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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Too little time is a problem for most of us. Here’s a story about a woman who woke up one morning with a problem…too little time, too much to do.
Table of contents
- The Backstory
- Here’s the delimna:
- So what do we do about our time dilemma?
- So, what if it’s true that we really have too little time for what we want to do?
- So what is the call-to-action?
She was in the process of writing a book, blogging, setting up a bunch of new journals for the year, establishing goals, putting away Christmas presents, and a dozen other things.
How would she ever get it done all done and even more, what was the most important?
There was an ever-growing list of books about organizing that she had yet to read.
She set her clock an hour earlier and jumped out of bed within minutes, got dressed immediately, and started her day. Oh, before that she had also begun a wonderful new prayer habit. She prayed before she ever got out of her bed. The prayers looked different each time but she always ended with, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O, God.” (Psalm 19:140).
She even had her BUJO (bullet journal) all set up with tasks for the day. I mean she was on fire.
She had her time with God and her bible study. After the end of the day she looked back and said, “And it was good.”
But by the time she collapsed into bed, she felt like she had not accomplished one thing on her list. Had it not been for her BUJO page that was titled “What I Did Today”, she would’ve felt like a complete failure.
Does this sound like you?
Does this sound like you? You just feel like you have too little time for all you have to do?
You get to the end of the day and ask yourself, “Where did the time go?”
Obviously, that woman is me. But I’ll bet any of you could’ve written almost the same thing.
It’s a busy world for everyone. Everyone I know describes themselves. I can say that I am busier today than I was when I was working and had children at home. It’s actually a good thing. It’s when it gets overwhelming, that it’s a bad thing.
Here’s the delimna:
We forget that the things we don’t put on our list because we do them automatically are probably the most important. They just don’t feel like it because they are regular parts of our lives and we don’t track them.
We don’t take into account the phone calls we make, the people we make above-and-beyond connections with, the time we take to connect with someone if for only a few minutes. And yet all of this does, in fact, take time.
For example, forget to write down things like “cleaned the pantry”, or “threw in a load of laundry”. And, of course, this all takes time as well.
We don’t know how to classify the ordinary tasks of the day. They seem “unspiritual” so we label them unimportant.We need to quit compartmentalizing our lives. The most mundane things we do every day can be a spiritual as anything else. I can't think of a single verse in scripture that suggests accomplishing truly "needed" tasks are non-spiritual. In… Click To Tweet
If we are living close to God, even the most ordinary tasks can be seen as spiritual if we are in sync with God throughout the day. We won’t feel the pressure of too little time.
The truth is, that day, I only accomplished about 10% of what was on my list. However, I actually accomplished the truly important.
So what do we do about our time dilemma?
First of all, record all those things you did that were never on our list.
A great book called, Eat That Frog, states that we should add to our list all day. The point the author makes is that basically if you can’t track it, you can’t change it. So track everything for about a week. If you’re not a” journaler,” or a list-maker, it will at least give you insight into how you spend your time.
For example, I don’t have to list prayer time and Bible study or even my daily walk because I rarely miss any of them. So when I realized that they, of course, took time, (duh), I put them on my list anyway. Then, I added a “What-I-Did-Today” page in my journal so I could record those items that I never thought to put on a list.
Furthermore, that same day I had connected with my small group and connected with some members of a Facebook group. I talked with a friend and with my daughter. My husband and I took our daily walk. I had coffee-time with hubby at 5:00 (we do this every day), and caught up on the news. (It was a bad news day.) I added all that to my “What-I-Did-Today” page.
Secondly, examine your list.
Ask some questions:
Is there a better way to schedule your day? Only you can know that.
But I’ll bet you have become so accustomed to doing things the same way and at the time every day, you’ve never thought about other possibilites.
Are you doing some things every day that don’t have to done every day?
Believe it or not, because most of us are creatures of habit, we never consider what we do routinely. And in some instances, that’s really good. Fewer decisions to make can be very healthy and anxiety-reducing. But it doesn’t hurt to take a week and examine the things we do automatically so we can make sure we aren’t repeating tasks unnecessarily.
So, what if it’s true that we really have too little time for what we want to do?
First of all, don’t be so hard on yourself.
I’ll bet if you’re anything like me, your daily list is far too long anyway. There simply is too little time.
Like me, you probably haven’t allowed yourself enough margin. You’ve probably so packed your day, you never could’ve accomplished it all anyway. Then there are the interruptions. Let’s face it, our days seldom go exactly as planned.
How do you plan for that unexpected phone call?
What about that friend whose name pops up and you know you have to stop and pray?
