Tag Archives: Anxiety

Hang in there (mental health post)

If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you have ups and downs with your mental health. The mind can be a tricky place. And not just the mind, but the brain itself. Realising there is a physical and biological aspect to mental health helps take away some of the stigma when we might feel like we ‘shouldn’t’ be struggling or suffering in our minds when we ‘ought to’ have control over our own thoughts. I’ve had this ‘argument’ with myself, but often our brains can do things we don’t want them to, especially in times of stress.

Thinking over my life, yes there have been times of stress, of trauma and mental overload and confusion, but there have also been great times and wonderful days feeling well, travelling (see my travel posts 🙂 ) even with anxiety, going out with friends, helping other people, serving in church, walks in the park, being part of community, and being liked, admired, respected by other people and achieving various goals. There have been days enjoying soaking up the beauty of being alive, of nature and connecting with God. Wondrous moments. Yet there are also days like today where I know I’m not 100% ok. I’d been pushing through anxiety and troubling thoughts to do various more positive things recently like going to work a couple of days in the office post-pandemic restrictions, going for walks and chats with friends, attending church and meeting new friends there and being able to help out, meeting up with good friends again. Some of those days have had the backdrop of anxiety but they still allowed me enjoyment. For the past month and a bit I’ve been recovering from Covid and post-Covid fatigue and it is impacting my mental health and brain health. I look at photographs to remind myself that my life is a beautiful life with a lot of blessings despite the times of stress or difficulties that I’ve experienced in various seasons. Yet my mind / brain can forget these things and bring up all sorts of ‘automatic negative thoughts’ – I think I’ve written about these ‘ANTS’ in previous blog posts – perhaps I’ll do a search to see if even I can find something helpful. When we’re ill and fatigued things can get a bit more difficult mentally especially if we’ve struggled in the past.

So why have I written the above? It’s to remind you that if you are in a dark or confusing moment that those are not the only moments you’ve had in life. This too will pass. You are a special, beautiful, worthy human being no matter what your brain is telling you, no matter what anyone else or any experience has told you. Our minds can be tricky and disorganised places and it can be difficult to pull ourselves up and out of the experiences of our own thoughts. Try to recall a time when you were in a better place or try to distract yourself by thinking on something good, true, lovely. Sometimes something as simple as watching a nature video can help, or talking to a friend or family member. It can be hard when we feel stuck to take that small step that cognitively seems huge to us, but just try a little at a time.

If you are in crisis, remember that it will pass. Don’t act on any troublesome thoughts but try to sit with those difficult feelings and if you can reach out to someone, even a helpline. Look at something that is positive rather than trying to ‘make sense of’ your confusing thoughts, although there may be a place for that when you are feeling better. Try to eat well, rest well and connect with people in some way. If you are able, go for a walk – I’m not able to go for a walk at the moment with the way my health is, but I often find that this helps to ‘clear my head’. I’m blessed to know that I have a loving Heavenly Father, and a Saviour Jesus Christ, and I know I’m never alone and can reach out to God any time, and am indwelt by His Spirit. This is a real comfort to me, as is turning to His Word and being reminded in Scripture that we can cry out to God, and that so many people experienced times of distress and that God rescued them from it. Even psalm 22 prophesies the intense distress that Jesus Christ would face on the Cross hundreds of years before the event. He knows, and He understands.

Despite the past seasons of darkness or trial, my life overall is a beautiful life, yet at times my mind tends to overwhelm me with unhelpful thoughts. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone, and it doesn’t have to last forever. No matter how bad your life might feel right now, there is hope. Ultimately, I would point you to Jesus Who has taken away my deep pain and Who forgives us and gives us a brand new life, gradually changing, cleansing, freeing us from within. There is hope for another day. Know that there are hundreds if not millions or more people across the globe right now whose brains are also struggling with the world we’re living in. Perhaps because of experiences, perhaps because of Covid, or ‘just because’….just because we’re human. It can be easy to look at others and think they’re doing great, and maybe they are but we can’t see beneath the surface or understand what’s really going on in someone’s mind. Most people would look at me and not have any idea that my brain can cause me distress but then I might look at them and assume the same. Wherever you are, just hang in there. Please. Know that it isn’t the end, there is light in the darkness and the thoughts tumbling upon you will clear. Thoughts are not reality but they can lead us in directions that can either help or harm us, so take a moment to consider dwelling on a different thought. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it this can be difficult to do so an external input or distraction can help – this might be something you watch or read or talking to someone who can be a kind and supportive voice – or perhaps reading this blog post might, I sincerely hope, give someone a bit of perspective to hang on in there.

