Hey there, Sunshine!
Just poking over to say....
When I see yellow I think of you!
You might not feel bright and sunny but did you know that Christ in you is the hope of glory? Everything you are going through (and growing through) will show that you are an overcomer, and that your character reflects the image of your Maker!
It’s true a lot of us deal with struggles sight unseen, and when we still have to “show up” the next day to work we couldn’t feel more unseen. But the truth is you are made, seen and heard by the author of the universe and writer of your story.
Debilitating emotions can hijack our “joy”stick and fly is right into stormy skies. Which is why you need to know the YOU you are in Gods hands and plans. One little heckle of a lie can turn our whole flight or fight process upside down. If we don’t listen and believe the whispers of who the Lord says you are, we won’t know we can actually rest from versus run away with our feelings.
Just remember you aren’t the sum of your past mistakes or misperceptions of who people see you as. You are made whole in the Son who died for you to be right with God before it was even on your radar. Because we carry Jesus’ righteousness by what he gave up to get us back, we can go confidently to receive grace and mercy in our very weak moments. God will teach us how to renew our mind through HIS eternal and unchanging truth.
When feelings of impending doom tell you there is no hope, you are under the influence of a lie. It’s true!
You know what’s also true - it’s not just “you”. Not only are there innumerable people who battle the harsh emotions and an overall sense of darkness but how we get trapped in it is quite dynamic.
Depressive thoughts, dark sadness and high pressure overwhelm attack in 3 ways:
Our biology/being/genetics/current state have a huge effect on how we feel and function. Ever heard of postpartum depression or PTSD? When our physical bodies go through an extremely drastic change whether naturally or trauma induced we can hold on to that memory in our cells. Our cells repeat and reproduce the same flight or fight pattern that occurred “in the moment of survival” in both our brain and our body. Until or unless this situation gets processed it will plague you by changing your brain chemistry. No more happy chemicals or hormones for you.... That’s why you can feel and stay stuck.
2. Where and who we spend our time with matters. Ever think about what healthcare/emergency/service workers have to deal with at their work environment on a daily basis. Yes, it does take a ‘special’ type of person day in and day out to deal with the extremes of this line of work - but the mental and consequently physical effects of dealing with the daily trauma and mental strain are very real. Maybe you don’t ‘rescue’ people on the daily, maybe you have a toxic home environment or work at a water treatment facility… There are situations you are constantly put in by others around you that you may only be able to cope with and not make an immediate adjustment on. Environment is definitely one thing that can form and shape our daily thoughts and health in a negative way if you are not in a supportive, trustworthy or loving space.
3. How we perceive and believe what we perceive matters. Can you see how each thing, or a cocktail thereof can contribute in a negative way to someone’s life? Each component can test a persons emotions and validity of worthiness. Notice I said test, not, take. It is a deadly mixture to have someone who is in a biologically vulnerable state (think big physical change + trauma) who can’t necessarily ‘control’ their feelings that is in a less than supportive environment (think constantly aloof people at work) which solidifies the doubt of a general truth about themselves (think if you haven’t done ‘anything’ in life by now you amount to ‘nothing’ ) which leaves them feeling mentally hopeless and physically fatigued.
So the big question is…what do we do?
I think awareness is wonderful. Pretending something isn’t there, which is clearly an elephant in the room isn’t healthy - awareness and accepting there is a problem with self-worth and a will to live in many peoples life is essential.
However that’s not IT. Doing 20 push-ups for veterans on social media, wearing yellow, spewing the trending hashtags and blindly donating to programs that fortify those at risk is.not.enough. It’s good - but it isn’t helping tear down the walls that are blocking us from the help we need to get or give.
We have to do what the Lord says - which is to have more empathy and less judgement. A common pitfall we have when we are on observing end of people who might be in a season of having their mental health compromised is thinking that ‘its really not that bad’, and that if they just toughen up, and brush their hair and put a smile on they’ll be able to walk out of their darkness like it never happened. This does not validate the potential and literal hell they are limping through. It is also a common pitfall when we are in the thick of battling a season of mental unrest to not want to reach out to receive support. Assuming that all people are blind, and no one cares or is able to help isn’t fair or giving yourself the chance to be encouraged. While the threshold to leaving the content state of doom for a vulnerable state of submission is scary - it can be the very thing that saves you.
