Lessons from the Book of Job 

Prince William, Catherin, and Harry founded a mental health charity after figures showed the number of female suicides rose sharply in 2015.

The number of women who killed themselves rose sharply last year as the number of suicides for England and Wales reached a 20-year high. According to figures released from the Ministry of Justice, there were 3,899 rulings of suicide in coroners’ courts in 2015. This was more than for any 12 months since 1995 when the data series began.

While the number of men who killed themselves fell to 2,997, 23 fewer than in 2014, the statistics for women increased by 70 to 902. The fewest suicides were in 2007 when 3,007 such verdicts were recorded, and the number has risen consistently since then.

What is it that causes a person to take their own life? The easy answer is to say its’ mental illness, shrug our shoulders and move on. But who assesses what mental illness is? By what measuring rod does one assess if a person is mentally ill or not?

I have ministered to perfectly healthy people who outwardly seem successful, and happy but have experienced an acute amount of stress that caused them to despair for their very life. However, these people were not mentally ill. 

I really believe that some people will not admit they feel suicidal for fear of being labeled mentally ill. However, wanting to die in the face of acute stress, illness or circumstances is not so unusual. 

For example, in the book of Job, we read how he wanted to die and cursed the day he was born. The Bible did not label Job as mentally ill, but we see a very human reaction through Jobs’ despair when there seems to be no hope. 

Lessons from Job 

Job can be a difficult book to understand, however, it can help us in our everyday life. I am studying Job in my personal daily quiet time and found it a wonderful insight into the human condition. None of us need to feel ashamed by having such thoughts, even if an attempt to die has been made. Like Job, we are human, and we are weak at times and may feel there’s is no way out of our circumstances expect to die. 

That’s why, just like Job, we need to be in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gives us hope and strength to live each day. Read John chapter 3 & 1 Corinthians as the whole 13th chapter.  

You have Meaning & Purpose.

We were born for a purpose, and that purpose is to love. To be loved by God and love God back and love other human beings. Each of us is unique and very important and much loved by God. We may want to end our life, but God wants us to live life to the full.

 If you haven’t already, give your life to Christ and wait on Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and you will have the passion to live out God’s purpose for your life. You will find true meaning and happiness and courage to face the most difficult of circumstances. 

Every day you will be living in God’s strength and not your own. 

Also, if you know someone who is struggling with life, pass this article to them, and pray for them. Be light in someone’s darkness today.

The real problem arises when we don’t know what to do with our troubles. We wonder how on earth do we get through this! And how do we survive this phase of mourning and not allow it to immobilize us in some way? How can we make sense of what is happening?

 This is where the 23rd Psalm helps us. As you read on, I pray that the Holy Spirit of God will minister to you and heal you in this time of grief. Psalm 23 is found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

It is important to understand who God is. If really difficult to receive healing from someone you know little about. So, let’s take a brief look at the character of God.

So, who is God? There is no name for God as we understand the term to be. God is not a John or an Eric or even a Fred, for example. But what we believe are names for God are actually descriptions of God’s nature, characters, and actions.

For instance, Jehovah-Raah, which means The Lord, my Shepherd. Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known. This denotes a God who always discloses who He is. A shepherd is the one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture (Ezekiel 34:11-15). An extended translation is “friend” or “companion.” This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people and can be understood as “The Lord, my Friend.” 

 GOD HAS NO GENDER

I refer to God as Father a lot however it does not indicate that God is a man. To be able to accept help from God. we need to trust who God is and will do what he promised us. Therefore, understanding God will benefit our faith greatly. So here we will briefly discuss who God is. God is Spirit- not a man.

People get hung up on God’s gender, but God has no gender. Why is this so important? I have found that some find it challenging to receive from God because God is a man. Past or current toxic relationships with men cause their relationship with God to become problematic. Therefore, understanding that God has no gender is especially important. 

Well, He’s a father, right? He’s a he – The concept of a genderless God can be confusing.

So let’s take a brief look and see. 