Don’t give up, dear friends, you’re not alone. Yes, our minds can cause us distress, but they can also be places of hope and of inspiration, faith, love and joy. That might feel like a million miles away from us at the moment but we can start with one thought at a time. For me, writing this blog post has helped engage another part of my brain, my mind, my thinking to steer me to a more helpful course, to seek to help someone else rather than getting lost in the automatic thoughts that my brain seems to throw at me from time to time, especially when feeling unwell physically. What might help you when you’re struggling? I’ve written in previous posts about having a ‘toolbox’ for mental health and self care, perhaps this is something we can have in reserve – strategies that are helpful – that we can go to and remind ourselves of on those more difficult days.

I hope that you’ve founds something helpful in this. Praying for you. Hang in there. Those thoughts, like clouds, will clear, and once again we’ll have brighter days. ❤

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Mental help

At times we can feel like we’re the only person feeling the way we are or we may be frustrated that we are feeling and thinking in ways that we know aren’t helping us, but we don’t know the way out, and that can make it feel all the more frustrating.

In this moment, I’m thankful that I have the gift and outlet of the blog to reach out to someone feeling the way I am just now. It can be hard to be human, no doubt. It can be difficult and confusing to have brains that don’t always serve us well and thoughts and feelings that can be confusing.

You are not your thoughts:

Something that has helped me to hear is that ‘you are not your thoughts’, and that the ‘stuff in your head’ is just ‘stuff in your head’. It can be difficult to separate ourselves out from what’s going on seemingly inside us, but regardless of what your mind is telling you, you are unique, valuable, treasured and worthy. You are the only one of you – one of one, not one in a million, and you are not your thoughts. I believe that each one of us are worth dying for, worth the blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, that’s how precious and valuable our lives are, but even if you don’t believe that in this moment, know that you are unique and valuable.

Brain overload:

Our brains have had to process so much in our lifetimes and in the past few years globally. The amygdala and its fight / flight response can trick us into feeling that we are constantly under threat and we can lose perspective of who we are, our worth and what is actually real about our lives. Maybe we use ‘coping mechanisms’ to help us through. If you’re going through this, even when you’re trying to rest, know that you are not what’s happening in your brain and you’re not alone – you’re certainly not the only person experiencing mental, emotional or physical distress and it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you – you’re human, and these experiences are part of the human condition.

Finding an outlet:

It can be easy to listen to and follow up on the thoughts that come into our minds, even if they are not helpful to us or are confusing. We can feel bad about ourselves for doing so and that can make it worse. But we don’t need to follow every thought that pops into our minds, they’re not real, and we don’t need to go down every rabbit hole.

Finding an outlet can be helpful to distract us, and I know that can be difficult at times especially if coupled with low mood. But we can start small, telling ourselves that ‘this too will pass’, affirming that we are not our thoughts, that thoughts aren’t real, and that we are valuable no matter what anyone else has said or what our own minds tell us. We are unique, valuable and one of a kind, anything contrary to that is a lie.

Eating well can fuel our bodies and our minds, as can finding positive and true things to think upon such as watching or contemplating something in nature and being careful of the media we take in or the thoughts we dwell on. Reading something helpful or studying can activate certain areas in our brain that are more ‘rational’, and reaching out to talk to someone can also help as can doing something creative even if for a little while.

You are not alone:

It can be a hard battle to fight to try to untangle ourselves from the many messages we’ve taken in or the chemical reactions going on in our brains involuntarily, but you are definitely not alone friend, so please don’t give up. Even if you find a little relief from your distress for a moment it will help you to think a bit more clearly and perhaps you can find a regular healthy outlet that can help you to build up more positive thought patterns, resilience and connections in your mind.

One thought at a time.

I also take comfort in my faith in knowing that on another level I’m not alone and never will be alone. Jesus said, ‘Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest for your souls…’ He knows us on every level and will never cast aside anyone who comes to Him.

