EMOTIONS

Temporary or Permanent?

Valentine’s day is almost two weeks in the past.  It was a quiet one for me maybe because I’ve come to realise that the expression of love should be an every-day occurrence.  I’m not knocking those of you who have celebrated in big or small ways.  It’s your prerogative to do so, and I hope you celebrated in a wholesome and memorable way.

Here is my concern from what I have observed.  Many persons allow the emotions of the day to drive the decisions that they make.  They go out and spend money that they don’t have, to impress their significant other and others.  Buying gifts for persons who are not mutually invested – just for the day.  Other persons make life-changing decisions on that day as they get caught up in their feelings.  My question is, what happens when the feelings pass?

And herein lies the crux of the matter.  At best, emotions are temporary.  They pass.  They change.  Nevertheless, they were given to us as part of our souls’ makeup, so that we can experience life here on earth.  God in his wisdom breathe His life into us and we became living souls so that we can think, will and emote.  It would have been impossible for him to develop a relationship with a robot because robots cannot feel.  Therefore, feelings are good, but they must be managed.

Events and the emotions that they create have made photography a billion dollar business. Why? Because emotions are fleeting and we need something tangible that at a moment’s notice, would conjure up a memory and the associated feelings. We take snapshots of especially happy moments so that we will never forget. But what about the not-so-great moments and the corresponding emotions?

Man was created tripartite meaning we are spirit, soul and body. As spirit beings, we are charged with the responsibility to govern our emotions.  Spirit is higher than emotions.  Emotions are generated from the soul. Spirit is eternal.  Emotions are temporary.  The soulish part of man must come into subjection to the spirit for man to truly experience a victorious life.

For example, continuing in the vein of the Valentine’s Day experience:

  • Emotions will say, being with this person makes me feel good.  I will let them know how much I love them by ‘going all the way with them’ (becoming physically intimate).  They will love me back.  They will be faithful to me.  They will marry me.
  • Spirit says, be careful. This person hasn’t made a commitment to you. This individual is another person’s husband or wife, or in the case of a married person with a single paramour, that is not the person you covenanted with at the alter. Being with them is wrong on all counts. If they loved you, they wouldn’t ask or expect you to do something that will sear your soul. If you loved them you wouldn’t ask them to devalue or defile their temple just to satisfy your lustful desires.

Many persons are experiencing painful disappointments today because they made decisions that produced permanent consequences based on a passing emotion. I predict that there will be many babies born in November to persons who are not ready for parenthood, because they got caught up in the euphoria of a moment.

Governing the emotions is not easy because most people live out of their souls. They are driven by their intellect, their will, and their emotions. Never mind there is another voice that they hear, quietly saying, stop, slow down, rethink that decision. Because the Spirit of God does not shout, a person who is not intentionally sensitive to Him will not realise when He is speaking to them. He is always speaking, but because of our ignorance or arrogance, and the feeling that we don’t need His help to do life, we don’t hear Him.

We only hear Him and seek for Him when we’ve come to the end of ourselves. When we run aground on the rocks of life. When we tap out on our human wisdom. It is only then that we seek Him out. Thank God that He is merciful, loving and patient as written in Jeremiah 29:13, And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

God is waiting for you to realise that you cannot successfully do life without Him. Navigating life and making the right decisions will require you to build your spirit man. This in turn will call for you to develop a relationship with the One who knows you better than you know yourself, and who knows your end from your beginning.

For many years I allowed my emotions to run my life.  Whatever I felt I acted upon until I was functioning in a space devoid of joy and fulfillment.  As a matter of fact, I thought that my happiness could be derived from my relationship with others.  Therefore, when things went wrong in those relationships, producing emotions that were as unstable as a deck of cards, I would crash and have tremendous difficulty getting back on an even keel.  This almost destroyed me until one day when I came to the end of myself and cried out to God for help.

My encounter with God came about because when I became engulfed by pain and disappointment, I decided to leave my comfort zone and strike out on my own. It was in that place of unfamiliarity and aloneness that God began restructuring my intellect, my will and especially my emotions. It only happened because I wanted to experience change. I wanted to have His joy in my life that would drive my purpose and my relationship with others. For one year God worked on me, with me. And this is what that looked like.