In Christianity, the Hebrew scriptures are referred to as the Old Testament. Here, God is a He. The ‘he’ simply is an allegory for His authority and creativeness. The Hebrew word he is usually not written out, but more understood from the verbal form. Then he is used as a reference to God not to be confused with the Latin HE, which refers to one’s gender.

 All the names of God in the Scripture are simply a description of his actives in creation. By this, we then understand who God is. Therefore, the is He is referring to the Infinite Being (Ain Sof), who is the creator of the universe and is above all divine names. So, God is not a he or she (Numbers 23.19-20). God is a spirit.

Jesus taught us to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4.24). A spirit is a genderless being who is eternal, beyond time and space. God is the Alpha (the beginning) and the Omega (the end) of all things. Beyond time and space (Revelation 21:6). It is the eternal creator who lives in you by his Holy Spirit so you can succeed, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” Philippians 4.13.

 We could grapple with meanings of words all day, but the vital point to grasp is that God is Yahweh, which means, I Am who I Am. It is not God’s name but describes the Eternal Divine. God in Christ is above all names, in other words, God just IS. God is past, present, and future. God is a timeless, genderless Spirit being whose essence is love.

God The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist as One beyond the universe or human imagination and yet present with us in our worst fears and the most profound grief. God shows himself in Christ, on earth. I know it’s mind-blowing, but that same Christ lives in you, who we call, the Holy Spirit. Colossians 1:27-To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

To place that into today’s understanding – Christ is the matrix of all that is. Christ IN YOU the hope of glory. ( the promise of beauty). How wonderful!

God is also depicted widely in Scripture as having female attributes. This is a beautiful metaphor depicting his nurturing character. We see this clearly in many scriptures, and just for an example here Deut. 32:18 “You forget the rock who begot you, unmindful of the God who gave birth to you“. Here we understand that God is not a rock, but the allegory is used to describe the steadfastness of God’s nature. Likewise, ‘he’ is also used in this way. Job knew the steadfastness of God and place his trust in this infinite being.

In my book ‘NOTHING GOOD ABOUT GRIEF: from grief to recovery’ I go into this in more detail.

 When we know who God is, we come to understand God in Jesus Christ, securing us in our journey through our darkest valley. 

You have meaning & purpose because God loves you and has a wonderful plan for a happy life.

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God’s authority or ours? Mark 11:28 – who gave you the authority do these things?

When the Bible talks about scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests, we pretty much know what to expect. They were religious leaders, but we know them as Jesus’ enemies. This is because they were constantly scheming against Jesus–trying to trick him–trying to trap him–trying to trip him up.

Sometimes it’s fun to read the stories about them because they often find themselves caught in the trap they had set for Jesus. Reading about the scribes and Pharisees is a little like watching a Roadrunner cartoon. You remember Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. 

The scene would open with Wile E. Coyote standing at the lip of a cliff, struggling to push a huge boulder to fall on Roadrunner as he comes by on the road below. Then we would see Roadrunner running along the road at warp speed and Wile E. Coyote struggling to push the boulder in time to squash him. Roadrunner would zip by–beep, beep–before the rock ever posed any danger, and Wile E. Coyote, in his panic, would trip and fall over the cliff. We would see him falling through the air and being squashed flat as he hit the road. He would then pick himself up and begin to pull himself together–and then he would look up–and there the rock would be, right above him–and Wile E. would find himself squashed flat one more time by the rock that he had intended for Roadrunner. And then we would see Roadrunner again, still moving at warp speed–beep, beep! I love Roadrunner cartoons.

When the scribes and Pharisees try to trap Jesus, they often fall into their own trap. It’s fun to watch–especially if you’re a Roadrunner fan!

But sometimes, it seems like the Jewish religious leaders get a bum rap. Like today, for instance! In our Gospel lesson today, the chief priests and elders ask Jesus where he gets his authority. That was a legitimate question! The chief priests and elders were responsible for the religious life of Israel, and Jesus was doing some provocative things.

