Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Law of Attraction

As a man or woman thinks so is he or she. [Emphasis is mine]

~Proverbs  23:7~

The law of attraction is a belief that likes attract likes, and that our beliefs and actions are a result of our focus. In other words, you become your focus. 

A friend of mine shared a story from years past when her now grown daughter was then a young girl. Together, they had shared a canoe and began their adventure with my friend at the back of the canoe and her daughter in the front. With paddles in hand, they began to head toward a large boulder located near the side of the river bank. My friend, quick to realize the law of attraction, began to instruct her daughter to look at the center of the river. She understood that once her daughter began to look at the center of the river she would begin to paddle in that direction. Without fail, their canoe began to turn and they averted the boulder that could have overturned their canoe with them in it. 

Living with depression is like paddling down a river in a canoe. There are many boulders in the life of those living with depression. These boulders have names like: worthless, hopeless, useless, helpless, friendless, faulty, fearful, guilty, angry, and on and on. When one, or many of these boulders are hit, lives are overturned and often unable to return upright and function as intended. What the person living with depression needs to understand is that they need to change their focus and divert the hopelessness that these beliefs create. 

Living with depression means you must change your focus and begin "paddling" your "life canoe" in that direction. Your focus, or thinking, must change from worthless to "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14), from rejected to accepted (Psalm 27:10), and from hopeless to hopeful (Romans 5:1-5). You may not control the circumstance you are in, but you can control your thinking. It is work, but "in depression the new way of living is to believe and act on what God says rather than feel what God says." (Edward T. Welch in Depression: The Way Up When You Are Down)

Some ways to begin to paddle in a different direction and avert the black hole depression drowns you in are:

1. Replace the words of worthlessness with the words "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." 
2. Daily, write down 1 attribute you have that has value to you and those in your sphere of influence. 
3. Remind yourself daily that you are loved with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3.
4. Quit listening to yourself about what is broken, and speak to yourself about the healing that is possible. 
5. Each day, invite into your heart songs and words that point to hope and healing.    
6. Move your body, eat right, think right, and believe in the healing power of God's daily compassion and lovingkindness (Lamentations 3:22-24). 

These practices move you into the direction of healing and wholeness. 

Your life is always being steered by what you focus on and ultimately believe. Steer in the direction of right thinking and believing, in spite of what your feelings are speaking to you. 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Gift of Presence

The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to God...singing and playing praise to God: Yes! God is good! His loyal love goes on forever! Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of God-Then....the Glory of God!-that filled The Temple of God.

~2 Chronicles 5:13 The MSG

There is a song I recall from years past. I remember the first time I heard this song. It drove to the heart of how lonely people feel: Even in a crowded street I felt alone. With the pain of just existing I had no where to belong (Brush Arbor). Indeed, this is how I had often felt growing up. In fact, this is how loneliness feels-surrounded yet lonely. 

Research supports that for many people in marriages, relationships, and successful careers, loneliness is often their constant companion. Feeling lonely and being alone are not the same. Loneliness is a common emotion experienced by mankind. Its causes are often complex and unknown. For some people, loneliness is triggered by loss such as a death or divorce. For others, loneliness can be triggered by the experience of depression. What ever the cause, loneliness impacts our mental, spiritual, and emotional health. 

The above verse from Chronicles provides insight into one way loneliness can abate-praise and thanksgiving. When we praise God and give thanks to Him in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18), we begin to focus on the eternal hope we have been promised through Christ. Praise fills the empty spaces of our heart that loneliness occupies. It reminds us that the joy of the Lord is [our] strength (Nehemiah 8:10). We are reminded that God inhabits the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3). 

Want to experience the presence of God and fill your soul with His presence? Give the sacrifice of praise and receive the gift of His presence. 

Ways to praise and be thankful:

1. Write a note to someone thanking them for their presence and influence in your life.
2. Everyday, write down 5 things you are thankful for. This does not require you to feel thankful, just to write thanks. Feelings follow actions. 
3. Before you get our of bed each morning, speak these words aloud-This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). 
4. Throughout your day, speak words of thanks to at least three people. 
5. Before you fall asleep at night, speak a prayer of thanks to God for the many ways He provided for you during the day. 

Whatever you chose to do, make sure that praise and thanksgiving is part of your daily ritual. This is the gift of presence in the midst of feeling lonely.