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Depression: A Comic That Makes You View Depression From A Different Perspective

 

Depression is a serious issue.

However, if we look at depression through a different perspective, especially a comic perspective, we can see another light side of it. I hope you find it inspirational. It sure has helped me see a new side of depression. Be sure to seek help when you need it. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you aren’t perfect. I just hope you can find some hope and inspiration through this as depression is not easy to deal with.

 

Codependency: Trying To Help

SOURCE:  Living Free/Jimmy Ray Lee

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:10-11 NIV

People are usually not aware they are becoming codependent. They are trying to help, but too often they feel guilty because their efforts are not good enough to make the person they love change. Seeing that their efforts have not cured the person’s life-controlling problem, they just try harder. The misbelief they can “fix” other people leads to a painful cycle of failure and loss of self-worth. Codependent people can also feel guilty because they believe they did something to cause their loved one to go out of control. Children are especially vulnerable to this distorted, guilt-ridden thinking.

 Christians can be unusually susceptible to codependency. We want to help. When trying to love others as Christ has commanded us, we sometimes slip into enabling behaviors that lead to codependent relationships.

In the above scripture, the apostle Paul teaches that the body of Christ should be interdependent. We are to be devoted to one another in love and honor one another, but we need to find balance. God does not want us to be codependent and center our lives around our loved one’s problems. But neither should we be overly independent and concerned only with ourselves. The healthy balance is to be interdependent. Christ is the key to finding a healthy balance in our relationships. We can keep our balance by making Jesus and his will central, by loving others, and by caring about them.

Be concerned about what is happening in the lives of others, but rather than entwining your life with their life-controlling problem, serve Christ and focus on him.

Lord, I want to help others, but sometimes I go about it the wrong way. Help me to find balance in my life. Teach me to have only healthy, balanced relationships, always keeping Jesus central in my life. In his name . . .

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These thoughts were drawn from …

Close—But Not Too Close by Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee.

Discipline that Works: The Ages and Stages Approach

SOURCE:  Prepared by Judith Graham, Extension human development specialist/University of Maine

“Ages and stages” discipline is based on normal changes in your child’s growth and behavior. Children’s behavior changes just like their bodies change—in predictable patterns.

Stages of growth build one upon another, like the circles in a “slinky” toy. Each child grows according to his or her own genetic “time plan,” moving forward toward maturity. As they grow, children switch back and forth between “comfortable” ages or stages and “uncomfortable” ages.

The comfortable stages come when they take in all they’ve learned—all the new and old pieces seem to fit together well. Uncomfortable stages are times of rapid growth and change. Change, for most of us, causes stress and anxiety—discomfort. A child in a time of discomfort may have trouble coping with day-to-day life, may seem extra-sensitive or may argue more.

However, some children are naturally more relaxed. They are easier to discipline, even if they’re at an “uncomfortable” stage.

Other children may be more difficult. They may have more stress at a certain stage of growth.

The Difference Between Discipline and Punishment

Discipline and punishment are not the same. Discipline is about guiding children in ways that support their development of self-control. It is respectful, accepting and comforting. It enhances self-worth. Punishment is used to hurt. It focuses on the child rather than on the act or behavior.

Discipline is ongoing. It is the way you talk to your child, the way you treat your child, the way you live. It is how you help your children respond to the day-to-day events in their lives.

Examples of discipline for very young children include child-proofing cupboards in the kitchen and bathroom to keep children safe or putting fragile items out of reach.

For school-age children, making sure they have a good snack after school is an example of discipline that helps both them and you cope better with end-of-the-day fatigue.

Base Discipline on Your Child’s Development

Children change very quickly, especially in the years before they start school. Discipline that works at one stage may not work at another. A child of 2-1/2 is very different from a 3-year-old. At 2-1/2, many children are in an “uncomfortable” stage. They can be very aggressive one minute and withdrawn the next. A key to disciplining a 2-1/2-year-old is to use routines and avoid giving the child choices. By the age of 3, however, many children have reached a much more “comfortable” stage. Discipline at this stage can be much easier and relaxed.

Yet by 3-1/2 years the child may enter another “uncomfortable” time. He or she may have difficulty with changes.

The more you know about normal developmental changes, the more you’ll be able to guide children well. Knowing more about what they are going through also takes some stress off you as a parent.

