Tag Archives: depressed

Red Wine Stains

Accepting Limitations

Recently I have started to get up early each morning around 5:30am. I was tending to find that staying in bed until 7-8 o’clock left me feeling drowsy and I found it very difficult to get into gear. Furthermore, God had specifically told me many years ago that this was a discipline that I needed to master, since it was going to be of major benefit to my life.

Typically I come downstairs, as quietly as I can so as not to wake up everyone else in the house, go into the lounge, and spend time talking with God and planning my coming day. Over the last few days I kept being drawn to an old, circular purple mark on the hearth in front of the fireplace. It looks like at some point, someone placed a wine glass down and some of the split liquid had soaked into the stone. I think it has been there ever since we moved into the house 11 years ago, but for some reason I was really drawn to it this time.

I decide to take a closer look at this offending blemish that ruined what was a beautiful plinth of fine marble. I ran my finger across it; it felt slightly rough to the touch. With my thumbnail I scratched at the surface to see what I was dealing with. “Is it really such a permanent mark?”, I thought to myself. I began to scratch at it with a bit more urgency, applying greater force. To my amazement this seemingly unmovable disfigurement began to disappear. I slowly worked my way round the shape watching it get gradually lighter and lighter until it refused to lighten any more. I then marched to the kitchen and brought back a cloth and a knife. I continue to rub at my tenacious adversary. Almost gone now, I applied the knife and gently scrapped at the surface. In just a few minutes, what had stood for over a decade was gone without a trace.

The question I asked myself was this – “Why didn’t I do something earlier?” With such minimal effort the issue was resolved in such a short space of time. I’d presumed that this issue was a permanent fixture and it hadn’t even occurred to me that there might be way to remove it. How often can this be said of many of life’s issues. They linger with us year after year, niggling away at us. Not too irritating that we take positive action to address them, but they stop us to scratch regularly only to forget about it for another day. I think that God occasionally reminds us that he is our healer and that even the most long standing of issues can be resolved. We sometimes just need to listen for his prompting and go with the leading of the holy spirit. And when we do this we typically find that God does something quite incredible, something that makes us stand up in amazement.

So don’t just accept things as they are, no matter how long standing the problem might be. God can resolve it because he does not want us to go through the whole of life living with the hurts of the past. Who knows, maybe today is the day when God says, “I want to do something really special for you today. You know that thing that’s been niggling you and holding you back? Well today I’m going to take it away; erase it completely.” Get ready to receive something wonderful from the father that loves you more than life itself.

Luke 4:18-19a

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Change the Flavour

What we say doesn’t just reflect our mood, it affects are mood. More than that, it affects the mood of those around us.

It’s just so easy to join in on a good grumble about all the problems that we share at work, or at church, or in life in general. We might well be the instigator of such conversations without even realising it. Of course, everyone joins in; no-one wants to offend the person who is feeling down by telling them they are wrong.

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t saying anything at all.”

To be able to move on and get beyond problems that affect us we will need to deal with the way we talk. By continually complaining and grumbling we are actually telling ourselves that things will never be any different. We confirm that we believe that the problem is too difficult to overcome and list excuses why we should not even try. Complaining undermines hope.

How many times have we watch a hollywood film where one member of a group seems intent on spoiling the hero’s plans. They go against every good idea and grumble at any attempt to get out of the current peril. We recognise them instantly as the ‘baddy’ by their behaviour. The question is though, do we recognise when we’re being the baddy in our work, or in our homes, or with our friends?

To see our situation change we need to begin to change the flavour of our conversation. This might mean just being quiet and refusing to say anything negative about a person or situation. At first this will be difficult because we’re so used to joining in with everyone else. People will expect us to back them up when talking about how terrible things are.

Here are some suggestions on practical ways to change the way we speak.

