What do hair and depression really have in common?

O.k., today’s post may seem silly. What does hair have to do with depression?

Actually, more than you might know.

I got to thinking over these years of depression-free years what has been my one constant? The one constant was my hair. It’s wild, unruly, and I have a lot of it. I’ve colored it for years but somewhere over the years, I gave that up. At least the permanent color. Sometimes I still add a temporary color that fades away in a few short washings. All it really does it tone down my too-bright hair.

I guess I’m bringing this up because I just looked at some recent pictures of myself when I thought my hair looked good and, some when, well, it didn’t. Our hair humbles us like nothing else and we need to make peace with our constant dissatisfaction. It’s just hair, after all.

I can actually gauge what my mood is going to be like by what my hair looks like. Every woman alive knows that “a good hair day” is a good day in general. But when you deal with low moods it’s even more important. I take great care to make myself and my hair presentable every day. It helps set the tone for the rest of the day.

That’s why hair is important. The last thing a depressed person needs is to look in the mirror and see a disheveled wild person staring back at them. I’m not saying that if I’m weeding my garden or painting a room that my hair never looks messy. I’m talking more about the effort than the result.

So if you’re having a bad day, do this one thing for me. Go wash your hair and do something with it. It’s kind of amazing how mild to moderate depression responds so well to the little things we do.

When you’re really down, I know, I know, it’s an effort to even get off the couch and move. But, please, do it anyway. It doesn’t cost much (unless you use really expensive shampoo). It requires very little time.

Our concern with our appearance is an important part of managing our depression. Think about it. If you’re in the hospital, don’t you feel so much better when you get wash up and brush your hair.

It’s kind of like you’re telling yourself that you at least care enough to make yourself presentable and then that might translate to telling yourself you can take the next step. One step leads to another and you find yourself moving and feeling a bit better.

Do you find that if you look better, you feel better? Or are you wanting to look bad so people will feel sorry for you? Good question, huh?

Make sure that person looking back at you in the mirror is someone you’d like to know if you were meeting you for the first time.

God bless and have a safe day.

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We are called to pray outrageously.

Praying men and women and providence have always gone together. Men and women in scripture prayed about everything because they believed God was interested in everything that concerned them. They did not believe they were at the mercy of a tyrant called nature which they could never interrupt or change by request.

The whole history of the Israelites is a story of God’s providence. In fact, to believe the Old Testament, one has to believe in God’s providence. Think of the Red Sea. Moses calls upon God to part the seas and wouldn’t that have been against the laws of nature and yet Moses knew he could pray that boldly.

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We need to pray as boldly ourselves.

(This does not mean that medicine and good common sense aren’t to be exercised, though.)

The laws of nature didn’t carry any weight with the men and women of the Old Testament. God was above nature because God created nature and nature was under God’s law, so why not ask the creator of said nature to intercede.

We think we cannot change nature through prayer and yet people defy the laws of nature all the time and we stand in amazement. We don’t question their experience at all, but it never occurs to us that God can change the very laws of nature by our earnest praying.

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Why are we so hesitant to pray when we see God heal the “unhealable” every day? When we see people who were never to walk again, walk. When we see those who were never to do this or that again, and yet they do. I think about Dancing With the Stars and in particular a young woman who was a double amputee (both legs from the knees down), who was able to compete right up to the end. It was amazing and she certainly defied all the hereto laws of nature.

I think we don’t pray for such things because we think it seems presumptuous on our part, even audacious. And yet, if you’re like me, I pray for traveling mercies all the time for my family. I pray that God will keep my family safe when they are driving by asking that God will give his angels guard over them to protect them from irresponsible and erratic drivers.  Is that not defying the laws of nature?

God can suspend the laws of disease and nature often whether in response to prayer or not. But quite often He does do it in response to prayer. The prayer that rebukes disease or illness is not at odds with the laws of God and nature. Maybe we need new thinking about just what the laws of nature are anyway. If people are constantly defying them and succeeding, perhaps we’ve got some of it wrong.

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Simply put, we are called to pray, just like the men and women of old, about everything.

God bless and have a good day.

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Prayer/silhouette of girl during evening

What does fervency in prayer really look like?

“Prayer, without fervor, stakes nothing on the issue, because it has nothing to stake. It comes with empty hands. Heart, soul, and life, must find place in all real praying. Heaven must be made to feel the force of this crying unto God.