Roadblocks to Good Discipline

The six biggest roadblocks to effective discipline are

  1. confusing discipline with punishment. Discipline helps children develop self-control and self-esteem. It teaches right from wrong. Punishment might restrain a child temporarily, but it does not teach alternative behavior. Punishment can even damage the parent-child relationship by reducing a child’s trust in the parent.
  2. believing that what works at one time will work all the time. You need to change the way you discipline your children to keep pace with their natural growth. Different ages and stages, as well as different children, require different techniques.
  3. thinking that when you have difficulty disciplining a child, you are a “bad” parent. Don’t put yourself down if you don’t get the results you want. Think it through and try again.
  4. believing your children “should” behave a certain way at a certain time. Children are unique and special. They develop at their own speed, in their own way.
  5. believing you must “win” every battle. It is important to “pick your battles.” Don’t fight over unimportant issues.
  6. parents disagreeing in front of a child about discipline. Solve serious disagreements in private.

The Effect of Negative Behavior Correction

If you treat your children with the same respect and kindness you offer a close friend, they will learn positive behaviors. Negative methods of behavior correction such as sarcasm, hurtful teasing, verbal abuse, humiliation and physical punishment do not help children learn positive ways of acting. Rather, they create angry children who do not feel very good about themselves.

Tips for Effective Discipline

Punishment is not a recommended way to teach children self-control. Here are some tips to help you discipline in an effective manner and avoid punishing actions.

  1. Set reasonable limits. Setting reasonable limits offers realistic guidelines for children and helps them to feel secure. When you set limits, stick to them and be consistent. If you don’t stick to your limits, you will only confuse children and they may misbehave more.
  2. Use consequences. Letting children learn from experiences can be very effective if done properly. Parents can tell children ahead of time what the consequences of exceeding limits will be. Remember that consequences give children a choice, and parents must be willing to accept the child’s decision.

Consequences can be natural or logical. Natural consequences let children learn the natural order of the world. For example, “If you don’t eat, you will be hungry.” Logical consequences are consequences that are arranged by the parents. For example, “If you don’t put your dirty clothes in the hamper, you won’t have clean clothes to wear to school.”

Consequences are used to teach responsibility and decision-making. The situation itself provides the lesson and helps to develop a sense of accountability.

  1. Take corrective action as soon as possible. It is important to correct misbehavior soon after it occurs. Carry out the logical consequences you’ve established for your child. If you don’t, what are you really teaching your child?
  2. Stay calm. Anger can “turn off” or “tune out” your child. It may make the corrective action ineffective. It may also create unneeded power plays.

Any kind of punishment done calmly is more effective than that done in anger.

  1. Provide a short time to “cool down.” In the past, this has been referred to as a “timeout.” The intent is to give both you and your child time to cool down and control any anger you may be experiencing. Remember that this cool-down time should be relatively brief. It is not a punishment. Maintaining or regaining respect and comfort are two important parts of cooling down, for both adults and children. Follow up with the child about his or her behavior.
  2. Set an example. Discipline is best taught by example.

Using Effective Discipline

Implementing effective discipline is not always easy and takes some practice. Don’t get discouraged! Remember, if you don’t get the results you want, think the situation through and try again.

Discipline is a positive experience that helps children learn to set and follow behavioral limits and develop self-control.

Discipline that Works: The Ages and Stages Approach

Age Development of Emotions                 Tips

 

Infancy Stable, well-balanced periods occur around 4, 16, 28, 40 and 52 weeks. Periods of imbalance occur often around 8, 20, 32 and 44 weeks.    No discipline needed. 

 

18 Months Acts on impulse. Is insistent, demanding. Not much trouble with own emotions, but has trouble with other people’s. Wants own demands met here and now. Not very adaptable or cuddly. Easily frustrated; attention span extremely short. Loves the outdoors and carriage/stroller rides. 

 

 Doesn’t easily obey direct  commands. Get attention by  doing something child likes  and wants to share. THINGS  TO TRY: Pick up and put child  where wanted. Distraction. 

 

21 Months More demanding and less adaptable. Dependent. Has strong needs and demands, but cannot communicate them. May resist being touched. 