For one thing, just before today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Yet, at the same time, the people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” And Jesus did nothing to correct them.

Then Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, where people were buying and selling animals for temple sacrifice, and others were serving as moneychangers. These sellers of animals and moneychangers were well within their rights to do what they were doing. Nothing happened in the temple without the priests’ permission, so the sellers and moneychangers must have asked for and received permission to do what they were doing. In other words, they were authorised !

If you have ever served in the military, you know that word–authorised! If you are authorized, you can do it. If you are not authorized, you cannot. It’s that simple!

Well, these animal sellers and moneychangers were AUTHORIZED! They had permission to sell animals and to change money on the temple grounds. The priests had given them permission, or they could not have done what they were doing.

And there was a good purpose behind their activity. People came from afar to make sacrifices at the temple, and it wouldn’t work to require them to bring their own animals. Sacrificial animals had to be outstanding specimens–perfect–no blemishes. Just imagine trying to bring a lamb from Nazareth or some other faraway place–having picked out the best of the flock–and seeing the animal injured on the long journey. Then you wouldn’t be able to make your sacrifice. And then you would have to take the injured animal home again.

No, that wasn’t practical–not practical at all. So it was the priests who had authorised these sellers of animals and the money changers in the temple. It was a public service–and it also brought in some money to the temple. It made sense, and so it was authorised!

But Jesus walked into the temple and drove out the buyers and the sellers. He went to the moneychangers, turned over their tables and scattered their money all over the floor. He accused the merchants of making God’s house into a den of thieves. Can you imagine! These people were well within their rights! They were authorised!

And then Jesus set up shop inside the temple, as if he owned the place, and began to teach. Now, to teach in the temple, one needed to be a rabbi. To be a rabbi, one had to go through the proper training–and the laying on of hands–in other words, ordination. Jesus was not adequately trained, and no one had ordained him. What right did he have, then, to teach in the temple? None! But there he was, teaching the people, and the people were acting as if Jesus were someone extraordinary. But Jesus was NOT authorised!

So the chief priests and the elders asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (v. 23) Good question! Exactly the right question for them to be asking!

“By what authority do you do these things,

and who gave you this authority?”

In other words, they were asking Jesus if he was AUTHORIZED–and, if so, who authorised him. There was only one correct answer because only the priests could authorize a person to do what Jesus was doing–and they had not authorised Jesus.

If Jesus were not authorised, he was clearly wrong to do what he did to the animal sellers and the moneychangers. Perhaps even criminals that made his teaching in the temple questionable. So the priests and elders asked, “By what authority do you do these things, and who gave you this authority?” Good question! It was their job to ask such questions!

But Jesus responded by asking them a question. He told them that if they answered his question, he would answer theirs. So he asked, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” (v. 25). He talked about John the Baptist, the great prophet–greatly respected by the people–dearly beloved by nearly everyone–but not dearly beloved by the chief priests and elders. So Jesus asked, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?”

That was a good question, too, because Jesus was asking who authorised John the Baptist to be a prophet. As a prophet, John’s authorization came straight from God. Everyone knew that–everyone except the chief priests and elders. The chief priests and elders would not admit that John was authorised because they had not authorised him. It was a power thing! The chief priests and the elders were in charge. They didn’t like people like John and Jesus coming out of the blue–claiming authority from God–challenging the authority of the priests and elders.

By this time, John was already dead–killed by King Herod. The chief priests and elders must have breathed a sigh of relief when they heard the news of John’s death. One down and one to go!

But now Jesus was asking, “The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” That put the chief priests and the elders in a bind. If they said that John’s authority came from heaven, then Jesus would ask why they had not obeyed John. If they said that John’s authority did NOT come from heaven, then the people would rise up against them because they knew that John’s authority DID come from God. That was very clear to the people. They would not tolerate anyone–even these powerful priests–saying anything wrong about John.

So the chief priests and elders said, “We don’t know!” (v. 27). But it was their JOB to know! It was their job to protect the people from false prophets. It was their job to make decisions about prophets! But they said, “We don’t know!” So Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things” (v. 27). Round one for Jesus!

