Your God May Damage Your Mental Health

Child PrayingOr to put it more academically correctly, your view of God as either benevolent or vindictive is correlated with your risk of psychiatric symptoms. At least that’s what recent research published in the Journal of Religion and Health seems to indicate.

How mental health and religion affect each other has been a matter of debate for many years. Some have argued that strong religious beliefs increase one’s risk for anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, or even delusions and hallucinations. Some great Christian leaders including Martin Luther, John Wesley, and Charles Spurgeon struggled with severe anxiety or depression. And then there are the caricatures of Christian believers in popular media who claim religious reasons for illegal or violent acts, or clearly display signs of mental illness.

On the other hand many believe their faith in God has helped them weather times of extreme stress, and provides an emotional/mental stability they would not have otherwise.

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When Broken Vows Break the Heart

When Broken Vows Break the Heart

InfidelityForsaking all others, keep yourself only for him (or her).” You said that, or something similar, in your marriage vows, didn’t you?  Now perhaps that dream has become a nightmare. If you are facing infidelity in your marriage, you know how devastating that nightmare can be.

Adultery almost never begins with a physical act. It begins in the heart. It begins with a lingering glance, a flirtatious comment, a fantasy of connection. It grows with a search to fulfill something one feels is missing – perhaps adventure, emotional intimacy, or sexual contact. The heart finds a way to rationalize, and you cross that line. Sooner or later the pain, loss, and trauma of broken vows catch up with you – and those you love or loved.

If you are married and NOT facing infidelity right now, let me encourage you to do these things:

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Preparing for Marriage Success

Preparing for Marriage Success

My little brother just got married this weekend.  Being part of such a happy and special event is wonderful. And it got me thinking about what goes into a successful marriage.

Getting married is no longer the fore-gone conclusion it usually was in the past. But a majority of us still do get married. Whether marriage is a good thing or a not-so-good thing is another matter entirely. And how you feel about it depends a great deal on your life experience.

Ask a thirty-something single person, and you may well hear moans and groans about the lack of any suitable marriage partners anywhere on the horizon. Parents and others may be asking, “When are you going to settle down and get married?” The desire for love, companionship, commitment, physical intimacy, and perhaps children is real. If in doubt, just look at the many match-making websites and services available.

But then ask the person who has experienced domestic violence, a heart-breaking divorce, or a chronically unhappy marriage full of conflict. They will tell you you’re much better off alone.

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When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Sad Couple Holding HandsLosing a loved one in death is one of life’s most difficult experiences. It’s something each one of us either already has or someday will go through. Knowing it will happen does not make it any less painful.

Certain deaths make the news, such as those who died in the Boston bomb blasts or the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion just recently. Or country singer George Jones who died last Friday in a hospital in Nashville, TN.

But most deaths never make network news. It’s your mother or father, your husband or wife, your brother or sister, your child, your best friend who leaves this life. And you are left with the very personal loss of someone you cared about, someone who can never be replaced.

The journey of grief is just that – a journey.

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5 Things to be Angry About

5 Things to be Angry About

It’s good to be angry! There are some things to be angry about. If you are not angry at intolerable evil, you will never have the motivation to do something about it.

This past week many of us have been angry over the terrorist bombings in Boston. And rightfully so! Anger provides the emotional energy to push back against things that are wrong. Sometimes we push that anger away too quickly. Anger is our warning light that something needs to change. When the problem is outside of our ability to control we cannot always accomplish all the change we would like to. But we can do something! Paying attention to the anger is important.

Here are some things I hope each of us is angry about:

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