And you’re not alone in your human experience as there are millions of other people going through mental health issues throughout the world. Take heart and don’t give up. Do something kind for your mind today. ❤ x

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Your unique value and worth…

Well dear friends, I’m back – and my latest news is that I got Covid for the first (and hopefully only) time. I tested positive on 5th October and have since had negative tests, but it seems that I’m suffering from a form of long-covid, and I hope and trust that in time it will pass and I’ll be back to strength again. But it has been somewhat of a rough ride at times with the exhaustion, shakiness, fatigue, breathlessness, inability to do much at home and the ‘brain fog’ and mental stress, emotions and anxiety and confusion in sleeping and waking hours. I know people have different symptoms but in addition to the cough and cold like symptoms earlier on these have been some of mine and in the early stages they were quite severe and I was unable to get out of bed for long and had restless sleep or attempts to sleep. I’m finally sitting up and able to blog, so that is progress. Perhaps writing will help me to shed some light on what I’ve learned.

There is Light

Being unwell can be a scary place to be, especially when our bodies and minds feel like they are vulnerable, weak and not doing what they were created to do in being healthy and able. We feel the value and fragility of life. I’m feeling much more myself now, but I’m not there yet. I’m sitting up or able to rest in bed and do a few more tasks at home without as much fatigue as before, which is wonderful, but I still need to conserve a lot of energy as I fully recover. For the most part I’ve been on my own during this time, with a bit of time staying with family in between, and am on my own today again. In the early stages I was on my own (I don’t say alone), but so thankful for regular phone conversations and emails with family and friends and doctors, even though I couldn’t speak for long.

Being unwell with Covid has made me grateful for the things that give life and that are easily taken for granted on ‘normal’ days. As many of you know who read my blog for mental health encouragement, I have had many struggles with anxiety and panic attacks over the years, and in the past, c-PTSD, so I know what it is like to struggle to breathe or to experience mental distress. However, with Covid I’ve been reminded of just how precious something so simple and profound as our breath is. I wrote previously about how our lives are like a breath, a vapour, and when we can’t breathe properly, we are reminded of our frailty, our vulnerability, our need. I’m reminded of the things I have at times taken for granted (although I’ve been more aware of being grateful for them since seeing a good friend suffer for a while in hospital and with long term health conditions) like being able to walk for long periods of time, or being able to walk at all, to sit up and eat and do things for myself, of feeling young and healthy and alive.

Despite the distressing side of those experiences, I have also been held and lifted and drawn closer to Christ and felt the reality of God’s Peace and Presence with me at times of need. I know this may seem strange to some of you reading this, but there Is a Real and Living God Who we can have relationship with through Jesus Christ and He was there for me, counselling me and carrying me through. I’ve been able to receive this in this season as I digest the truth of His Word in Romans that I have received the Spirit of adoption (not the spirit of bondage again to fear) by Whom I can call out to God as His child. This reality has been precious to me, even as I wrestle and struggle with my broken humanity of weakness, distress and fear, there is a Peace in Christ that transcends that and all understanding, and it was made real to me afresh that beyond ‘religion’ there is something so much more, and that nothing can separate me from the Love of God in Christ Jesus. Often we (or perhaps I) feel better about ourselves when we are fit and able (although as I mentioned I have ongoing battles with anxiety and an overactive brain that can be distressing at times), when able to connect with and interact with other people, when able to look nice and go outside and enjoy walks, or lunches with friends, when we’re able to help other people, or are looked upon favourably and complimented and feel healthy and well. When we’re unwell, we’re not at our best and our bodies and minds can make us vulnerable physically, mentally, emotionally. It has been a huge source of comfort to know that I’m known and completely loved even when I’m struggling or not feeling my best, and that this goes beyond human opinion. I know there will be brighter days ahead when once again I’ll feel and look good and healthy and vibrant and able to go out and connect with others, but none of us know how long these things last, and for anyone no matter what health or circumstances may take we can know a love that will never leave, and that has been my Light in this, as well as the care of friends and family. But to be known and valued at the depths of who we are….that can only be found in Christ, and I have that greatest treasure…in sickness, and in health….ultimately in life and in death.

And that is where our unique value and worth is found. No matter what people may have said or done, no matter what age or health may do, there is a perfect love that is boundless for those who are in Christ Jesus, one that comforts us in the night watches, one that will last beyond the grave and usher in eternal life where there will be no more sickness, sorrow, pain or death. This knowing, this relationship, this love is the greatest treasure of life and sometimes we find it in times of weakness or fear. He Is Real, He knows you….

