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Love Freely

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Turning on the Light

Depression and Anxiety, Mental health and self-care

Confusion

There are a lot of days that I just really feel lost, and like I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never really felt like I fit in, but there are times that I’m so sure that I was meant for a different generation or a different world that it’s painful to stay here where I am.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my life. I’m confident that God has a purpose for me and that His will is greater than mine, but it’s hard to walk in faith sometimes. When you don’t see anything positive occurring, and it feels like the entire world is blowing up, it’s hard to stay focused on following the will of someone you’ve never even seen with your own two eyes.

But that’s faith, I guess.

I look up at the sky and look at all of the different ecosystems and biospheres that exist, and I’m amazed at how someone could believe that all of these things were created by an accident. That seems more magical and mystical to me than believing that someone knowingly and lovingly created the world we live in – placed exactly where it needed to be for survival, with everything necessary to sustain us in a way that is (mostly) renewable within itself. To think of the intricacies of the human anatomy and physiology, how everything is in sync (or should be). It’s crazy to me to think that could have occurred by accident. In nature, everything that has not been touched by human hands and humanity, things that remain unmarred by our existence – they are beautiful. They serve a purpose. How could this have happened by accident?

When I start to feel lost, going outside and marveling in the wonder of the natural world usually fixes it. But sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the time that is caused by my depression or anxiety, because no matter how much you can understand something logically, chemicals alter your mood so much more strongly than pure logic. This is unfortunate, but it is the way it is. I don’t believe all this crap that people tell other people (usually Christians) that if they loved Jesus enough they wouldn’t be depressed, because you would have joy and a “peace that passes understanding.” You can have peace and still be anxious. You can feel joy but still be depressed. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. Do not make someone question their faith because of a chemical disorder. Remind them that there is always tomorrow, and to not lose hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a purpose behind this crappy moment in time. Be light like Jesus tells you to be, jerkface. Don’t pull more darkness in.

I guess the point of this post is just this – as Christians, I believe that we are meant to believe in the purpose and the amazing creativity of our Creator. We are meant to be light to people who are in darkness, whether that be sin or depression. We are not meant to be cruel, to intentionally harm, or to be hateful towards people. If God is love, then remember that we are meant to intention our lives to being more like him. And he gives us an explicit definition of love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV)

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”

I added the emphasis to the above verses. Sometimes I think Christians focus so much on what nonbelievers are that they forget to be what they were called to be. We are told to be like Christ, who is God. And God is love. Apply this definition to everyone you meet, and maybe more people will understand why we believe grace is so important, and the changes that can happen when you let God in your heart.

Although love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, it does not insist on its own way. I believe that the lost can be guided more with a gentle hand and a gentle word of encouragement than they can be with a whip and a list of rules so long and ridiculous it would take your entire life just to learn them.

I just know how I feel when I get lost sometimes. Just something to think about.

 

-P

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Lyubomir Ignatov1. Taking a break if you’re constantly feeling exhausted. So, after a full night of sleep, you’re still waking up totally drained? You need what my mom always referred to as “a mental health day.” If you can, call in sick from work. Just for one day. Take a bubble bath or read a…

via 15 Small (But Important) Things You Owe Yourself — Thought Catalog

Ace ArmstrongI’m not going exploit us we are so much more beautiful than the petty posts we could ever publish to social media sites I want to spend our time in the moment, not trying to capture it. I’m not trying to prove us to anyone and I don’t think anyone else needs to be…

via I’m Not Going To Instagram Us — Thought Catalog

Short Thoughts on Ruth 1

So, after seeing a lot of my friends and Instacquaintances (yes I just made that word up, cool) post about how they are reading through Ruth, I decided maybe I would join the bandwagon a little late and do my own little read through/study.

Tonight I did just Chapter 1, and I’m planning (hopefully) to continue over the next 3 days to finish the book, since it only has 4 chapters.

