When Faith and Mental Health Collide

How are you taking care of your mental health? God wants us to take care of our mind, just as much as He wants us to takes care of our body. After all the brain is the control center of the body. This means we must purposely set healthy things in place to ensure our minds are functioning well, so the body follows.

Here are a few steps, when implemented daily, can improve the health of your mind and body.

Our thought life is where our emotions originate. In other words, your thoughts drive your emotions. Then your emotions drive your actions, both positive and negative. Taking thoughts captive, means you are purposely being a willing participant in God’s design for prayer; here’s where we have the freedom to lift up worry to Him, which is collectively a refreshing step in choosing to let the worry go. Through our conversation with the Lord, we are replacing negativity with positive thoughts of hope, found through Jesus. As you trust the Lord has your best interest in mind, and can handle every challenge, you are released to move forward in peace knowing provision is in His hands. The hardest part of this step is waiting on His provision. God answers our prayers with a “Yes,” “No,” or “Wait.” Though the answer is not in our control, our thoughts, emotions, and actions are.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Corinthians 10:5

Forgiveness is an intricate part of a healthy mindset. Forgiveness is God’s mercy on us, in us, and is activated through us. The moment we accept Jesus, we receive unconditional forgiveness through Him. We are released from the punishment of our sin. We must choose to forgive ourselves and not let guilt further condem us. Subsequently, forgiving those who have wounded us is an important choice in healing. To release others from our punishment and entrust the offense to God is an important step in developing a healthy mindset.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32

Gratitude blocks emotional toxins such as envy, resentment, regret, and depression, which can destroy our internal wellbeing. It’s impossible to feel chaos and peace at the same time. When we lack the implementation of gratitude, we are actually robbing ourselves of joy. Even if you do not like your current circumstance, you can find a glimpse of hope through recognizing one thing you intentionally are thankful for during a difficult season. When may face the worst day of our life, that day is still laced with the promise that God does not abandon us, as we are His valued and cherished creation.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:18

Lastly, acknowledge that Jesus is the restorer of our souls. When the health of our mindset is in jeopardy, fear, insecurities, and doubt can overshadow stability. If ever there was a “let go and let God” moment, this is it. The character of Jesus beckons us to see what is fully assured through goodness, which is marked by love, healing, and affirmation of care. We can choose to submit our strained souls (thoughts & emotions) to The One who invites us to Him:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke (become linked) upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls – Matthew‬ ‭11:28, 29‬ ‭

As you feel the release of emotional stress, your body actually responds in a positive manner. Heart rates normalize, blood pressure stabilizes and the immune system becomes stronger. The connection between body and mind is an amazing and divine connection. God tells us that out of the heart springs forth life. When Faith and Mental Health Collide, great things began to happen.

Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

I’ve Had Enough

Lord, I’ve had enough!

 I’ve had enough of the enemies tactics, and schemes. 

I’ve had enough of illness showing up at the door step of households and businesses. 

I’ve had enough of the lies introduced, promoted, accepted and multiplied in the name of politics and the good of humanity. 

I’ve had enough of families allowing disunity to run their family train off the tracks and directly into harm’s way.

I’ve had enough of knowing that humans are being traded as a commodity, bought and sold for the pleasure of those ensnared by evil ways.  

I’ve had enough of young lives ending before you called them home, as the spirit of death, crept in and your voice seemed to be drowned out in their distress. 

I’ve had enough of weak minded Christ-Followers who let the negative committee, inside their mind, take complete control of their character, and allow the voice of defeat to squash their hope and faith.  

I’ve had enough of feeling discouraged and distraught.

I’ve had enough with despair, as I am surrounded by lives in distress. 

I’ve had enough of evil being called good, and good being called evil. 

I’VE HAD ENOUGH!!!

Oh Lord as I cry out to you, I feel your presence in my prayers. 

I know you hear my hearts unique prayer language. 

You feel the deepest sorrows, and aches within me, as my soul groans and longs for your return. Until then, I’ve had enough. 

I know you’ve been there for me throughout my lifetime. Your word encourages us and tells us that you will never leave or forsake us, therefore, help me to have endurance, peace, and strong faith, trusting that you’ll give us enough. 

