Tag Archive: God


God answers..

Soul Healing Art

I Asked God

I asked God for strength-
I was given trials
So that I may realize
The strength that lay within me.

I asked God for forgiveness-
I was given wounds
So that I may realize
The forgiveness that lay within me.

I asked God for hope-
I was given challenges
So that I may realize
The hope that lay within me.

I asked God for passion-
I was given failures
So that I may realize
The passion that lay within me.

I asked God for union-
I was given isolation
So that I may realize
The union that lay within me.

I asked God for peace-
I was given suffering
So that I may realize
The peace that lay within me.

All these and more
I asked for
And God provided
That I may know-

The strength, passion,
peace, hope, and love
within me.

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Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church.

Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am very pleased that Pastor Rick Warren is helping to take the lead in getting rid of the mental health stigma within the Christian culture.  Warren, who is the best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, lost his son to suicide. He is now opening up a dialog within the Christian community about mental illness. Warren, founder of Saddleback Church will team with  the Roman Catholic Diocese of  Orange and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host a daylong event  next month focused on helping church leaders reach parishioners who are  struggling with mental illness.

Many pastors and church counselors have zero training in mental health issues and can do a lot of damage to the faithful. My own experiences within the church has not been helpful. When I was sixteen I was told by a church counselor that I just wanted attention when I told her that I felt suicidal. Fortunately my parents were smart enough to get me to a real therapist.

The other mantra that churches often use is that taking medications means you do not have enough faith in God and that you are an “addict.” There are actually very few psychiatric medications that are addictive. Addiction is defined as taking more than prescribed due to tolerance to the medication’s effects. Sleeping pills and tranquilizers have abuse potential, but medications for depression, mania and psychosis do not. So there is no such thing as a antidepressant addiction and it is not designed to make people “high.” When people tell you that you are addicted to antidepressants ask them what the street value of Cymbalta is? The answer: Zero.

There are plenty of well-meaning Christians who give disastrous advice. One of the most hurtful things is when they say that depression is a sin. One of the hallmarks of depression is guilt. So all they are doing is piling on more guilt and depression on that person!

And the big one: Suicide. I believe with all my heart that we need to have compassion towards those who have attempted or succeeded at suicide. It isn’t up to us to judge someone’s heart. Most of them do not intend to hurt others and in fact often believe that they are a burden and that everyone else would be better off without them. I cannot even begin to explain to others the thoughts that have gone on in my mind when I attempted suicide. A minor argument that I could have easily resolved by my apologizing became a reason to punish myself.  I can emphatically say that I was out of my mind at the time, because I would not have done that in my normal frame of mind. And there was also nothing else going on in my life to trigger my depression.

While I am sad about the tragedy of Rick Warren’s son’s death, I hope that this will help shed light on traditional Christian attitudes towards mental illness and inspire pastors and counselors to learn more about how to help those who suffer from devastating mental illnesses.

To find out more about what Rick Warren is doing read here.

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I want to share with you all an excerpt from A Course in Miracles, which is a form of do-it-yourself spiritual psychotherapy that changes our perceptions of the world.

New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto o...

New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church; added by those for whom prayer or miracles were granted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lesson 195:

Love is the way I walk in gratitude 

Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn for those who look upon the world amiss. The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others. And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they. How pitiful and deprecating are such thoughts! For who has cause for thanks while others have less cause? And who could suffer less because he sees another suffer more? Your gratitude is due to Him alone Who made all cause of sorrow disappear throughout the world.

It is insane to offer thanks because of suffering. But it is equally insane to fail in gratitude to One Who offers you the certain means whereby all pain is healed, and suffering replaced with laughter and with happiness. Nor could the even partly sane refuse to take the steps which He directs, and follow in the way He sets before them, to escape a prison that they thought contained no door to the deliverance they now perceive.

Your brother is your “enemy” because you see in him the rival for your peace; a plunderer who takes his joy from you, and leaves you nothing but a black despair so bitter and relentless that there is no hope remaining. Now is vengeance all there is to wish for. Now can you but try to bring him down to lie in death with you, as useless as yourself; as little left within his grasping fingers as in yours.

You do not offer God your gratitude because your brother is more slave than you, nor could you sanely be enraged if he seems freer. Love makes no comparisons. And gratitude can only be sincere if it be joined to love. We offer thanks to God our Father that in us all things will find their freedom. It will never be that some are loosed while others still are bound. For who can bargain in the name of love?

