Life’s Challenges Just Seem Too Hard

Q. Could you please share some encouragement? Life is so hard . . . .

A. Let’s Talk! In my last post I talked about the grid system when things get overwhelming. Staying in His Presence is the spiritual help we’ll talk about today. Ask for Him, His grace, His strength. Remember too that the furnace for gold is hotter than a refining pot for silver, and that He is in the furnace with us.

I never dreamed life would be this difficult for my children and grandchildren. Just years ago life didn’t seem this challenging. Our world is certainly spinning at high speed, for starters. Our electronic devices keep this pace going, plus distract us from our help coming from above. I am sure I ask Google for help in times when I should look up instead!

The serious and sobering times we are in implore us to ask for His Presence. The Lord never meant for us to walk through these fiery battles alone, without His Presence. He delights in our pursuing Him just as He delights in pursuing our hearts. Would you ask Him to bring His Presence into your space and steps today? With His Presence, the fire has no power and we don’t smell of smoke.

For Deeper Reflection
Psalm 121: 2
“My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”

Proverbs 17:3 “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold …”

Daniel 3:24-28 “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”  “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace…. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!”

Song: “Shoulders” by For KING & COUNTRY

Enjoy the encouragement of this song by For KING & COUNTRY, whose chorus reminds us:

My help comes from You
You’re right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

Overwhelmed by Fear and Worry?

 

Q. Would you please talk about being overwhelmed by fear and worry? 

A. Let’s Talk! Fear and worry are rampant in our culture. Drugstore shelves are lined with meds to dull the side effects of those issues, but we find we need much more help than that.

The help we really need is inside us and above us—in our heads and hearts—that connects us to the Someone where we can choose to rest and be okay no matter what.

There are legitimate things to fear in our world like the Ebola virus, groups hostile to America, tornadoes . . . and the list goes on. Let’s call those normal, healthy, reasonable fears. Then there are the irrational “what-if” fears that consume us and stop us in our tracks as a mountain in our path. Both kinds of fears overwhelm us, and we weren’t meant to live in fear.

It is said that fear [either kind] is a signal that we are focused on our present circumstances down below instead of on our help from above! Similarly, a definition of worry I heard years ago is that it is a signal that I have assumed responsibility for something that is not mine. In other words, we can seek God’s help, His perspective, and His freedom. When we do, we can go around that fear mountain unstuck and not overwhelmed.

Just this week I realized that I was going around a mountain that had been in my life for a few years. I’ve even been singing the folk song, “She’ll be comin’ ‘round the mountain when she comes . . .” and below are the Bible verses that helped me. (I’ve got to go untie my six white horses.)

For Deeper Reflection

Mark 11: 23-24 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”
Matthew 17: 20 “And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.’”
Matthew 21: 21 “And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

Let’s Talk

Coping With Physical Pain

Q. Would you please share some thoughts about facing chronic physical pain?

A. Let’s Talk! We’ve talked a lot about emotional pain this past year, and now we’ll begin conversations about physical pain. It matters that you hurt. It matters that someone you love is in pain. There is help.

One of my dear friends has had nonstop, excruciating pain for a long season of time, and I wanted you to hear from her. Brenda Hauser has weighed in on this post before and I asked her to tell us about her journey:

I suffer with chronic pain but I am not my pain! I want things to be different – the way
they used to be – but they are not and I have come to grips with that. I have learned
to live above my circumstances. Satan has tempted me to despair andI have prayed to die,
but God has said, not yet, so I know there is something left for me to do in this life.
Augustine once said, “Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to
happen. He either permits it to happen or He brings it about Himself.” So, every day
I get out of bed and get dressed like I’m going somewhere, even if I’m not. When
someone says to you, “You don’t look like you feel bad,” inside yourself shout a big,
“YES” with a fist pump!

I have attended a pain rehabilitation clinic and they helped me to change my thoughts,
emotions, and behaviors in relating to my pain. I am not capable of changing the pain,
but I can change my attitude about it. I don’t allow pain to be the center of my world
I don’t make/cancel plans based on how I think I might feel; I make plans! Medications,
a TENS unit, and a back brace have been prescribed, however, I also exercise (yes, even
when I hurt) and use distraction, humor, music, reading, Scripture memorization,
relaxation techniques, and deep abdominal breathing to deal with the pain. I also use
moderation and modification in how much I do at one time and how I do it. I pray and
ask others to pray for me because prayer changes things!

We all have a journey with pain on some level, so we truly invite your comments and reflections on your own pain experience. What helps you cope well with pain? We will continue to dialogue about physical pain next week.

For Deeper Reflection (also from Brenda)

Hebrews 12:1 “So, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus because this momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory, far beyond all comparison.”

2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, struck down but not destroyed.”

Philippians 4:6-7 “Therefore, be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:11 May we be like the apostle Paul and quickly move towards being able to say “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

 

Let’s Talk

Fixing Others — Part 2

Q. Why else do we attempt to fix other people?

A. Let’s Talk! Fixing others is often our own need for importance leaking out. Sometimes when I hear advice being given without being asked, I shudder. The message communicated by the fixer may be a good one, even very thoughtful; but the feeling of being lectured to often cancels any truth that we might receive from the fixer. We need to not only respond to others with compassion, but also respect and validate that the hurting one probably does know what to do next. A positive response might be: “How do you see me helping you?” Or “How can I pray?” Or “May I share some thoughts I’m having?”

Somehow, we substitute giving advice as fixers instead of listening. It sadly comes across as false pride: “I know better than you” is the veiled message. When we deliver truth, we often think that it will solve the problem and bring comfort, but giving truth without compassion misses the mark. How many of us have even seen truth used as a weapon? Ouch.

Another reason fixers fix is to tell others how to be or how they should feel. But, we need to be sooooo careful not to tell others how they should feel, in any form. Coming from a good heart, you don’t want friends to hurt; but delivering shoulds is not beneficial.

This chatter about fixing others is about friends and family dialogue. Certainly if someone has asked for help from a professional, the professional gets to more proactively deliver all the intentional help needed; however, they too will approach helping with compassion and respect.

In summary – for our hurting friends or loved ones – before we hit the fixer button, we can ask how we might help. Ask to be invited in! I absolutely do love truths, especially God’s truths. They have liberated me in countless ways. But I like being invited in before I share what I believe is truth. That’s why I like answering your questions! I wouldn’t be comfortable just rattling off information and dispensing truth unless invited in. We are in this life-learning together, side by side.

For Deeper Reflection on the eternal source of comfort and peace:

2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”
Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.