Mental Health/Emotions

The New Year: With the Hope?

"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again."
~Lewis Carol, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

The new year: it is a minefield. There can be this weird concoction of hope and discouragement, effort and apathy.

A social media post, once again, caught my attention concerning this point. It was of the literary figure, Alice, from Carol's classic work, essentially binging.

And this was the image's caption...

"I can relate to Alice. She just keeps randomly eating and drinking everything she sees with the hope that it might actually solve all her problems."

Are You a Slave of Fear?

"...We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace." Jeremiah 30:5


"Fear" is spoken of over 500 times in the Bible. So, to me, that signifies it's a topic worth noting.

I believe the 1980's science fiction film, "Bladerunner" makes a powerful statement on fear.

There are various discussions about the story and the complexity of the Roy Batty character in particular. He's often viewed as the villain. But, if we dig deeper, perhaps there's more to the story.

Batty is a kind of futuristic robot who has an expiration date of four years. This tactic is implemented to ensure that, in the event a robot develops troublesome feelings, emotions and agendas, humanity is safeguarded by the possible destruction the robot could cause.

However, Roy Batty has apparently experienced these turbulent human emotions firsthand; hence, he is viewed as that much-feared threat to human beings.

Therefore, the "bladerunner," a robot killer for hire, is assigned the task of destroying him before it's too late.

And, after Batty's rampage and search for knowledge about his existence, he eventually shares his observation on fear.

Workshop: Acceptance the Pathway to PeacePremium Content

Karla Downling is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, Bible study teacher, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Change My Relationship. Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from the chains of dysfunction, scriptural misunderstanding, and emotional pain personally and relationally. Her messages provide practical solutions based on biblical truths that bring balance and clarity to life and relationship issues. She also desires to equip ministry leaders and lay counselors to reach out more effectively to those that are struggling with difficult relationships. Karla’s website is http://ChangeMyRelationship.com.

karladowning: Ok. Let's start off with a definition of acceptance. It is "taking or receiving what is offered, giving approval, believing, or accepting. It is putting out your open hand and allowing the thing or circumstance or person to be put into it and then closing your hand and pulling it toward you. The meaning of "accept" is "to receive as adequate; to receive with approval or favor; to take or receive."

The opposite of acceptance is refusal or disapproval. It is like putting out your hand and pushing it away. think about your life and the things you don't want; don't like; struggle with accepting. Are you opening your hand to receive them or pushing them away? I know for myself that I pushed them away for years and struggled with refusing to accept them. It took lots of energy.

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Addiction & Mental Issues - Coming Out of the Dark

The creation story from the first chapter of Genesis tells of God creating light out of the darkness. Light is a symbol of hope and of new life throughout scriptures. The Gospel of John proclaims,in John 1:5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. The foundation of our faith is with God's victory over darkness. Darkness can be terrifying for those experiencing uncontrollable and unmanageable urges.

With God's victory, love comes out of that darkness and this love gradually draws us back into the light of this world and it's realities. For people experiencing a fixation on negative behavior, we can be instruments of God's love by extending care, compassion and hope to those who are still in the grip of darkness and despair.

Unfortunately, in Matthew 16:21-23 we are told how easily, even a disciple of Christ can become the means of communication from demons. Peter hadn't realizedthe purpose of Jesusministry as he spoke out, but, Jesus knowing Peter's words, spoke to satan, who was influencing the disciple's action. His verbal outburst was against God's will that Jesus should suffer and die, and without recognizing it, Peter permitted himself to become a willing tool for satan!In v23 Jesus rebukes Satan, who is darkness.

When dealing with addictions, there may be demonic influences that cloud the inner "voices of reason" and try to convince you that wrong is right, and that evil is good and pleasurable. These are Satan's dark angels at work. I have coined the phrase "The Addictive Mental Process" -- that process of thinking is constantly with us. Some of today's most respected theologians can help you better understand the dangers, but it is Jesus Christ that diagnoses and prescribes the correct action. The rest is up to each one of us, (free will) that will govern the behavior that follows. This is the only way that we might take back control of our thoughts.

Restoring the Church as a Primary Care Giver

Ten years ago, few of us would have considered chemical dependency, sexual addiction, or eating disorders suitable topics for polite conversation within the church community. These were among the "silent issues" in the church. Today, however, addiction, compulsive behavior and abuse are widely recognized as problems of enormous personal and social significance. Consider these statistics (Washton, Bundy, Willpowers Not Enough, Harper Perenial, 1998).