As my spirit reaches out for you, I feel your gentle internal reminder, that all along I’ve had enough. 

Because I have you, I’ve had enough grace. 

Through you, I’ve had enough, as you are the provider of peace. 

I’ve had enough perseverance, because of you.

I’ve had enough instruction that I know you are both judge and redeemer.

Lord Through You, and only You, is found the remedy, the cure, and the protection we ALL need, you are THE enough. 

Your word reveals to me that you are MY rock, in which I claim as my strong tower, where I go when I’ve had enough.

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
 From the end of the earth, I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your  house forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.  Psalm 61 1-4

Remind me often Lord of your boundless power, as I am never without it, through you, I’ve had enough!

Peace be with us,

~Christina~

Behind My Mask

Behind my mask.

Many of you may know me as a person who smiles, encourages others and moves through life with a good outlook (most days). I’m posting pics of the newest mask; enduring yet another surgery (yesterday), in which I now have 2 bionic knees, so look out enemy, no stopping the plans God has for me!

However, in the past 2 years I’ve also endured 4 other surgeries, and 1 four day hospitalization.

But what’s underneath those masked up days, are situations which are not always easy to endure. Yet, I keep my Jesus, my family and my tight knit circle of friends involved in praying with me, as I share with them when I struggle. We must all have a support system, which is vital to our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

I’m not a “sit around type of woman” (that actually creates in me loneliness, depression and sometimes anxiety). But, I don’t allow myself to stay there, because I’ve learned those are fleeting moments, not a life style choice.

I love helping my husband around our property, meeting up with my daughter and our new bonus son (my amazing son-n-law). I enjoy public speaking as a Christian speaker, tackling tough university work, completing new writing projects, launched my new podcast in 2020, serve on the alter team at my church, work as a pastoral & biblical counselor. I am the director at OpenDoor Counseling and Life Coaching Ministry, which is part of Opendoor.Church.

I also find immense joy in sharing my God given gifts and skills through illustrating children’s books, training and supporting my life coaching team, serving my community and recently sharing the love and hope found in Jesus around the world; through world wide distribution book sales.

Why do I not stop?

Because, God has given me favor through open doors of special assignments, that I WILL complete before I draw my last breath. You have the same favor and God has given you a gift that will positively impact the lives of others.

Know that when adversity shows up in life, it doesn’t mean you are to remain silent and hide your struggle. There’s beauty in surrounding yourself with committed prayer warriors, friends and family who will step in at a moments notice to be there for you.

So what’s the deeper lesson?

Through adversity we learn courage in trusting and leaning into Gods word; Faith.

We find compassion for others who are enduring struggle. We also find that in adversity we are shaped, stretched and grown, when we are willing participants in areas where God can use us most.

Today friends, be encouraged! You got this and the Lord hears you, sees you and wants to bless you through perseverance.
Peace be with you! ~Christina~

Shedding Light On Anxiety

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Anxiety is a common occurrence that affects millions of people on a daily basis. Anxiety is irrational thinking, characterized by feelings of worry, stress, apprehensiveness or dread; such thoughts are influential enough to interfere with one’s daily activities.

Billy Graham once said: “At its best, anxiety distracts us from our relationship with God and the truth that He is “Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25).

At its worst, anxiety is crippling, taking over minds and plunging thoughts into darkness. For many individuals, anxiety goes hand in hand with depression which is a very dark place. Sadly, anxiety seems to be on the rise which presents a critical predicament for the Church body, because many write off anxiety-ridden people as crazy or possessed.

As Christians how do we take charge over this powerful emotion or teach others how to take control of it?

The answer seems simple, just calm down right? The fact is, anxiety has many root causes and sometimes arises for seemingly unknown reasons. Lets first look at what anxiety is,  it’s your body’s direct response to stress. It’s a perception of fear or trepidation about what’s to come or what may have already occurred. Situations such as the first day of a new job, moving to a different or unfamiliar place, even public speaking can cause many people to feel fearful and nervous.