Therefore give thanks, but in sincerity. And let your gratitude make room for all who will escape with you; the sick, the weak, the needy and afraid, and those who mourn a seeming loss or feel apparent pain, who suffer cold or hunger, or who walk the way of hatred and the path of death. All these go with you. Let us not compare ourselves with them, for thus we split them off from our awareness of the unity we share with them, as they must share with us.

We thank our Father for one thing alone; that we are separate from no living thing, and therefore one with Him. And we rejoice that no exceptions ever can be made which would reduce our wholeness, nor impair or change our function to complete the One Who is Himself completion. We give thanks for every living thing, for otherwise we offer thanks for nothing, and we fail to recognize the gifts of God to us.

Then let our brothers lean their tired heads against our shoulders as they rest a while. We offer thanks for them. For if we can direct them to the peace that we would find, the way is opening at last to us. An ancient door is swinging free again; a long forgotten Word re-echoes in our memory, and gathers clarity as we are willing once again to hear.

Walk, then, in gratitude the way of love. For hatred is forgotten when we lay comparisons aside. What more remains as obstacles to peace? The fear of God is now undone at last, and we forgive without comparing. Thus we cannot choose to overlook some things, and yet retain some other things still locked away as “sins.” When your forgiveness is complete you will have total gratitude, for you will see that everything has earned the right to love by being loving, even as your Self.

Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge. We have been given everything. If we refuse to recognize it, we are not entitled therefore to our bitterness, and to a self-perception which regards us in a place of merciless pursuit, where we are badgered ceaselessly, and pushed about without a thought or care for us or for our future. Gratitude becomes the single thought we substitute for these insane perceptions. God has cared for us, and calls us Son. Can there be more than this?

Our gratitude will pave the way to Him, and shorten our learning time by more than you could ever dream of. Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is the other must be found. For gratitude is but an aspect of the Love which is the Source of all creation. God gives thanks to you, His Son, for being what you are; His Own completion and the Source of love, along with Him. Your gratitude to Him is one with His to you. For love can walk no road except the way of gratitude, and thus we go who walk the way to God.

Learn more about A Course in Miracles.

Happy Thanksgiving 😉

For those who follow this blog you will already know that I do not stick to just one spiritual perspective, but I feel that there is value in many different faiths. So I have decided to do a series exploring how faith traditions deal with the issue of depression in light of the recent scientific advances that show that depression and bipolar disorder are biological and have nothing to do with a person’s character.

No Me Mireis!

No Me Mireis! (Photo credit: El Hermano Pila)

I have been disturbed for a long time about the way mental illness is often denied by many Christians and their churches. This is not a problem unique to Christianity. Many people in other faiths draw a line that says “If you are spiritual enough then you won’t get depressed.”  Depression is seen as a “sin against God.”  So besides feeling overwhelmed by depression then a person has to cope with the guilt that they are somehow disappointing God!This of course is a false dichotomy. There is nothing in the Bible that says you have to be happy all the time and if you aren’t then you are sinning. Rather the Bible is pretty explicit that many characters in it in fact struggled a great deal with depression and despair.

I found a good article online called “Can a Christian Get Depressed?” by psychiatrist Adrian Warnock that expresses a more compassionate Christian point of view:

Some argue that a Christian should be able to reject depression “by faith.” Many would disagree with applying that notion to physical illness. Truth be told, we all know that Christians get sick. I have never heard of a “faith healer” who is 130 years old. Every great Christian of the past eventually succumbed to some illness or other. You do not simply die of old age.

As soon as we accept that Christians can get sick, we must acknowledge that they can get depressed too. Depression, like Bipolar Affective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and a number of other psychiatric conditions, is a real illness.

He goes on to discuss some of the scientific evidence to support his point of view. This reminds me of a discussion I had with a fundamentalist Christian who insisted that the brain cannot get sick. We started out discussing addiction issues and the disease theory of addiction promoted by AA. He insisted that the brain would never tell someone to do something that would be destructive to the body. Then the conversation went into mental illness with the same attitude. But exactly why would the brain be exempted from illness? We know that Alzheimer’s disease affects behavior as well and makes people do irrational things. So why should mental illness be any different?

