mental health

Whatever is…

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The Most Important of Seeds

Our thoughts are among the most important of seeds, yielding a harvest of good or of evil. May our thoughts bear good fruit, producing words and actions of justice and truth, mercy and love.

 

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Our Thoughts, Our Lives

EVERY thought must be held captive and made obedient to that which is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Each day, we must stand on alert, combing through our minds for any thought that can take us off course. Our lives depend on it.

 

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Captive Thoughts

As a parent, I’ve become expert at many things by sheer necessity. Some things I never expected would be part of my job description. And some things I never wanted to add to the list. Like nit-picking. And I’m not talking about an overtly excessive form of criticism.

When I found out one of my kids (the one with a lot of hair) had contracted head lice from summer camp, I knew I’d be in for at least a week of hard labor. I’d been told that the miniscule squatters don’t typically gravitate to coarse, coily-curly hair, but apparently my kid was part of the .3% non-typical demographic. At the end of the ordeal, I’d clocked a full 24-hour day plus of examining, treating, separating, combing, and re-examining, and was prepared for weeks ahead of frequent preventative measures.

There’s no being lazy about it when your kid has head lice. If one small nit survives, the threat of re-infestation prevails. Every corner of my house was vacuumed, every piece of affected clothing laundered. Even precious stuffed animals were stored away in tightly closed bags for at least a couple weeks to ward of further threats. And I now know every detail of homeopathic head care I could find.

I apologize if all this is too much information, and I’ll spare you further details. But there’s something to be learned from everything, and I always like to share what I’ve learned…the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I’d like to think writing about something so drudgerous (yes, I think I invented that word) could maybe redeem the hours spent on the tedious task for something worthwhile.

Combing through my kid’s endlessly thick hair minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day…I had a lot of time to think. And one scripture verse kept coming to mind: “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” Just as I had to take captive every tiny nit due to its potential to terrorize my child’s head, I have to take captive my every thought. One small thought can yield a reign of terror in my mind…and life. And it can transfer to those I’m close to.

It might sound scary to submit your thought-life to Christ, but it’s not so scary when we know that he wants us to fill our mind with GOOD things.

The Bible says, “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.” So taking my ignoble, unrighteous, impure, unlovely and unworthy thoughts and making them obedient to Christ is not only necessary, it’s good! And it’s survival.

Who can live with bitterness, rage, malice, and hatred reigning in their minds? Who can survive when evil rules over every thought? It’s not only a danger to our own mental health, but to everyone we know and love. Even the innocent bystander is not immune.

EVERY thought must be held captive and made obedient to that which is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Each day, we must stand on alert, combing through our minds for any thought that can take us off course. Our lives depend on it.

 

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13 Reasons to Live: Lest We Forget

For the past thirteen weeks, I’ve been focusing on the many reasons we have to live. It all started with an article I read about the potential negative repercussions of the show 13 Reasons Why, and how its depiction of suicide could influence those struggling with suicidal tendencies to take their own lives. My desire has been to help people to look beyond, to remember all we have to live for.

The world gives us so much to be depressed about, if that’s all we focus on. Even people of faith get depressed, because we see the world as it could be and should be and is not. When we lose focus on the hope we have, it’s tempting to wallow in the mire of misery.

If you are among those who have considered leaving this world behind, please take these words to heart. If someone you love is battling with thoughts of ending their life, please help them to reconsider. The list below contains highlights from the past thirteen weeks. I’ve put them all together in hopes of saving someone’s life. And more important, of helping you find the only one who can truly save you both for now and for eternity…

Reason #1: Life is Worth Holding On To
While we could use the evil of the world to deny purpose for life, what about the good? A history of suffering men and women found enough good in this world to keep living, to keep moving forward. Would we be here now, if not?

Reason #2: It’s Not About Me
Maybe if we adopted this grand mission of putting even the smallest pieces of our own corners of this world back together, we would find our purpose is far greater than ourselves. And we would find that is more than enough reason…to live.

Reason #3: The Promise of Redemption
We may think that all the suffering life brings is reason enough to end our own. But the knowledge that we have a God who is able to bring beauty from ashes, joy from tears, and praise from despair is reason enough to live.

Reason #4: This Ain’t Hollywood
The most influential, significant person in history lived the most humble life and died the most despised of deaths, giving not just hope…but LIFE, abundant and everlasting, for the world. For generations to come. In his eyes, you ARE significant. And in his hands, you FIND significance—not in pursuit of the world’s applause. But in living the life you were created to live, surrendering to sacrifice for those in your own sphere of influence, however small it may be.

Reason #5: Tenacious Beauty
Where there is beauty, there is hope. And if there is hope, there is reason to live.

Reason #6: It’s Not Over
What carries us through the daily warzone? The knowledge that we’re in the midst of redemption’s story, in which the Author of all life is the Author of our lives, working every scene together for good.

Reason #7: There is Freedom
God our Father understands our daily battle with temptation, and yet, because he has overcome, he is able to help us to overcome.

Reason #8: You Are Not Forgotten
If you feel forgotten, know that there is a God whose name is El Roi, “the God who sees me.” When no one else sees. When no one else cares to see. His eyes invade our hearts with light powerful enough to split the darkness and birth new life.

Reason #9: You Can Be Repurposed
Nothing is useless, and nothing is wasted. In the hands of a master craftsman, even what most would view as junk can be turned into a priceless treasure. A skilled artist can transform the most useless items into something of matchless worth. And that’s what our loving God is able to do with the most hopeless pieces of our lives.

Reason #10: It’s Not in Vain
The things of the earth are fading, failing—a mere chasing after the wind. But it is NEVER in vain to pursue the things of heaven while here on earth. Because there will come a day when we will finally see eternity. And it’s gonna be worth it.

Reason #11: We’re Not Home Yet
When we follow Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life, we have hope of eternal life in heaven, where there’s “no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.” The best things on earth are mere shadows of the best things of heaven.

Reason #12: You’re Here for a Purpose
God has placed you here on this earth for a purpose, and part of that purpose is to contribute your gifts, your personality, your talents, and your life to community. You are needed and you are necessary. You’re here in this generation for a reason.

Reason #13: You’re Not Alone
Unfortunately, there is no promise that life will be pain and problem-free. If anything, we’re told, “in this world, you will have trials.” Yet we can’t neglect the words that follow: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Freedom comes in knowing we’re not alone in the midst, and there is one who is stronger, and able to carry our every burden.

As I’ve said before, please take these words to heart. Print them, share them, remember them. Always know you are loved, you are needed, and the God who created you is able to keep you.

 

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