Recovery

I’m thankful for the strength and health to be able to write a blog post again. I realise that having the cognitive functions to be able to do so, to be able to remember things, to be able to touch type and form words and sentences with meaning that might actually help or encourage another precious soul are gifts and blessings far beyond my ability to appreciate. I’m so blessed with all the things I can ‘normally’ do without thinking about them, and maybe sometimes we realise this only when we see our vulnerability to not having them. Perhaps recovery will take time, but I hope it will be a full one.

I have become more mindful of people who have longer term health conditions, and who physically have to deal with things without the chance of restoration that I have. I have no doubt I’ll be back to health even if it takes a few more weeks, but I have friends who may have life long conditions now who once were extremely fit and healthy and active. While I will recover and be able to tidy up again without getting tired, or go for walks and breathe normally again, there are dear friends of mine, and many more who I don’t know and perhaps some of you reading this who will not be able to do so. And the insight of the weakness, fear and vulnerability of not being able to do simple things for oneself has been humbling. While I am optimistic and hopeful and feeling certain that I’m slowly but surely going to get better, there have been times when it has been worrying and I’ve not known how to manage, but there are people who will have to live with life long conditions and need care and help from others. I can’t imagine that and my heart goes out to you / them as I’ve gained this little bit of insight.

May whatever lesson life is showing you just now lead you to the deepest, purest most sacrificial love of the One Who identified completely with our weakness, frailty, sin and death so that we can go free. May it help you to grow in compassion for those who are suffering and to grow in depths of enjoyment for all those little things you have in life that are in fact the big things – like being able to see these words on a screen, to understand them and not forget or be confused, like being able to be present in this moment, to feed yourself and go outside for a walk if you can walk, to breathe and feel your lungs working, to go through your day even with its pressures and not collapse with fatigue. May these as well as the other many wonderful things we have like friendships, family, sunsets, community, love, faith, good food, health, homes, jobs, encouragement from people who care for us, bring even greater joy to your soul even in this troubled world.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

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Anxiety busters

Anxiety can be a big deal. I know, I’ve lived it and continue to deal with overcoming its challenges. Our brains and bodies and nervous systems can cause all sorts of havoc and experiencing anxiety can be very distressing not only because of the physical sensations but also because of the intrusive and scary thoughts and memories that we can have, especially if they are coupled with other things like trauma or depression. When we are in the midst of this it can be very difficult to separate what we are experiencing from the reality that we are not our thoughts and that what our brains are doing are not real experiences in the moment. That’s not to say that we are not experiencing them, it’s just they are not in the real world. Thoughts are powerful but at the end of the day they are just thoughts and with time and effort we can replace them with Truth.

Our fight / flight / freeze mechanism can keep us in that heightened state of stress and anxiety and troublesome brain activity. So practically what can we do to alleviate some of these symptoms which many of us are facing on an almost daily and nightly basis?

  1. Monotasking

Sometimes it can help to slow down and focus on just one thing at a time to calm down that frantic sense of the many things we need to do that can leave us immobilised. I find that if I am struggling then if I set a five or ten minute timer on my phone I can focus on a task at hand for a few minutes and get ‘out of my head’ a bit more because I have a goal at hand to achieve. That doesn’t mean troublesome thoughts don’t exist but I’m not merely sitting with them and getting lost in them or overwhelmed by them. I’d have still have done my dishes or made something to eat in the meantime, or accomplished whatever small goal I might have, and then be able to take a break and go on to the next thing.

2. Eating well

Speaking of something to eat, it’s important to fuel up our brains and bodies but when we are running on high levels of stress it can be hard to get past the anxiety and depression to be able to take care of ourselves and focus on eating well. Planning in advance during the times when you do feel a bit better or asking someone for advice in this area can help because nutrition will help build us up and provide the energy that our brains need to operate better.

3. Breathing

Deep breathing can help calm the nervous system and get us out of fight / flight mode when thoughts automatically pop up causing us distress to think that there are things we need to fight or flee from. If we can calm our bodies to be in a state of rest and digest rather than fight and flight then we can be better placed to calm that anxiety and get on with our day more productively and healthily. This can take time and practice but it is good to know that something so simple as breathing can help with our wellbeing. Breathe in deeply through the nose, and exhale for a longer count through the mouth, and repeat as often as required to calm the nervous system.

