The D’s of Depression – Depend on God, Part 3

You attract the right  things when you have  a sense of who you are   Amy PoehlerWe have been addressing overcoming depression for the last couple of weeks. There is nothing, in my opinion, more essential in overcoming depression than knowing who you truly are.

I know that overcoming depression is not an easy task. For me, utilizing the strength that God was willing to lend me and relying on His guidance were key in my recovery.

Listening to God’s voice does not always come naturally. It often has to be worked at. So often, we are in the mire of depression because we have allowed ourselves to become overwhelmed physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

There is no better way to get back on track that to use God’s power to heal and instruct. He knows what we need and He can both strengthen us and guide us to the resources we need.

For some, realizing that God can and does speak to His children may be a foreign concept. I assure you that He does and can talk to us. I have been the beneficiary of His guidance many times. It was through His guidance that my husband became a chiropractor and I found and received the help I needed to overcome both my depression and my 24/7 migraines.

I cannot promise miraculous healing but I promise that as you seek and learn to listen to God’s messages to you, you will find strength, comfort and answers!

Today, I continue with the series written by Rev. Mark Roberts and listening to the spirit and the divine guidance of God. I hope you will enjoy his thoughts and I hope as you come to know yourself better, that you will find God, find yourself and find healing! My prayers are with you!:

Divine Guidance and Spiritual Direction

In my opinion, spiritual direction can be a valuable means through which God can guide us. Allow me to explain what I mean and why I think this way.

For most Protestant and/or evangelical Christians, the phrase “spiritual direction” is an unfamiliar one. The title of “spiritual director” conveys very little and can in fact be misleading. Those who lack understanding of what a spiritual director does might be apt to misunderstand the role because of what the term “director” conveys. We might picture a spiritual director as somebody who “directs” our spiritual lives, giving orders, telling us what to do, and so on. We might even envision the kind of authoritarian discipleship that was popular while I was in college, but has been rejected by most Christians as unbiblical and unhealthy. This is not what spiritual direction is all about.

Folks in the Catholic and higher-church Anglican traditions, as well as a growing number of Protestants, would be much more familiar with the notion of spiritual direction, whether or not they have personally experienced it. I first became familiar with the whole idea of spiritual direction through the novels of Susan Howatch. In her Church of England Series, sometimes called the Starbridge Series, her characters, who are Anglican Christians in some sort of crisis, are “in spiritual direction,” that is, they are regularly seeing a spiritual director. The chief task of the director is to help them discern God’s presence and guidance, both of which they need quite desperately. (Who doesn’t?)

Howatch’s portrayal of spiritual direction is sometimes more animated than reality, but she basically hits the nail on the head. The spiritual director’s job is not to give directions so much as to help someone pay attention to God’s directions. Thus, spiritual direction is a process that helps people to discern and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit.

In general, spiritual directors are wise, experienced, spiritually-sensitive Christians. They may or may not be ordained ministers, though most spiritual directors have been specifically trained and credentialed. Their training may include reading lots of spiritual classics, taking extended time for personal spiritual growth, seeing a spiritual director, being in a group with fellow trainees, and doing spiritual direction as a supervised intern.

In the last thirty years or so, Christians outside of the Catholic (or Anglo-Catholic) tradition have become more familiar with spiritual directions. This may be a result of the lowering of the wall between the Protestant and Catholic traditions. It may also be the result, in particular, of the popularity of the writings of Henri Nouwen (a Roman Catholic priest) and Susan Howatch (an Anglican novelist). For basic information on Catholic spiritual direction, visit Catholic Spiritual Direction. For a Protestant/Reformed perspective, see this informative discussion by the Rev. Kenton Smith.

I began seeing a spiritual director in 2006. I did so because it seemed like a good way for me to grow in my relationship with God. My expectations were more than realized, as I had the privilege of a wise companion in my spiritual pilgrimage. It was good to have a place to sort out my joys and frustrations as a Christian, and to have help in discovering God’s presence in my life. Though I did not begin spiritual direction with the thought that I’d be changing jobs, my spiritual director was invaluable when I was trying to figure out if God was guiding me to leave Irvine Presbyterian Church and join the team at Laity Lodge in Texas.