 

  Need for great patience and   wise assessment of        capabilities; discipline is not     the important thing at this  age. Arrange to just get smoothly through the day.      THINGS TO TRY: Most  successful are physical;  rearrange the setting to  avoid problems. Talking to  them usually doesn’t work. 

 

2 Years Less demanding. More adaptable. Tends to be quiet and calm. Willing to cuddle and accept affection. 

 

 Take advantage of child’s  rituals, especially at  bedtimes; use security items  the child likes (thumb,  blanket, etc.). THINGS TO  TRY: Distract them or change  the scene. 

 

2 1/2 Years Great imbalance. Moves between extremes of aggression and withdrawal. Bossy, rigid, selfish, possessive, jealous.     Likes sameness, repetition, predictability; changes are very  hard, even minor ones; toys, etc. all have a “proper place.” 

 

  Age of opposite extremes.    THINGS TO TRY: Avoid   giving choices. Avoid   questions that can be  answered by no. Use  routines. Talk and work fast  so child will be doing what is  wanted before she or he has  time to think and rebel.  Anticipate difficult times or  situations and avoid if  possible; do not expect your  child to wait for things or to  share easily. 

 

3 Years Often time of emotional calm. May be happy, contented much of the time. Gets along well with others. Likes others and wants to please them. 

 

  THINGS TO TRY:  Enthusiasm,  good-will and  common  sense. 

 

3 1/2 Years Difficult age. Is uncertain, unsettled, insecure, yet is stubborn, demanding, unwilling or unable to give in or adapt. Tends to be fearful, unhappy. Child’s big emotional struggle is with his/her mother (she is the only worthy opponent); enjoys talking/conversation; time of great motor uncertainty and fluctuating fine motor capabilities. At this age, children are much better with almost anyone other than the principal caregiver. 

 

 Difficulty making changes.  May be good in long periods  of play, but very poor at  changing from one activity to  another. THINGS TO TRY:  Simplify changes as much as  possible. Avoid head-on  clashes. Let him know he is  great — the best child ever;  emotions may be very  fragile; may express fears or  anxieties about the dark and  animals — support these but  do not encourage; use an  imaginary companion to help  get things done; heavy use  of positive phrases: “let’s,”  “how about,” and “maybe  you could.” Give in when  things aren’t important.  Change subject or distract by  bringing in something nice so  child forgets to object. 

 

4 Years Energetic, out-of-bounds. May go to extremes to test self against others. Often enjoys own impish, humorous ways. May be selfish, rough, impatient, loud. Loves adventure. Socially silly and larger-than-life manners may annoy adults. 

 

Delights in upsetting adults. THINGS TO TRY: Ignore profanity, boasting, super-silly way of talking, if possible; enjoy her silliness and participate; usually likes and respects boundaries and limits; bargaining works well; surprises are good motivators; whispering very effective; praise and compliments work wonders as does the simple art of conversation. Make few rules, but enforce these strictly. 

 

5 Years Tends to be calm, quiet, well-balanced. Pulls in and usually tries only what he knows he can do, so is comfortably well-adjusted. Friendly, loving, appreciative, wants to please and do the right thing; wants and means to be good; not yet able to admit to wrongdoing and as much as he tries, does not always tell the truth. 

 

Let them know what is and is not reasonable to expect. Many things parents consider bad are often simplyimmaturities. THINGS TO TRY: Prevention is much better than punishment. If you punish, do so calmly. Child’s wish to be good and do the right thing is strong. With luck, there should be relatively little need for punishment. 

 

5 1/2 to     6 Years Highly emotional. Not in good balance. Loves one minute, hates the next. Much confusion and trouble between self and others. May demand, rebel, argue, fight. When in good mood, is cheerful, energetic, enthusiastic. Needs much praise, but behavior often merits criticism. This only makes behavior worse. Not able yet to tell the difference between mine and yours. 

 

Age of extreme imbalance. May be very rude, resistant, defiant. Thrives on head-on clashes. Punish if absolutely necessary, but calmly. THINGS TO TRY: Patience and skill. Ignore refusal or be impersonal when child answers commands with “I won’t.” Praise — it may not be easy to find something to praise but try hard; avoid resistance and head-on collisions; sidestep issues if possible; bargain; give in on occasion. 

