7 Ways to Begin Managing Your Anxiety

Managing your anxiety can sometimes feel like a full-time job. I’m not talking about that occasional knot in your stomach over a situation at work or at home. No, I mean that overwhelming fear, concern and worry that overtakes you and takes you from hopeful to helpless.

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to help get your anxiety under control, especially those times when you’re feeling the most vulnerable.

1. Journaling

It may feel silly, but there is healing in getting those feelings “out”. Write down those anxious thoughts. Getting them out of your mind and onto paper can reduce anxious feelings.

2. Support

Create a list of people who can help you through the struggle of anxiety. When anxiety is getting the best of you, ask yourself who can help challenge those thoughts and replace them when reality and hope. (And yes, a professional support through a counselor can help in this area as well.)

3. Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is one of the most important skills that can help manage your anxiety. Self care is what you implement to make yourself feel better. It can be anything, such as taking a nap, going for a run, eating well, spending time with friends and family, art, and the list can go on and on. Implement what self care works for you.

4. Sleep

Catch those Z’s. Anxiety can deplete your energy. Sleep not only helps you to rest and recharge, but it helps to replace the energy you lost due to the anxious thoughts.

5. Exercise

Physical activity helps reduce anxiety and stress. It allows you to exert the energy that’s used toward anxiety and stress, and instead place it into a healthy lifestyle. Try heading out for a brisk walk, jog or run when you’re feeling anxious.

6. Breathing

Yes, breathing really does help. Practice breathing exercises to help slow down anxious thoughts.

7. Listen

Find a great Spotify or Apple playlist to help you relax. Put your earbuds in or headphones on, close your eyes, and relax.

While these tips can help bring your anxiety down, it doesn’t mean they’ll always go away. Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t make your anxiety go away completely. It’s okay to ask for help.

 STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY? Call me, message me on Facebook, or schedule your appointment online. Appointments are available in OwensboroHenderson, and Online. It’s time to get your life back.

Coping with Stress: Healthy Ways to Feel Better

I kid you not, the other day I was driving and saw Christmas decorations sitting in someone’s front yard. Seriously. CHRISTMAS. DECORATIONS. In the first week of October. A few days before that, I was walking through a local store watching my wife stare in wonder at all of the Christmas decor on the shelves. It got me to thinking about the stresses that come with preparing for the holidays, and how many times we try to mentally prepare for the stress we’re going to endure.

Luckily, there are healthy ways of coping with stress that can help you make it through the holiday season, or any other situation you may be dealing with in life.

1. Take care of yourself

coping with stressThe goal of coping with stress is that hopefully your anxious feelings will subside in a few days (or at most a few weeks). To do so, you have to remember to take care of your body. The Centers for Disease Control recommends:

  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out

Many times, when we feel stressed, we tend to either overeat or under-eat. We can become lethargic or develop insomnia. Or, we try to just “push through” without taking the time to understand what our body is trying to tell us. Most often, we ignore the signs.

2. Talk to others

Find other people who you can talk to and trust. Learn what they do to help alleviate their stressful situations. Share your heart with a parent, friend, pastor, or yes, even a counselor (hint hint – you can easily schedule an appointment with me online). Working through these challenges and feelings with a trustworthy helper can help to alleviate a lot of what you’re feeling.

3. Avoid drugs and alcohol

Drugs and alcohol will lie to you. They’ll tell you that they’ll make the stress go away and help you to “forget” about what’s happening. In reality, they typically create additional problems and increase the stress you’re already feeling. And, you run the risk of addiction and challenging health issues down the road. Seriously. Just say no.

4. Take a break

coping with stressThe longer you remain in a stressful situation, the longer it will take to relieve the issue. I realize that may seem obvious, but how often have you known exactly what’s causing you stress and still don’t move away from it? If your stress is caused by family members, consider looking for ways to put up healthy boundaries; If it’s caused by a work situation, consider taking a mental health day if your have the vacation or sick time available (yes, those are really okay), and if you’re struggling with a local or national event (politics anyone?), consider taking breaks from listening to or reading news stories.