Beep, beep!

And now, if you look up, you will see that big rock just beginning to fall!

The big rock comes in the form of a story. Jesus told a story about a father who had two sons. He asked the first son to work in the vineyard, but the first son said, “No way!” But then, later, the son realized that he had been wrong, so he went into the vineyard and did what the father had asked him to do. In the meantime, the father asked his second son to work in the vineyard, and the second son said, “Sure, pop!” But then the second son wandered off, doing his own thing, and never did get to the vineyard.

Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” (v. 31).

Now the chief priests and the elders indeed realized, at this point, that they were in deep trouble, but they couldn’t say, “We don’t know!” again. Everyone was watching, and they already looked pretty foolish. To say, “We don’t know!” one more time would have confirmed that they were, indeed, incompetent. So they answered that the first song, the one who initially looked disobedient but turned out to be obedient–that first son was the one who had done the will of the father.

So Jesus said to the chief priests and elders–and I want you to hear this–keep in mind that Jesus is talking to the best of the best–the holiest of the holy–and Jesus said to these holy men:

“Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes

are entering into the Kingdom of God before you.

For John came to you in the way of righteousness,

and you didn’t believe him,

but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.

When you saw it, you didn’t even repent afterwards,

that you might believe him” (vs 31-32).

Beep, beep! KABOOM!

That was harsh language for Jesus to use on these holy men, but we’re glad that he did. We’ve seen people who seemed to be something that they were not–in other words, phonies–and we’re glad to see them exposed!

We’ve seen influential people who use their power to keep themselves in power rather than using their power to help people.

But there are a couple of problems with Jesus’ story. One is the problem of today’s tax collectors and prostitutes–in other words, today’s unrepentant sinners. It’s easy for sinners today to read this story and think, “I am terrible, but at least I am honestly terrible–and so I am better than these holier-than-thou hypocrites who go to church every Sunday!”

We have to be careful not to take that attitude. Jesus calls us to holiness–absolute holiness–, not to a life of judging the other person.

The other problem with this story is that we might think that it concerns people who lived two thousand years ago–and has nothing to do with us today. That, too, would be wrong. This story has everything to do with us today. It speaks with extraordinary power to preachers and deacons and Sunday school teachers and–well, it speaks to all of us who try to be true Christians. It warns us that if we’re not careful, we’ll become smug and self-satisfied. It warns us that if we’re not careful, we’ll wake up someday to find that we good guys are really the bad guys–and the bad guys are the good guys. Sometimes that happens, you know.

In her book, Amazing Grace, Kathleen Norris tells about a Methodist pastor from Montana.

This pastor told Kathleen about a woman who had become a member of their little church. She had been a drunk–a terrible drunk! She had been a cocaine addict! Some people referred to her as a “cocaine whore!” because she was sleeping with whomever!

she sobered up and she started going to AA meetings! then some of her AA friends took her to church! So now I want you to stop thinking about how much courage it took that woman to step inside that little church in that little Montana town! But she went–and she kept going back–and then she joined the church.

And then she started volunteering for things! If you have ever been to a small church, you know how hard it is to get anyone to volunteer. Some church members are like Army recruits–Never Volunteer–that’s their motto! But this woman began to volunteer. She volunteered for everything that came along. She started studying–and teaching–and visiting. Kathleen Norris sums her up this way:

“It was as if she had tasted salvation and couldn’t get enough of it,

or of the new relationships which these activities had led her to.

Salvation took such hold in her that, as the pastor put it,

he began to wonder if Christians don’t underrate promiscuity.

Because she was still a promiscuous person,

still loving without much discrimination.

The difference was that she was no longer self-destructive

but a bearer of new life to others.”

In other words, the woman was no longer promiscuous with her sex, giving it to men who didn’t deserve it. But, still, she was now Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders–loving them as Christ would have her to love them.

