Posts Tagged ‘Help’

In God’s gates

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

A new study finds that faith or religion can do more to provide “sustained happiness” than other types of social activities, like taking a class, volunteering for charity, or even playing sports.  Writing for TODAY, Eun Kyung Kim[i] explains that “Going to church, mosque or synagogue regularly often provides a more reliable boost in mental welfare than belonging to an active group like a book club, political organization or a sports team.”

According to researcher Mauricio Avendano of the London School of Economics (LSE) and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. “The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life.”  American psychologist Jennifer Harstein added that religion tends to have longer lasting power than other types of activities for many people.  Religion has permanence in our life.  As she said, “Our religious affiliation is something that’s longer term. You can go, you can leave, it’s always there.  It’s sustained, like the happiness, whereas a sports group ends. It might be seasonal. Or a volunteer opportunity might end.”

While sports, politics, or hobbies can play an important role in our lives, religion tends to reach a deeper level for us.  As Harstein explained, “We know that spirituality is something that really helps people feel like they find that higher power, they find that center, that groundedness”

The study from LSE study also found that religion also helped ease symptoms of depression and help the sick cope better with their illness. One of the reasons this is so is because houses of worship often help lessen burdens for people.  When we go to church we get to present our burdens to God, and share them with people who care about us and who pray, support, and encourage us.  That gives us a powerful boost even in the most discouraging of circumstances.  This is something that social clubs, sports, or politics can’t ever do for us.

Father God, may I be blessed as I enter within your gates weekly, and may I also be a helper to those that come to your courts for help.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/study-religion-faith-can-help-provide-sustained-happiness-t39036

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When you should seek help – 4

You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. Exodus 23:2 (NKJV)

Another time Kristen Kansiewicz suggests you should consider seeing a professional Christian counselor is when conflict becomes repetitive or escalated.  As she explains, the sad thing is that “too many couples or families wait until things have fallen apart before seeking counseling. Some only go to counseling as a last-ditch effort or to prove that they ‘tried’ to make things work.”

You should not wait until you are at the end of your rope; seek counseling when you notice conflict that is repetitive, cyclical or it is escalating.  When it seems like you continue to argue and fight about the same thing every day for days, weeks, or months on end, it’s time to see a professional who can help you uncover the root of the conflict, teach you new communication strategies, and guide the process of rebuilding trust.

Continual family conflict can develop into such things as depression or anxiety, so it is important to get help before the conflict takes over your emotional life.

Anytime You Just Need to Talk.  Kansiewicz says that “there is no ‘right time’ to go to a professional counselor, and if you are thinking about seeking help it may be a sign that now is a good time to do it.”  We all have those times when we get “stuck” and just need someone to help us see ourselves from a different perspective.  Sometimes friends can help, but sometimes your problems can go beyond what friends can give.  Look for Christian counselors in your area (for instance, the NAD family ministries website has a list around the North American Division.   www.NADfamily.org).  You can also ask your pastor or friends if they know a good therapist.

You don’t have to try to be brave and try to figure things out on your own.  We would be better off by humbly step into the counselor’s office so we can begin to experience healing and freedom once again.

Father God, there are some things I just can’t deal with all by myself.  Help me and guide me to a good counselor who may show me the way toward health and healing.

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When you should seek help – 3

Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished? For pangs have seized you like a woman in labor. Micah 4:9 (NKJV)

Kristen Kansiewicz suggests a few more times you should consider seeing a professional Christian counselor:

When Tragedy Strikes.  Typically when we experience the death of a loved one or a traumatic incident, we get a lot of support from family, friends, coworkers, and our church family.   We receive cards expressing sympathy, people bring food to our house, and some people offer comforting conversations.  Unfortunately, after some time all these expressions of love and support begin to wane or go away altogether.  Grieving is a normal process and some of us can walk through that dark valley of the shadow of death with the support we have in our lives. Others experience great amounts of pain which goes above and beyond what any family member or friend can provide.