Finally, remember that God is ready and willing to help you through your stressful time, no matter what you’re going through. All you have to do is ask Him and invite Him into your situation.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” – Psalm 34:17-19
 HAVING TROUBLE COPING WITH STRESS? Let’s work together to help alleviate your stressful situation. Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment here. Sessions are available in Owensboro and Online. It’s time to get your life back.

Intimacy in Marriage: It’s Not as Hard as You Think

How many times in your marriage have you thought, “I just wish we could be more intimate,”? It’s a great idea. Getting there proves to be the challenge. The thing is, intimacy in marriage isn’t as hard as you think. It’s really about changing your perspective, and understanding your spouse’s point of view, too.

The first (and perhaps most important) thing to remember, is that intimacy doesn’t always mean sex. In fact, do you know what the actual definition of intimacy is? The Oxford Dictionary defines intimacy as “close familiarity or friendship; closeness”. In this particular definition, it has nothing to do with sex, but rather the building of a relationship. It’s important for you to define what intimacy means for your marriage. And it’s equally important to realize your partner may a different definition for intimacy than your own.

Ask a large number of people what they believe intimacy means, and you’ll get a large variety of answers. A lot of them will probably say intimacy is deep emotional sharing and  deep, satisfying conversation. Others automatically equate intimacy as good sex. Ironically, these two types of people are often married to each other. So what ends up happening is one partner will say, “We’d have better sex if we were more intimate,” and the other will say, “We’d be more intimate if we had better sex.” Sound familiar?

It’s important for you to define what intimacy means for your marriage.

So, if intimacy ins’t just about sex, then what the heck is it? While there are several more than could ever be mentioned here, let’s focus on some of the ones most often discussed (or most often overlooked).

  1. Parenting intimacy – develops through the relationship of parenting your children together
  2. Spiritual intimacy – develops as a result of serving and worshipping together
  3. Recreational intimacy – develops through shared interests
  4. Esthetic intimacy – develops through physical attraction with your spouse
  5. Crisis intimacy – develops as a result of experiencing hard times together
  6. Emotional intimacy – develops as a result deep connection, via shared experiences, feelings, emotions, etc.
  7. Sexual intimacy – develops as you deepen your sexual relationship with your spouse

One thing I hope you notice here from each of these examples is that intimacy develops over time. It’s not immediate. It’s kind of like learning to drive for the first time. You have a general idea of how a car works, but if you’ve never been behind the wheel, it’s unlikely you’re going to instantly know how to drive perfectly. Intimacy is really no different. It takes practice, and learning what works for you and your partner, and being willing to meet the other person’s needs in addition to your own.

From the examples above, in what ways are you failing to connect with your spouse? If you sole focus is sex or a deep emotional connection, there are areas where you may not be connecting at all. This is in no way saying you’ve having to be just like your spouse, or enjoy exactly the same things. In fact, some of the most successful marriages involve couples who are very different or have separate interests in addition to their shared interests. The point is to find the common ground where it exists, and to use those connections to grow closer to your partner.

Consider the closeness that Paul teaches about in Ephesians. He shares what’s supposed to happen in marriage when we find intimacy with our spouse:

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31

Again, it’s not talking just about sex, but deep emotional, spiritual, physical and practical connections as well.

Drs. David Olsen and Douglas Stephens said it best: “The best road to deep intimacy doesn’t come through a series of clever techniques. It comes from staying on the long-term path of self-definition or differentiation. Only a self that is defined can provide genuine caring, empathy and healing.”

How can you improve intimacy in your own marriage?

 STRUGGLING WITH INTIMACY IN YOUR MARRIAGE? Call me, message me on Facebook, or schedule an appointment here. We’ll work together to get your marriage on the right track. Appointments are available in Owensboro, Henderson and Online. It’s time to get your life back.

Three Ways to Allow God to Work Through Your Depression

God and depression. Many believe these things can’t coexist. If you’re depressed, you must lack faith, or so says those uptight churchy people. Or maybe it’s because you believe you’ve done something so sinful that God has abandoned you. Also not true.