And the pastor was saying, “Oh, wow! I wish I had more promiscuous Christians like that!” So sometimes, the sinners turn out to be the saints.

Going back to Jesus’ story, which kind of son or daughter are you? Are you like the first son, who didn’t want to obey the father–but finally did? Or are you like the second son, who said that he would obey but did not?

Are you a renegade–a rebel–but a person who finally decides to do the right thing? Or are you one of those people whose name is on the church rolls but who never does anything for Jesus?

Or are you one of those people who obeys Christ when it feels right but who feels free to disobey the rest of the time?

Or are you one of those people who says, ” I just don’t want to get involved!”

Or are you one of those people who just doesn’t care!

Jesus says, Careful! Get busy going where God has called you to go, lest you find the tax collectors and prostitutes going into heaven while you watch from the sidelines.

Get busy doing what Christ has called you to do, lest you find yourself watching the drunks and junkies at heaven’s gate while you ask, “When will it be my turn?” So get busy, and be the person that God has called you to be–because, with God, obedience counts!

Have you had a confrontation experience? If so, how did you deal with it? Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course on the home page.

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Forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living.

Forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living.

I love Psalm 23 has been such strength since I came to faith in Christ well over 30 years ago.

The Psalm is commonly believed to be just about death; however, it’s a lot more than just a cute funeral poem. Although the context is often misunderstood, I use the Psalm as a template for coping with everyday problems.

Psalm 23 is a metaphoric story of our journey through life and a guide to comfort and strengthen us in our dark valleys. This wonderful Psalm assures us that God is our friend who is shepherding us through our pain. In the middle of suffering, God promises to be always there.

David wrote this Psalm, which appears to be his own personal experience of God as his Shepherd. He declares that God provides, and he paints a beautiful picture of the excellent care that God gives amid suffering. 

When David was a shepherd, his job was to look after the pregnant ewes (Ps 78:70,71). He knew first-hand of the care and tender warmth of a good shepherd towards his flock. One day David risked his life to rescue a lamb, illustrating God’s respect for every individual. 

Jesus Christ, our Saviour, seems to refer to this when He says, ‘I am the shepherd of the sheep the good shepherd’ John 10:11. We know the familiar story of when Jesus left the ninety-nine sheep to search for that lost one. A good shepherd guides his sheep into the fold and then cares, protects, and provides for them because they are his. The sheep knows Shepherd’s voice, and they follow him.

 When looking into Psalm 23 to use at a funeral that I was leading, I noticed that the process of going through the valley is like journeying through grief. Since then, I often refer to it at funeral serves and worship meetings, and at times, people say they feel really helped. 

 I really like and appreciate this Psalm because it allows us to understand how much God loves us. Father God is omnipresent, which means God is present everywhere at once. This is possible through the work of the Holy Trinity.

I have never been rich; however, I have lacked nothing from the time I committed my life to Christ, even during the dark valley of grief. In the middle of grieving, God has enabled me to lie down in green pastures, not striving or worrying, but lying down, chilling out in the greenness of God’s love. 

Often, I feel his guidance, albeit a still small voice, impression, or wise advice. Even though I have often strayed from the designated path, as we all do from time to time, I have been gently guided back. Sometimes I have been returned kicking and screaming, realising much later that the momentary discipline from God saved me. Through it all, God is there. You may feel in despair right now, but don’t worry; you will come through this because your Shepherd is walking with you through all the grief and pain.

Each of us has a choice, to either deal with bereavement and the grief it brings, or crawl under a rock somewhere and hide from it, and even worse, we could pretend it is not there. 

I read psychology and counselling at the University of Derby, UK, on a master’s level. It was an excellent course because I became better equipped to help those I ministered to and counselled. The spin-off was that it helped me in my personal life immensely. It was one of the ways God restored and healed me from past emotional trauma. 

Through the course, I experienced many cathartic moments- green pastures. I must admit that I have no unique gifts on walking through grief, but I have God in Christ. I give thanks from the depths of my being because Creator God has held my hand all the way and guided me through that dark valley, showing me how to live in it, emerging victorious. As I sojourned with God through the darkness, I had peace in my heart because I knew that God was with me. And you know what? God is with you as well and can bring you through the darkest of valleys.