  1. Deep introspection – why am I the way that I am? Why am I on this hamster wheel of hurt and disappointment, with no obvious end in sight? How can I get from where I am to where I need to be?
  2. Personal prayer/corporate prayer – There is nothing like spending time with God where He can show you where you are going wrong and what you need to do to make things right. You may not be open to all He will say, but it would be in your best interest to at least listen and try to execute His instructions. Additionally, nothing is more comforting and motivating than when others agree to join with you to petition God on your behalf. There is nothing more powerful and effective than that, much like on the day of Pentecost, when the disciples came together in one place with one mind, God the Holy Spirit showed up and changed their lives forever. I am a witness that unity in prayer works. (Matthew 18:20; Acts 2)
  3. Fasting – In order to subdue your soul-ish man in a way that brings it into alignment with the spirit, you must stop feeding it – physically and spiritually, which will of course also affect your body. That is what fasting does. It’s a retreat from and purging of the things that separates you from God, and a filling up on the spiritual things that will bring light and life into your life.
  4. Fellowship with persons of like mind who wants to see you grow and develop into the best version of yourself. This is very important. Every rehabilitation model that I have looked at practices this. My mom had a couple of sayings – you are known by the company you keep; birds of a feather flock together; familiarity breeds contempt. They are all saying the same thing. If you want to know who a person is, look at their company. This applies to your getting better as well. You must fellowship with those persons who have your best interest at heart. Persons who have gone through similar experiences and who are standing victoriously on the other side, actively trying to stay there. Those are the persons that you want to hang with.

Today, I continue to work on becoming the best version of myself, and I am in a good place.  I don’t allow my husband to get me off my crease of peace, and he, being even more protective of his peace, will not allow me to get him off his crease.  I am even more adamant that not another human will get me off my crease of peace either. 

The Bible said in Romans 12:18 (ASV), If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. It is possible once the Spirit of God is in control of your life. As I said before, any human that causes me to want to emote in the wrong way, I will remove myself as much as possible from their sphere of influence and keep it moving. My peace is that important to me.

As you get older, maintaining your peace is paramount and to do that you must be in control of your emotions.  Don’t tell me that this person made you do this or that.  You are not a robot. Control yourself.  He who causes you to emote in a self-destructive way, controls you.  

There are certain emotions that we default to when we feel threatened, afraid or when good things happen to us. How have they affected your life and relationships so far? Is there anything that you would like to change about how you react to the stimuli in your life? These are questions that are worth thinking about as you daily strive to become a better version of yourself. Emotions are temporary at best. Manage them so that you make the best possible decisions going forward. Shalom!

PERFECTION IS OVER-RATED

Today I saw this tree.  It’s in an idyllic location – near a huge pond with ducks swimming nearby.  It was beautiful to behold, but then in my mind I said, ‘it’s short though, almost like an overgrown bonsai tree’.  It looked like someone had been pruning it to that size, but I knew this was not the case.  It was that size and shape because of its location, wind action and soil.  It was so picturesque I could not pass up the opportunity for my friend to snap me in the frame.

I totally enjoyed the moment.  Snap!  Click!  Saved!  Immortalized for future moments when I would need to reminisce.

As I continued to meditate on what I had seen, and how I was able to find shade under this short tree, it dawned on me how sometimes we miss out on life because we have an idealistic view of how things should be. But by now, if you’ve lived for more than 3 decades, you will agree with me, just based on your experiences alone, that perfection does not exist, and idealism only creates unnecessary stress.

I stand to be corrected.  However, if you have read my book ‘A Helper Suitable’, you would see where I admitted more than once that I am a converted perfectionist.  And believe me when I tell you, thinking and relating that way and seeing the world through those lenses have caused me many years of unnecessary stress and time that I cannot recoup.

My takeaway today is, we should not ignore or discard something or someone just because they donot present with exactly what we desire, or what we are accustomed to. Human beings, especially, are not created perfect. We are all works in progress. I am not saying to disregard your standards. What I am saying is, just as much grace as you would like extended to you, extend to others. In everyone there is some good. Based on your constitution and stick-to-itiveness, you may need to dig for it but when you find that good, be apprecaiteive and continue to extend grace. Don’t focus so much on the bad that you neglect to see the good. Remember none of us are perfect, but all of us need love and acceptance.

Here is a question for you to consider today.  