Or you’re in the middle of your Bible study and you find yourself suddenly looking up words and cross-references till you’ve lost track of time?
So, how do you really live a day from a list?
Secondly, be realistic.
There are very few of us who will check-off every item on our list every day. Some days we will. Most days we won’t.
For example, if our lists mostly reflect tasks that are not ongoing, then it’s usually pretty easy to check them off. Grocery shopping, returning something to UPS (Aren’t we all doing that right now with Amazon purchases? They now know me by name.)
And if send e-mails, once we hit that “send” button, we can consider it done.
There are lots of things we have on our list that are doable and “check-off-able.”
I have a friend who has a daily to-do list and when she gets to the end of the day, she adds those things she did that weren’t on her list just so she can check them off! At first, I thought that sounded crazy. I’ve now think it’s a really good idea. But while we’re doing that let’s do something else.
Thirdly, track your “people” connections, especially when there’s too little time
This is where I messed up. Not because I felt I let anyone down, but because I didn’t track my people-connections.
Think about it.
What is going to make you feel good tonight about you did today?
Yes, you will feel good about the things you check off your list and that’s OK. But you know what?
That only lasts for the few minutes you took your pencil and crossed it off. It is not long-lasting (unless, for example, you just typed “THE END” to your book, finished a painting, remodeling your house, etc. And even with that, it was the process you will remember. )
But the people you spent time with, a family member you hugged, that coffee-time with your hubby, those will be remembered for ever. And guess what?
Those moments are what God remembers as well.
Don’t get me wrong. I love lists and list-making. I love looking back over my day and see what I’ve accomplished.
So what is the call-to-action?
First, keep a spot in your journal to note all the time you give to people.
In fact, that might be a great page title. (Why didn’t I think of that before I just now typed it? I guess because my brain just fires better when I’m writing.)
You only have to write down their names. That will mean you made some sort of connection with them.
Also, if a number of days go by and you don’t have any names written down? Well, that’s a problem. Maybe you need to examine what was so important on your list that you ignored the people in your life.
Secondly, make people your priority, especially when you are busy
Honestly, it’s just kind of amazing what happens when you do.
Like with God.
It’s nothing short of amazing that when we give God the time he deserves, he hands it back to us one-hundred fold. That doesn’t mean we somehow get through everything on our list as much as it probably means that he makes us more efficient.
And the biggest benefit of giving God the time He deserves is that we learn we can trust God with all our time, all our to-do’s, and all our obligations.Tweet
You know that list I mentioned I felt so bad about? I felt bad about it. It was a feeling. While we should never ignore our feelings, we should remember they are notoriously unreliable.
Thirdly, before you go to bed, make a list of all you’ve accomplished that day and include your people connections.
That one act alone brings peace and help you remember how you spent your time on what was important, people.
Finally, when you feel discouraged about your day, don’t be so quick to judge yourself. Give yourself a break and carry-on.
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Table of contents
Talking with God can be a struggle at times.
God continues to speak
No one writes anything in isolation. I’ve read a lot about prayer from highly respected authors whom I’m sure are also influenced by the books they read. Some of the authors that I continually re-digest are, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Phillip Yancey, Andrew Murray, Priscilla Shirer, Charles Spurgeon, Beth Moore, Joyce Meyers…..
While God spoke to us in Scripture, He continues to speak through His servants. While authors of Scripture were divinely inspired, writers today are inspired as well, albeit differently.The Holy Spirit continues to speak and influence. Divine inspiration (not meaning God-breathed) didn't stop when the first Bible was printed. Click To Tweet
If the Holy Spirit no longer led men and women to write, that would mean that the Charles Spurgeons, the D.L. Moodys, the Dallas Willards, and the Richard Fosters of this world were not inspired and that no author since then has been. No one would believe that, correct? I doubt if any of us would read their books if we didn’t think they were inspired in some way.
Don’t most of us think the pastors of our church are inspired?
From my personal experience, I know I work hard at making sure what I write is consistent with what is my understanding of the Bible. I also make sure I’ve done my research to the best of my ability.
I continually pray that when I write about spiritual issues, I write what I feel God has put on my heart, in other words, what I feel the Holy Spirit has revealed to me. And, of course, I make sure it’s consistent with what scripture teaches as well.
Enlightenment didn’t end after the Bible was compiled.
(I’ve often wondered if the Bible were to be written today, what authors might be included. Have you ever thought about that?)
As I’m writing about prayer, I say to myself, “Leave it alone. Prayer is a huge subject”. But I can’t leave it alone because I’m guessing that prayer is as elusive and perplexing for you at times as it is for me.