I discovered that God heals is not the way I would expect; his ways are higher than ours. God did not just magically wave the sorrow away as if it did not exist. He did not rescue me from it but taught me how to get through it, and to journey through the valley. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him (Psalm 18.30). But, Gods ways are certainly a lot different from ours.

Father God taught me how to say goodbye to many relationships and people in all circumstances. Eventually, I learned how to grieve appropriately, how to move on. I do not boast that I have cracked it because each situation is unique.

 Each experience of grief is different from your previous experience. I am sure there will be new challenges ahead and victories to be won. So, let’s forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living, a new normal.

What method do you use to manage your grief? Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

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When a loved one dies- Grief Relief: how to make sense of your grief

HOW to When we plan to take a journey of some kind, we take time to prepare. We are savvy travellers, so we ensure that we have our navigation tools in hand, ensuring they work as they should. We then become familiar with them before we get on the road. The visit to the fuel station guarantees that we will complete our journey. If we don’t, there is a good chance of getting lost, taking a detour, or not getting to our intended destination at all. Now we have a goal, we have a plan, we are ready to begin our journey.

GOOD GRieF! 

I am a child of the 50s and have seen a lot of life. I’ve lived and worked in four countries and visited a whole lot of others. The journey through life, from the very beginning to end, make us who we are. I must have been about ten years old when my very favourite saying became ‘Good Grief Charlie Brown’! I would say it all the time, and it became somewhat of a trademark for me. It was my catchphrase. Although I didn’t know it, I struggled with dyslexia (not diagnosed until my late 40s). Dyslexia was unknown within the educational system at the time, so there was no provision for remedial teaching. Without the support I needed, I hadn’t read a book in full until my early 20s. Reading exhausted me, so I gave up in the first few pages, unable to comprehend the storyline or understand the words.

Thinking back, I seriously tried my hardest at school, but not everyone saw it that way. I could read a little bit, but not enough to keep up with my grades. My teachers reported to my parents that I was lazy, which would add to my overwhelming sense of failure. Tearfully I shouted, ‘I am trying, I just can’t read, I just can’t, and they would fire back at me ‘there’s no such word as can’t’ and told me to try harder. Finally, I was doing so badly that I had to repeat grade two twice. Then I failed in every year of primary school as well. To be expected, I had an awful time in high school, lasting there for only 6 months, leaving in favour of the workplace at the age of 15 years old.

Try as I might, I just didn’t get hold of what was going on in the classroom. I couldn’t follow the thread of ideas, and the bullies duly took advantage of my weakness. On several occasions, a group of boys and girls were waiting for me at the school gate and chased me all the way home after roughing me up. Growing up in Australian schools in the 1950s and 60s wasn’t easy. We had to be tough enough to be able to defend ourselves when needed. And it would always help, of course, if you were a fast runner. My inferiority heightened when my classmates and family devoured books like they were going out of fashion. They would tell me how easy it was to read, so why couldn’t I? Feeling very alone and misunderstood, I began to withdraw into myself. I never went to the school library except for a compulsory session in class. I did not understand why I had to attend the library when I couldn’t read properly. The whole system confused me. I quickly became overwhelmed by the hundreds of books housed on myriads of tall shelves. 

Then one day, while trying to avoid the bullies, I found myself wandering into the school library. It was there that I discovered a small booklet. It was brief enough that I managed to read it almost to the end. I loved that little book, with its cute cartoons on every page, which portrayed the adventures of Charlie Brown. I liked Charlie, he was an unusual little boy, and I found that I could relate to him, bless him. In Charlie, there was a small reflection of myself. Charlie was of short stature, ordinary, like me, and like me, he was sometimes misunderstood. Charlie had a habit of making silly mistakes, he would say stupid things and do things out of the ordinary, and that is when his friends would exclaim, Good Grief, Charlie Brown! I definitely could relate to good ole’ Charlie. 

