Forget Ourselves.

I once counseled a student who was consumed with always wondering what others thought of him. I had to be honest and tell him most people struggle with the same thing … in other words those he was worried about impressing were actually not even thinking about him but were likely thinking only of themselves!

As a student, I found when I started getting more involved in my fraternity and helping minister to my brothers, I struggled less with personal issues. I wasn’t avoiding my issues, but the more I gave my time to helping minister to others, the more fulfillment I received. In other words, the more we sit around and do nothing (or stare at our phones), the more we compare ourselves to others which often leads to anxiety.

The art of the abundant life is finding our significance, not in what we can gain for ourselves, but through the investments we can make giving our lives away to others.

Tim Keller says it’s not that we should think less of ourselves but should think about ourselves less. He has written a short book on this very topic entitled, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness. This could be a great resource for you to give to a student.

4. Constantly Be Renewing Your Mind.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:6–8

A few months ago, my pastor was speaking on this passage and said something I had never thought of before:

“God is not trying to protect evil from coming to you so much as He is trying to protect your heart from going to evil things or thoughts.”

That makes so much sense! I naturally would run towards evil actions or thoughts if it were not for God’s protection in my life. This is one of the key reasons I spend regular time in the Word and memorizing passages like the one above.

5. Find True Community.

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” —Proverbs 18:1

While I was in college and ministering in my fraternity, I realized very quickly I needed Christian community. I made it a must to attend at least one campus ministry meeting a week as well as attending a local church. I got in a small group with several guys from different frats who were ministering in their chapters, and this was a highlight of my week.

Just like wolves will try to get the weaker animals away from the pack so they can attack them, the enemy wants to do the same to us. Also, the more time I spend in community with others, the more I realize I am not alone in my struggles. Most of my friends struggle with the same types of issues I do, and it has been so encouraging to see firsthand how they deal with their issues and overcome their personal hurdles.

6. Counseling and Medication May Need to Be an Option.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” — Deuteronomy 31:6

Although our students have the promises of God to stand on, there may be times when a student’s mind will not be able to move off of the fear or pain they are experiencing to focus on those truths. It is important to realize that sometimes counseling and/or medication may be the help our students need.

Learn to recognize which students may need more help than you or your ministry can give them. Network through your pastor or local mental health professionals to find doctors and counselors to refer students to. Familiarize yourself with the resources available on campus and in your area to support students’ mental and emotional health, and be ready to walk beside students in taking steps toward getting healthy.

Students who are struggling with anxiety or depression to the degree that they need professional help may need to step back from ministry commitments for a season. Extend grace and compassion, not confusing current inability with a lack of faithfulness.

Finally, I would encourage you to pray regularly and by name for the students you are ministering to.

Our students are in a battle bigger than they are. It’s also bigger than we are. Ephesians 6 makes it clear that prayer is our most powerful offensive weapon when fighting against the schemes of the Enemy.

Freedom and Depression

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

July 3, 2008

The question about freedom rolls around again as we celebrate our nations’ Independence Day on the fourth of July.

Normally we take for granted that we can get ourselves up, out of bed, get dressed and off to school or work.

There are many people who through not fault of their own are not able to get out of bed.

Right away people who have been hospitalized because of a heart attack, stroke, or car accident come to mind. They need to be bathed everyday and have all their needs cared for by nurses, nurses’ aids, orderlies, and volunteers. Doctors routinely visit to check on their patients.

One morning you have this overwhelming feeling that you just want to hide under the sheets. You feel as though you can keep the world shut out by staying under the sheets. You know the world around you is continuing at its normal fast pace. Your world has stopped. You have no interest in anything especially eating. I am not talking about sleeping in on a Saturday.

Let’s say this overwhelming feeling goes on for days, this may be a problem for a professional to evaluate. It could be depression. Those who suffer from depression prefer freedom from depression.

Depression has no single cause; often, it results from a combination of things. You may have no idea why depression has struck you or that there is help.

Whatever its cause, depression is not just a state of mind. It is related to physical changes in the brain, and connected to an imbalance of a type of chemical that carries signals in your brain and nerves. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters.