 

6 1/2 Years Behavior quiets down for a few months. Usually relates strongly and warmly to adults close to them. Brief periods of being happy with themselves. Money is becoming of real interest both as an allowance and as a reward. Eager for more possessions. 

 

THINGS TO TRY: Small rewards for little chores or even eating a good meal. Give them “chances” to get a request done. Consenting and bargaining also work well. 

 

7 Years Quiet, rather negative emotions. May be serious, self-absorbed, moody, worrisome,    or suspicious. Very sensitive to others’ emotions. May feel disliked by others and that they are critical or poking fun.Procrastinates, has a short memory, and is easily distracted; often completely tunes out the outside world. 

 

Obedience problem may be because child is sidetracked. THINGS TO TRY: To have a simple chore done,tell child in advance. Be sure they heard the directions. Remind the child before he or she forgets and does something else. 

 

8 Years                                                                            Vigorous, dramatic, curious, impatient, demanding. Not as moody as 7, but still sensitive. Very demanding of parents, especially mother; strongly influenced by her wishes and desires; wants time, attention, affection and approval; beginning to think abstractly; interested in and concerned about own possessions. Easily disappointed if people don’t behave as wished.       Can be quite critical of others and self. Argumentative. 

 

  Easily disappointed if what an adult says or does isn’t   what the child wants. THINGS TO TRY: Give commands in   ways acceptable to the child.  Money is a good motivator, as are time, attention and approval.

 

9 Years Quieter than at 8. Seems to be independent, responsible, dependable, cooperative. May sometimes be temperamental, but is basically reasonable. May be age of considerable rebellion against authority;   tend to go to   extremes; will take criticism fairly well if carefully phrased;    great interest in fairness; group standards may be more important than parental standards. Demanding of others,   but likely to be as critical of self as of others. Very involved with self and may not hear when spoken to. May appear  absent-minded or indifferent. Shows anger at parents, but is  also proud of them, is loyal to family, friends. May show concern for others. 

 

   Interests are beginning to spread beyond home and   family. May resist feelings of being a little child and of  being told what to do.     THINGS TO TRY: Save direct commands for big important matters. 

 

10 Years Emotionally direct, simple, clear-cut, usually well-balanced, yet still childlike. Less anxious and demanding than at 9. Most often good-natured and pleased with life. But may show sharp, violent temper. Can be very affectionate. Not a worrying age, yet a few earlier fears remain. Enjoys own humor, which may not be very funny to others. Happy age.   Tricks or specific and special  ways of approaching a child are no longer particularly useful; involve the child’s ability to distinguish good   from bad, right from wrong, truth from untruth; best   technique is to know what is reasonable to expect.

 

Source: Ames, L.B. (1992).  Raising Good Kids: A Developmental Approach to Discipline. Rosemont, NJ: Modern Learning Press.

Marriage: Catch All The Foxes!

SOURCE:  Adapted from an article by Living Free

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” Song of Solomon 2:15 NLT

Sometimes it’s not big things that hurt a marriage. Your spouse may not have been unfaithful or abusive.

  • But what about those little annoying habits?
  • What about his or her lack of consideration?
  • “He never remembers my birthday.”
  • “She expects me to bounce in the door and pay all kinds of attention to her after I’ve had a grueling day at work.”
  • “He works all the time. He seems to love his job more than me or the children.”
  • “She gets her feelings hurt too easily.”
  • “If only he’d help me more with the kids and the housework. I work full time too.”
  • “She never backs me up when I correct the children.”

Any of this sound familiar?

You can probably think of a dozen things you wish your spouse would do differently. So how do you handle your frustrations? Do you calmly express your feelings to your spouse and talk it out? Do you let the little annoyances go by, forget them, and move on? Or do you keep track? 

Don’t let the little foxes gnaw away at your marriage relationship.

Ask God to help you see things from your spouse’s perspective. Be open to talking out your differences. Don’t pick up on every one of your spouse’s “misdeeds.” We are all human. We all blurt out hurtful words without thinking. We all become me-focused at times. Learn to overlook the little irritations. Try to resolve the bigger ones. And in it all, walk in forgiveness.

When something happens that irritates you, think of it in light of your love for your spouse. Ask yourself, “Is it worth making an issue of this?” If the answer is no, choose to forgive and move on.

Catch the little foxes before they ruin the vineyard of love!