4. Talk to a friend / get support

Anxiety and distressing thoughts can be overwhelming, especially if we feel like we are going crazy or don’t realise that these are ‘normal’ symptoms. Sometimes we need the reassurance that we are not alone, that we are not going to act on these scary thoughts (some of which for heightened anxiety include suicidal or harming thoughts) and we can diffuse what we are going through by chatting to a friend, or a counsellor. Spending time with people, making connections can all help to keep us grounded in the moment that we are in and out of our heads. It also helps to know you’re not the only one going through what you are and that there isn’t something wrong with you for experiencing anxiety and stressful thoughts.

5. Exercise, rest and time outside / in nature

It really helps the mind to keep the body moving, especially if this can involve getting fresh air and exercise outside or going for a walk in nature. There is something calming about the pace of nature and if we can engage our senses to notice the things going on around us in the here and now that can help us get outside of our own heads. That doesn’t necessarily mean distressing thoughts or feelings will automatically go away but they will be alleviated in the moment. Rest and listening to our bodies is also important so make sure you get good sleep as well, and if need be have a nap during the day.

6. Things you can’t control

Our brains are processing so much and especially with the things going on in the world right now it can feel hard to ‘switch off’. We might find ourselves worrying about so many things outside of our control that we can’t do anything about whether in our own lives, those of our friends and families or at the world at large. We can try to make a conscious choice during our waking hours to engage with what we can control rather than worrying about what we can’t. I know it sounds easier said than done, but at least we can try.

7. Creativity

Whether it be cooking, gardening, colouring, drawing, dancing, playing an instrument, or reading or writing a blog or a book, creativity can really help to keep us grounded and engage our hands and our minds in a productive way. So too can learning something new. It might help ease some of that stress even if we start small at first.

8. Faith and the Reality of God

The other week I was trying things to help alleviate anxiety and stress – deep breathing, I started adult colouring again, and for the first time perhaps in years I tuned in to a Ted Talk. The remarkable thing was that that very Sunday at church my pastor talked about all of these things as ways and means people turn to in order to help with stress and anxiety and seeking wisdom (including the ‘art of decluttering’) in how to live and get through these stressful days. It really did make me take notice, as sometimes you know God Is speaking specifically to you. However, he went on to discuss the importance of seeking our wisdom in the True Source of hope and wisdom for life, and the only True source of real Peace – Jesus Christ. We need to ask for the Spirit’s help to reveal the reality of these things to us, we need a saving relationship with the Living God, and that reality is only found in Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that while I may try various things to ‘help me through’ He Is The One Who has saved my soul, Who will hold me fast through this life and bring me safely to Him after death, and Who Is with me each and every day on earth. I have something better than mere ‘tools and techniques’ to get me through, I have a Living Saviour Who loved me and gave Himself for me and Who will be with me in every anxious moment, helping me to look to Him and find Peace. ❤

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New Year’s Eve 2021

It’s new year’s eve again. It’s been another ‘pandemic year’. Perhaps you have started hearing highlights of the year gone by, or people’s reflections, or plans for celebrations to ring in 2022, however ‘muted’ they may be compared to non-pandemic times. But what might be helpful for you to hear?

*You’ve probably learned more in the past two years than you realise, including how to adapt to your changing circumstances. We’ll continue to have to learn to live in a challenging world, but you have made it this far, you can take the next step, don’t give up, and don’t let fear of the unknown future overwhelm you. One day at a time. Encourage yourself and someone else today.

*There are people around you right now, today, whether in person or at the other end of a phone or screen that you can be really grateful for. You may have faced some real losses, or challenges, but even in the pain or struggle, there may still be people you value who are still in your life (even if they are the source of some of your challenges!). It’s worth remembering that and letting it brighten your heart a bit, and maybe even letting them know, especially knowing that not everyone has made it. There are people who are really grateful that you have stayed in touch with them during the pandemic too, and others who you’ve lost touch with that may actually be really pleased to hear from you again. Life is short, don’t be afraid to reach out – now is a good time, and a new year’s greeting a good enough ‘reason’.*

It’s not worth comparing our lives with other people’s, but while things might not be ideal, there are so many things to be thankful for, today. If you have more than enough, think of how you can share that with someone else who might not, whether kindness, love, friendship, encouragement or material things.