Some of the more common factors involved in depression are:

· Family history. Genetics play an important part in depression. It can run in families for generations.

· Trauma and stress. Things like financial problems, the breakup of a relationship, or the death of a loved one can bring on depression. You can become depressed after changes in your life, like starting a new job, graduating from school, or getting married. Trauma from an abusive situation where one feels trapped and there no way out could cause an enormous amount of stress, anxiety, and/or depression.

· Pessimistic personality. People who have low self-esteem and a negative outlook are at higher risk of becoming depressed. These traits may actually be caused by low-level depression (called dysthymia). These people see a glass half empty.

· Physical conditions. Serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, and HIV can contribute to depression, partly because of the physical weakness and stress they bring on. Depression can make medical conditions worse, since it weakens the immune system and can make pain harder to bear. In some cases, depression can be caused by medications used to treat medical conditions.

· Other psychological disorders. Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and substance abuse often appear along with depression.

Depression is absolutely treatable, no matter what the cause. Finding the underlying cause or causes can be a matter of trial and error, a process of elimination. Once the cause is found then a treatment plan is made. This plan could include medication. Medications don’t react the same way for all people. Don’t be discouraged if it takes time to find the right medication or dosage. There could be a set of identical twins with the same issues that receive the same amount of medication that could react differently.

It is important to know and listen to your body.

It is also important to know what you put into your body and how those things react with each other. This includes food and medicines. You have probably heard of the phrase garbage in, garbage out, it also applies to your body.

Computers don’t work well with broken, corrupt or competing files, neither does your body.


You have a right to know what you are putting into your body and what is does, ask if you don’t know.

There are support groups for people who suffer from depression or other medical conditions. Talking helps, somehow problems or mountains seem smaller when they are heard by a listening ear.

You could be a listening ear for someone by listening non-judgmentally twice as much as you speak.

Telling someone who suffers from depression to snap out of it is useless. They did not ask to be depressed and would prefer not to be depressed. Yelling at them because they are depressed will only push them away.

If you remember, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Apply it every day and your stress level will lower, so will those around you and more things will be accomplished. You will have a healing affect and freedom from depression.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/freedom-and-depressio/


Stress, Anxiety, Depression and Self Care

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

September 30, 2007, updated

Everyone is familiar with stress. Stress comes in various forms and degrees everyday. Some stress is good for us. When we experience great amounts of stress and our physical or mental functioning is affected that could be a problem.

Feeling like there are too many pressures and demands on you?

Losing sleep worrying about a project or task ahead of you? Eating on the run because your schedule is just too busy? You’re not alone; everyone experiences stress at times, – adults, teens and even kids. There are things we can do to reduce or manage stress.

When we feel “pumped” or “wired” or an increased amount of energy and alertness, this is a result of small doses of beneficial stress.

When the level of stress becomes too great for us to handle we can get “stressed out”, “burned out” or be at our “wits end”. That is when our physical well being could be compromised. We all handle stress differently and each has a different level of pressure we can safely handle. We must listen to our bodies. Symptoms that we feel may include: anxiousness, nervousness, distraction, excessive worry, or internal pressure.

Our outward appearance may start to change as we appear: unusually anxious or nervous, distracted, or self-absorbed.

If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time or the stress level increases we could experience: anxiety or panic attacks, a feeling of being constantly pressured, hassled, and hurried, irritability and moodiness, allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma, problems sleeping, drinking, smoking or eating too much, doing drugs, excessive fatigue, depression, could even think of hurting yourself or others, headaches, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, chest pains or pressure, racing heart, dizziness or flushing, tremulousness or restlessness, hyperventilate, or have a choking sensation, feeling of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and emptiness. If these symptoms persist or increase in severity or frequency seek medical help.

Call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room if your stress results in any of the following symptoms: thoughts of harming yourself or others, chest pain, fluttering or rapid heartbeats, headaches unlike your usual headaches, or any condition that you feel might cause you serious harm if not treated immediately.