Father, I know that in my marriage relationship I am sometimes too quick to respond in anger or frustration. Sometimes I find it easy to indulge in self-pity. Help me to have a more mature love. Give me wisdom in each circumstance. Help me know when to let go and move on. In the more serious situations, guide my actions. In every situation, help me walk in forgiveness. Help me not to allow the little foxes to spoil the vine. In Jesus’ name . . .

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These thoughts were drawn from …

Committed Couples: God’s Plan for Marriage & the Family by Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee.

Making Peace: Q&A

SOURCE:  Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 148.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there
remember that your brother has something against you, leave
your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to
your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:23-24

If you learn that someone has something against you, God wants you to take the initiative in seeking peace — even if you do not believe you have done anything wrong.

Food for Thought

Q: What if I had no idea that I had offended Jim?

A: If you had no idea, then you’re not responsible. But if you learn or overhear or even get a vague sense that things aren’t quite right between you and Jim, then you are responsible.

Q: So I’m responsible to do what? Talk with Jim? Confront him? What?

A: We must remember that taking the initiative always has a goal — seeking peace. Peacemaking may begin with conversation and progress to confrontation. Then again, it may involve extending kind words or clarifying hurt feelings. There are many different facets, but the gem is called making peace. And the first step is to “go.”

Q: But what if I haven’t done anything wrong to Jim? To take the initiative seems so counter-intuitive.

A: It’s all a matter of obedience. The heart of the matter is not, “Were you right or wrong?” but “Will you be obedient?” God asks you to take the initiative in seeking peace. In this way, you are imitating God himself, who took the initiative to seek peace with you. Yes, it may feel counter-intuitive, but the ways that seem right to us oftentimes lead to death. God’s ways lead to life. It’s not just because He said so. It’s because He loves us so.

31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children

SOURCE:  Bob Hostetler

1. Salvation—”Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (Isa. 45:8; 2 Tim. 2:10)

2. Growth in Grace—”I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 3:18)

3. Love—”Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them.” (Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:2)

4. Honesty and Integrity—”May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection.” (Ps. 25:21)

5. Self-Control—”Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do.” (1 Thess. 5:6)

6. Love for God’s Word—”May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than much pure gold and sweeter than honey from the comb.” (Ps. 19:10)

7. Justice—”God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do.” (Ps. 11:7; Mic. 6:8)

8. Mercy—”May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

9. Respect (for self, others, and authority)—”Father, grant that my children may show proper respect to everyone, as Your Word commands.” (1 Pet. 2:17)

10. Biblical Self-Esteem—”Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:10)

11. Faithfulness—”Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts.” (Prov. 3:3)

12. Courage—”May my children always be strong and courageous in their character and in their actions.” (Deut. 31:6)

13. Purity—”Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions.” (Ps. 51:10)

14. Kindness—”Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thess. 5:15)

15. Generosity—”Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.” (1 Tim. 6:18-19)

16. Peace-Loving—”Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.” (Rom. 14:19)

17. Joy—”May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thess. 1:6)

18. Perseverance—”Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the race marked out for them.” (Heb. 12:1)

19. Humility—”God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all.” (Titus 3:2)

20. Compassion—”Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.” (Col. 3:12)

21. Responsibility—”Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load.” (Gal. 6:5)

22. Contentment—”Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13)

23. Faith—”I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them.” (Luke 17:5-6; Heb. 11:1-40)

24. A Servant’s Heart—”God, please help my children develop servant’s hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men.” (Eph. 6:7)

25. Hope—”May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)

26. Willingness and Ability to Work—”Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” (Col. 3:23)

27. Passion for God—”Lord, please instill in my children a soul that ‘followeth hard after thee,’ one that clings passionately to You.” (Ps. 63:8)

28. Self-Discipline—”Father, I pray that my children may acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.” (Prov. 1:3)

29. Prayerfulness—”Grant, Lord, that my children’s lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers.” (1 Thess. 5:17)

30. Gratitude—”Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20; Col. 2:7)

31. A Heart for Missions—”Lord, please help my children to develop a desire to see Your glory declared among the nations, Your marvelous deeds among the peoples.” (Ps. 96:3)

© Bob Hostetler. Used with permission. www.ReviveOurHearts.comInfo@ReviveOurHearts.com

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