I started out reading it and was just kinda, “Oh, okay, so her [Naomi] life was really sad… her husband and her sons died in an unknown amount of time and she was left with no family… alright.” But then, I decided to really think through some of the passages, and I found some pretty interesting thoughts I thought I would share.

Although Naomi has a tendency to be very sad and bitter (more on that in a minute), she does encourage her daughter in laws to become their own people again. She encourages them in verses 8-14 to leave her and return to their own people and families, but she does it in a “my life is so terrible, you don’t want to be around me, I have nothing to offer you” type of way, but she still does encourage them to pursue their own lives again, and not be afraid to seek new husbands. And one of the daughters does choose to do this – Orpah. This is the only thing we know about her. But as for Ruth, she not only wept with her mother in law, she shows her love and dedication to this woman by refusing to leave her side.

Probably the most famous verse (or group of verses) from the entire book happen in the first chapter, Ruth 1: 16-17, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me to you.”

What’s interesting to me is that this verse is now used at weddings. This is a verse that shows and explicates true, selfless, Jesus-like love for a woman that wasn’t her flesh and blood, but she became her adoptive family when she married Naomi’s son. This is really similar to the adoption analogy that is seen in many parts of the gospels. I love the fact that although this can be used to describe the selfless love that we are expected to have in marriage, but it really is more about selflessly loving the family and body of Christ.

Later in this same chapter, we see these two women journey back to Ruth’s homeland – Bethlehem – and upon their return, Naomi tells everyone that knew her to call her by Mara, not Naomi. This is because she believes that her life has been made bitter by the Lord. Naomi means “pleasant” while Mara means “bitter” interestingly enough.

This point didn’t seem very important to me at first. Yeah, she changed her name because she felt that her life was horrible, but so what? The importance in this is not just the name change, but the idea behind it. Her entire identity was now defined by that loss. The loss of her husband and her sons defined her entire being to the point that she felt the need to be renamed in a way that she felt portrayed her personality. She did not feel bitter about her life. She WAS bitter. That’s a scary thought.

 

I know I have a tendency to be defined by things that are happening in my life. I am depression, I am anxiety, I am failure; instead of seeing things how they are. I may feel depressed, I may feel anxious, I may feel failure if I don’t succeed the way I want, but I am not those things. I am choosing now to no longer be defined by those things and instead to let them be what they are:  conditions, shapes, states of my life that change every second. Why be defined by something that will be different tomorrow? Instead, I’m choosing now to be defined by what I know will not change: my status in God’s kingdom. I am His child, His beloved, and I’m ready to start being defined by that. There’s so much freedom when I live that way. It’s time to embrace it.

albertolopezphoto Anxiety and depression. It is culminated in the constant thinking, worrying about everything, and letting it affect your life. The frustration, the self-loathing and the endless hours of time drowning in your own all-consuming thoughts. I know it all because I’ve been there. Through every panic attack and mental breakdown alone in my room…

via Why I Refuse to Let My Anxiety and Depression Define Me — Thought Catalog

My Husband Doesn’t Post About Me on Social Media (and That’s Fine With Me)

We’ve all seen the posts. The sappy, romantic, love-letter-like, nearly obsessive social media posts that significant others put out there about each other. Sometimes the “Man-crush Mon…

Source: My Husband Doesn’t Post About Me on Social Media (and That’s Fine With Me)

1. Headphones in = don’t want to talk.One headphone in = still don’t want to talk.No headphones in = probably still don’t want to talk. — introvert Life (@IntrovertLiving) March 21, 2016 2. When I am invited places, it is more important for me to know who will be there as opposed to what we…

via 44 Tiny Frustrations Only Introverts Can Relate To — Thought Catalog

20 things I wish my husband knew without me having to tell him 

1. It does bug me when you watch 20 hours of television in a row without moving off the couch. 

2. I do think you can be a doctor, a teacher, or whatever you decide you want to be that day. 

3. When I ask for your help, it’s because I want you involved in what I’m doing. There are times  I could open that jar or jump on the counter to reach something, but it makes you have to be near me and I’m fine with it. Sorry it annoys you. 

