Six People To Put Out Of Your Mental Health Room

Six people you don’t want help from, and there could be more; therefore, its time to detach from them and have them leave your emotional room.

There are some people that I am wary of getting help from or even suggesting others get help from. They may be well-meaning, have good intentions, and a deep desire to help, but they come up short on wisdom.

There is something about them that just doesn’t feel right and shouts ‘avoid.’

Have you come across people like that? Continue reading “Six People To Put Out Of Your Mental Health Room”

When There are More Questions than Answers

When There are More Questions than Answers

Life can hand us a bunch of questions with few answers. But there is something inviting in a question, and so we explore a road less travelled.

When Bob climbed into the passenger seat next to me, I could see that something was wrong. He wasn’t his normal cheery self. It was like a question had gripped his thinking.

Have you ever had that experience? Something has happened in your life, and with a sense of shock, you are consumed with trying to understand it. Continue reading “When There are More Questions than Answers”

Can you Measure Spiritual Growth and Formation?

Can you Measure Spiritual Growth and Formation

In our spiritual life, we want to know if we are making progress, but much of growth and formation is intangible, so we have to look deeper than a mere measurement.

It wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but when we dug a little deeper, I could see the wisdom.

I was talking with a counselor, and I asked him how do we know if we are growing spiritually or not? There isn’t any objective measuring tool where we can say we have moved 5 points ahead or back. That would really open us up to feelings of pride or failure.

What he said was along the lines of this. Continue reading “Can you Measure Spiritual Growth and Formation?”

There’s a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me

There's a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me light

We can live warped lives because of a shadow hanging over us, but that shadow can be removed if we face what’s causing the shadow and allow the light to flood in.

Have you ever walked in a shadow?

Of course you have, but you probably didn’t take much notice of it. We do it all the time.

What about filtered light? Light that has been defused and filtered as it has passed through clouds. Again yes.

We don’t notice it because we are used to it. It’s commonplace and the norm. Continue reading “There’s a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me”

The Cup. Paying Attention To What Fills and Drains

The Cup. Paying attention to what fills and drains

We are like a cup in which energy both fills and drains. But we can grow by paying attention to the cup and understanding the fillers and the drainers.

It was always a challenge to get them to care for themselves. They were always giving out to others, and I could see that life was being sucked out of them.

I explained that you can’t give out of an empty cup, but self-sacrifice and martyrdom had been drummed into them from childhood. They remembered that Sunday School song – J.O.Y. Jesus first, Yourself last,  and Others in between sung to the merry little tune of Jingle Bells.

But now all that giving out was leading to their fragile body forming cracks. The body was breaking down. It couldn’t keep on giving out. Illnesses came,  sleeplessness, anxiety, depression. The body was trying to send a message – Stop abusing the cup. Continue reading “The Cup. Paying Attention To What Fills and Drains”

Are you Praying Against Yourself? The Abusive Art of Self-Deprecation

Are you Praying Against Yourself The Abusive Art of Self-Deprecation

Words said, have power. Self-deprecation is to pray against the self, but we can learn to pray for the self and so develop healthier thinking patterns.

It was the words at the end of his sentence that caught my attention.

‘I’m so stupid; I always do things like that’.

You learn to notice them—little words used as qualifying comments that disempower the self.

I think that many of us have little words or sentences that we probably tell ourselves and others. Sometimes they slip out in conversation.

Maybe they are offered up as an excuse or reason for things being the way they are.

Most of these thought sentences are kept quietly to ourselves, where they can continue to shape and poison our thinking. We say them so many times that we become used to them. They are our default thinking regime.

As a child, I was taught to ‘not think too highly of oneself’ Romans 12:3 and that ‘pride comes before a fall’ Proverbs 16:18

So the obvious course is to think lowly of yourself and to keep yourself humble through a self-flagellation diatribe of dismissive self-talk. Continue reading “Are you Praying Against Yourself? The Abusive Art of Self-Deprecation”

Cast your Bread. It’s vital you do

Cast your Bread. It's vital you do

Cast your bread. You can hold it to yourself, that special thing about you, but it is better for everyone if you ‘Cast your bread.’  Focus on the micro gifts of today.

Even in winter, the children still ask if there are strawberries to pick.

I manage a large vegetable garden at a primary school here in Auckland, and it always amuses me when the children ask me if there are any strawberries. They don’t yet fully understand the concept of seasons and having to wait.

That there is a time to sow and a time reap.

I enjoy harvest time. It’s so good to be picking fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the garden. One of the delights at the school is to pick some fresh ripe tomatoes and then slice a section and give it to a young child.

The taste is so much better than store-bought. Maybe because it’s been grown in soil, without vast amounts of chemical fertilizers and sprays, but also perhaps that the children are involved in the planting and the picking. Continue reading “Cast your Bread. It’s vital you do”

Stop ‘Shoulding’ and Start ‘Coulding’ Yourself

Stop 'Shoulding' and Start 'Coulding' Yourself should could

‘Shoulds’ can pile up on the shoulders and shape our thinking. But we have efficacy. We have the power to make a change and stop ‘shoulding.’ We don’t have to live under the slavery of a ‘should.’

It was always the same message. ‘You should be doing better.’ 

‘You’re not getting as good as grades as Bill and Clive runs faster than you. What’s the matter with you? You’re just not trying hard enough’. 

Taken on as messages of personal performance, we start to ‘should’ on ourselves. We compare ourselves to others and make judgments about our performance. 

‘Well, at least I’m not like them’ or ‘I’m not as good as them.’ The pendulum swings from pride to self-loathing. 

We are given very clear messages about who we are to measure up against, and it is always someone else.  Continue reading “Stop ‘Shoulding’ and Start ‘Coulding’ Yourself”

A Mountain in Your Life? Where does your Help Come From?

A Mountain in Your Life Where does your Help Come From

When we keep looking at the mountain of struggle, we can feel crushed, but when we know someone greater than the mountain is with us, we can find the help we need. Mountains move when we meditate on Gods goodness.

Where I live, I’m surrounded by mountains. They’re not very high mountains. The highest peak is only 196 meters high and has the name Mt. Eden and is a dormant volcanic cone.

The highest mountain I have been up to is Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. At 4302 meters it’s so high that the breathing is difficult, but the views are fantastic.

A Mountain can be  imposing

When you go to a place where there are many mountains it can be imposing.

They dominate the scenery. Everywhere you look you see this fortress looming up into the sky. Continue reading “A Mountain in Your Life? Where does your Help Come From?”

Your Failures in Life Need Love

Failure in Life Needs Love shame

One failure in life seems to collect another failure, but love can cut through any collection of failures. We need to listen for the shame that has been collected then meet it with heartwarming arms.

If you can talk about failure, you can talk about anything.

As he opened up and talked about his failures, I wondered what I was supposed to do.

Questions rumbled through my mind.

  • Was he genuine?
  • Was he seeking sympathy?
  • What wasn’t he telling me?
  • Was this a pity party?

No, he owned the failures. He was taking responsibility for the mess he had made of life, and he just wanted me to know.

She told me the story of a time where she had made a terrible decision.  Now, this failure had other failures clinging to it. The weight of it was taking her down. She wanted me to know.  Continue reading “Your Failures in Life Need Love”