Pressures that that become too intense or last too long or troubles that are shouldered alone can cause stress overload. Some things that could overwhelm us are: being bullied or exposed to violence or injury, relationship stress, family conflicts or the heavy emotions that can accompany a broken heart or death of a loved one, ongoing problems with work or schoolwork related to a learning disability or other problems, such as ADHD (once the problem is recognized and the proper support is given this stress usually disappears), or crammed schedules – such as not having enough time to rest and relax.

With all the above you might get the idea that we cannot do it alone. We are not designed to run at high speed all the time. We were designed for fellowship and to live in a community. A very wise person taught me to use my words. When we feel something is wrong we need to use our words to share our feelings in a safe setting. When we hold all these things in we become like a pressure cooker without a safety release valve and we could explode or implode. Exploding could hurt others or things around us. Imploding could do grave us great physical harm.

Remember to take care, eat right, slowly enjoying your meal, do everything in moderation, regularly exercise and really relax and rest.

Professional help is available, if needed, to help get on or stay on the right track. It is your body, listen to it, treat it well and it will treat you well.

More information and workshops on mental health was available at the NAMI State Convention Oct 132007 at the Sheraton in Framingham hosted by NAMI Greater Framingham. Oct 7-13 2007 was Mental Health Awareness Week.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2007/10/06/stress-anxiety-depression-and-self-care/

Surviving the Fire

High Park fire, Larimer County, CO (2012), Author US Air Force, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/usairforce/7462740970/, (PD as work of federal govt.)

Read the blogs of child abuse victims and those concerned for them.  Somewhere along the line, you will find mention of what the abuse damaged or destroyed outright.

Our innocence.  Our childhood.  Our peace of mind.  Our self-confidence.  Our self-esteem.  Our ability to trust.  Our capacity to select loving partners, and sustain healthy relationships.  Our faith.  Our voice.

And from far too many, the abuse took their very lives.

For many of us, what the abuse left behind was isolation, grief, anxiety, depression, rage, and a permanent sense of violation.

Unfortunately, that we will never be the women (or men) we might have been is not helpful information.  We are who we are…marked by these scars.

In some sense, the scars are our badges – if not of honor exactly, then certainly not of shame.  We were the ones sinned against, not the ones sinning, no matter how we were made to feel about the torture inflicted upon us.

As with the veteran who has lost a limb to war or the woman who has lost a breast to cancer, this is simply our reality now.

No single statement can characterize us all, except that we were blameless.

Some of us were victimized by priests; others, by family members or strangers.  Some of us pressed criminal charges against our abusers; some chose to remain (or were forced to remain) silent, sometimes for decades.

Some of us lived in denial, maintaining a painful status quo in our attempt to protect loved ones.  Some of us fled to the streets, from one kind of horror to another.  Some changed sexes or became sex addicts.  A few fled from sex, itself.

Some of us forgave; some never will.

The abuse did not make us bad citizens, bad neighbors, bad employees, or bad friends. Many of us became high achievers, first at school and later at work.

A surprising number of us have found a strength we did not realize we had.  We have found a way to use our anger to fuel the struggle against abuse and injustice; use our pain as a subject for art and literature.

A surprising number of us have reclaimed our joy.  We remember the past, but choose to focus on the present.

Somehow we managed to survive the onslaught against our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies.  Whether by luck or fate, intestinal fortitude or grace, we survived the fire.  We are here and entitled to live our lives.

Originally posted 10/19/14

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

https://avoicereclaimed.com/2018/05/27/surviving-the-fire-2/

Rediscover The Art Of Dadhood

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

May 24, 2021

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm (that they cause) does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” — T.S. Eliot This may be the way fathers act, but it is certainly not the way Dads act.

A lot goes into being a good Dad: Coaching of your partner through pregnancy and birth to bond to with your child is good. Learning to play with your infant even though he’ll never remember, is good. Counseling your teenage daughter about making smart choices is good.

Children are not helped, but rather hindered by the performance of mechanical acts of fatherhood. Being present is an empty suit without legitimately caring for your children and modeling good behavior. It does however model a bad parenting model.

Perhaps most importantly, Dads need to realize that their children are always watching, and that what they do matters. How well a Dad parents influences a child’s psychological, cognitive, and social development, and strongly steers them toward adulthood. How Dad and Mom disagree, discuss, argue, and then make up is important for children to learn things such as conflict resolution and the strength of the family unit. 