Understanding, praying over, and knowing these three things can help you as you walk through depression.

1. We’re not alone

Remember, Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer. And so do many others. When you’re in the midst of depression, it can be a challenge just to reach out to God, let alone read about His promises. However, within Scripture, you’ll find some friends. Jeremiah, Elijah and David can personally relate to your experience:

“O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived,” – Jeremiah 20:7

“It is enough; no, O Lord, take away my life,” – 1 Kings 19:4

“I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me?” – Psalm 42:9-10

The Bible gives us many examples of people experiencing depression, darkness, frustration, and even anger with God. He isn’t angered by honest words – He says they’re holy. God wants our relationship with Him to be authentic. His mercy reigns even in our brokenness.

Jesus knows your pain. He wept. He suffered. On the cross, He experienced complete separation from God. Allow Him to hurt with you.

2. God’s love isn’t dependent on us

In the midst of depression, it’s hard to even begin to remember or understand how God loves us. It makes it hard to pray, read Scripture, or even acknowledge Him.

The beauty of our relationship with Him is that His love for us is solely dependent on His character, grace, and goodness. It doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do, He’s going to continue loving us, no matter how hard we push back on Him.

3. Your pain doesn’t have to be wasted

God can always use us and our stories to bring hope to other people. How many things in life have you gone through that have given you a testimony to share with others? How many things have you learned from trials and heartache? Think of this season of life as one of growth. It hurts. It can be excruciating, but God could be preparing you for something great. Remember Romans 8:28:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Finally, I’m reminded of what Max Lucado said in his book, The Applause of Heaven.

“As long as Jesus is one of many options, He is no option. And as long as you can take Him or leave Him, you might as well leave Him, because He won’t be taken half-heartedly. But when you admit that you have no other option, and when there is truly no other name that you can call, then cast all your cares on Him, for He is waiting in the midst of the storm.”

“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

 STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION? Make an appointment by scheduling right here online, give us a call, or message us on Facebook. Appointments are available in Owensboro and Online. It’s time to get your life back.

Three Ways Setting Boundaries Will Help Your Sanity

How many times have you wished you would have said no to something you agreed to do? For self-described “people-pleasers”, it can be agonizing when you’re asked to serve in some capacity or take on a new project. If you say no, feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety can plague your thoughts. It’s even more difficult in family situations with people who just sort of expect you to do what you’re asking. Setting boundaries in these situations are not just important, they can help keep you from feeling the way you do.

Learning to say no is important. Sure, there are times saying yes is a good thing. But if “yes” is your default answers without taking a moment to affect how this “yes” will affect you, then you may have trouble setting boundaries. In fact, these boundaries are crucial to maintain healhty relationships.

When we say yes to literally everything, we can find ourselves feeling stress, overwhelmed and burned out. For the most part, we want to be liked by others, but sometimes that need to be liked becomes more important than taking care of ourselves.

These three tips can help in the process of setting healthy boundaries.

1. Learn your limits

Without a clear sense of when it’s appropriate to say yes or no, we’ll agree to everything, or nothing at all. Begin leaning into what you know is right or wrong for you, and ask for God’s leading. When a problem arises, ignoring or arguing with God or our “inner voice” only makes things worse.

2. Learn to accept the reactions of others

We can’t control how people feel or how they’ll react to us no more than we can control the weather. When you set boundaries, especially with your family, emotions will bubble to the surface. Many times, they’ll be emotions of anger from the people you’re setting boundaries with.

It’s important to remember that setting boundaries can actually help improve these relationships. When you set a boundary, you’re telling yourself and the other person that you love them enough to put this safeguard in place to avoid anger and resentment. What I’ve found is that people will typically respect your boundaries, after they move past the initial feelings of being upset or disappointed.

3. Learn the importance of self-care

setting boundariesYou can’t give to others if you have nothing left to give. You can’t be a good helper for others if you’re physically or mentally exhausted. Treat yourself with the same tolerance and compassion that you have for others. Find things that can help you feel relaxed and recharged. Consider scheduling some time each week and put it on your calendar as a way to hold yourself accountable.