*Someone will really benefit from hearing from *you* , perhaps particularly today. There are a lot of people going through some heavy stuff just now, and you never know what difference you might make. ❤ Think about maybe not just sticking to your own circle, and reaching a little further beyond, you might just find some common ground, and you might be the reason for a changed or a saved life!. ❤

*It’s a new year, but while it’s a good time to consider goals and plans, don’t pile on the pressure to do so. Learn your lessons at your pace. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

*You are not your achievements, you are not the sum total of your relationships or connections, your appearance, or your possessions; your life has worth and value regardless of how well or badly you think you are doing, so be kind to your mind, and be kind to other people, and don’t judge them for where they are at. It’s a new year, but it’s ok just to take that one next step.

*Life on earth is fleeting, consider the big questions while you can, and don’t leave regrets. If you have been fortunate enough to come to the realisation of some of life’s big ‘answers’, live them out with all that you’ve got.

*Choose to enjoy the simple things today. If you’re on your own, remember that you’re not alone, the whole world isn’t having a great party that you’re not part of, so find some joy in your own little corner of life and be happy, even if for a moment. ❤ If you’re not on your own, reach out to someone who is 🙂 .

*It’s ok to be going through what you’re going through. Even as we ring in a ‘new year’.

*At least no one is panic buying loo roll this year 😉

*While the pandemic sucks, we still have this gift of life, and it does sometimes help to look around and take notice of all the little and big things we can be grateful for in this moment. Sometimes a bit of perspective helps – there may well be someone out there wishing their life was a bit more like yours or mine. We just need to look at the news to realise that.

*Speaking of which, maybe turn off the news for a while.

*1st Jan 2022 might be a brand new year for you, or ‘just another day’ – whatever the case, I hope you find peace, love, health and a sure hope amidst all the ups and downs of your unknown tomorrows. ❤ x

God bless. x

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Mind your mind….

Believe it or not, your thoughts can influence the course of your life. We need to be aware and mindful of what is going on in our minds and how we are letting things affect us. It can be a jumble in there, but the Truth can make us free, if we know it and apply it.

You might not realise it, but we are also in a spiritual battle, and there is a lot going on that can influence our minds and our thinking. From the lies we are told about ourselves in childhood that shape our sense of self and identity, to the information that we have to process as adults in a changing and challenging world.

Everyday, we allow thoughts to affect us, and it can lead to needing professional help at times, or to affecting our moods.

What is going on in your mind today? What thoughts are you allowing to influence and affect you? Is something from the past creeping into your mind today that either you need to work on or that you need to shut the door on?

Are you able to be present today, are you able to know your identity and worth?

Take your thoughts captive. Don’t let them take you captive. Be blessed. x

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Pandemic getting to you? Keep Going…

You’re not alone. I’ve said it throughout my self care series’ since this all kicked off early 2020, and I say it again: you’re not alone.

I believe that someone out there, or perhaps many of you, needed to hear that today. Sometimes we allow our worlds to grow small, we focus on the big stuff we’re going through or the things that are happening in our lives, and it can feel like we’re the only ones.

People are experiencing this in different ways, and yes, there are some people out there, some of whom may be in your life, who are doing great – or seem to be. Yet for the vast majority of people, this is not necessarily so.

Some of you are really struggling, and I hear you. I just want to send out a word of encouragement to you to keep going. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone through some big and painful stuff before. And you know what? I got through it, and so did you. We’re still here, and we still have to keep going.

If you’re doing well just now, remind yourself that someone in your life probably isn’t and take a moment to reach out to them, to lift them up in some way, to be kind. Kindness matters. It changes things. It could even be the difference between life and death. Be kind. Reach out beyond yourself.

If you are finding things tough at the moment, try to identify a healthy solution that might help you make it through your days a bit better.

You might want to connect to some grief counselling, or look for online support, or have someone you can phone, even if it is a helpline, if you are facing Christmas and the holiday season alone. You could reach out to someone, and break the cycle of isolation that you might be in.

If you are doing well, try not to ‘overshare’ this in a way that makes much of your good times to the detriment of others. Be mindful that some people are really going through a lot just now. Can you reach out to do something for them?

If you are stuck in a rut of boredom, try to factor some routine into your day. Do something creative, write, pick up an instrument you haven’t played in a while, go for a walk in the fresh air, draw, cook, get moving. Maybe it’s a good time to do some decluttering? Read a book. There are so many little things we can do, even if for 5 minutes at a time that can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression and boredom. If you need to make sure you check in with someone so that you’re not facing a potential crisis alone.

