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
Walk into every room and every environment being the most beautiful person in the room.
Do not let comparison steal your joy. Challenge yourself to stand in a room full of people, who you think “have” something you wish you had and thank God for how God made them!
Remember you are the only you God has ever created. What you see about yourself that’s “different,” is what sets you apart.
Celebrate those qualities and place the filter of gratitude on the areas where you see a flaw.
Do not let jealousy of how people appear, or what things, or gifts seem to divide you from others.
Celebrate your differences and see they are a beautiful collective of Gods creation.
Today is the day to glimpse into your heart, instead of the mirror, and truly see a creation beautifully and wonderfully made.
Joy is not found in your outward appearance, it’s found in your inward thoughts and how you carry the presence of the Lord with you everywhere you go.
Outward beauty is attractive to the world. Inward beauty is attractive to those who need to see the Lord in you.
How beautiful it is to The Lord that we each have the opportunity to carry our beauty and inward gifts with our head held high, then turn those wonderful gifts into actions and speech towards others.
There is so much freedom in truly loving what we see as God given beauty within in ourselves, but also in each other.
God Revealed In Waves
Driving home one afternoon, I looked up at these amazing clouds and captured this pic. The sky resembled waves flowing through the sky. It reminded me that God often moves in waves and that He calms the waves around us and within us.
Some waves are exhilarating and full of adventure. Some are terrifying and full of pain. There is no way to avoid every wave in life such as trials; life can trails actually cause us to look to Jesus for strength. We can choose to trust that God will see us through them, and we can emerge from them with a new perspective as we learn to trust Him.
So the next time you look up at the sky, or into the waves of the ocean, don’t fear waves of change, surges of waves, or storms coming near, rather, look for the reminder that Jesus works through the waves.
“You rule the raging sea;
when its waves surge, You still them.” Psalms 89:9
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6
In one of my favorite songs, the refrain of “Oceans” highlights this point:
“And I will call upon Your name and keep my eyes above the waves, When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace, For I am yours and You are mine.”
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,
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~
This Seats for You- Podcast Episode 4
In this episode of “This Seats For You,” I speak with my friend and special guest Peggy Harrington, about the Biblical aspects of Christian Life Coaching and ways we can grow in our relationship with God.
My New Book Was Released This Week
“Shelter in Faith” A Remedy for the Epidemic of Hopelessness
Get your copy today here:
In a world where distance forces people to monitor and adjust their social behavior, faith is withstanding as a remedy. Faith is an essential part of Christianity. Through faith, we discover that the power of Jesus is essential in the critical intervention process of hopelessness. Faith is not only contagious, but it’s also widespread among active believers. The mandate of the Lord is to live out faith as a bold witness while casting fear aside. What an honor it is to enthusiastically proclaim that Jesus is the remedy for the epidemic of hopelessness.
You’ll be encouraged and inspired by this excellent resource.
Podcast Coming in March 2020!
I am excited to announce my new podcast called
“This Seat’s For You”
which will launch in March 2020. This podcast features topics centered around life’s challenges and victories, to encourage and inspire believers. Christina engages in thought-provoking conversations centered around real-life, transformation, increase, favor, provision, change, stability, and motivation. Through implementing Biblical counseling principles, and the life-sustaining word of God, the audience will discover insightful ways to engage in life trials with a fresh perspective. You are a welcomed listener and This Seats for You!
About the host:
Christina was proudly born and raised in Texas. She is blessed to be a wife and mom and resides with her husband of 28 years. Christina is an Author, Board Certified Pastoral and Biblical Counselor, Christian Life Coach, Ordained Pastor, Public Speaker, and Teacher. Her book, Perseverant Parenting, is centered around boldly facing unexpected life trials with faith, optimism, and purpose. In 2019 Christina illustrated her first book called Huggs, which is a tale of God’s goodness and a walk through the fruits of the Spirit.
Christina is no stranger to adversity; however, she rejoices in overcoming life’s trials. Through her steadfast faith in Jesus and determination to achieve healthy spiritual, emotional, relational, and career goals, her focus is invariably on living a life well-lived through every season. Her spiritual gifts include encouragement, understanding, wisdom, and counsel.
Christina has served in ministry for 20+ years and has worked with hundreds of families and individuals who needed someone to pour the love of Jesus into their lives through counsel, discipleship, lend a helping hand, or simply deliver an encouraging word. Her greatest joy in ministry is seeing people encounter Jesus in unexpected ways and see lives transformed by His love, grace, redemptive and restorative power.