My experience confirms the fact that spiritual direction is not the same as counseling or therapy, even if both counselor and counselee are Christians. Though some of the methods are the same, honest sharing and sensitive listening, a counselor focuses on the individual and his or her needs, experiences, hurts, etc. In most counseling, there is quite a bit of emphasis on discovering historical and psychological causes for current feelings and behaviors. So, if I’m feeling lots of anger towards a colleague at work, for example, a counselor might help me see that this colleague reminds me of my father, and therefore my anger may be more about my relationship with my father than my relationship with my colleague. A good counselor would take me a step further, helping me to see my colleague more clearly and relate to him more fairly. A spiritual director might also be interested in the roots of my anger. But his or her focus wouldn’t be in the past, or even in my feelings and behaviors. Rather, a spiritual director would help me to discover God’s presence in my current experience. This might include finding God’s power to be less angry, or to communicate my anger more appropriately. But a spiritual director would want me to consider what God might be saying to me in my anger, and how I might experience God’s peace in a way that helps me deal with my anger in a healthy, even a godly way.

Given what I have experienced in spiritual direction, and given what I’m seeing in the Protestant/evangelical/Reformed world in which I spend most of my time as a Christian, I expect that the popularity of spiritual direction will greatly increase among folks in my tradition. There is a longing in people for spiritual growth and spiritual guidance. Spiritual direction can help satisfy this longing, and it is surely one way in which God can direct us through the Spirit. Moreover, though you can’t find the title of “spiritual director” in Scripture, the notion of discerning God’s guidance in relationship with other Christians is central to the New Testament understanding of the Christian life. The best spiritual directors both reflect this biblical understand and use Scripture in the direction process.

Today’s article was written by Mark. D. Roberts and is shared from the following website: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/how-does-god-guide-us/

 

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Become Someone You Can Be Proud Of…

In Contrast to the  institutions of the world, which teach us to know  something, the plan of  salvation and the gospel  of Jesus Christ challenge us to become someone   Dallin H. Oaks

Happiness is a choice! Self-Improvement is not a once in a lifetime event but, in order to be truly happy, it must be a continual process throughout a lifetime.

Worldwide acclaim and lofty accomplishments do little for our happiness if we are not happy and content with the person we know ourself to be. True happiness comes when we are our own best friend and we like (love) being in our own company.

In heaven, I saw that the most important accomplishments we make on earth are not the ones that grab headlines but, instead, are the ones that bring love, peace, and improvement to the world and those around us.

God will swap a loving hug that lifts another over a prestigious title any day!

I hope and pray that your life is full of becoming someone wonderful! I hope you enjoy today’s story!

The Happy Dervish

Once, a shah was riding in his palanquin through the town, looking through the window at the scurrying people. Suddenly, he saw a lonely dervish sitting in the middle of the crowd, who was smiling and looking happy about something. The dervish was dressed poorly, and except the saucer for hand-outs and a road script he had nothing else besides him. The shah road past him and soon forgot what he saw.

After a few days, the shah had to go the same way again, where he saw the same dervish again, completely happy, dozing with blissfully closed eyes.

The next day, shah chose the same way on purpose, to see if the dervish will be in his place and again the image was the same. Intrigued, shah was going the same way almost every day and every time he found the dervish in the same spirit.

Finally, unable to stand it anymore, shah came out from the palanquin and addressed the imperturbable dervish with these words, “Why are you always smiling? Almost every day I see you here and it seems that you are absolutely happy.”

“Exactly, my master.” said the dervish with a smile.

Shah was surprised and asked, “Why are you happy? Do you have any money?”

“I don’t have anything, my master. Maybe during the day a little bit will fall in for food.”

“Do you have a home or a family?”

“Neither this and nor that. I wander the world as the wind.”

“Maybe then, you have good heath?”

“Absolutely not, my master, from the cold of the night my bones ache often and almost all of my teeth have fallen out.”