It is the fervent prayer that is effectual. Coldness of spirit hinders praying, prayer cannot live in a wintry atmosphere.

The atmosphere about is too heavily charged with resisting forces for limp or languid prayers to make headway.

Our inward groaning, our secret desires our heart-longings are not hidden from the eyes of him with whom we have to deal in prayer.

Fervency has its seat in the heart, not in the brain, not in the intellectual faculties of the mind. Fervency, therefore, is not an expression of the intellect. Fervency of spirit is something far transcending poetical fancy or sentimental imagery.

Our Lord warns against feeble praying.

It is not in our power, perhaps to create fervency of spirit at will, but we can pray God to implant it. It is ours, then, to nourish and cherish it…….It is never out of place to pray God to work within us, and to keep alive the spirit of fervent prayer.

But there is a point,……at which faith is relieved of its burden, so to speak, where trust comes along and says, “you have done your part, the rest is mine.”

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I feel it’s important to point out that fervency in prayer will look different on different people. E. M. Bounds tries to explain but perhaps the era in which he wrote makes it difficult to understand. But as I have read this book, I think I am safe to say that E. M. is referring to an intensity of the prayer, not the emotional way it is prayed.

That said, however, I think we can learn a lesson from this section in his book. We can probably all ask ourselves, are we as fervent in prayer, as excited as we are when talking about other things or in conversation with others?

Remember, it doesn’t mean we have to cry or moan to be fervent. Fervency for me would never look like that because that’s not who I am. But if it would like that on you, that’s fine. Again, it’s more of the intensity and the earnestness of the person praying.

I hope you are finding the words of E. M. Bound encouraging and inspiring.

God bless and have a great day.

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WHEN YOU FEEL CRUSHED, THERE IS HOPE

THE DILEMNA

Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
    for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.[a]

Answer me quickly, Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
    or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
    in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
    destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant.

Do you know who wrote the above?

David did in Psalm 143.

What an amazing Psalm and how appropriate and timely for what we are dealing with during this season of uncertainty and unrest.

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My husband and I were talking the other day. Who would have thought a year ago we would be dealing with a pandemic, civil unrest, extreme weather conditions, and high unemployment. And all at the same time!

Certainly, no one could predict this. But the feelings we are experiencing are compounded by the fact that it’s all happening at once.

What do we do for entertainment? We can’t go out to dinner or a movie. We even have to be careful about public places. And what fun is it even grocery shopping when we have to wear masks?

I have now become a “grab and go” kind of shopper. I’m also spending less money. Are you?

David wasn’t going through these particular circumstances but he felt just like we do.

He felt anxiety.

We feel anxiety.

He felt crushed.

We feel crushed.

He felt confined and restricted. We certainly feel confined. No matter how pleasant our physical place of confinement is, after a while, we feel like we’re living in a cave, as well, don’t we?

But what did David do when he felt that way?

He cried out to God.

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THE PLEA

Psalm: 143:1 ( I don’t usually read contemporary translations but this one from The Message clearly conveys the tone and tenor of the rest of the chapter. )

Listen to this prayer of mine, God;
    pay attention to what I’m asking.

Answer me—you’re famous for your answers!
 

“Let’s take a look at this verse.

First of all, David is honest about how he feels. Oh, that we would do the same. I’m always surprised that Christians think they can’t express their honest and deepest emotions to God, especially during prayer. Who in the world came up with this idea? It sure wasn’t the persons whose prayers we read in Scripture.

There is no prayer in scripture that is not emotional, honest, and from the heart.

Are you wondering how I know that?

Because up to this point I have read over one hundred of the over three hundred prayers (some say five hundred) in Scripture and the prayers of each are heartfelt and passionate. I have no reason to believe that the rest won’t be the same.

Think of the Disciples Prayer. (Many scholars don’t consider the prayer we recite at church as the Lord’s Prayer. That prayer is found in John 17.) The Disciple’s prayer, the prayer we pray at church, addresses temptation, evil, sins, and ends with a passionate “for yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever!” I can’t imagine this prayer was prayed the way we do in church today. I imagine it being prayed passionately because of the word, kingdom, power, and glory..

The next post will look at verses three and four as we continue with “The Solution”.

Pray from your heart.

God bless and have a great day.

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