Why?

Because Dads really do matter to their children’s present and future.

Depressed Dads can create emotional wounds in their children. Depressed Dads may be able to perform the mechanical acts of fatherhood. Dadhood requires an “all in” boots on the ground engagement with their children. Dadhood can’t phone in or mail in their vote of ‘present’. Dadhood requires boots on the ground, in the trenches engagement with their children.

Studies show mass shooters had difficult childhoods and took Ritalin. Not all who took Ritalin become mass shooters. Have you read the warning labels? Medication is no substitute for Dadhood.  Some children appear to be ‘difficult” then get diagnosed with ADHD and fed Ritalin. Quite often the child is really screaming for boots on the ground, in the trenches engagement with dad.  In addition, “American psychiatrist Leon Eisenberg, who was the “scientific father of ADHD” and who said at the age of 87, seven months before his death in his last interview: “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease”” (1)

I have seen depressed Dads withdraw and pour themselves into their work resulting in a family in crises. I have also seen depressed Dads markedly improve by taking a break from work to focus on and truly engage with their children. Instead of focusing on their own depression they put their boots on the ground and jumped in the trenches and engaged with their children. The more anyone focuses on their depression, the more likely they will spiral downward into themselves.  Each time depressed Dads exhibited Dadhood they shed some depression. This boots on the ground all in engagement can start by simply spending time with your children sitting or walking outside in the fresh air.  This can work for depressed moms as well.  

An effective way of teaching is to continually point the child back to foundational principles rather than to list a set of dos and don’ts. Positive reinforcement is very effective for seeing continued good behavior.

Children can be at a greater risk if Dads live a far distance from their children, for any number of reasons. In that case a Dad figure can fill the gap.

Jesus was raised by a step-dad and he turned out well.

Here are some well known symptoms of depression which can include any of the following:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed have been attributed to depression.

Here is a helpful source of information about Depression at the link below:

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-symptoms-and-types

There are still many resources available to assist in becoming and remaining a Dad as fashioned as originally intended. Some of the most fulfilled Dads I know are the ones who put their boots on the ground, jump in the trenches and engage their children.

What have you got to loose, give it a try.

—-

 (1) https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/stepping-up-use-of-new-old-weapons/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2021/05/27/rediscover-the-art-of-dadhood/


VIDEO Mothers Are Special

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II May 4, 2021

Mothers and Grandmothers are some the most important people in our lives. They help share our character and beliefs. Sometimes, because of circumstances, the mother’s role is fulfilled by a Grandmother or a step-mother. Godly mothers with Godly fathers provide the best foundation for children in their formative years and as they grow up.

Mothers have a special position appointed by God.

She teaches, ministers, loves, and nurtures the next generation of citizens.  And she challenges and cajoles her children to do their best and be the best.

But few people take notice.  There will be no news stories proclaiming the virtues of a child being taught what it means to be loved, that an infant was hugged securely, or that the wonders of the classics were introduced to a young mind.  No one seems to care that a house was made into a home, or that a mere table with food was transformed into a place of fun.

It isn’t too late to restore the fine art of motherhood to its time-honored position in our society.  In spite of the current cultural hostility, lack of support from many husbands, and incredible pressure inside and outside the home, a real mom will continue to affirm the importance of motherhood. (1)

There are children who test the patience of even the strongest believers. Sometimes tough love is needed. You might consider this another prodigal son.

It is said that a young man became very profligate. He almost broke the hearts of his parents. The mother was actually about to die from the strain. Finally, one day he acted so shamefully that his father said to him, “We have done everything in our power for you. You have disgraced the family and are killing your mother. All that we do for you is in vain. I am sorry, but I must ask you to leave our home and never return.” The young man left.

The months and years went by. Finally the boy became so miserable and homesick it seemed he could not stand it. So he wrote his mother this letter: “Dear Mother: I am ashamed of my fearful conduct in the home. I can hardly stand to think I must never see you again. However, I do not know whether or not Father and you can forgive me. But I will be on train No. 2 that passes your home at 10:00 a.m. [Then he gave the day.] Now if you can forgive me and will take me back, I want you to hang a sheet out on the clothesline. I shall look as the train passes and, if I see the sheet, I will know that you will forgive me, and I will get off at the next station, just below the house, and come home.”