So what really is prayer? Is it complicated? What about a right or wrong posture? I don’t know if I will answer these questions to your satisfaction but I have answered them somewhat to mine.
What is talking with God?
In its purest form, prayer is simple communication between God and man.
Between God and me.
Between God and you.
Prayer is between a mortal man and an eternal, holy God. (I include this last statement not to scare anyone but because I feel the subject of God’s holiness has been found lacking lately. We’ve replaced the concept of God’s Holiness with the concept of God’s love as though they didn’t co-exist.)
I am very honest in my prayers with God. I don’t edit my words nor my feelings but at the same time, I always remember that I am in the presence of a Holy being. Focusing on the holiness of God is very reassuring to me and not the least bit frightening.
I don’t want God to be my “buddy” or the “man upstairs”. I never refer to God or about God in this demeaning manner, whether in prayer or in any conversation. Again, I’m not suggesting at all that we need to mince our words or approach God in any way that isn’t totally authentic but to just remember we are in the presence of a Holy God.
Is talking with God complicated?
God accepts the most simple of prayers by the most simple of believing people. He also accepts the artful languageof the most experienced. He accepts the prayer of a non-believer when they call out to him with a penitent prayer.
There is no right or wrong way to pray and I would think that most Christians who have had a long history with God find their prayers changing as they’ve learned more about it.
Mine have certainly changed.
I find my prayers have become more simple. Having been a Christian my entire adult life, it would seem it would be just the opposite. But I’ve learned I don’t have to make my prayers long or elaborate sounding. I don’t have to use the words “Thee”, and “Thou”. I mean I don’t use those words when talking to anyone else so why do I think it makes me sound more “holy” to use those words when talking to God?
My prayers have become shorter.
That’s right. Shorter.
Why is that?
First of all, I’m never done. It’s a continuous act.
Secondly, the more concise I get, the fewer words I use. If I’m staying in touch with people, if I’m paying attention, I find my prayers are more spot-on thus requiring fewer words. Using more words doesn’t make me a better prayer. It just makes me a “longer” prayer-er.
Is there a right or wrong way?
Of course not.
There’s no right or wrong way to posture oneself when praying. We can be seating, standing, kneeling, or face flat on the floor.
Accordingly though, as we grow in faith, we become aware that there are certain prayers that seem to call for certain postures. For example, prayers during an emergency or crisis might find a person on their knees, prostrate on the floor, or standing up with outstretched arms.
Beth Moore, author, and Bible study teacher has said that at times she lays prostrate on the floor when her prayers are desperate. I have only done that once because the situation required it. If I make every situation an emergency, I’m just probably buying into drama that isn’t necessary. And I’m quite sure I’ll be facedown again some time anyway.
Out loud or silent?
I pray with my eyes closed. My husband keeps his eyes open. I pray out loud. He prays silently.
I recommend trying to pray out loud. You would be surprised at what you learn about yourself when you hear your own words being spoken for certain people and circumstances. There’s no hiding your heart’s real position when you hear your own words and inflections.
There are as many ways to prayer as there are people. As long as one’s heart is in the right place, God is good with it.
The main thing to know about talking with God is simply this:
Just show up!!!!
God bless and have a great day.
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Words matter but what are we to do after last Wednesday?
Well, as far as the nation is concerned, I don’t know.
I only know about me.
I’ve shared a number of times that I read through Proverbs every month, not to impress you. I do it for me because I need to be constantly reminded about my words.
And never more than now.
Our words matter after last Wednesday
The Proverbs have more to say about our word choice than any other book in the Bible.
Especially verses from Proverbs 15 and 16.
Gracious words are pure in God’s sight.
15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
but the hearts of fools are not upright.
14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
23 A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word!
26 The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but gracious words are pure in his sight.
28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
Gracious words are a honeycomb.
1 To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle,
and his mouth does not betray justice.
21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
and gracious words promote instruction.[c]
23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
and their lips promote instruction.[d]
24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
27 A scoundrel plots evil,
and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.
30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity;
whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
There are no easy and simple answers. And anytime there aren’t, that’s when it comes down to us and our words and our actions.
We are all called to spread peace and to BE peace.
For me, that means that one particular fruit of the spirit, is evidenced in my life during this time of unrest and uncertainty.
“Forbearance” is how it reads in the NASB. I looked up the words for forbearance and they include, self-restraint, tolerance, and patience. Just think how last week might never have happened had we all practiced the forbearance and gentle speech that Proverbs clearly outline for us.
But I can only influence and change me.
You can only influence and change you.
May God bless you today as you seek to follow Christ and practice forbearance.
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