Death is not the only thing that can cause us serious consternation.  Traumatic events can also affect people and it affects different people differently. Some people experience anxiety symptoms right away, while others seem to be more resilient in the first few months after the event but they then experience a sudden wave of flashbacks or thoughts about it.  There are people who bounce back without experiencing any clinical symptoms at all.  Nobody knows why we all respond differently, but anytime you have experienced a traumatic event it is worth talking about it with a professional. Getting support can both help you learn to cope, and it helps your brain to process them into long-term memory.

In speaking about the death of her husband, Ellen White writes, “My husband’s death was a heavy blow to me, more keenly felt because so sudden. As I saw the seal of death upon his countenance, my feelings were almost insupportable. I longed to cry out in my anguish…I sought help and comfort from above, and the promises of God were verified to me. The Lord’s hand sustained me.”[i]  While God sustains us, we can also seek help from professionals.

Father God, sometimes you use others to help us.  In my time of grief and anguish please lead me to those that will help me.

[i] White, E. G.  Life Sketches, 257

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Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)

Yesterday we began to talk about when you should seek professional Christian counseling.  When you experience depression is one of those times.  At the other end of the spectrum, mood changes can also come in the form of manic symptoms. These could include such symptoms as unusually elated mood, a lack of need for sleep, increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, and poor attention span. Other symptoms are an inflated sense of self (grandiosity), extreme or risky behaviors like driving recklessly or spending excessive amounts of money and over-involvement in multiple tasks at once.

Keep in mind that mood changes can take place at any time of life.  In the United States, depression is one of the most commonly experienced disorders. Short episodes may not be of concern; the key is more than two weeks continuously.

When Anxiety Starts to Take Over.  It’s not unusual for all of us to experience common, everyday worries about work, our kids or financial difficulties. However, “some experience anxiety symptoms that go beyond basic anxious thoughts and move into a full-blown physical anxiety.  This sometimes comes in the form of a sudden panic attack, in which one’s heart is pounding, thoughts are racing, dizziness sets in and palms are sweaty. Keep in mind that while these symptoms are often very scary, they do pass after a period of a few minutes or sometimes up to an hour.” [i]

A counselor can help you learn ways to cope, address any root problems that might exist, and connect you with other resources that could help (such as a support group).  Getting support can help you learn to cope, and talking about your experiences helps your brain to process them into long-term memory.  In some severe cases you may need to take some medication temporarily until the symptoms decrease or disappear altogether.

Keep Jesus’ promise before you, “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28, 29)

Father God, help me quiet my anxious heart.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Five-Times-You-Should-See-a-Counselor/

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When you should seek help – 1

For I looked, and there was no man; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word. Isaiah 41:28 (NKJV)

As Kristen Kansiewicz[i] writes, “emotional problems can be complicated, and it is sometimes hard to know when you need to seek professional help.  Too often, we wait for problems to resolve on their own, or we minimize symptoms of mental illness, trying to conquer them through prayer or willpower. In many churches, there is a stigma that comes with seeing a counselor. For too many, entering a therapist’s office feels like an admission of failure.”

When we have a fever that doesn’t go away, or a part of our body hurts badly, or we have some symptoms that somethings is not right with our digestion we go to the doctor.  We’re not embarrassed or ashamed; we do it in order to feel better and enjoy good health.  Going to see a professional Christian counselor simply means you are seeking emotional support for something beyond your control.  There are many things that are simply beyond our control; for instance, brain functioning, relationship complications, or a tragedy.  What you can control is the steps you take to become well again. Kansiewicz suggests there are at least five times you should consider seeing a professional Christian counselor:

When your mood changes for more than two weeks.  Our mood may change for a few hours or even for a few days; however, if it persists for at least two weeks it could be a symptom of a depressive or manic episode.  Sometimes we use the word “depression” to mean we are discouraged or deeply sad.  As Kansiewicz explains, “Depression is characterized by sadness, loss of interest in most activities, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, changes in sleep (sleeping too much or not enough), and unusual changes in weight. Other symptoms include restlessness, difficulty with concentration, and wishes for death or thoughts of suicide.”  Of course, anyone actively thinking about suicide should go to their local emergency room right away or call the National Suicide Prevention Line at (800) 273-8255.”  We will continue with these issues for the next few days.