Suppose after we were born, our perfect Father God looked at us and saw all the flaws and knowing all the mistakes we would make throughout our lifetime, He just pulled back his breath and said, this one isn’t worth it.  Let’s throw him or her back.  What if He did that?  There would be no Susan.  No Joe or Alice.  Essentially, there would be no one here on earth for God to have a relationship with – and He craves relationship.  So, imperfect brothers and sisters, let us ponder this thought before we go discarding people who are less-than perfect.  Perfection is over-rated.

KITCHEN-SINK CONTEMPLATIONS 1

Train up a child…(Proverbs 22:6)

I don’t know what my parents were thinking when they were raising us back in the late 60s, 70s and 80s, but I think they did a splendid job.  Their day-to-day state of being impacted not only how we treated each other at home, but it also extended to how we treated others outside of our family.  I believe their faith in God and adhering to the principles set forth in the Word about the husband/wife relationship and parent/child relationship contributed to our relational development as well.

I used to always hear my father say, the best time to instil proper values in a child is before the age of 7, when they can distinguish between right and wrong.  I think the age has even been dropped to 5 years.  I have also learned by experience that every 7 year period in our lives presents different growth opportunities.  What you do with them determines the evolution of your character.  What you do with those growth opportunities determine who people will encounter on your journey at point and time.

My father’s theory was that if good values were not encouraged during those formative and highly impressible years (3 mths to 7 years), and when most of their time is spent with you, then it will be difficult to do later on when other influences are present.  Check this link out for an informative read. https://babybonus.msf.gov.sg/parentingresources/web/Young-Children/YoungChildrenDevelopment/YoungChildrenBehaviour/Young_Children_Developing_Core_Values?_afrLoop=31061688421678155&_afrWindowMode=0&_afrWindowId=null#%40%3F_afrWindowId%3Dnull%26_afrLoop%3D31061688421678155%26_afrWindowMode%3D0%26_adf.ctrl-state%3Diq54j6l0_13

Parents we ought to seize the teachable moments even as our children develop into teenagers and young adults.  And they will be more receptive if we teach in love.  Sometimes they may appear to not like what you are saying, but it will register.  “Dedicate your children to God and point them in the way that they should go, and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.” (Proverbs 22:6 TPT) What’s most important is that you are preparing them to live with others – a room mate or a life partner. 

Id Camp, Imperial College, London 2018

Over the course of twenty years I discovered things about myself and my husband that I didn’t like. Whenever my son would display some negative trait that I’d experienced or seen before, I would use that moment to begin breaking and utterly destroying those tendencies. I employed that strategy against generational bents and vices as well, backing up our little talks with fervant prayer.

Let me echo what I captioned above and make it personal. Why should my child have to suffer through the nuances, bad habits and negative behaviors of your child just to be in a relationship with her?And some may say that at the end of the day that’s his choice. But my other question to you is, did you think that you were raising her to live with you for the rest of your lives? Hmmm.

Parents, I admonish us all to consider these questions and try to be more conscious as to how we raise our children. Some lessons may stick while others may not. But do your best. Doing our own personal familial homework now, ensures a better chance for our children to enjoy better and more fullfiling relationships in the future. Shalom and much love.

IT’S TIME TO HUDDLE!

“When yuh see yuh neighbour house on fire wet yours”.  “Who have cocoa in the sun should look fuh de rain”.  These are sayings that my mom would repeat if we as children would come home with a story about someone else.  She was not one to encourage discussions (gossip) about other people, nor would she talk about others in the presence of her children.  

Now as an adult I understand what she was saying.  We all have our issues.  If it’s not one thing, it’s the next.  No life is perfect.  Every person struggles with something.  Every family wrangle with their own issues.  Therefore, the more time we spend looking at or talking about other people’s business, is the less time we have resolving our own issues.  If we spend our time looking at someone else’s pot, most likely our own pot will boil over or burn. 

This year I celebrated my birthday, Christmas and the dawning of a new decade and new year in beautiful Anguilla. I did so with family and friends – and it felt good. It felt right. I remember washing dishes on the last day of 2019 thinking about the changes that had taken place in my heart and life over the last eighteen months. And how at that moment I was happy that I had taken the time away to make the necessary adjustments to get to the place where I was comfortable in my own skin.