  • At least six million Americans are addicted to cocaine.
  • Between five million and ten million are addicted to prescription drugs.
  • Ten million Americans are alcoholics.
  • More than 50 million Americans are addicted to nicotine.
  • Countless more are addicted to television, shopping, exercise, sports, and even cosmetic surgery.
  • It is estimated that every addict directly affects at least ten other people.
  • Divorce impacts Christian families as often as secular couples.
  • Abortion is the choice in 1 in 5 pregnancies, since 1973 Roe vs.Wade over 25 million performed.

Emerging Awareness

The Christian community is not immune to these difficulties. Many life-long Christians struggle with addiction. In addition, many people come to Christ hoping to find freedom from the bondage of addiction. Often these new Christians expect their problems will immediately disappear as a result of their conversions. Eventually, however, many discover that true healing requires a lengthy process of righting the wrongs of their past. Some of these people who suffer from addiction, compulsive behavior, or abuse find it difficult to be part of a church community. They may find that within their church, self-defeating behavior is denied, ignored, or minimized by those who use religion to shield themselves from life's realities

Pastors and church leaders are becoming

The Still, Silent Challenge

Do We Sit With Our Hearts?

I admit it. I have a difficult time being still.

I like background noise, action and movement. This probably explains why I am pathetic at relaxation exercises, Tai Chi and yoga. I just can't seem to settle down. The room may be completely quiet, yet my thoughts, "to do" lists and anxieties are often at record-setting decibel levels.

And this noise is often a part of the addiction package. Why? Because it's distracting. And anything that promises to provide escape from reality is tantalizing.

Urgent? Why??

I must admit, my favorite question is "why?"

I ask it a lot: of God, of others, of myself, of life.

And yes, I ask the why question concerning the tricky addiction/recovery issue.

Author, Jonathan Lockwood Huie really takes that matter to task, using two words.

"Urgent? Why?"

It's not merely a question; it's a statement... about the significance of urgency.

And this is right up addiction's alley. The fix driving the addiction- why?

    Why is this my answer?

    Why will this solve things?

    Why will nothing else do?

    Why must I be instantly healed?

It is that last question which brought two scripture passages to my mind: Jairus' daughter and Lazarus.

Are You Stuck in a Hole?

Imagine you're running a marathon. You're monitoring the situation, carefully maintaining a reasonable pace based on ability and training. You've prepared your body and mind for the race; you know the signs that tell you to run faster or slower, when to drink or eat.

You expect the unavoidable ebbs and flows of mental and physical energy. Hills and headwinds will increase difficulty in some places; sunshine and tailwinds will provide a few easy, enjoyable stretches. You're eager to confront exhilaration and trial as fundamental elements of the competition.

You also know about "the wall," that point where you'll be tested nearly beyond your ability. You anticipate that burning muscles and aching lungs will challenge desire and discipline. You expect the urge to give up, to stop and allow the pain to subside. The lure of immediate relief will entice you to cast aside goals and dreams, surrendering the satisfaction of the finish line in return for an end to the struggle.

Then, without any warning, you fall into a hole.

The publicized course didn't mention this complication. You didn't train for it, couldn't see it coming, didn't prepare survival supplies or pack climbing equipment. There's no cell phone reception in the hole.

You try everything you know to escape from the hole on your own, but

Fear of Disapproval

I recently came across an image post on the internet. It was a female's body, in workout gear. And it was accompanied by this statement:

"For Every 'Comment', I'll do 10 sit ups, For Every 'Like', I'll do 5 squats. Go, go, go!"

Furthermore, this post was also followed by a series of emoticons to emphasize its message: three arm curled biceps and one gold trophy.

(Sigh... Here we go again...)

Exercise, goals, striving for improvement/perfection...This is where I squirm, faced with posts as these.

Indeed, there is much emphasis on fitness in today's culture. There are countless gyms, trainers, exercise equipment, programs, workout clothes and shoes, as well as a variety of athletic activities from which to choose. It's overwhelming.

Yet there's still a rise in eating disorders and in such health issues as

Another's Critique is Not the Final Say

I recently caught a viral video of a turtle repeatedly head butting a cat. The feline, annoyed, swishing its tail, eventually got up and moved. And the turtle was on its way. Is it a lesson in adversity? In persistence? In forging ahead, despite negative feedback?

Other people hold mirrors up to us. And a significant mirror came to me in the form of a critic to my beloved baby, my book, "Thin Enough."

They say we're supposed to embrace the criticism and the ugly truth. Well saying that, doing that and feeling great about it don't necessarily happen all at the same time. But criticism and unpleasant comments still occur, often while we're in the middle of something as challenging as recovery from a compulsion, addiction or disorder.

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