When You Feel Like a Failure

When You Feel Like a Failure

Sad EyesLet’s just admit it. We’re not perfect, and we know it. But sometimes the not-perfect-ness gets really old. Your head knows one thing, but you keep doing something else. You’ve prayed about it, but it still keeps happening. You feel like a failure at this Christian life, and you’ve got the data to prove it.

As a young woman I felt like a failure for a long period of time. On the outside I didn’t look that bad. I wasn’t out at night drinking or hooking up with many different guys. As a new doctor I was helping people every day, and I was going to church. Nobody would have called me a failure as a Christian by looking at my outward behavior.

But on the inside I felt very different. There were thoughts I was wrestling with, ways I was responding to people, and things I was not doing that made me feel like a failure. I remember saying to myself, “I’m an adult now. I should be functioning better. There must be something terribly wrong with me, and nobody will explain to me what it is.”

I’ve recently heard from a number of you who feel like a failure in some way:

  • The university student who feels she is never able to give her best to an assignment
  • The diabetic who gained another twenty pounds even while trying to eat right
  • The widow who feels guilty every time she feels strong sexual urges and masturbates
  • The retiree who still struggles after decades of serious depression

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Helping the Least of These

Helping the Least of These

Asian GirlThere’s a long-running commercial on television in the US that tries to raise money for an organization helping abused and neglected animals. It shows videos of sick, cold, abused, or abandoned dogs and cats – and it pulls at your heart strings. You can almost hear the animals crying, “Does anyone see me? Does anyone care? Will my life ever be any better?” You can feel the fear, the hopelessness, the heartache.

That’s all about animals. And the effort is a worthy one. But what about the people who are struggling with the same kinds of needs? Surely these are the ones who Jesus meant when he talked about “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:40) Some of these groups have advocates that make caring about them “sexy”. And others are comparatively unseen and unknown. What about:

  • Family members struggling to care for someone with mental illness
  • Parents of teens who are on drugs or in gangs
  • Children whose parents are incarcerated
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How to Find Unprocessed Food for the Soul

How to Find Unprocessed Food for the Soul

Preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, refined flour, extra sodium, trans fats – there are many reasons to avoid processed foods. You know they’re not good for your physical health, and that more natural, unprocessed options are almost always healthier.

When it comes to food for the soul, the same principles apply. “Processed” soul food is full of artificial excitement, manufactured emotional experiences, programmed relationships, and superficial spirituality. And just as with physical food, all that artificial stuff makes it taste good for a while, but ends up leaving you strangely unsatisfied. You’re not getting the true nourishment your inner being really needs.

What does processed soul food look like? How about reality TV, Facebook relationships, or emotion-only religious services. It’s not that TV, Facebook, or spiritual “highs” are necessarily bad: it’s just that those experiences don’t last. They’re like emotional fast food.

We don’t often think about taking responsibility for finding nourishing soul food; there are plenty of processed options easily available. But you have a choice in what you feed your mind and heart just as you do with what you feed your body. You don’t have to settle for the hyper-palatable junk food that popular media and popular religion often serve up.

So where do you find this unprocessed soul food? Here are some thoughts:

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6 Things You Can Do to Look Younger

6 Things You Can Do to Look Younger

Smiling WomanYour face at 20 is the result of your parent’s choices. Your face at 80 is the result of your own choices. Isn’t that a little scary?!

Oh, how vain we are! Chances are fairly good you’ve contributed your share to the $260 billion yearly sales of antiaging products and services. Whether it’s antiaging creams, injections of botox or dermal fillers, or cosmetic surgery, we do a lot to look younger.

By the way, why is that? What’s wrong with a mature look?

Truthfully, as a senior woman myself I understand the desire to have full, healthy-looking hair, clear bright eyes, and smooth, even, youthful-looking skin. Stressing over every grey hair, fine line, wrinkle, or dark spot isn’t healthy, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to look our best as long as it doesn’t eclipse the more important things in life. And after a few basics, I have 6 things to suggest that will definitely keep you looking younger longer.

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6 Steps to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

6 Steps to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Prevent Alzheimer's DiseaseYou probably either know or know of someone who developed dementia as they got older. Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – is feared by more adults than any other disease except cancer. But dementia is not inevitable. While you may not be able to guarantee how your mind will function in the future, there’s much you can do to effectively prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

“Senior moments” may lead many middle-aged individuals to worry if these are early signs of dementia. Forgetting where you left your keys or missing an appointment because you forgot can be scary. It’s reassuring to know that most people experience such “senior moments” as they get older, and only rarely do these indicate impending dementia. There’s no need to worry unless these are accompanied by other more serious symptoms, or they begin to affect your daily functioning. Other people who know you well can also provide feedback; if your spouse notices a personality change, or if your coworkers are concerned that you’re no longer doing your job adequately, it’s time for further evaluation.

Alzheimer’s disease is a complex disorder involving the death of brain cells. Tangles involving the neurons in the brain, deposits of abnormal proteins such as amyloid, and other specific changes all contribute to this cell death. As more brain cells die, the remaining brain cells eventually become unable to pick up important functions such as memory, communication, and judgment.

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