What about anxiety that rears its ugly head in unexpected ways? For example, you have just laid down to go to sleep, in the same bed, in the same house, at the same time, yet tonight you suddenly feel a sense of overwhelming uneasiness. Your heart starts to race, as do your thoughts, sleep alludes you because your mind just won’t shut off. You’re left thinking, how do I handle this intrusive feeling of anxiety? The first step to shifting the grasp of anxiety, to a release of anxiety, is to yield your life to Jesus. This step means that you are leaving the past behind you, and you are stepping into the goodness of God. Jesus offers redemption from sin and death, He also offers healing for the mind, body, and spirit. 

The next step is to practice fixing your thoughts on Jesus and His promises. In the arena of our thinking, we are to exercise awareness of our thoughts and take them captive (take control over your thoughts). To do this you need to consider what thoughts are coming to your mind, think about what you are thinking about.

Are the thoughts negative? The reason you’re thinking about such things is that you haven’t tried replacing the thoughts with positive ones. The Bible tells us to take authority over our thoughts,

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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you..” Philippians 4:8

 Have you ever considered that it is impossible to have a positive and negative thought at the same time? It’s like trying to force night and day to occur in the same exact place, at the exact same time, light always casts out darkness. 

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 

The Power of Your Words

Recognize that your speech is attached to your thinking. As sinners, many days are wasted on acting in a “destructive mode” where people bashing, complaining, nagging, discouraging, belittling, swearing, chastising, slandering or gossiping were common attributes of our speech. Here’s the pivotal moment, we have to decide to use our words constructively, such as with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. 

“Don’t mix your words with your mood, you can change your mood but you can’t take back your words.” Anonymous

Despair is a derivative of anxiety, it is laced with worry and fear. If you are still speaking in this negative manner, you are causing anxiety to be infused within your mind, poisoning your heart on purpose;  your mind and speech flow out of the condition of your heart. 

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Anonymous

 Ephesians 5:1-7 states;

“Be imitators of God, as beloved children, walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you. Guard your speech, let there be no crude joking, which is out of place, these are senseless words that bring disgrace and are unnecessary, but instead, let there be kindness, grace, thanksgiving, and praise. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is immoral (sexually, by actions or thought) or are impure, those who think or act as an idolater,  you are apart from God, How could they expect to have an inheritance in Christ’s kingdom while doing those things?

It is our words that produce a strong affirmation of our innermost thoughts. They are a witness to the world of how we perceive others, our lives and ourselves. It is this powerful affirmation that our words provide which empowers our thoughts to manifest into the reality of our actions. So why would we choose to misuse our most important asset, words? Recognize that “The Word” first originated with God.  John 1:1 

“In the beginning, was the Word

The Word was with God,

 and the Word was God.” 

The word is Jesus, and Jesus is The Light of the World (John 8:12), The Glory of God (Isaiah 40:5), The Morning Star (Revelation 22:16), Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2), The True Light (John 1:9), Dayspring (Luke 1:78)

When you say or think something enough times it can become your truth. If you tell yourself you are unsafe, you are actually becoming unsafe, because you allowed the thought to steal your peace. If you think you are worthless, you inhibit anxiety to occur because your true worth has now been taken hostage by the lie. The negative, joy stealing influences have to be halted in Jesus name. 

Replacing lies with truth

Even when you feel anxious you can choose to be calm. You can actively engage in the process of peace by believing you are strong, not timid, not weak, but strong. 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Your strength is found in the goodness and power (death-defying, overcoming power) of Jesus. 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9

 

John 16:33, “In Me (Jesus), you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (death & sin).”

 Speak to the thoughts as if they are a nat that is bugging you. Tell the swirling emotion It Is Unwelcome! Chase the negative patterns of thinking away with the sound word found in scripture. 

In John 14:27, Jesus assures his disciples He will send the Holy Spirit when He returns to the Father, and He reassures us today through His word: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” These words still encourage us today.

Shed light on the darkness of anxiety by simply saying the name Jesus when you feel overwhelmed. His presence drives out fear, worry, and anxious thoughts. Stop and take in slow deep cleansing breaths, then  pray (meditate) on scripture, applying the verses of peace to your own situations for example:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:7

Your personal prayer “The peace of God is transforming my mind, is guarding my heart and my mind through Jesus Christ” ~ Amen 

 

 

 

 

(note is anxiety is causing you to consider or act on self-harm, immediately tell someone, then go see your doctor, therapist, or go to your local emergency room)
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