Keep going, keep taking the next step. Maybe we can’t make a lot of plans right now, but is that such a bad thing? Can this season be one for spiritual growth, for working on or overcoming some deep seated issues, psychological barriers, emotional pain or traumas? Can you become more patient in your day to day life, more appreciative of what you have got rather than chasing the next thing that you would normally do out in society? Can you grow in compassion and empathy for other people? Can you slow down and appreciate the extraordinary in the ‘ordinary’ moments of your life and day?

Keep going. If you’re feeling like you want to give up, recognise that you have possibly absorbed some lies or negative thinking potentially about yourself or your situation. Believe me, I’ve been there. Do you think you’re not good enough, not strong enough, unable to take the next step? Think again. You are worthy, you are precious, you are special, unique, one of a kind, able. Able to do the next one thing. Keep going.

Don’t give up. Life is a lot of little moments and you have persevered through them all so far.

We really can’t do life on our own, and sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realise this. I was there as a child when I was ‘bullied’, verbally, emotionally, physically and psychologically attacked by peers on so many sides that I felt I was nothing, and it broke and crushed my spirit on the inside. I believed so many lies about myself and absorbed the bad feelings such that I could not see a way out or a reason for going on in the pain, the intense pain of a child suffering and helpless. Guess what? I kept going. I called upon God from the depths of my soul and He answered me, He sustained me, kept me going and gave me perseverance even in pain. When I was 20 I called upon Jesus, and wow, did He answer me. I didn’t know much about The Living God before although I knew God as an unknown Power and Guiding force in my life before that, but when i called upon Jesus as The Living God, I chose Him, my whole being was flooded with immense love and joy and peace – indescribable and supernatural. This Is Real Love like no other. I was also thrust into a spiritual battle. It was not something I expected at all, but it was more real and tangible than you could imagine. We are being lied to and oppressed by things unseen every day, and only in Christ can you have the Victory – you may not ‘feel’ like it for a while, even for years, but in Him, and only in Him, you have Victory and ultimate love and freedom.

He Is The Way, and perhaps you have been led to read this very blog post for such a time as this. Maybe you didn’t realise that all the answers you are looking for in life are actually available to you, even in this world that seems to be falling apart there IS a God Who comes among us, Who can dwell within you by His Spirit and comfort you with a Peace like nothing the entire riches and love of this world can offer you. His Name Is Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us. Incredible. And He has a place for you. There Is more after this life ends, and He Is The only way for that to be eternal peace and love.

Keep going. And if you know Him, if you know His Love and love Him in return, keep calling out to Him for refreshment, strength, and everything you need to love and honour Him moment by moment, keep interceding for others. If you don’t know Him…yet, know that this is not fiction nor religion nor vain hope or futile belief without reason…there IS a Real God Who can come into your life if you ask Him sincerely from the heart, He can make you a new person from the inside out, wash away your past and either instantly or gradually heal your broken heart and transform your mind as you replace the lies you’ve believed about yourself with The Truth that you are precious and valuable to Him and He died for you.

A lot of this might not make sense, might seem counterintuitive, even illogical. Perhaps you are resting your laurels upon your pride or superiority that everything needs to be measurable or provable by ‘science’. Science is not antithesis to God. All the laws and order of the universe are subject to Him. Yes, the world is chaotic, but we have been told about this beforehand. There is evil in this world, a world in rebellion to Light and Love and Peace of Jesus. God makes things new quietly from the inside out, and He will make all things new. One day you will realise that what these ‘crazy Christ followers’ have been going on about Is actually real…I just hope and pray you will know this in the fulness of His Love for you.

There is Light and darkness, and we are born into darkness. Only Christ can set us free and save and deliver us. This Is Real. I know. I used to think Christians were deluded or hypocritical and that I was somehow more ‘spiritual’ but I didn’t realise how blind I was to the Truth, until I encountered The Living God for myself and the Incredible tangible Love and Power He revealed to me.

So keep going. Don’t give up. Jesus IS a Real Person, He Is for you and will be Emmanuel, God with you if you ask Him to. You will still have trials and struggles, but you will have a God Who will Love you and hold you and help you through it all. He Is Glorious, many of us have glimpsed His Glory have tasted and seen His Love in tangible ways, and one day we will see Him Face to face and all our longings will be fulfilled in His incredible outpouring Love, Perfect, Pure and Redeeming us from all that Is dark within us.

