Tag Archive | coping skills

Are You More? You Are More!

We all have some kind of God given talent.  Why is it so hard for others (including myself)  to recognize our talent?  Even worse, why don’t others knowing they have one…just don’t want to share it?  Isn’t the purpose of the body of Christ for us to come together as a community of believers to share, grow, and pray with each other?  Shouldn’t we be lifting each other up to Him, and all for the glory of Him?

Maybe there is more?  Maybe we are more?  There are so many people who have great talents to share, and in many different kinds of ways; such as through poetry, good communicated thoughts, through art and music, and even from experiences or intuition that allow for sharing of wisdom. People might begin to realize that they have the potential to be more than they think they are…or even more than what others might expect.

I love Tenth Avenue North‘s song, “You Are More“!  The making of the video (http://tenthavenuenorth.com/videos)  is a testimony in and of itself.  The band members are lighthearted in the making of the video; but, definitely get their points across.  The making of the video and the song should both be viewed.  Below is a portion of their song:

“‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done, 
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been, 
But where your brokenness brings you to.,

This is not about what you feel, 
But what He felt to forgive you, 
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You’ve been remade.”

  ~ Tenth Avenue North  “You Are More”

The band, and the producers, had people write in words and/or phrases that might include mistakes they have made, things they may have been labeled as, or painful experiences or secrets wanting to hide.

The lead vocal, Mike, reassures us that we all make mistakes.  No one is perfect (but Christ).  He also reaffirms that the good news from the gospel tells us that despite our mistakes…and because of the blood of Jesus…we are made new.  Do you hear that!  We are made new!  We are made in His image.  We can be forgiven for our past mistakes, our heinous secrets, or whatever lies the devil wants us to believe.

The fact they used real people in the video made it more apparently real to me.  Also, at the end when the water flows over the chalkboard, like art or a beautiful poem, I hold a visual in my head of these mistakes being washed away.  I can have a clean slate because of what He did for me!

…going back to the wisdom from others.  Not all wisdom needs to be taken as the “only” way.  That is why we have the good news of the Gospel.  We also have learned and trained pastors to help us better understand the wisdom that has been bestowed upon us—through His words.

So if we have good news to share why is there a lack of sharing it?  Could one person  do all the “reaching out”—trying to make a difference?  Of course not.  The problem may be that others don’t have the confidence to share.  More sadly, others may have not found their strength to share.   Sometimes a strength may come about from a weakness made known.   It could be right under their noses, and they not even realize it.

There is an exception to this rule.  The only One that could reach to everyone–did just that for us.  Jesus took it upon Himself to make a difference in our lives, and for our lives, by letting us pin Him to the cross.  In essence, we abused and neglected Christ by standing by, and doing nothing, watching Him suffer.  He gladly did this for us.

There is so much pain and affliction in this world.  I could not even make a dent in the list; but, one very dear, and close to my heart, is that of abuse and neglect. I realize this topic can be very broad with many different types; but, nevertheless…abuse is abuse…no matter how you look at it.

It is also a topic most don’t like to acknowledge because it is dark, and holds many secrets.

Abuse and Neglect can be an act or failure to act on the part of [the one being abused] which could result in serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; sometimes even death.

Lots of people don’t understand abuse; because frankly, unless they have experienced it…they can’t comprehend it. 

The sad thing is that many have been abused, and don’t even know it. I have had people tell me that they have never been abused.  After getting to know them, I may hear them tell a story of an incident that happened to them. In all aspects, it sounds like abuse to me.

There are no criteria, or levels, one experiences in order for it to be known as “abuse”.  It looks different to each individual; however, some abuses are blatant and are definitely noticeable. I would hope others might learn the warning signs, and try to reach out to those that have experienced such things rather than looking upon them as if they were a leper.  This may compound the issue, and break trust within the person needing help.

There are different coping skills for different circumstances.  Finding a healthy coping skill is important for healing to begin.  There are lots of resources; but, it is a matter of being able to utilize some of those resources.

The community of church is a great resource for helping survivors of abuse.  This allows for sharing, praying, and encouraging.  It not only can be a blessing to the one receiving; but, for the one giving.

The problem that arises from this situation is that some, who have been sheltered, may not be as accepting of the brokenness as the one whom it involves.  The one, who is dealing with the pain of the abuse, may feel as though they are being judged.  In most cases, the abused person desires to know that His grace is real, and to be accepted despite their heinous secret—their brokenness.

Trust needs to be made, so that healing may begin.

There are lots of Biblical resources that are accessible to those needing encouragement.  I would hope that His body might utilize some of those resources to help the afflicted.  Sometimes, not knowing what to do, the body may ignore the warning signs rather than aggressively seeking to help  heal the part that is ill. But, these are very rare instances.

Other resources may be groups that have people who have survived particular abuses.  They have the knowledge, and experience, to help with coping skills, give encouragement, and direct further—if further direction is needed.  There are many books, blogs, websites, etc. with a plethora of information.  It could be as easy as a click away to get some of the help needed.