“What makes you so happy then? Tell me. Maybe your recipe for happiness will be useful to me. I have everything, but I’m unhappy.”

“God never sends more challenges for one person that he can’t handle. And burdens a person only with those circumstances, which at that moment, are most useful for his development. The circumstances in which the person is – is the place for spiritualization. I accept that the best thing for me now is what I am, where I am and what is happening with me. I accept it with gratitude and a smile. If necessary, with resistance and patience, and if possible, I try to understand what God is trying to say to me with it and in which direction should I move with my development. The realization of it doesn’t make me absolutely happy, but I have a clear horizon opening in front of me, free from the rainy curtains and filled with the sunny light of awareness.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.inspirationalstories.eu/stories/inspirational-stories-about-happiness/

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You Deserve Your Love…

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and afftection. Buddha A lot has been written about Loving Yourself – also called self-esteem. More should be written. More anxiety, more depression, more sadness and more misery could be overcome just by an increase of loving ourselves.

Too many individuals talk to themselves using words and voices that they would not use on their worst enemy.

God does not want us to beat ourselves up…and loving our self is not the same as conceit.

We each are a divine gift to this world – a gift created by God and shared by him as well.

This weekend, I hope you will look into your heart – identify all of the garbage and have a soul cleaning. You deserve to have joy and you deserve to be loved! Yet, if you don’t truly love yourself, it is next to impossible to have healthy, loving relationships with others!

I hope you will give yourself a hug and a pat on the back for all of your good qualities and have patience with yourself on all of those things you need to work on.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy today’s story!

This Uplifting Story Proves You Can CHOOSE Your Mood

This story was originally published on HerAfter.com, a website for women that shares inspiring articles on self-improvement and advice on becoming your best. You can read the original here.

A few hours after my parents told me that I had cancer, I went to the movies.

It sounds strange, but I was 17, and all I could do was keep cancer from taking over my life. That effort would start with keeping it from ruining my afternoon. I had plans. To live, in fact, and I was going to go through with them. Naivety is such a blessing when it offers such unfounded courage.

So this was my 17-year-old logic for why I had no business sitting at home and crying about cancer when the world was waiting. A bright, bold world that I had known I wanted to be part of, and in the light of new risks, I wanted it even more. You can read the full story of my diagnosis here, but for now, let us digest these strange circumstances with open eyes:

First, that the power the mind has to control our mood is unlimited. We forget this when we’re confronted with priorities, stress, time constraints. But if you can tell a clueless 17 year old that her life is in danger, and she refuses to be scared, then I’m quite certain the possibilities for you are endless.

Second, that in these little moments of clarity, when all that truly matters becomes glaringly apparent, and a basis for our most natural and self-aware intentions come to light, we should show a little gratitude. We should be grateful that we have the foresight to remember what truly matters, especially in the face of great adversity. In this story, my clarity continued through the afternoon…

Standing in the mall downtown waiting for the show, I found myself in the center of the theater complex. People bustled from one side to the other, one store to the next. It was Christmas time, and so even more busy and chaotic than usual. Reality might have well been just a portrait in motion: just in front of me, dreamily, and not quite touchable. I stood, feet planted in the marble lobby of this massive building, words and energies swirling around like water colors, moving in currents in every direction. Everyone had wishes on their lips, and wants on their lists, a concern for everyone they loved attached to their wallets. But I couldn’t make out a single thing. It wasn’t that the room spun around me, but still I became the center of it. Or maybe centered by it, the room and the world all around me in every direction.

 

This was the second truly profound moment of stillness — the first being while my parents told me the diagnosis, and I realized I could interject with “No, I’m not going to be scared.” Those little pockets of silence, the energy vibrating in pulses through your bones. The mind unattached and determined.