So You’re Angry…Now What?
Today I want to discuss the impact of anger, as well as the damage it can cause. Depending on how it is expressed, it can enhance or end people’s relationships or rob you of your peace of mind and health.
There are different forms of anger. Anger can be righteous or justified, especially in tough situations, such as seeing or learning about tough things that happen to innocent people. In instances of child or elderly abuse, anger is justified and common. Becoming angry just because things don’t go your way or you’re simply disappointed, is an opportunity to rework the game plan, not through away the play book and stop making good choices in how you respond. Worse yet, sinning in ones anger is not justified and is never beneficial. There are differences between healthy and unhealthy anger, and understanding the various types of anger and how to the control problems are crucial to overcoming anger.
When working with angry people or even struggling with anger within your own mind, it is important to remember that anger is a normal emotion.
Understanding the underlying reasons why you feel this emotion is a great start to diffusing the feeling. You can have an overwhelming event that triggers emotional pain and anger ensues. Or perhaps you become angry because you feel an action or event is unfair. In many instances the root cause of anger is offense, which is a perception of the event.
Having self-awareness and putting in place the necessary proper management solutions will help you work through anger.
Did you know that there are different types of “toxic” anger that actually wreak havoc on the mind and body? When individuals get angry their brain functions in a different manner; the part that releases serotonin (the feel good hormone) is shut off and is replaced by the hormones adrenaline or cortisol. These hormones are present in low impact situations that cause anger and states of feeling enraged. If exposed to excessive levels of these hormones, for even short durations of time, can cause damage to occur in the heart, kidneys, muscles and to your brain itself.
Regardless the cause, toxic anger develops when anger is not dealt with in a healthy manner. Episodes of lashing out, yelling, screaming, fits of rage or even lengthy moments of silence can be toxic.
There is another option, face the situation with a new perspective. Let’s start here with learning that
fealing with anger is generally a three step process.
- Identify why you are angry.
- Take a time out, step back and reexamine how you should respond. As Christians we should take a page out of Gods plan for anger and follow the example of Jesus. He handled anger with grace, with patience, with prayerful consideration and with boundaries. Not to say He didn’t display righteous anger, but He never sinned in his anger. You can choose to manage your words wisely, so not to cause more harm.
- Dispel the anger and replace it with a conversation in which you are filtering your words. Filtering means to cause peace in the moment, instead of pouring fuel onto the fire that needs to be extinguished.
Although these steps sound simplistic, they are not easy. It takes practice in the midst of anger to stop and think about what and why you feel the way you do. Remembering to pray for a healthy response takes practice, and implementing prayer into everyday situations is the key to bring about good communication habits into situations where anger arises. When you pray you are asking God to give you wise words, acknowledge Holy Spirit is with you as a helper. You will begin to find a sense of direction in the circumstances you face. Deep breathing is also a great way to try to relax in the chaos. Taking a break from the moment and getting centered on rational thoughts is vital, even if you can leave the circumstance at the moment you’d like, you can take a break in actions and choose to say you need to take a break and pray. Take your thoughts captive. The Lord tells us to do this:
2 Corinthians 10:5 “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.”
Often anger recognition, management, and self control are all part of taking a thought captive.
Your mind, not just your behavior, must change. God calls us to change sinful behavior that does not honor Him. Instead of focusing on your outward behavior, work on disciplining your mind, from which the behaviors stem. Allow God to transform you by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2).
Think through your problems rather than just react to them. When you experience difficult challenges, you can react to them and think yourself into despair every time. Or you can look forward to the next opportunity and ask yourself what you learned from this failure. You don’t have to get trapped by disabling thoughts of anger. You are capable of getting out of your despair, and anger, by taking control of your thoughts.
Choose to focus your thoughts on the right things (good things, such as the power of God in the circumstance or the love Jesus showed to those who messed up in life) you have the same authority living inside you. We are to think about those things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable” (Phil. 4:8). When we think about those things, God promises to give us His peace.
Take heart, as God empowers you to focus your mind on the right things, it will become easier. You can develop a new frame of reference, based on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
It is possible to live a life aware of our thoughts and taking them captive! God gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us. Start following these steps today to gain power over your anger, your thinking and your actions that follow.