Reading  books about surviving abuse is great; but, having an actual human that will share (or is able to share) their experience of how they found hope and changed their coping skills, is vital to the process of healing.  That is why a need for a “close” community is important. One wouldn’t go to a Chemistry class if British Literature was what was needed to be learned.  The same goes for a group that understands the abused person’s particular needs.

I realize that I [one person] can’t inform the people of the world, nor do I desire this; but, I do desire that we bond together, and gather as a community to inform.  Who knows, we might begin to make a difference in each other’s lives…and maybe that would help us in the community of the people of the world.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” ~Matthew 18:20

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Where is My Love? Where is my Hope?

The question arises, how can a “faithful” Christian have such depressed thoughts that they may consider hurting themselves?  Even worse, what if they actually take their own life?  Could it be an alternative to facing their fears of rejection (broken trust), shame & guilt from some heinous secret, or a feeling of worthlessness and disgrace?

The Bible does say in Romans that we all sin and we all fall short.  We are human living in a fallen world.  But, knowing that we were sinners, God sent His son to be pinned and die on the cross for our sins.  Christ took our desperation and turned into something great to live for.

Granted most people, at least one time in their life, have probably had thoughts of ending it all (suicide).  The amount one dwells on suicide, or letting it consume their being, plays an important part in the level of depression one may be experiencing.  We live in a valley of shadow and death; but, within that valley there is life.

Christians are definitely not immune to trials.  Being a Christian does not solve all problems; but, it does assure one thing—His forgiveness of all our sins. This is great news!  Also, a lot of people think that Christians are “exempt” from the worst of these things.

HELLO!  So not true!  The devil works overtime to put Christians in a head lock that is impossible to get out of…on their own. Look at Job, Paul, and Moses…they were in some “real” messes that they became desperate enough to want to die.

You may be thinking, “What kept those ‘men of the Bible’ from doing the ‘unthinkable’?” It was love for  Him! It was hope in Him!

God intends for us to live a life that He desires for us…a life that includes Him.  God promised us a life of hope, love, grace, and mercy; but, He never promised a life where bad things would never happen to good people.

The truth is that the more we “live” our lives for Him, and through Him, the more the evil one tries to breakdown the life of His body in us; thus, trying to destroy us.  Because God gave us the freedom to choose, the evil one uses it to his advantage.  Satan tries to convince that harming each other, or to telling lies to disgrace…is the way of this world.  Sadly, many fall for his trap, and cause much pain for others…including myself.

The “world” can have two different meanings: 1) the world (biosphere) we live in, and 2) the struggles that we experience while living in this world.  Sadness and depression is a natural part of life.  God gave us these emotions (as well as many others) as a way of dealing with the brokenness of the world we live in.  It is the degree that we carry these emotions that can be detrimental to self, or others. Sometimes the reactions of our emotions may be due to an early childhood type of abuse; therefore, it is a way of coping.  The problem is as adults those same coping mechanisms don’t work the same way as they did with the child.

The key, in overcoming severe depression, is community…with others. Community can be within a group of church members, or within a support group outside of church.  Both can be vital in the healing and recovering process of the oppressed and depressed.  Research shows that a committed community, to those that are inflicted with brokenness, can become a vital part in the healing process.

We often need help from others to make sense of what is going on within our inner-selves, and to help us break out of patterns of sin and brokenness. Such freedom to discuss our inner-selves with another person creates a bond whose acceptance is not based on performance but on unconditional love.

The devil does not want hope or love to be found.  He will do everything in his power to divert the attention from Him to the lies of desperation that make us feel worthless (which pleases him the evil one).  He seemingly causes a feeling of overwhelming disgrace that begins abounding in once joyful hearts.  Depression can often become more agonizing than physical pain.

The Bible says that people are of great significance because of being made in the image of God—for His glory.  We have become adopted into God’s family. We learn that it is not what we’ve done to deserve to be a part of His family; but, what He did for us.  Christ’s death is the reason for our acceptance by God. He promises to never let us go.

This “amazing grace” that God has given us should lead to a life of dedication to Him…allowing us to fight the ongoing battle against the world of sins. God uses the trials of our life to help become more aware of Him, and to have a desire to be more like Christ.

God sometimes uses difficult trials to discipline.  In the fight against the evil one, hope is vital. We must listen and draw near to Him.  We must be encouraged that this is His sign of His love.

We are reminded that we don’t just struggle against our own idols, or sins; but, against “spiritual forces of evil” in the idol “world” of sin.  We must learn to put on the full armor of God.  We must wear it every day and always.  This will provide protection from the devil’s “fiery darts.  We also must “pray just to make it through the day”.

We live with many emotions.  We live with groaning hearts.  We live with rejoicing hearts.

Where is my love?  Where is my hope?  It lies within my faith knowing that there is a Lord, Jesus Christ, who sanctified me with His loving grace–by dying on the cross.

This is the day that the Lord hath made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it! ~Psalm 188:24

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