  • Refuse to complain about a person or situation
  • Make a list of positives and focus on those instead
  • Stay quite and listen to others when they complain
  • Resist being draw in to a negative conversation
  • If necessary, make an excuse to go and do something else
  • Ask questions like, “Why do you thing that is?” or “What are you going to do?”
  • Don’t think yourself better than others just because you’re not joining in
  • Give thanks to God for the other person or situation

Dear God

I’m sorry for the times I have pulled others down by the way I have spoken. Forgive me for being negative and affecting the mood of those around me. Instead of using opportunities to build others up, I have acted in weakness and joined in the complaining. Help me to now to focus on the hope you have promised me, to change the way I talk, that I might be a blessing to others. Thank you for the MARVELLOUS work you are doing in my life. Thank you that you do not leave me in my situation forever but instead help me to overcome.

Amen

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the
body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life
on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
James 3:6
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
Proverbs 21:23
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as
is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace
to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29

Moving On

From time to time we get to a point where we just wish that we could move on. We find ourselves back in the same place again, facing the same issue that we’ve faced on more than one occasion. But despite our efforts we are seemingly unable to know what to do differently that will free us from this never-ending cycle. We might ask our friends advice, read the latest book or blog and put into practise a new set of techniques to help us overcome the issue. Stubbornly it remains.

A major factor in being able to move on in life is to cut our ties to the past. Before a ship can sail it must first release the mooring ropes and lift the anchor from the sea bed. Failure to do so will result in a pretty short trip and a hasty return to the same port. The engines might be running at full power and there may well be a large amount of noise and action, but in the end there is little achieved. So what anchors us to the past?

One thing that can seriously affect our progress in life is unforgiveness. By refusing to let go of past hurts we continue to drag a large, heavy bag with us through life. Our reaction to what has happened to us acts like a large weight that we’ve picked up, slowing our progress through life. After a while we don’t even bother looking in the bag to see what’s inside, we just carry it into every new situation that comes along. And guess what, we act out the same response again and again.

Forgiving is not easily. We want justice for what was wrongly done to us. The wrong must be paid for and we will fight to the last to see that happen. It feels that to forgive would be a betrayal of what we believe – the righting of wrongs. But the only person who is being punished for the wrong is us, as we carry around the hurt letting it poison our lives.

Now we’re not making excuses for what has happened but here are some thoughts that may help us to begin to take some things out of our bag.

  • They didn’t know that what they had done was wrong
  • They didn’t know how much it would hurt us
  • They hadn’t been taught how to treat others with respect
  • They hadn’t experienced love and kindness
  • They had been seriously hurt in the past
  • You got too close to them and they find it difficult to trust others
  • We were overly sensitive and took offence
  • They didn’t mean to hurt us but struggled to express themselves
  • They decided to take the easy option because they couldn’t handle the situation
  • They believed they were justified in what they did
  • You had hurt them and they wanted to get their own back

Furthermore, there are better reasons to forgive:

  • We are equally guilty of hurting others
  • People are carrying unforgiveness because of what we’ve done
  • We deserve punishment for all our wrongdoings

God says that unless we’re willing to forgive others then he can’t forgive us. Our present suffering is not some punishment for all our wrongdoing. The wonderful thing is that we can be free from our past and we can move on. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us, for all the things we’ve ever done and will ever do. All we need to do is share that gift with others.

Dear God,

Thank you that I can trust you to right all wrongs. You know the hearts of every person and you are just and true. You do not treat me as my sins deserve but instead have pardoned me through the death of your son. Help me to forgive those that have hurt me. Search my heart and reveal to me my true motives. I thank you that my future is secure in you and that you have promised to move me on. I put myself into your hands merciful God.

Amen

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our
iniquities.
Psalm 103:10
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 6:14

 

Running Late

How many times have I raced to for an appointment only to find out that there was no need to hurry at all. There must have been at least half-a-dozen times in the last few months where I’ve rushed to be somewhere on time, only to find out that I was by no means the last to arrive or the start had been delayed. In the process I was flustered and had not really prepared. On one occasion it also resulted in me being invited to a Speed Awareness Course!