Furthermore, it’s necessary to realize that in church or family situations, boundaries can be difficult to set because of the way you view those relationships. In church, you may feel guilt, that you’re letting God down for not doing everything that’s asked of you. And in your family, you may struggle with the belief that because you’re related by blood, you’re obligated to do everything your family asks of you. Neither of those things are true. Yes, of course, we’re each called to help others and give of ourselves, but not at the expense of losing yourself.

Remember, God gave us front doors so we could open them up to others. But he also gave us deadbolts on those doors, because sometimes we need to keep others out. It’s okay to put your foot down, especially when it’s uncomfortable.

 HAVING TROUBLE SETTING BOUNDARIES IN YOUR LIFE? Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment onlineIt’s time to get your life back.

Finding Peace: Coming Together in the Face of Tragedy

A tragedy affecting people can be difficult to watch. However, it’s during these times we also see the best of humanity. Finding peace isn’t hard in the face of a natural disaster or bad situation. We see the church coming together to rally supplies, volunteers, money, and of course spiritual refuge and guidance.

We see the believers sharing the love of Jesus, both by sharing the Gospel and being the hands and feet of Christ. We see people crossing political aisles, denominational boundaries, socio-economic statuses, race, ethnicity, gender and more. Believers and non-believers alike come together to share hope and healing.

finding peace

President George W. Bush speaks to a crowd gathered at the site of the World Trade Center attacks, September, 2001. Photo: CNN

This past weekend, we watched Hurricane Irma hit Florida. A few weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey did the same. Since then, countless dollars have been donated, supplies gathered, and volunteers dispatched. Also this week, we marked the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Many of us remember the images of President George W. Bush standing with the megaphone at Ground Zero. And many of us can remember those words he said:

“I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” – President George W. Bush, September 2001

This now famous quote embodied each of us as Americans. It didn’t matter what political party we belonged to, where we went to church (if we even went at all), how much money we made, the kind of house we had, car we drove or clothes we wore. It didn’t matter if we were black or white, rich or poor, tall or short. We were Americans, but even more than that, we were humans. Plain and simple.

My point is this: why does it take a tragedy for us to begin finding peace? Why does a natural disaster, or a terrorist attack, or some devastating event for to show kindness, compassion and love? Why does it take a mass casualty event for us to hold our children a little tighter? And why does it take such a situation for us, as Christians, to actually act like Christians?

finding peace

Areal photo shows flooding and damage from Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017. Photo: ABC News

Instead, we spend our time shaking our heads and wringing our hands complaining about what’s wrong with the world. We blame millennials. Or healthcare legislation. Or global warming proponents. Or the LGBT community. Or people who want to remove statues. Or the people who support keeping them up. Or Hillary Clinton. Or Donald Trump. The list goes on and on. It’s so much easier to attack people in the comments section of an ABC News article on Facebook than it is to get up and do something.

If you’re truly interested in finding peace, it’s time to be the peace. It’s time to move out of the comments section and “angry” reactions on Facebook and do something to advance the Kingdom. When’s the last time you volunteered in the community, helped someone out without expectation of something in return, or even gave to your church? We’re each called to spread the Gospel, and that means more than just speaking empty words.

“Preach the Gospel constantly. And use words if necessary.” – St. Francis of Assisi

Our reactions to the bad things that happen in the world are important. They show a lost, broken, hurting and fallen society that the love of Jesus can heal all wounds, no matter how big or small. But it’s important to remember those responses are equally important even after the needs of the victims of these tragedies have passed. I believe you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s ever found Jesus in an argument in the middle of the Comments section of Facebook. As the old cliche goes, we shouldn’t just go to church. We should be the church.

As a Christian, it’s so easy to be offended by what we see in society, and rightfully so. But how you respond to the pain of what you see is what counts. Hurricanes will happen again. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks probably will as well. Remember, our actions speak much louder than our words. How can you use those actions to build up the kingdom?