Water Taxi to Little Bay, Anguilla

It took time.  It required me to mind my own business.  It required me to do my own personal work which brings me to the title of this blog.  I believe that this year God is calling us to ‘huddle’.  Huddle is a term used in American football where the players all come off the field, form somewhat of a circle and literally put their heads together.  They do that to

  1. Motivate one another
  2. Take a break from the game to recover 
  3. Strategize for the next play
  4. Regroup personally and collectively
  5. Establish unity in purpose

I think that we can benefit much from this practice both personally and relationally.  Too many persons are talking of ‘burn out’.  Too many families are disintegrating because our focus is off.  Instead of trying to impress our loved ones, we are ‘running down’ life to impress the public who really don’t care.  Instead of ‘bringing the game home’, we take it to the streets.  Instead of internalizing our efforts, we externalize, all the while investing our time and energies in things and people that do not add value to our lives.

I’ve come to realize that anything worth having is worth fighting for and at the end of the day the family we are a part of is not a mistake.  Our family is all we have, and that same family is what agitates us to become who we need to be.  Iron sharpens iron.  The rocks closest to the surf are the smoothest because of the constant bashing of the waves on them and against each other. We collect them because they are beautiful, not realising what they went through to become as attractive as they are.

For this new year, why not take the time to determine what’s really important to you.  Many of us don’t give our partners the credit for holding us down.  We don’t realize that if they were not ‘having our backs’, making sacrifices and supporting us, we couldn’t do or be who we are in public.  Why not give yourself and your relationships the necessary attention by calling for a ‘huddle’?  Why not take the time to mind what is important to you, if in fact it is important to you?  

In essence, call your players off the field and huddle for a bit.  The outcome of the game depends on your commitment to coming up with winning plays.  The success of the game depends on your desire to win.   And may I suggest that a commitment to success would quite frankly and without apology sound something like this.

  • Adults:  Mind yourself.  Mind your significant other if you have one.  Mind your own marriage.  Mind your own business.  Mind your own purpose (reason for breathing) and most of all, mind your relationship with God.
  • Youth and children:  Mind yourself.  Mind your parents or guardians – in most cases they want what’s best for you.  Mind your education.  Mind your talents and giftings.  Mind your future.  Most of all, mind your relationship with God.

In 2020, bring it home.  A winner at home is a winner in the marketplace and you can take that to the bank.  

It’s-time-to-huddllle!

I’M NOT GIVING UP!

“It is not over ‘til the fat lady sings” – Unknown


My version of that saying is that ‘it is not over until God says it’s over’.   To be honest, holding on to anything (a marriage, family, friendships, dreams and expectations) can be excruciating especially when everything that you see (sense) signals that it’s not worth it.  IT being the energy, the stress, the good wishes and even prayer.  Yet we keep on pushing. 

Why?  Because we tell ourselves, once there is life there is hope and even a glimmer of ‘good’ spurs us to think that there may be better days ahead.   So, we hold on.  But wait a minute!  Aren’t believers called to endure because there is salvation or a prize at the end (Matthew 10:22; Philippians 3:14)?  But how do we do that without losing our joy?  How do we, like Paul in Romans 5:3-5, glory in tribulation?

In this post I want to address ‘not giving up’ in relationships that look like they are in trouble.  How do you keep pushing through in a relationship that by all accounts looks like it’s on its last leg?  Do you make decisions based on what you are experiencing or based on a promise that you were given?

Relationships are the backdrop of our lives and when they are good, we feel productive, energized and alive with hope for the future.  When they are challenging, they drain us mentally, physically and emotionally.  They even drain us to the point where we wonder if investing spiritually makes sense.  I’ve been there and I’m still in the trenches, so I know whereof I speak.  

Giving up after a battle (long or short) is easy because you can calculate what you have invested against what you have gained or lost.  If there is little or nothing to show for your investment, you have all rights to cut your losses and close shop.   No one will fault you for that.  “At least I tried”, is what you tell yourself.  It helps you make it through the day without feeling like a failure.

Let me digress here just for a moment.  This is what I’ve learned.  Winning or losing has much to do with our perspective – qualitative or quantitative.  And some wins take the scenic route.  It might be worth your while to hold on for the ride, as rough as it may seem.  There is so much to gain/learn even when it seems like you have lost.  

Even identical twins have distinguishig features

Take a smile break here with me. Now back to our regular scheduled programming.

Here it is.  It’s the ‘hanging in there’ that takes work.  It’s the ‘hanging in there’ that takes a tenacity and a gumption that is super-human.  For goodness’ sake, it takes crazy faith, but sometimes even while we are faithing it our focus is shifted from the prize to the pain and we begin to lose heart.  Here comes my favorite phrase, “after all, we are only humans, right?  