Well, what do you think she did? Not only did she hang out one sheet, but every sheet, towel, pillowcase and everything else white that she had. The clothesline, fence, and rosebushes were covered with sheets, towels, etc. Of course he came home, and, oh, such a welcome!

It was forgiveness in abundance. (2)

We can find our schedule is really full and forget the really important things in life. The following is an example.

A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.

As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother.

But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.”

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.

As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home.

She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.”

She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house. (3)

Mothers are ready for us. The Bible has many things to say about Mothers including the following.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”… (Proverbs 31:25-30)  Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

For those who were not Blessed with Godly parents or who otherwise endured rough times, do not despair there is healing available.  A rough upbringing can produce fear, anxiety, paranoia, PTSD or worse outcomes. A rough can be used as an excuse or can be overcome, that is a personal choice. Those who suffer, recover, and heal can help others who suffer.

Commemorations to honor mothers and motherhood have been happening for centuries and can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans who paid homage to their mother goddesses. Today, tributes to mothers occur all around the world at different times of the year, but the American version of Mother’s Day was started in May of 1908 by a woman named Anna Jarvis.

Mom needs a hug today.

References

(1)  Dr. James Dobson and Gary Bauer’s book, Children At Risk

(2) William Moses Tidwell, “Pointed Illustrations.”

(3) https://www.theholidayspot.com/mothersday/stories/a_short_story.htm

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2021/05/06/mothers-are-like-that-ya-they-are-2/

Jesus Shed His Blood Seven Times

For Your Total Deliverance

Your Depression. The first time Jesus shed His blood was in the Garden of Gethsemane where He was praying and saw the agony of the cross that He would suffer for your sins and mine. He asked God, the Father, to take this cup from Him. At that time He bagan to sweat blood from his forehead and said, “Not my will but thine be done.” Jesus was in a great state of depression. When He shed His blood from the forehead (Luke 22:42-44 NKJV), it was for your depression and mine. So, if we trust in Him and he results of his blood, we will not suffer depression. Most of the world, today, is suffering from one form or another of worry. Depression and worry are not the same but exemplify similar manifestations. Worry causes stress on the heart. The number one killer in the world today is heart failure or heart attacks! If we only had faith in the blood Jesus shed!

Ugliness. The second time Jesus shed His blood for you and I, was when the Roman soldiers beat His face and plucked out His beard. The Bible teaches us that the soldiers boxed Jesus’ face and with their hands pulled out His beard until you could no longer recognize Him. (Isaiah 51 and Isaiah 53 NKJV) His own people, the religious world at that time, took part in beating Him—by their accusations. For God so loved the world He sent His Son and called Hime Jehovah Macca, meaning the smitten God.(Isaiah 53 NKJV) His precious face had to be beaten because of our ugliness. Without salvation through Jesus Christ, you and I are ugly to God. But when we accept the results of the shed blood, God no longer sees our ugliness, but now sees the beauty of Christ in our faces.(Luke 22:63-64 KJV)

For Our Physical Healing. The third time Jesus shed His blood was when the soldier carried Jesus into a courtyard and tied Him to a whiping post. His hands were tied over His head and the rope ran through an iron rung about twelve feet above the ground. Then the rope was pulled until His whole body was stretched and He was upon His tiptoes like a ballet dancer, and stripped of all His clothing. The Roman soldier proceeded with a whip that had many leather strips. He would dip the whip into goat’s blood, which caused it to be very stickey. Then he would roll the whip in pieces of pottery and metal, so that when you were whipped it would cut you very badly! (Matthew 27:26)

“By His stripes we are healed.”