4. You’re the smartest guy I know. 

5. I wish you were more confident in what you bring to the world. You’ve got so much to offer. It makes me sad to see you hide it because you’re afraid of failure. 

6. You really are my favorite person. I don’t just say that. I mean it. 

7. When I tell you I’m not happy, it’s not because you’re a bad husband. Sometimes I just still feel like I’m looking for something. 

8. I’m sooooo ready for babies with you! 

9. I fully believe our children will have the thickest, curliest, most uncontrollable hair that the world has ever seen. 

10. They will also be the most beautiful creatures to ever live. 

11. You can do anything you put your mind to. Stop being held back by your fear. 

12. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. And I’m so glad you picked me, despite my hellish family, mood/mental illnesses, and overall just the hot mess I am. 

13. Sometimes I like snuggling our dogs more than you. Sorry. 

14. You snore. Like for real. It’s horrible. 

15. You also flop around the bed at night. Also horrible. 

16. I love you despite your flopping and snoring. Your snoring is the only kind that doesn’t keep me awake. 

17. I can’t imagine ever being with someone else. Even when you annoy me to DEATH! 

18. You have moments where you have zero motivation and are super lazy. But you’re working past it and that’s fun. 

19. I’d really like to learn to cook. Sorry I can’t. 

20. A lot of times I’m frustrated or angry for no real reason. I’m sorry for that, but I can’t do anything about it when it happens. But it hurts my feelings when you call me moody. I’m working on it. 
Love you 💖

-P

Letter to the Greatest Gift I’ve Ever Received 

I read a blog post by a friend yesterday that was entitled “letter to the love of my life” and it sparked an interest. But, to respect her own idea and her blog I changed my title but kept the idea. (Thanks @nowherewomanblog). So, here we go. 

Dear Husband, 

I started out this post with the title “Letter to the greatest man I’ve ever known,” because that’s what you are. But then I thought about it and realized that in reality, that’s Jesus, but to me you’re a close second. That may be blasphemous, but oh well. I know you well enough to know you aren’t perfect. I know your flaws, your insecurities, what your biggest regret(s) is, and how you like to eat hot Cheetos every chance you get. 

I’m working on a lot of things, but right now my biggest priority has been teaching myself to uplift you, encourage you, and always remind you how special and important and wonderful you are. Before you, there was a lot of darkness in my life; now, I live in the constant shadow of the light you are constantly giving off. I am so thankful for your wittiness, your nerdiness, your constant patience with me, and the overwhelming amount of love you constantly give me even without trying. 

You are the most generous, compassionate, the strongest, smartest, and most fun person I have ever met. You have been and forever will be the greatest friend I’ve ever had, and the only person I am 100% confident and comfortable in my own skin. I love everything about you. Even the things I don’t like, I love. (And yes I am fully aware that that is what Jackson Avery said to April and I’m cool with it so just go with me.) I know your flaws and your mistakes were meant for me, they challenge me to be better for you and for our relationship. 

Marriage has been the hardest but the most amazing part of my life. Our struggles are just that: ours. I know now that I will never struggle alone again, unless it is by my own stubborn strong headed-ness that keeps me from coming to you. You have been my greatest supporter and my safe place for over 5 years now, and that is not something anyone else could say. You taught me how to love the world – even if it’s mostly just because you are in it. 
Any doubts I may have had of God’s goodness or his faithfulness have been silenced by the experience of learning how to love you. Always, continually, never ceasing, the motto is simply: better. Better than yesterday, better than who I have been, better than I will do today. 

I know that I’m not an easy wife. I’m stubborn, anxious, consistently failing in many ways and many things, but you never give up on me. Without your encouragement and the courage I’ve gotten from you, I wouldn’t be here today. You were there at my darkest hour and I know you will be when maybe I figure out how to shine my light best. The greatest part of that is knowing that you do not dim my light even with your immense shadow, you somehow increase the brightness. We are truly one now, and I couldn’t ask for more. 

I love you. Thank you. 
-P 

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