 STRUGGLING WITH FINDING PEACE? Trouble with anger, sadness or resentment? It doesn’t have to continue. Schedule an appointment, call me, or message me or Facebook. Appointments are available in Owensboro, Henderson and Online. It’s time to get your life back.

5 Ways You’re Making Anxiety Worse

Even if you don’t have an actual anxiety disorder, chances are you’ve experienced anxiety at some point in your life. There’s a ton of advice out there on how to cope with it, but unfortunately, a lot of it can be misleading or just plain wrong. Following this bad advice can make your anxiety worse, and it’ll only prolong the effects of the way you’re feeling.

Look at these five ways you may be making your own anxiety worse.

1. Avoiding it

How many times have you seen someone you know coming down the aisle at Wal-Mart and you’ve turned and gone the other way? Avoiding others can feel like a full-time job when we’re out and about if you don’t want to talk to them.

Unfortunately, you can’t treat anxiety like that kid from high school you wish you could never see again. Most times, if you’re avoiding your anxiety, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

One of the most important ways of coping with anxiety is learning “emotional tolerance”. When we learn to observe an emotion we face with compassion and not judgement or coming down hard on ourselves, we’re able to react appropriately and feel “in control” of it.

2. Avoiding all situations that cause anxiety

Like depression, anxiety can lie to you. Normally, your body tells you things like, “Something is coming up that I’d better prepare for,” or, “You don’t know what to expect tomorrow.”

Lying happens when your body says, “Avoid social situations so you don’t feel so anxious,” or, “Don’t try anything you can fail at because that’s what’ll keep you happy.”

If you listen to your anxiety, in most cases, you’ll end up missing opportunities, isolating yourself from your friends, and just become more and more afraid of anxiety-provoking situations. Exposing yourself to these situations helps build tolerance.

3. Beating yourself up for feeling bad

How many times have you felt anxious for feeling anxious? How about ashamed? Frustrated? We tell ourselves that we’re not coping properly, or that we’re just weak. Give yourself permission to feel anxious.

Not giving yourse

 

lf permission to feel anxious won’t make it go away, it’ll just make you feel ashamed.

4. Making it something it’s not

Just as bad as never acknowledging anxiety is over-thinking it and convincing yourself you have an anxiety disorder. It’s easy to self-diagnose yourself, especially when you feel socially awkward or anxious in a situation. That doesn’t mean you have anxiety. It means that you’re different, and that’s okay.

5. Dreading It

Do you ever find yourself feeling anxious just thinking about the next time you’re going to feel anxious? What happens when you get so anxious that you have a panic attack? What happens if people notice? How will you cope? Are you feeling the thoughts coming up inside you yet?

There’s a major problem with this thought process. It keeps you from being able to enjoy the present moment, because you’re focused on something in the future that may never happen.

It’s important to remind yourself that most of life is out of your control. Allow yourself to enjoy the moment.

Remember, anxiety isn’t something you can just make go away. It takes, time, practice and sometimes professional help. And that’s okay. As you encounter anxiety in life, remember it’s okay to not be okay. Give yourself some grace and understanding.

 DEALING WITH ANXIETY? Make an appointment here, give me a call, or message me on Facebook to discuss what you’re going through. Appointments are available in Owensboro, Henderson and Online. It’s time to get your life back.

How to Pray when It’s Just So Hard

The videos and images from Houston and southeast Texas this week have been hard to watch. It’s heartbreaking to see families who have lost loved ones, watched their homes get destroyed, or are having to spend nights on end in a shelter due to Hurricane Harvey. Watching the disaster unfold can make us feel helpless. Sometimes, you may find yourself wanting to pray, but not even knowing how. When it’s hard to pray, that’s a good indication it’s probably the best time to do so. As the old saying goes, “Pray hardest when it’s hardest to pray.” So, how do we actually do that?