What makes it worst is that we sometimes allow what others think or say to dictate our response to what we are going through.  And some people mean well, but I’ve heard that even in a birthing room, empathizing with or feeling for the mother in labour holds up the birthing process.  What helps is encouraging her to PUSH and giving her a picture of what awaits at the end of all the hard work and pain.  That’s what I’m here for.  To give you that PUSH.

My friends, sisters and brothers, there are so many examples in the Word about crazy faith and tenacity in the face of pain and what looked like impossible situations. But what comes to mind as I ponder the resolution of “I’m Not Giving Up” are questions like:

What if the children of Israel had stopped on the 6th day of their prescribed 7-day march and said, well we don’t see any indication of this Jericho wall cracking and falling, so let us just pack it up and go back to our tents? (Joshua 6)

Or, what if Jesus on that pre-crucifixion night had given up in the garden of Gethsemane as he agonized in prayer for the world? (Matthew 26:36-42)

And what about our mothers?  Women were created to endure 9 months of discomfort, some at high risks to themselves and their precious cargo.  But what if they give/gave up in the middle of labour pangs and decide(d) not to push anymore?  Do you get the picture?

As I count down to my year of Grace 5.1, I am compelled to be more honest with myself.  I’ve been called determined and until I heard it articulated, I had never looked at myself that way.  But truth be told, I am tenacious when I believe in or for something, especially if my cue is coming from my Heavenly Father.

So, I’m standing in the kitchen and I’m thinking about my legacy – what seeds will I sow into my son’s life to the third and fourth generation?  What past, present or future strongholds will I break or enforce in his bloodline (DNA) because of a decision I make today.  And I heard myself say out loud, “I’m not giving up!”  And I can hear you saying, “Why not, Susan?”  “You have all the reasons in the world to give up”, …or so you think.

Do you know what else I heard?  I heard that

  1. God is God (Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent)
  2. He knows my end from my beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10)
  3. He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13)
  4. He is well-able to sustain me in any storm

Therefore, if we say that we are children of the King and we follow His lead, then we should allow God to make the pronouncements in our lives, even when the obvious is staring us in our faces.  We should allow Him to pronounce the “Yeah” and “Amen” in any situation, because until He does, we aren’t really sure we’ve made the right decision.

Our job is to continue to pray unceasingly for the salvation and deliverance of our spouses, children, families, etc.  To listen intently to the voice of God, and to speak words of life against all odds. This may require you to step away from a trying situation for a while to work on yourself and to get a fresh perspective.  If you can, nothing is wrong with that.  It may require you to say to your partner or family member, we need the help of a professional to sort through our mess, but whatever the case, giving up is not an option.

Don’t get me wrong, there are extreme cases where persons need to just call it quits.  I am not talking about those.  I am talking about cases where you may have started wrong, but God is able to take what ‘is’, and work it out for your good.  Cases where right in the middle of things going right someone may have gotten distracted and lost their way.  Don’t give up.  Give God scope to work His ‘exceeding abundantly’ miracle.

I don’t know about you, but I am not allowed to give up on my marriage, my family (immediate or extended).  I’m not allowed to give up on the people that God has placed in my community.  I believe that God has given me a particular kind of grace to endure, so I can only speak for myself.  However, if I experience an ‘end’ or a ‘the fat lady has sung’ moment in any relationship, it wouldn’t be because I gave up.  It would be because I concede to the All-knowing One, that says, “Susan, this is an Omega moment”.

I always say that my life is not my own, so I don’t have the choice to do whatever I feel because I may have the right to do so.  And what people think really does not matter in the bigger scheme of things.  I’ll not be guided by my emotions especially if they are contrary to what God says about me. I may look like a fool or sound like a greater fool but I’m subscribing to an institution that God Himself created and sanctions even today.  His promises contain the ability to sustain me even in difficult times, so I allow Him to hold me.

And as I wait for His verdict, I will continue to persevere in prayer. I will continue to self-improve – live, love, laugh and grow. I will continue to hope. My holding on or giving up, my fighting or retreating depends on my counsel from and my confidence in a God who is well “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we (I) ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (me)”(Ephesians 3:20). He IS the Alpha and the Omega of everything, so it is in my BEST interest to be party to what He is doing, right now and in the future. Otherwise, I don’t have a clue, and it shows. Wouldn’t you join me in repeating this mantra? I’m Not Giving Up!