NOTHING GOOD ABOUT GRIEF

I suffered my first real experience of grief when I split from my fiancé of three years. I was still saying good grief, but now I knew that grief had nothing GOOD about it. In the end, my favourite little motto became a thing of the past -sorry, Charlie. Whether it is death, divorce, a job loss, or anything else that causes us to grieve, all are difficult to cope with. Whatever the circumstances, grief forces us to say goodbye to someone or something. 

Grieving is such a personal and individual thing; we all experience it in our own way. But what is expected is that it makes us sad. I remember the sorrow I felt when I left my home country, Australia, creating a new home overseas. The anguish of saying goodbye to dear friends as I moved away due to work commitments. Because of my ministry, I moved around frequently, so sadness became a familiar companion. I was living 15,000 miles away in the UK. When my mother, who lived in Australia, died. I felt sad when I couldn’t be with her in her last days. The sorrow deepened because I couldn’t help my sisters to care for our aged Dad. – there’s nothing good about grief. 

HOW TO MAKE SENSE OF YOUR GRIEF

I share some of my stories, so you know that you are not alone in this. I want you to see that there is someone out there who can empathise. My purpose is to help you understand your sad feelings and learn to manage them to live a happy and fulfilling life. But, unfortunately, no actual language exists that clearly expresses the reality of the deep pain of grief. 

In 1976 I came to faith in Christ, began attending church, and was told by well-meaning people that all my problems had ended. I believed them. They assured me that because I had found a trouble-free life! It wasn’t long before I found out that this idea was terribly dishonest. Then the problems began, and I was convinced that something was wrong with me. This wasn’t supposed to happen! Discouraged and very confused, I believed that I must have done something wrong. It was my fault somehow. I already had low self-esteem, and this only compounded my sense of helplessness and hopelessness. 

My God encounter was genuine. I hung on tightly to that experience as the turmoil swirled around me. I began to research God’s word for myself and found the truth of the matter. What I was told was a lie, things do go wrong for people of faith, and bad things happen to good people – that is OK, that’s life!

 Every human being on the planet lives through sorrow in different ways and measures and always will. You can imagine my relief to find this was nothing unusual and that there was nothing wrong with me. Many teachings in the Scriptures point out that we will have troubles in this life, especially if we follow Christ closely as his disciples, don’t be surprised by what you are experiencing – God is with you. 

 Bereavement affects everyone in different ways, and it’s possible to experience any range of emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

To make sense of your grief and what you are feeling- here is a few easy tips.

  1. Accept you are not alone; the experience of grief is common to everyone.
  2. Accept you will have troubles; life is full of happiness and sorrow.
  3. Observe how your feelings impact on your thoughts.
  4. Observe how your thoughts impact upon your physical body.
  5. Observe how your feelings’ thoughts and body impact your actions and behaviours.
  6. Do you feel sad or depressed?
  7. Do you feel shock or disbelief?
  8. Do you feel numb or in denial of some kind?

If you need support as you journey through your grief. I am Professionally trained with a Master of Arts in Counselling. Let’s Talk – contact me and see what the next step is right for you. 

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course in the top menu.

Please like, subscribe, share, and click on my social media if this post was helpful.

I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in the top menu.

Bible verses about time management: how to schedule your time

Our earthly stopover is significantly shorter than we are inclined to think. Hence, time management is vital because we are so busy. Psalm 39:4–5 points out, “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath”

I specifically want to address today what the bible says about time management to help you get your life back on track.

Moses prays, Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Maybe that should be our prayer as well. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 shows that our Creator has set eternity in our heart, and we will one day give an account to the God who gifts us with precious time on earth.

Let’s turn to the new testament, where the apostle James writes, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” James 4:14. Indeed, our time on earth is transitory—in fact, it is tiny compared to eternity.

To live as God would have us live, we must make the best possible use of our allotted time, and that is why we should manage our time wisely.

The Importance of Scheduling your Time.