Don’t worry about trying to sound eloquent. Some of us may have grown up in households where we feel like we have to pray in “King James”. Others of us may feel inferior to people who seem to have words flow off their tongue eloquently. Some of just have no idea what we should say to the creator of the universe when we’re feeling defeated. But Scripture tells us that God already knows what’s on our hearts. He’s just waiting for us to bring it to Him.

“There is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” -Psalm 139:4

Remember, prayer shouldn’t be our last resort. Yet, how many times have you tried to handle everything on your own before taking it to God? God reminds us to pray first, before ever making a step. Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying, “Lord, help me.” Sometimes, you may have to seek the answer more than once. Sometimes, God may answer your prayer in a different way than you expected.

Finally, remember to trust Jesus. He tells us He wants to work on our behalf:

“All that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.” – Mark 11:24

He’s telling us he’ll answer our prayer because He wants to guide us in every way. He is faithful, and He’s calling us to be faithful too. That doesn’t mean he’s going to give you a million dollars just because you ask nicely, but He wants to know the prayers of your heart. And He wants you to share your heart for other people.

Watching the news of Harvey can be devastating. It can make you feel powerless. But even if you don’t know what to pray, just open your heart to God. Tell Him what’s hurting your heart. Tell Him about your burdens, and your struggles. Whether it’s for the people in southeast Texas or people in your own home, give it to God. In turn, you’ll find you may have just prayed one of your most beautiful and eloquent prayers.

 STRUGGLING? You don’t have to continue feeling this way. You are worthy of living in freedom. Call me, message me on Facebook, or schedule an appointment in Owensboro or online. It’s time to get your life back.

5 Ways to Handle Exhaustion when You’re Feeling Down

Have you ever noticed how sometimes after experiencing something really great or really stressful, you often just feel wiped out afterwards? For people who deal with depression regularly, they can almost anticipate the exhaustion coming on. In medical and therapy terms, it’s called “postadrenalin depression”. For you though, we can just call it really, really hard.

The older we get, the harder it is to bounce back after a “high-adrenaline” experience. As a result, we tend to feel depressed more easily after an exciting or really difficult and challenging experience. According to Dr. Archibald Hart, psychologist and former dean of the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, people often experience the “adrenal” letdown on weekends, when the heavy demands of the work week are over. Saturdays or Sundays can often be very depression for a busy executive, he says. College students may experience the low after taking an exam, families may feel it after returning home from a vacation, and many people feel down after the holidays.

Luckily, there are ways to help:

1. Don’t over do it

Everyone, especially those dealing with clinical depression, need rest. It’s important to understand your body’s need for rest and recovery from events. The older you get, the harder it is for your body to recover from exciting and stressful events. Don’t head back to work immediately after such an event if possible. Put away the smartphone. Turn off the computer. Stop doing yardwork. Curl up on the couch or go to bed early. You may not see physical effects of what you’ve been through, but emotionally, your body needs to heal.

2. Check your mood

Monitor the changes in your mood. Your mood fluctuations can tell you a lot about the connection between your high-demand activity and the ensuing depression. Keeping a “Mood Log” is helpful.

 FREE RESOURCE: Download a copy of my Mood Log that I offer clients here.

3. Calm down

I know, I know. This is easier said than done. No, this isn’t one of those situations where a husband is telling his angry wife to “calm down” (by the way, that never works. Husbands, I don’t advise trying it.). What this means is allow yourself some time to “cool off” before, during and after a stressful experience. Remaining “high strung” can be damaging to your emotional system. Calming down helps you to manage your adrenaline.

4. Remember it’s okay to feel bad

There’s nothing wrong with taking some time for yourself. In the world of counseling and therapy, we call this “self-care”. Cooperate with your low mood. Take advantage of low demand activity and rest. Consider increasing your amount of sleep when you’re anticipating a period of heavy demand. Do thinks that are relaxing and fun. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun, especially if that helps to improve your mood and overall outlook.