Father God, help me to find help a good counselor when I need help.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Five-Times-You-Should-See-a-Counselor/

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Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

Resilience is the ability to withstand stress, obstacles, and catastrophe. Psychologists have long recognized the capabilities of humans to adapt and overcome risk and adversity.  At the same time, being resilient doesn’t mean going through life without experiencing stress and pain. Everyone experience grief, sadness, and a range of other emotions after adversity and loss. The path to resilience lies in working through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events.

Resilience is also not something that you’re either born with or not but rather it develops as people grow up and learn to manage their changing situations in life.  Resilience also comes from supportive relationships with parents, peers and others, as well as cultural and spiritual beliefs and traditions that help people cope with the inevitable bumps in life.  Yesterday we looked at 5 of the 10 things Jen Uscher[i] suggests you do to help you be more resilient.  Here are the other five:

  1. Have a Sense of Purpose. Do things that bring meaning to your life. It could be spending time with your family, but also volunteering or other work for a cause can also make you feel stronger. When you help others you are also helping yourself.
  2. Learn Healthy Habits. You’ll manage stressful times better if you exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, take time to rest, drink plenty of water, get fresh air and sunshine.
  3. Believe in Yourself.  Take pride in your abilities and what you’ve done. Recognize your personal strengths.
  4. Keep Laughing.  Hold on to your sense of humor even when times are tough.  Laughter relieves stress and helps you keep things in check.
  5. Be Optimistic.A positive, hopeful outlook will make you much more resilient. Remember that many of the problems you’ll face in life are temporary, and that you have overcome setbacks in the past.

We all will experience bumps along the journey of life.  Those bumps may trip us and make us fall, but they will also strengthen us along the way.

Father God, Help us to be more resilient and be overcomers in life.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/overcome-obstacles-resilience

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For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. Proverbs 24:16 (NKJV)

Some people seem to be born with the ability to overcome obstacles and setbacks with relative ease. It’s a trait that experts call resilience.  People with resilience have a greater sense of control over their lives which makes them more willing to take risks.  In addition, because of their optimistic outlook, they are more likely to develop and maintain positive relationships with others.  So, how do you make yourself more resilient? Jen Uscher[i] suggests 10 things to focus on:

  1. Stay Flexible. Resilient people expect to face challenges at some point in their lives, and are able to adjust their goals and find ways to adapt.
  2. Learn Lessons. Even when you have a negative experience, don’t focus on who’s to blame; focus on the positive lessons you can learn from it. Stop asking “Why me?” and feeling like a victim. Ask yourself what you could do differently next time to have a better result.
  3. Take Action. Think about what you can do to improve your situation, and then do it. Don’t let yourself be paralyzed by negative thoughts; instead, work on solving the problem. Perhaps making a list of possible options would be a good start.
  4. Stay Connected. It is important to nurture your relationships with friends and family. When you’re going through a hard time, don’t withdraw from other people; instead, accept help from those who care about you. Resilient people have at least one or two people in their lives they can turn to for support.
  5. Release Tension. Make sure you have outlets to express your emotions and let go of tension. For instance, you could write in a journal, draw, pray, go for long walks, or talk with a friend or counselor.

Here’s a great promise to take to heart, “Those who have a humble, trusting, contrite heart, God accepts and hears their prayer; and when God helps, all obstacles will be overcome.”[ii]

Father God, helps us to overcome the obstacles in our path and to remember you are always there to help us.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/overcome-obstacles-resilience

[ii] White, Ellen. G. Counsels on Health. P. 367

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