Holiday Blues: Coping with Depression and Loneliness This Season

Holiday Blues: Coping with Depression and Loneliness This Season

Perhaps you’re too young to remember Elvis’s Blue Christmas, but you may find yourself fighting a serious case of the holiday blues this season. The pictures of families and Thanksgiving feasts on your social media feeds may have left you even more lonely or hurting inside. Your expectations have so often been disappointed – or worse – during past holiday seasons that now you have no idea how to face Christmas without being overwhelmed by the blues.

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How to Receive Healing from God

How to Receive Healing from God

We all need to receive healing from God. (And if you believe you’re the exception, you need an extra special kind of healing!) I believe healing is perhaps the deepest meaning of redemption. Something has happened to us on the inside that has left us seriously broken. And even forgiveness, as wonderful as it is, provides only a partial answer. Those steps to healing have some common characteristics for each of us.

The need for healing comes in many varieties;

  • The child abused or neglected during his most formative years
  • The woman used for someone else’s pleasure so long she believes that’s all she’s good for
  • The addict whose soul, body, mind, future, and finances are completely controlled by an outside substance or behavior
  • The “good” church member exhausted from endlessly doing good things so she will look good
  • The spouse left hopeless, angry, and bitter from decades of marriage misery
  • The man whose unhealthy lifestyle has left him with humanly incurable diseases
  • The woman whose genes, choices, and circumstances leave her depressed and anxious
  • The parent, spouse, child, sibling, or friend grieving the death of a loved one
  • The person who sees no future beyond poverty, persecution, violence, or slavery

Jesus applied Isaiah’s passage to Himself when He said, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Luke 4:18-19)

We can hope that happens in one mysterious moment. And sometimes it does.

More often it’s a process, one in which you and I fully participate.

These steps are almost always important as you receive healing from God:

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No Fear of Death: Fearlessness as a Spiritual Weapon

No Fear of Death: Fearlessness as a Spiritual Weapon

Fear of death is perhaps the biggest fear of all. And losing the fear of death brings wonderful freedom and victory.

You may have discovered the power of fearlessness while dealing with a playground bully, a business competitor, or some other rival. No opponent is more invincible than one who has absolutely nothing to fear.

The most effective way to defeat your adversary is to exploit their fear—of exposure, of pain, of losing, of shame. One of Satan’s most effective ways to defeat you is to exploit your fears. No one—not even the enemy—can hold anything over you if you come to the place where you are truly unafraid of the consequences, even no fear of death.

Fear is a weapon Satan uses against us precisely because he knows that once we lose all fear, his attacks no longer have a place to land. Freedom from fear is more than a benefit Christ’s victory makes available to us; it is also one of the strongest weapons we have against Satan and the kingdom of darkness.

The Example of Martyrs

On February 15, 2015, we all saw images on the news of ISIS militants preparing to behead twenty-one Coptic Christians for the crime of believing in Jesus. We can’t be certain of what was going on in the hearts of those twenty-one orange-garbed handcuffed Christians as they knelt in the sand, held by black-hooded terrorists, knowing their lives were about to end. But in the images we saw, their faces showed absolutely no fear.

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5 Ways to Befriend Your Feelings

5 Ways to Befriend Your Feelings

Feelings are fickle. They’re real, but they’re unreliable. Emotions can be affected by everything happening both inside you and around you. You may see your emotions as overwhelming, and think you are at their mercy. I’d like to help you befriend your feelings instead of feeling like you are their victim.

Without emotions life would be colorless and purely clinical. God built us with the capacity to experience sadness, anger, pain, grief, fatigue, peace, joy, hope, and love. Many of those encompass more than just feelings, but you can’t experience any of them without feelings. Jesus expressed and experienced them all.

This past year I’ve experienced plenty of times when emotions felt overwhelming while I’ve walked my journey of grief. I’m also grateful that I had learned previously, and am learning again, what to do with feelings when they come.

You know that letting your emotions control you is neither healthy nor godly, but neither is stuffing and denying them. So here are some key steps to help you befriend your feelings, and make your emotions work for you rather than against you.

Befriend Your Feelings

1. Both “positive” and “negative” emotions are legitimate and can be healthy.

Shutting down negative feelings means cutting yourself off from the positive feelings also; you can’t be open to experiencing one without the other. The pleasure center and pain center in your brain are not completely separate. The opposite of love is not anger, but apathy. Deep pain can be very close to deep love and profound meaning.

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A Widow’s First Year Alone

A Widow’s First Year Alone

No, I’m not really alone. I never have been, and I never will be.

But grief is hard. My husband died exactly one year ago. I don’t think I’ve ever been through anything so exhausting – not OB-Gyn residency where I’d spend long nights in the hospital with little or no sleep, not the weeks caring for my husband as he became increasingly unable to completely care for himself. They say losing a loved spouse is like losing an arm or a leg. I think it’s more like losing most of who you are.

Grief hurts. In some very real ways I’ve come to terms with the pain, and most of the time I focus more on the future than on the past. But there’s a treasure in grief that you can’t purchase any other way. Words don’t do it justice, and you’d never choose the pain you have to endure in order to get it. But for those of you who are walking a similar journey, perhaps these ideas will help you find your own treasure.

This is in response to some of you who have asked me to share more about my journey as a widow. I’ll try here to share some thoughts about what helped, and God’s place in the journey of grief.

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