I know that you know the feeling. It’s waiting just at the moment when your tears take a pause. Or just after you’ve jumped into the lake, free floating just under the surface, and all stands still right before you come gasping up for air. Or right after the words “it’s over“ have left his mouth, and you’re not sure what to say, now that you’ve heard the words you were most afraid to hear…

Have you noticed that little pause? That little quiet moment that the universe gives you, like a hush across all the world. When you can see, even within the deepest pain, that the world still continues to spin around you, but you’re given a moment of total stillness…

This is what 17-year-old me was realizing, brave and hopeful. All a person can do is realize your physical presence, from head to do, and all the space around you that extends endlessly in every direction. Don’t worry about the past, don’t fret about the future. For now, just stand still, and breathe deeply, because THAT is your moment to choose.

In my moment, I’m just a girl, a girl who’s very sick, but a girl who’s right here right now, and is certain of what she’ll attempt to do. Though all this time I thought I understood everything about the world in a manageable way, but in truth all I am is a single entity. Really, I am just standing, pulsating, watching the water colors fly by, and thankfully the world is giving just a brief break in the chaos to help me look outward… Oh what a gift it truly is.

These still moments are just proof life’s endless love for us. A quiet little pocket in which we’re given the power to choose any one direction: fear, anger, hope, bravery, forgiveness, love. These little moments that we experience all alone, whether painful or joyful, are gifts that remind us the power we have to write our life’s story. And of the moment we are living in, a moment always in motion.

So much of our time and energy is absorbed with reaching for what we want to be, or fleeing from what we hope we aren’t. Whenever I’m online pinning for inspiration, I can see it. All the positive messages emblazoned on mugs and t-shirts and Instagram photos. All these words to remind us to work hard and keep focused, and how capable we are of getting to where we want to be! Oh if only it were as easy as a mug on our desk to make us a hero of our own lives!

But silence speaks the truth. It so softly whispers of our power to choose our mood, our action and our reaction. When we listen, listen listen… sometimes only because we’re begging the moment to move faster and end already, but it doesn’t… We realize this moment: Here we are. Right here right now, reading this, sharing my story with yours. And all the happy mug messages of “she believed she could and she did” don’t make any sense anymore. Because all “now” can say to us is “there she is.” And all we can say back is “okay here, right now, that is where I’ll start from…”

It’s ever a journey onward, whether facing backwards or forward. The moment is always moving. But when you get the gift of sudden stillness, or better yet if you can train yourself to stop, take a look around, and put yourself at center again, you’ll open your eyes and hearts to much more than you ever thought possible…

 

Embrace your power to choose your mood in three simple steps:

 

 

  • STOP

Take a breath in. Freeze the thoughts that are coming in — the fears, the anxieties, the worries, the excitements. Just stop and be still and let the breath be your focus.

  • LOOK AROUND

What is really happening right now? Not the fears of what you think might happen, not the worries about the future. What’s really happening? Regardless of the fight you’re in or the situation you’re trying to solve, what is really tangible here, now, with you?

  • LISTEN

What does your heart say? What feels right? What is the reaction your highest self would offer? Give your trust to the wisdom of life, and stop trying to over-plan what happens next too much. Have faith that the answers are presenting themselves even as you try to invent them, and let yourself be a channel for whatever life might have in store for you…

And, most sobering of all, please ask yourself:

What would your entire life look like if you embraced the power to CHOOSE your attitude, your mood, and your reactions, rather than let fear or doubt run your life?

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One of the Greatest Gifts You Can Give Your Child…

One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is to help them find their talents. Sean CoveryI love children! I love their freshness and their unencumbered awe of the world!

It always makes me sad when I see a child question their worth and begin to doubt that they have any worthwhile abilities. (Truthfully, it makes me sad to see adults question their worth and abilities as well.)

I believe we all have a special obligation to help children believe in themselves and to help them develop their talents and gifts.

Imagine a world in which children and adults alike knew their worth and celebrated their god-given talents and gifts!

I think today’s story would be great to share with children! It does a wonderful job of helping children understand that, oftentimes, developing strengths and talents does not come without some adversity and difficulties.

I hope you will enjoy it and share it if you get a chance!

The Seeds

Once upon a time there were four seeds who were good friends of each other. Taken up by the wind they finally landed in a jungle clearing. There they remained, hidden on the ground, hoping they would be able to grow up and become beautiful trees.