But it’s difficult to not let time dictate our actions. We tell ourselves that we should be better organised, or that people will think us unreliable, or that we don’t value them because we couldn’t be there on time. Some of this may be true and we might need to check how much we’re trying to do, but there will always be circumstances beyond our control. We need to learn how to deal with these situations when they arise and not to spend all of our time trying to plan for every eventuality. For the performance driven ones among us this can be the difference between burning out or living successfully.

Here are few handy thoughts when running late.

  • Perhaps I won’t be the last to arrive
  • People will be even more glad when I arrive because they had begun to think I wouldn’t make it all all
  • They will understand that I was delayed
  • My apology will be accepted and everyone will quickly forget that I was late
  • The meeting will not start on time
  • Not everything is my responsibility
  • They have allowed time for me as they know I have a lot on
  • Teas & coffees will be served first
  • I may have the wrong start time
  • It’s more important I am relaxed when I arrive so I can give my best
  • It’s better to arrive late in one piece than not to arrive at all
  • I may not even be required for the meeting as others have it covered
  • People will not think less of me for not arriving on time

It’s good that you care about being on time and not letting others down but it is important that it doesn’t turn into anxiety and stress.
If you can let people know that you’re running late. If you’re really late then perhaps you should just send your apologies and miss the meeting altogether. Better that you allow sometime to prepare and get to the next one onetime and get control of your day back.

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you that even when I don’t find time for you, you alway make time for me. Help me to trust you for all the things that I cannot control, and to know when enough is enough and I cannot do anymore. Just because I think I’m able to do it doesn’t mean that I have to, I can trust things to others and ultimately trust everything to you.

Help me to give my best. Even when I get things wrong and let others down you do not condemn me but love me always.

Thank you God for your patience with me. May I show others that same patience when they don’t arrive on time for my next meeting.

Amen

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin
construction of a building without first calculating the cost to
see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might
complete only the foundation before running out of money, and
then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person
who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
Luke 14:28-30
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own 
understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make 
straight your paths. 
Proverbs 3:5-6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and 
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone 
who is hasty comes only to poverty. 
Proverbs 21:5

 

Great Expectations

When something unexpected happens does our mind run away with us thinking that the worst has happened? It can be quite difficult to stop and think that this may not be the case. In just a moment our day has gone from great to terrible and we don’t even know what might have happened.The truth is that if we choose to think positively then most of the time we will more likely be closer to the truth. We will save ourselves untold anguish. For example, our best friend has failed to turn up for our lunch together. We’re don’t understand why they didn’t remember that it was today. We told them in our text message where and when to meet. Why aren’t they here! Don’t they know that I was really looking forward to seeing them. I can’t afford to be late as I have other things to do today. Well, possibly there is a very good reason they are late.

  • They have overslept
  • They have forgotten because they are really tired
  • They have misplaced their car keys
  • They forgot to set their alarm
  • There has been a fire drill and are delayed
  • They missed their junction on the motorway
  • They are stuck in a traffic-jam
  • They forgot something and had to go back
  • There was a long queue in the shop
  • The car has broken down
  • There has been a power cut at the office and they have had to stay behind
  • Their previous appointment has overrun
  • They have forgotten to do something really important
  • An emergency has happened at work and they are needed to sort it out
  • The battery on their mobile has run out
  • They have been pulled over for speeding to meet you
  • They were distracted when agreeing our plans
  • They didn’t get my text message
  • They didn’t make a note of what we agreed
  • They lost track of the time because of an urgent deadline
  • They forgot they were meeting because of worrying about something
  • They are naturally quite forgetful
  • They are very disorganised
  • They have taken ill today
  • The car has run out of petrol
  • A family crisis has occurred
  • They have lost their job
  • They didn’t realise how I would feel by being late
  • They didn’t appreciate that I was depending on them
  • They didn’t know how much I wanted them to be there
  • They didn’t know that they were the only one invited

And if none of the above is true then perhaps they just made a mistake. They are only human after all. Have we never made a mistake? Why not review your level of expectation and cut others some slack. Instead of expecting that everyone will turn up on time, don’t be so surprised if quite often people are late and have good reasons. Don’t set people up to fail, instead set people up to succeed. If you plan a meeting and invite people to come at 10am, plan to start the actual meeting at 10:10am or as soon as everyone has arrived! Send everyone a reminder or let them know that you’re looking forward to seeing them.