The article continues as it discusses how the heroes in the Bible often struggled with deep depression:

The Gospel promises “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). So how can we still be sorrowful? The gospel also promises a life free of sin and sickness. But we know that all these promises are only fulfilled in part in this earthly existence. Jesus himself taught us to pray “your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven” precisely because it often isn’t done here. Even a Calvinist must accept that much happens here on earth that is contrary to God’s revealed will, his pleasure.

Paul spoke of the paradox of the Christian experience in 2 Corinthians 6 where he describes himself as “sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” The Christian may have a complex emotional state where the joy of knowing forgiveness battles with unquenchable depression, and the hope of eternity wrestles with despair.

One time Paul said of himself, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” (Romans 9:2).

It doesn’t take much reading of the Psalms to discover that King David and other psalmists had times when they suffered from severe depression. See for example Psalms 6, 30, and 31.

This is an important point. Did God ever say that our lives were going to be all sunshine and lollypops?

He continues:

One message of the Bible, and the Psalms in particular is that depression does have an end point. Mercifully for most who suffer in this way, there are seasons of low mood that eventually give way to periods of resolution. We see that in the Psalms with such statements as,

“Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

While that statement is generally true, it is not true in every case. Or at least it is not always true in this lifetime.

Theologians sometimes talk of an “over realised eschatology.” This happens when we take benefits of the gospel which are promised for us in eternity, and assume that they will be available completely for everybody today. God does heal depression in this life. But he doesn’t heal everyone. He does, however, promise a future where,

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

I think this point is important. I do not know if I will ever be completely healed, but I can look forward to a time where I will be.

We must face the fact that there is much about this world that is not right. And we must fight it, both in our own lives, and in helping to rescue others from the grip of everything that God did not intend for us. And we pray. We pray in hope that the God who promised that he will deliver us forevermore can and does give us foretastes of that deliverance here and now. And we rejoice with those who experience such supernatural touches of God. And we rejoice with those whose healing comes by the God-given skills of doctors. And we are compassionate towards those for whom it seems that in this life at least there will be no relief.

Read the whole article here. He also has written other articles on this topic so check him out!

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Today I will accept the truth about myself. I will arise in glory, and allow the light in me to shine upon the world throughout the day. A Course in Miracles

 

The truth about ourselves is that even though we may experience darkness in the form of depression, that does not mean that we are darkness. Our Sacred Self. or Higher Self, is the part of ourselves that is made in the image of God. It cannot be corrupted, only repressed and concealed. Even in the darkest times remember who you are, even if you can’t feel it. Eventually you will come back to your Divine Essence.

 

Brilliant Future Subliminal Video

Brilliant Future Subliminal Video (Photo credit: JoreJj Z. Elprehzleinn)

 

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Divine Feminine Power

Divine Feminine Power (Photo credit: Kathy Crabbe)

I am reposting this from a year ago. I hope you like it: 

One ship drives east and the other drives west by the self-same winds that blow. It’s the set of the sails and not the gales that determine the way they go.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sometimes we feel like the winds of fate continuously buffet us around, thwarting our every dream. We may fall into a deep depression and give up. Psychologists call this “learned helplessness”. It is important to note that what can be learned can be unlearned. We can choose at any moment to take our power back. It may not be easy, it may take time, but we can learn to control our lives again instead of drowning in our depressions. The point of power is in you and the key is Intention. We are made in the image and likeness of God; therefore we have all of God’s attributes, including power. We are powerful! All you have to do is claim that power and know that God is more powerful than any circumstance, internal or external that you may encounter.

Write down every situation that feels impossible for you to overcome. Then repeat after each one, “I AM more powerful than this.”

cosmic soap bubbles (God takes a bath)

cosmic soap bubbles (God takes a bath) (Photo credit: woodleywonderworks)

One very good way to deal with bipolar disorder and depression is to begin the day reading something inspirational. It always helps to see how others cope with these illnesses in a positive way. When I use the word “positive” I certainly don’t mean being “Miss Mary Sunshine” all the time. Rather I take that word as meaning that we move through our challenges in the best way that we are able and it helps to have others to guide us along the way.  It is a little amusing to me though that my ego (meaning Edging God Out) tries to make it into a competition, and I have to fight the urge to compare myself to others. My thoughts go like this. “Why can’t I be more enlightened like her? Why can’t I handle my illness as well as she does?”  Then I have to remind myself that I am not in that person’s skin and besides it is the journey that matters, not the destination.