But when the first seed began germinating, they realized it wouldn’t be such an easy task. In that clearing there lived a group of monkeys, and the smallest monkeys would amuse themselves by throwing bananas at any plant they noticed was starting to grow. Using this game, the monkeys learned how to throw bananas and they also kept the clearing free of vegetation.

They threw so many bananas at that first seed that it was almost split in two. And when it told the other seeds what happened, they all agreed it would be better to wait for that group of monkeys to move on, before they attempted to grow.

Well, they all thought that, apart from one, who thought she should at least attempt it. And when she tried she was pelted with bananas, and was left folded over in two. The other seeds got together and asked her to stop trying, but that little seed was completely determined to become a tree, and time and again she would try and try. On each new occasion the little monkeys had slightly improved their aim, and so the little seed ended up doubled over yet again.

But the seed didn’t give up. Every time they pelted her with bananas, she tried even harder, despite her friends begging her to stop, and telling her to wait until the monkeys left. And so, for days, weeks and months the little plant was attacked by the monkeys, and she always ended stooped and doubled over. For a few days she would manage to avoid the bananas, but then the next day some monkey would hit her, and it would all start over again.

And then, one day, she didn’t double over. She was hit by a banana, and then another, but none of them managed to make her stoop. She had taken so many blows, and been doubled over so many times, that she was full of hard knots and scars that helped her to grow more strongly than the other seeds. So, her slim trunk got thicker and more resistant, until it could withstand the impact of a banana. And she was already so well developed that nor could the little monkeys uproot her from the ground. And there she stayed, growing, growing and growing.

Thanks to the extraordinary strength of her trunk she could continue overcoming all difficulties, until she became the most majestic tree in the jungle. Meanwhile her friends remained hidden in the ground, and they continued as ever, hoping that those horrible monkeys would abandon the clearing, never realizing that those very same monkeys were the only ones capable of strengthening the seeds’ trunks by their method of throwing bananas, something that would prepare the seeds for all the problems they would confront during their growth.

Story written by: Pedro Pablo Sacristan

Story shared from the following website: https://freestoriesforkids.com/children/stories-and-tales/seeds

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Adversity – It Is Not What Happens to You…

It is not what happens to you but What happens Within you that counts

We all have adversity in our lives. Admittedly, some have greater loads of adversity to carry and to deal with in their lives but no one escapes the grasp of adversity.

Yet, it is adversity that makes us strong, that teach us lessons, and that can reveal the masterpiece that lies within each of us.

As you read today’s story, I hope you will remember the amazing potential that lies within you!:

The artist Michelangelo often stirred up the opposition of the contemporary artists of his day. Many of them envied his magnificent abilities. One example was the architect Bramante.

Pope Julius retained Michelangelo to build him a splendid tomb. Michelangelo gladly accepted the project and spent eight months in a marble pit personally cutting and selecting the most perfect stones. When he returned, he found the pope had second thoughts. Bramante had turned Pope Julius against the project. The Pope cancelled it.

Later the idea for another special project entered the Pope’s mind. Bramante saw the project as a time consuming trap for which there would be little public recognition. Bramante recommended Michelangelo for the job.

The great artist saw the trap. He knew what Bramante was up to. He wished to turn the project down but did not want to refuse the Pope’s request. So Michelangelo went to work. He spent many years doing the slow and tedious labor the project required. It was the Sistine Chapel.

The inspiration that flowed through Michelangelo can likewise flow through any human being. That is what the inspiration wants to do. It cannot be stopped. It is a living, powerful river that easily circumvents all obstacles.

Michelangelo collected his inner forces for a complete victory. Likewise, we must not fear to face the trickery of some people and expose it for what it is. This is not negative, but intelligent protection and spiritual perception.

In his many books on inner development author Vernon Howard refers to Michelangelo several times. He quotes him as saying, “The more the marble wastes, the more the statue grows.” And, “I released the statue from the stone.” He chiseled away all that was unnecessary, and David emerged.

By: Tom Russell

Story shared from the following website: http://www.inspirationalstories.com/7/715.html

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