Prayer

DEAR GOD,

HELP ME TO ALWAYS THINK THE BEST OF OTHER PEOPLE AND NOT TO SET THEM UP TO FAIL. PLEASE HELP ME TO ORGANISE MYSELF AND NOT TO BELIEVE THAT I AM PERFECT. FORGIVE ME FOR NOT HAVING FAITH IN OTHERS, OR IN YOU TO LOOK AFTER ME IN MY SITUATION. THANK YOU THAT I CAN TRUST YOU FOR ALL MY WORRIES AND CONCERNS. ALL THE THINGS THAT I CANNOT CONTROL ARE SAFE IN YOUR HANDS.

AMEN

Love... always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always
perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever
is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is
excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

No-one Likes Me

Whether people like us or not is often determined by our behaviour and not who we actually are. It’s our behaviour that they don’t like and don’t want, and they are not necessarily rejecting us.

Just because we’re different doesn’t mean that we are not likeable. People may have difficulty in understanding who we are and be afraid of getting to know us because we’re different. If we’re going to make friends we’re going to need to let people get to know the real us.

It might be our views that others do not like because they do not agree with them. They may feel that their own views are threatened by our views because they are contrary to what they believe. This doesn’t mean that our views are not worth listening to. God accepts us just as we are, even if our views are offensive and hurtful to others.

Other can be prejudice against us, making judgements about are who we are without really getting to know us. View few people spend the time to get to know someone else properly; it’s even more difficult if we don’t let people get close to us for fear of being hurt.

Others don’t have a right to judge us, after all how can they possible know everything about us and why we are the way we are. In any case, who are they to judge? Are they not equally guilt of failings in their own lives? Don’t jump to the conclusion that we’re at fault just because someone else says so.

The other person may just be too busy to give us time and make friends. Or they may think that they are not liked and therefore push us away.

The truth is that you are likeable. Everyone is likeable and loveable. It’s up to us to believe that this is true for us.

God loves us despite all of our failings and all of our ugly behaviours and opinions.

Take Action

  • Concentrate on spending time to listen to other people’s points of view, only giving yours after you’ve listened and thought about what they’ve said. Don’t assume that other people’s opinions are right just because they don’t like yours.
  • Try to understand the other person’s point of view, ask them not just what they believe but why they believe it.
  • Think about your actions and seek to understand if you have made other people feel uncomfortable. If possible, ask the other person if there is something you’ve done to upset the them. If they are a good friend they will tell you.
  • Avoid getting into the trap of justifying your right to be liked by judging others as wrong. Only God has the right to judge us all. Instead seek to understand.
  • Don’t seek to attribute blame to yourself or others. Lay it all before God and trust him to guide you in what to do.

Prayer

Dear God,

I am lonely and upset. It seems as if no-one likes me and I don’t know how to make friends. Help me to be open and accepting of others and not run away at the first sight of trouble.

If there is any offensive way in me then make me aware of it. You alone have the right to judge me. I confess to you that I have not thought about the needs of others but have focused only on my own needs. Will you forgive me.

Thank you for loving me despite all my failings. You made me just the way I am and you take delight in me – your creation. I know that you are with me and will never leave me. You will carry out your purposes in my life as I trust in you.

Amen

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were
still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge… but love your neighbour 
as yourself" Leviticus 19:18
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with
 unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3
"Since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because 
I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in 
exchange for your life." Isaiah 43:4