I hear time and time again from people that they have never been so busy since they retired. We can be fooled into thinking that you have a lot more time because now that you are retired, you are less likely to stick to a routine or schedule. If you don’t value your time, others will intrude upon your time, routine, or plans.

Last year a friend in her retirement bought a dog for the first time. Although she looked forward to being a dog owner for many years, now retired, she has the time and energy to devote to a pet. For the first few months, she was able to enjoy the little pup, pamper it and take it for daily walks- she loved it! Because she was now retired, family and friends wanted her to do things for them, and she helped out when she was asked. Her days became filled to the brim, and she hardly was ever home. She found those precious moments of pleasure with her dog became less and less, and the poor little thing now has become a burden. Why? Because she has allowed others to reschedule her schedule. She has allowed other people to intrude on her precious time and manage her diary for her.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If someone in your life keeps wanting you to do stuff for them and if you say ‘no’, they impose a guilt trip on you, so you end up doing it anyway. Maybe you feel you need to say ‘yes to family or friends even when you don’t want to just keep happy, because of the fear that you might lose them. My friend did have all the time in the world; however, now she does not. Others have taken a little piece of her time, at a piece at a time, and then one day, she had no time to spend how she would like. 

Time is Precious.

Time is precious; your time is precious. During the numerous COVID-19 lockdowns, we seemed to have all the time in the world. We no longer needed to travel to work and were less likely to visit with family and friends. 

However, things like social media, zoom, skype, facetime, messenger video, WhatsApp, telephone, not to mention the telly, distract us from getting on with what we should. So, unwittingly, we allow these applications to schedule our diary and rearrange our plans. I battle with getting distracted, so I ensure that I stick to my diary the best possible. 

 For the retired who are reading this, find the creative you. Say ‘no’ to unwanted demands on your time and stick to it. Turn off that TV and try learning a new craft; there is a lot available to enjoy.

 Get outside, enjoy your garden, neighbourhood or pets, and breathe in the fresh air. Exercise your brain by learning a new language or doing puzzles. Get to know your computer a little bit better – we never use it to its total capacity. 

Write your memoirs as a legacy to your family. Then, whatever you choose to do, allow your time to be your time and keep it under your control, and not someone else’s. Liberate yourself, don’t submit yourself to the whims, fancies or demands of anyone else.

I come across far too many retired people who are so exhausted. They no longer enjoy their lives because they are always running around fulfilling duties to keep others happy. If your family or friends will only contact you because of what you can do for them, I would question the quality of that relationship. 

I am sure you are not a person who uses their loved ones for their own ends, and it is difficult to understand why they do that. But they often do; their attitude is – if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours. However, this is not the way a relationship should be. I hear people say how drained and used up they feel after running around after other people’s demands in my counselling profession.

So, what can be done? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

1. Ask God to help you formulate a weekly schedule.

2. Keep a strict diary.

3. Stick to as far as reasonable to the plan.

4. First thing in the morning, look over your schedule.

5. The last thing at night, review your day and ask yourself what the best part of your day was?

Be careful not to book yourself up to the hilt; leave a little time so you can be flexible for unexpected events. 

Whatever the challenges you may have, feel the feelings, work through them, and give them over to God, giving thanks in every situation. Leaving every result to God. Then you will be able to sleep peacefully without worry.

Use Your Diary

Don’t cancel that nice river walk with your puppy like my friends did to fit someone’s timeslot unless it is urgent and cannot be avoided. When someone wants you to do something for them, develop the habit to check your diary first. If what is asked of you is inconvenient, then offer other times and dates. This shows them that you value yourself and your time. Do not just have a quick knee-jerk reaction and wipe your schedule to fit in with someone else’s. I have done this for too many years, and I know it causes stress and burnout, and I do not want that for you.

Be strong and consistent, and you will find that your time will not be slipping through your fingers. 

What method do you use to manage your time? Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course on the home page.

Please like, subscribe, share, and click on my social media if this post was helpful.

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in the top menu.