Until that day we are in a spiritual battle, so we keep going. Look to Him. He Is very real. He Is Powerful and He Is Gentle – He can handle you, in your stubborn pride or in your brokenness, right now where you are. He Is The Living God, not a fairy-tale. Once you have encountered Him, you will know. Humble yourself. Ask. Ask Jesus. He Loves you. x

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Do the thing in front of you…. <3

We live in a world where there is so much going on right now, we can allow this to impact negatively upon our thinking, our processing, our existing and living.

We can sometimes look at our day ahead or even worry about our whole life and future and that of those around us and feel a bit overwhelmed.

You’re not alone if you feel that way.

We can only live one day at a time, one moment at a time, and there may be something for you to do today that is part of a bigger picture, a greater plan. Just take that next step, without fear if you can.

Do that next household task, write that new encouraging blog post to lift someone’s mood and day, you never know someone might be reading it, even if you never find out about this, send that encouraging message or text to a friend and let them know they’re not alone.

Do that next thing to take care of your health. Take that next small step. Be present. Don’t let the fear of life take away the joy of living, by faith, today. Even in this troubled world there is still wonder in the small moments. ❤ x

And if you are His, and know the Reality of Him, remind yourself: “This is the day that The LORD has made, let us rejoice and give thanks in it”.

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Ruminator, Rescued or Rescuer….

We all have ‘niggling’ thoughts from time to time. Some of us have had to overcome more traumatic thoughts or episodes in our lives, when thoughts really got ‘stuck’ because we couldn’t process an event or circumstance in our life, especially if we were children at the time.

However, no matter what age you are or were when this thought got ‘stuck’, particularly something negative in your mind that you feel you need to ‘figure out’ or ‘fix’, there are some common patterns.

Sometimes we need to work out traumas and go through a difficult and painful process of talking through things, making sense of something so that we can see it in a new light and process through to get to a better place so that we are not consumed by it. But what if having gone through such a process, or perhaps not necessarily needing to if it wasn’t particularly severe, we still have negative thoughts, feelings or memories popping into our minds? There are definitely times when we need to seek out help for mental health and do the hard work that goes along with that. But at other times we may just be allowing ourselves to indulge in old thought patterns of rumination. For example ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ and getting stuck in someone else’s negative words or opinions about you or the way they treated you that was unkind or unfair.

Having worked through the past, do we fall back into ruminating over it to no end? Do we allow ourselves to remain as a victim (and I know with deep sympathy from experience that there are times when we have been victimised and need to work through that pain and hurt and that’s ok), or do we allow ourselves to move on to being in a sense ‘rescued’, getting help, and then taking that big mental shift in seeing a new identity where we can be strong even in allowing the negative things that we all in different ways experience in our lives in this world to be used for good – do we allow ourselves to move from rescued to rescuer?

Where are you today? Are you allowing negative thoughts from the past to overtake your present moments? Or even looking to the ‘good old days’ and lamenting where you are now instead? Take these thoughts and turn them for good. If you were hurt, seek ways in which you can heal and then eventually reach out to help someone else who might be hurting now. Put this into practice and allow a gradual mental shift from victim to survivor to overcomer to thriver and victor. I believe in our core soul this healing, deep healing is only every fully possible in Jesus Christ, His Love Is a balm, and His suffering can bring victory over evil. Yet no matter where you are in your thinking or beliefs or what you are going through, don’t let your thoughts crush you. Take them, use them and change the track of your mind one thought at time. Seek to know the Truth that will make you free. x

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Making a Difference…

I can sometimes feel a bit down when reading the news headlines and learning more about the terrible and dark things going on in the world. I’m sure each and everyone of you can relate. We weren’t ultimately made for a reality like that, our hearts yearn for something complete, loving, perfect and whole. Our hearts yearn for comfort from within, and an everlasting comfort, for a Love that goes beyond what we see day in and day out around us.

It got me to thinking that while so much bad is going on in the world, each and every one of us can make a difference, even in the smallest of ways, each day of our lives. We can make a difference by sharing kindness, encouragement, Truth and love.

You can make a difference in your blog, in how you treat the person you are with in this moment, of how you treat the people you encounter in your day.

It might not seem much, but it can be. So make a difference today ❤

x

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