So, here’s to not giving up!

SHOULD YOU BE ON SUICIDE WATCH?

…So, I’m taking a walk in the early morning because it calms me. It provides me with ‘space’ to think with the fringe benefits of unlimited access to fresh air, freedom to move and a front row seat to the sights and sounds of God’s creation, up close and in living color. Suddenly my quiet contemplation is interrupted by, ‘Should you be on suicide watch?’ My immediate reaction was, ‘Who said that?’ and ‘Why?’. I am not trying to kill myself. Can’t you see I’m walking?

Suicide?  Strong word.  Ugly word?  An emphatic, Yes!  I had never associated myself with that word because I love life.  I would never think of taking my own life and that question does not make any sense, at least not as it relates to me.  But was it worth further contemplation and examination? I said, yes.   And here we are. What about you?  Would you walk with me and let us see where you stand and if we can come to a conclusion that would help us to turn a corner on this? 

At the time when I received that alert, I remember spending my waking hours mulling over a situation I found myself in.  I had taken a necessary step; made a decision that was inevitable, but how many of you know that whatever decisions you make in life carries with them consequences?  As the old adage says, every action creates a reaction.  So that was where I found myself and although I was far removed from one set of circumstances, I had now created another set to which solutions needed to be found.  And it wasn’t easy – not on my mind, or my body.

By now you are asking, Susan what are you saying?  What are you talking about?  I’m talking about a condition that we all admit we suffer with at some point in our adult lives.  We accept it as being normal, but the effects can be so far-reaching, even unto death, if we don’t take measures to eliminate it.  I’m talking about STRESS.  

According to a Mayo Clinic article, “Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to positive or negative situations in your life, such as a new job or the death of a loved one.”[1]  And I add, it’s a reaction to anything that forces you out of your comfort zone.  Personally, I found that I would get stressed when I felt no longer in control of a situation, or I had a difficult decision to make.  I’ve also learned that although stress is normal, prolonged stress is deadly.

I remember right after the twin hurricanes Irma and Maria had devastated many of the Eastern Caribbean Islands, there would be daily reports of otherwise healthy people getting sick or dying.  The general response to those reports was, “its stress”.  The loss of homes, loved ones and way of life was difficult for some people to mentally navigate.   They felt hopeless and the resulting reactions in their bodies caused their hearts to give out. 

Yes.  Stress kills, and short of getting technical, here is more information from Psychology Today.

“A stressor is anything that disturbs homeostasis. It could be physical, psychological or social. It perturbs the present moment, so it can change direction. There is no doubt that some stress is necessary to compel us to move and perform, it is called “eustress good stress.” But, stress can take a toll on the cardiovascular, immune, memory & reproductive systems and age us faster.”[2]

Carolyn Aldwin, Director of the Center for Healthy Age Research at Oregon State University says that stress elevates your cortisol levels.  Cortisol is referred to as the stress hormone.  Increased and prolonged levels of cortisol interfere with your learning and memory.  It generates free radicals that compromises your immune system.  It also decreases bone density and increases your blood pressure, all the while making you susceptible to high cholesterol and heart disease.  Whoa!   Who wants that?  I don’t.  Do you?

So, we can go on discussing stress and its causes to death, no pun intended, but the fact remains that negative stress, at the least, is unhealthy. Here is a quote from my book, A Helper Suitable.

 “As I got on the plane that would take me away from life as I knew it, I was incredibly tense. As I relaxed back into my seat, releasing a sigh of relief that I was finally there, I realized that my shoulders were taut and raised. There was also a pain in the back of my neck and one that ran down the right side of my head.”

Does that sound familiar?  What about your catalog of aches and pains?  Do you identify with what I was feeling that day as something that you have experienced or are experiencing right now?  Why are you feeling that way?  What or who are you trying to control that you have no rights trying to control?  Is there something in your life that you know you cannot handle yet you grapple with it every day?  What about the level of toxicity in your life coming from relationships or environments?  Is there a better way to handle things so that the quality of your life improves?

Psssst! Are you still with me?  Let’s talk.  I want to bring this home to where I live.  I have served God all of my life, and just like you I have found myself in stressful situations and my first reaction was to think about them incessantly.  Partly because I am a fixer and partly because I am private.  I feel that there must be something that I can think of doing that would fix the problem, and I will do so quietly, by myself, sometimes only thinking of God as my last resort.