It’s a two-way street because we have to open our eyes to those in need, and open our hearts in order to receive. People are not chronically helpless and people are not continually heartless. Awareness is the knob that opens the door, but knowledge is the feet that walk through it. Knowing when to be, where to be, why to be and what to do when you get there is vital to this process of help and healing.
So regardless of giving or receiving the help in a time of need, here is a suggestion of what walking in love can look like:
If you are able to help:
Ask God to point out to you the person that needs help, and work out the confidence to approach and encourage them. Offer to pray with them, making sure to affirm both their journey and their worth. Be patient if they don’t ‘snap out of it’ (remember the biological, environment and perception may have a lot of problematic layers). Repeat. Ask God of wisdom of how to continue to help this person in a way that isn’t offensive or attacking. If it was someone at the grocery store - you might just be able to buy their groceries, pray for them then, and then remember them in your heart and lift them up to the Lord when you think of them again. If it is a closer friend or family member - it’s not your duty to ‘fix’ them but it is definitely your privilege to bear their burden with them. If you don’t offer them truth through love and helpful hands then you might be missing an invaluable opportunity to change a very scary narrative they are subscribed to. When you pray for them tell the Lord you are in agreement with their freedom from lies and supporting them in their ability to overcome. Remind yourself to be patient and not perplexed over a situation that might need professional help. You are their friend and confidant, but not professional help - so seek to steward your relationship with them the best you can by leading them to what they need.
If you are needing support:
Ask God if He sees your pain, and to validate your emotions. He is not blind to your suffering, though you will be perfected through it. Tell him you need help on a heart level as well as a practical one. Acknowledging that the issues that are imprisoning your thoughts might actually be deep-seeded or impossible to breakthrough without help and strategy. Ask God to give you courage and wisdom of how and who to reach out to, then do not hesitate. You are not the only person who’s needed life changing and life giving support. Think about what it means to not be able to do it alone. It is possible to simultaneously receive help on a practical level and be working through things on a private level; this is a very healthy dynamic. Keep asking for people to pray for you and with you, seeing other people’s genuine empathy and concern for your broken heart and state of being is the most healing thing, second to what the Lord will do privately for you. Be patient in the process. Healing through mental, physical and emotional struggles is not as social media portrays…you can’t just wash your face, crank the music and dance through it. In being patient come into agreement with the fact that God can both instantly change your reality and circumstances and also give your the grace to rely on Him in an impossible struggle. Healing is not black and white, the only part that is that distinct is the truth and a lie. Learn to discern which is what, and be encouraged your process is filled with color and your destination is peace.
Don’t slap a generalization of a very personal process. Cute quotes, cliche sayings are just as dangerous as lies if they are not provoked with wisdom and empathy. Saying you are going to pray or help someone and not doing it, as well as saying you will press into the Lord in a troubling season and not doing it is also dangerous. Remember the beauty of awareness to the reality of how daunting life can be is the door knob to help. Walk your talk, and talk your walk. Jesus went through the thick of it for us, so he could perpetually be in the thick of it with us - that is both on a hopeless and helpful senario. Awareness says we need each other, and love says we have each other. You will never know how much you mean, until you mean everything to someone. So wear all the yellow, do all the push ups but don’t forget to walk through the door whose knob you turned to open. Life is made to be lived.
As a side note:
If you are wondering what such a topic-specific post is doing on a fitness page know this: exercising can literally change the 3 ways darkness attacks. In the words of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, ‘Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy…’ . But really, moving your body, breathing intentionally and circulating your blood has a major effect on the chemistry going on in your mind. It can also be a positive environment you are in control of. Exercising causes you to be in the moment, which is like ‘candy’ for your brain as it has to function in the here and now to complete the task like a puzzle. It can also help you see things for the way they are, which is that your perception can be: YOU CAN DO IT.
Mental struggles are a serious and challenging issue, exercising your body is one thing that can help breakdown the 3 ways darkness typically creeps in. So instead of thinking of working out at “I’m trying to ‘fitness’ thang into my jeans” think of it as “God gives me the power to ‘fitness’ joy into my life”. Fitness is not getting validation from a transformative before and after picture of you on social media - The Lord values the before and after (which is always developing) of your heart the most. Don’t forget to breath.
We are taking the vanity out of fitness, and the drama out of mental illness.