5. Don’t overthink it

Many times, Christians have a way of overspiritualizing or overpsychologizing their low feelings. Remember, it’s not a sin to feel bad, and it’s also not a sin to suffer from depression. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to have your life together. No one is perfect, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

 ARE YOU FEELING LOW? Struggling with depression? There is hope, and you are worthy of living in freedom. Schedule an appointment, call me, or message me on Facebook. Appointments are available in Owensboro, Henderson and Online. It’s time to get your life back.

7 Ways Shame is Ruining Your Life

Let go and let God. Yuck. I loathe that phrase. It’s become such a cliche in the church. And it’s basically just someone’s way of telling you that you don’t have enough faith. Should we have faith? Absolutely. Should we let go and let God? Absolutely. Whether it’s from something that’s worrying you, guilt you’re feeling, or dealing with shame. But the truth is, if you’ve never been taught how to “let go and let God” (pardon me while I throw up in my mouth), it’s kind of hard to just throw your hands up and move on, right?

Ultimately, letting go of shame is giving it up to God and allowing Him to work through it. But until you learn how to give it up, it can be a challenge to move past the way you’re feeling. These 7 ways shame is ruining your life can help you to change your mindset and move toward the freedom God has for you.

1. Understand that Shame is Different from Guilt

Guilt says, “I did something bad,” and needs forgiveness. Shame says, “I am bad,” and needs a complete shift in your identity. If you feel yourself becoming wrapped up in shame, changes are it’s having an impact on your identity. Making a mistake can leave both guilt and shame, but it’s important to recognize the difference. In his book Shame Interrupted, Ed Welch describes that shame feels like it’s welded on to you, while guilt feels like something outside of you. Sound familiar?

2. Shame can happen because of something that’s been done to us

Shame is a common result of people who’ve been hurt and abused. Hurtful acts, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse can leave you even more vulnerable to shame. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the victim of sexual assault to feel more shame than the perpetrator.

3. Shame can happen because of something we’ve done

Do you believe you can’t ever feel better after making a mistake? This is where “letting go” come in. And here’s how you do it: by repenting. Repentance sounds like a fancy, church-y word, but in reality, it’s simply “turning away” from whatever mistake (a.k.a. sin) you were involved with.

It’s important to remember, if you’ve asked for forgiveness, your sins have been covered by the blood of Jesus. They’re no longer held against you. Continuing to carry around shame because of a past mistake doesn’t just make you feel shame, however. It can also lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and more. For the sake of your own physical and emotional well-being, allow God to work on those areas within you.

4. It doesn’t have to come from anyone’s mistake

Have you ever felt disconnected from God? Not because of something you’ve done or even that’s been done to you? Shame can be another term for unbelief in God’s love for you. It’s one thing to believe your mistake (sin) has been removed form you; it’s another to believe God’s love can never be removed from you.

Shame is a barrier – keeping love from getting through. This can be God’s love or anyone else’s.

“In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” – Exodus 15:13

5. We try to get rid of it by giving it to other people

Many times, shame makes us unconsciously pass it to those around us. Take, for example, the mother who feels bad about her own body. She may end up criticizing her daughter’s eating and clothing choices, making her daughter grow up with a sense of shame, too.

6. Shame hinders your creativity

If I’m constantly worried about myself, I’ll never be able to quit second-guessing my work. Creativity requires a freedom that shame hinders, because shame requires that all we do should be perfect before anybody else sees. In case you were unaware, Jesus was the only perfect person to ever walk the earth. Creativity takes risks – and it can be hard to risk anything when you’re feeling ashamed.

7. Relationships often suffer because of shame

If I don’t think I can can be loved, I’ll have a hard time being in a relationship with anybody. I’ll always find ways to distance myself from other people to protect myself. My core belief is that if you really knew me, you wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with me anyway.

But there is hope.

The most powerful way to get rid of shame is to learn to be open with yourself and with others. As we share our hearts, and our stories, and the way shame has tried to keep us down, we begin to find freedom. It loses its fuel and its isolation.

It just comes down to being willing to be open.

 STRUGGLING WITH SHAME? There is hope in your hurting, and you can find the freedom you’re seeking. Schedule an appointment here, call me, or message me on Facebook to get started. It’s time to get your life back.
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