But how many of you know that He, God, is bigger than us, more powerful and more knowledgeable and has the answers to any and every question that we may have?  Do you know Him, or do you just act like you know Him?  Usually children who know the ability of their father, especially if he is one of means, don’t go about their day contemplating life.  They live life.  They make decisions and expect their daddy to back them.  And when they have a problem that seems a little difficult, the first person they think of running to is their ever powerful, all knowing, well-able Daddy.  Hmmm.

There are a couple of references from the Bible that helps me to keep focused as my mind tends to stray to what is my natural reaction to life’s issues.  They cause me to remember who I am and who I belong to.  Although this particular verse was referring to us not doing with our bodies as we like because we are the temple of the Holy Ghost, I love the last clause of verse 19 and the first clause of verse 20 that says, “…and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20KJV).  

The other references are Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want”; Isaiah 54:5, “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called”; and Psalm 27:10, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”

What I am trying to say with all of this is that you got someone who owns you.  He is not like a lot of fathers today who do not want to support their children or worst-case scenario, completely disowns them.  He ‘owns’ you.  He cares for you and most importantly he takes full responsible for your well-being, whatever the relationship-type or means that you are lacking.  So, tell me again, why do you care so much?  He did tell you to cast all of them on Him.  Furthermore, He drew this picture for you to give you a better perspective of His utmost care for you.

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-30)

Sometimes we become so perturbed with the life that we are trying to live that we run the risk of taking or forfeiting that same life.  Well today I present you with an alternative.  This is how I handle myself now-a-days*.  You have a choice as you always do.  It is up to you whether you want to live abundantly or be a dead man walking.  This is my Modus Operandi for dealing with the issues I face daily.

  1. Examine the problem to see whether you can solve it or not
  2. If it’s possible for you to do so, then go about the business of solving it, seeking God’s wisdom about the best solution
  3. If it’s not possible for you to solve it, take it before God in prayer and leave it in His hands
  4. Ask Him and search the scriptures for references that relate to your need
  5. Personalize and write them on paper and post where visible in your house or wherever you will see them often
  6. Whenever you get discouraged, go to those scriptures and speaking out loud, remind God and yourself that you don’t have the wherewithal to solve the problem and that you need His help
  7. Daily “Circle” them in prayer as often as possible, giving thanks to God for a resolution
  8. Listen to what God is saying and act accordingly (a conversation goes both ways)
  9. Wait!  Give thanks.  Live.  Repeat.

In the natural here are some things you can do to alleviate or manage the effects of stress.

  • Exercise regularly or do something physical for a minimum of 10 mins at a time, daily
  • Learn to relax. Intentionally take deep breaths (a really good place to do that is in nature, on a beach or a trail – either sitting or slowly walking)
  • Laugh (when I was at my lowest, unbeknownst to her, a sister-friend started sending me Minion quotes – laughing pulled me right out of that sad place I was in (thanks Lindy)- “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” Proverbs 17:22KJV)
  • Socialize with people who get you, love you and would allow you to be you. People who encourage and spport you but who will also tell you the truth in love.
  • Engage in hobbies or activities that you enjoy, like reading, sewing, watching Hallmark movies, doing craft or even helping others.
Meads Bay, Anguilla, BWIs

On the real, most of the times when a person commits suicide, it’s because they have lost hope in life that things would change for the better.  In this case I am pointing to your body involuntarily giving out under the stress and strain of your inability to help yourself.   Today this is what I am telling you because it has worked and is working for me. “…hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 42:11 KJV)

So, to answer the question, “Should you be on suicide watch?”.  Only you can answer that, but I decree and declare to you today that you shall not die but live to declare the works of the Lord.  Break the silence of worry and being overly concerned about what you can’t fix.  Be proactive.  Speak Life and Live!!!

*Colloquial words or terms


[1] Hall-Flavin, Daniel K, M.D.  “Healthy Lifestyle – Stress Management”.  https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress/faq-20058233 .  November 29, 2017

[2] Azab, Marwa, PhD.  “Can Stress Kill You? What Doesn’t Kill You, Kills You Slowly”.  Psychology Today.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuroscience-in-everyday-life/201901/can-stress-kill-you-what-doesnt-kill-you-kills-you-slowly.  January 26, 2019