The Bible teaches that Jesus was struck with that awful whip. His back and sides were like raw meat. Isaiah 53:4-5, and 1 Peter 2:24 tell us with His stripes we are healed. If we only had faith in Jesus’ shed blood. He paid for our sicknesses upon His back.”By His stripes we are healed” uses the word rapha, widely used in the Bible to mean “healing,” most of the time physical healing. That passage was quoted in the gospel when Peter healed his mother of a fever, a physical illness. So as I am typing this; do believe it refers to all diseases (mental, physical and spiritual) The author, himself, has witnessed many people who were dying of cancer, aids, and other horrible diseases come to the knowledg of the results of Jesus’ shed blood and be healed. I have, in my body, experienced many healings through the stripes on the bakc of Jesus Christ.

Curse Over Our Lives. The fourth time Jesus shed His blood was when they crowned His head with thorns. In Genesis, because of Adam’s rebellion, God put a curse upon he earth in the form of thorns and thistles. We have all at one time, rebelled agains God’s laws and commandments. The Bible teaches in Galatians 3:13Colossians 1:13-14 that through the shed blood God has redeemed us from the curse of the law. The word ‘Redeemed’ means to be bought back tor to be purchased from. Because of the blood Jesus shed, you and I have been redeemed from the curse. If only you will believe it!

God gave His Son because He loves you.

For Our Sorrows. The fifth time Jesus shed His blood was when they place a heavy patibulum on His already whipped and bleeding back. Then made Him walk up the pathway to Calvary Hill. This pathway is called, even today, the Via Dela Rosa or “The Way of Sorrows.” This heavy pantibulum caused the blood to flow more from the back of Jesus. His blood was shed for mine and your sorrows or burdens.(Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV) If you are burdened downs with dadness and grief, Jesus will lighten your load and give you joy and peace. (John 16:3-24 and John 16:33 NKJV) You are probably thinking you are not worthy of this Man’s suffering, I did. But the truth is no one is worthy. God gave His Son because He loves you. Just have faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

To The Cross. The sixth time Jesus shed His blood, was on top of Calvary when they drove spikes, or nails into His hands and feet. The bible teaches us in Colossians 1:17-23Colossians 2:6-14 when they nailed Jesus to the cross. If we have faith in the blood He shed, then we would understand our sins were also nailed to that cross. Praise God forever!

Born Again. The seventh time Jesus shed His blood was, again on the cross, when the Roman soldier took a spear and pierced His side. Blood and water came forth. To me, this is the most beautiful part. The picture of this is in Genesis, when God took Adam, put him to sleep, took a rib from his side to make woman, or a bride for Adam. Yes, you can see it now! Jesus was put to sleep and pierced in His side so the church could be born out of His death, burial and resurrection. The Bible calls Jesus the last Adam (a quickening spirit) or the second man, being the Lord from Heaven. (I Corinthians 15:45-49) Because of our faith in the shed blood of Jesus we are born Again! The Bible says you must be born again to enter Heaven’s gates. (John 3:5-6 NKJV) Accept what Jesus’ blood has done for you and be born again.

It Is Finished. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30 NKJV) Jesus took His blood to heaven (Hebrews 10) and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat of God, so that you and I can enter heaven’s gates boldly and with confidence (Hebrews 10:19 NKJV), knowing that we are the sons and daughters of the Living God and His blood is forever working on mine and your behalf.

I found this in a book on my shelf entitled Words Are Seeds by Richard Owens. I hope you find a blessing in this. Happy Resurrection Sunday! Until next week…Blessings and Peace.

https://rhemalogy.com/2021/04/04/jesus-shed-his-blood-seven-times/


The Battle Is The Lord’s

Have you ever felt like that? It seemed as if everyone was against you. Maybe everything was going wrong and you were feeling the dread of what was next.

Some of us fall into depression just thinking about, “Why?” We dwell in its place. It’s a place of worry. It’s a place of anxiety. It’s a place of fear. No one is healthy in these places. Maybe you know this place more than others.

Jehoshaphat did not dwell in the place of fear. He did have fear, but he immediately “set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. He did not go through this alone. All of Judah sought the Lord!

God answers prayer! He said, “you will not need to fight in this battle.”

This was God’s answer to their prayers:
“Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10 ~NKJV

Neither do you need to battle. Just pray!

After much prayer and fasting, the Spirit of the Lord spoke:
“And he said, ‘Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.’” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 ~NKJV

https://chomskyweb.wordpress.com/2021/04/30/the-battle-is-the-lords/


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