With that in mind I have a few articles to share from some very wise people. First off is an article talking about how we need to honor our emotions by Bobbi Emel from The Bounce Blog, Getting On With Life Despite Devastating Emotions.

Therese J Borchard, an author and contributor to several websites gives an amusing look at how to forgive ourselves for our (continuing) mistakes.

Alex Blackwell at The Bridgemaker, has quotes of 15 Faithful People Who Inspire Us.

Have a good day! 😉

 

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Towards the sun

Towards the sun (Photo credit: l.ili.an)

 

Around a year ago I posted this article The Unreality of Depression. Since I have gained new followers I want to share this with them.

Here is a taste for you to nibble on:

In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

For those of us who experience the terrible mood swings of bipolar disorder, the idea of experiencing normal human emotion seems almost laughable. How do we know what “real” happiness is when the ecstasy of mania turns just as easily to despondency? How do we find that center of being within us to weather the storms of our unpredictable emotional life?

Read more here

 

Galaxy Cluster Abell 520 (NASA, Chandra, Hubbl...

Galaxy Cluster Abell 520 (NASA, Chandra, Hubble, 03/07/12) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)

Hi ya’ll! I don’t know about you but I have trouble letting go of the past. I have found this article on www.beliefnet.com to be very helpful.

 8 Reasons to Let Go of the Past

posted byAlex Blackwell

“Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Letting go of the past might be one of the hardest things you do. It’s hard to do because the need to hold on is rooted in fear.

The thought of not having control over your circumstances – past, present or future – can be terrifying. Even when the warning signs are clear, you continue to think that if you try harder to do everything right; and hold on as tightly as you can, then you will have what you want.

But, by dwelling in the past where these mistakes live, you don’t see the beauty of the present moment.

Letting go makes you stronger and more peaceful. It allows you to focus on what you need to do to live in the here and now. In addition to strengthening your faith, there are some other important life-changing reasons to let go of the past and embrace the beauty of the present moment – the miracle of today.

1. Never alone again

When you surrender your life, you are asking God to be an active part of it. Even though He is always there, it is your acknowledgment of the relationship that makes it real and tangible.

2. You might just find what you are seeking

If what you are doing is not yielding desired results, try surrendering it. You might find what you have been looking for has been hiding in plain sight all along.

3. Certainty of purpose

When you surrender you are telling God that you want to live the life He has in mind for you. Although you may not know exactly what that life looks like when surrendering, you can be certain it is a life created just for you. Your purpose will be clearer when the clutter is removed.

4. Deeper appreciation of the ordinary moments

Your determination to get whatever you think you need could gloss over the life that is unfolding right around you. Surrender offers freedom, not defeat. Letting go frees you to see the special gifts that are already a part of your life.

5. Live a want to life, not a have to life.

Letting go gives you the ability to live a life you want to live; not a life you have to live. Your want to life can be full of joy and fulfillment because it is better connected to your heart’s desire.

6. Learning from the experience

Full surrendering takes practice. To gain experience, try surrendering small things, first. You can start by surrendering some bad habits like biting your fingernails, having one drink too many or constant engagement with your Smartphone.

7. Trade shame for grace

Asking for grace can be difficult. You may have learned from an early age that you are not worthy of love or compassion. You may have allowed shame to cover you until it has built up such a presence you begin to think it is a natural part of you. Letting go of shame allows grace to be restored to your conscious mind.

8. Finding peace

There is no right way to let go. Faith isn’t tangible and it really isn’t measureable. Faith catches you when you are open to change. A leap of faith happens when you let go and allow your plan to unfold. It may feel like chaos at first, but soon a soothing peace will begin to swell when your inner voice tells you that you are going in the right direction.

About Alex Blackwell

Alex Blackwell is a father, husband and writer. He writes about inspiring things at The BridgeMaker.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/everydayinspiration/2013/07/8-reasons-to-let-go-of-the-past.html#ixzz2Ya42mVW2

English: The hidden beautyspot Far from the to...

English: The hidden beautyspot Far from the tourists at Glendalough we took a walk on a trail that had not been used for a long time and came across this beauty spot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk….
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.