So often people know who they are NOT but they have no idea who they ARE. I'll hear things all the time like.. I'm not smart enough, pretty or skinny enough, I'm not good enough, I'm not like her, I'm not worthwhile.. and the list goes on and on. If our understanding of who we are is formed in what we are not then we never truly form an identity. Darlin' - today I want you to know who you are! So tell yourself a few of these simple but powerful truths:
I am chosen by God and precious to Him. 1 Peter 2:4
I am precious, honored and love. Is. 43:4
I am beautiful and darling to God. Song of Sol. 1:15
I am received by the Lord. Ps. 27:10
I am Gods masterpiece. Eph. 2:10
Nothing about who we are comes from what we are not, but from who Christ is and who he says that we are.
You are His delight and the center of His affections! He calls you His beloved and the apple of His eye. I challenge you to walk in these truths today. Maybe on an intellectual level you know this is true but it doesn't feel true. Well, you're not alone. I would argue most Christians don't rest in this unshakable truth. I've found that sometimes I have walk forward as if something is true about me even when I don't feel it. The feelings eventually catch up, although that often requires patience and continued faith to keep on walkin'.
When talking to your kiddos, it’s important to keep these few tips in mind. First, it is helpful to ask your child open ended questions. Oftentimes parents get frustrated with the simple “yes” or “no” answer without realizing they’ve asked a yes or no question. While your teenager could, of course, choose to elaborate, asking an open-ended question gives better opportunity to share. For example, instead of asking, “how was your day,” try asking “what’s the best thing that happened to you today?”
Secondly, assume the best. This is true regardless of whom we are talking to. If we approach a conversation assuming the best about the person, we tend to phrase our question is a less defensive provoking way. In my opinion, this ultimately produces deeper relationships and instills more confidence in your child. If you constantly approach your child trying to search for the things they’ve done wrong, this leaves little room for celebrating the good. A child needs to know they’re believed in. When a child does do something wrong, they are more likely to open up about it because they will be confident that the parent loves them and they won’t be afraid of approaching you.
Lastly, don’t sacrifice your relationships for your to-do list. I’ll give you an example to show you what I mean by this. Say I am in the middle of a number of house chores and my goal is to finish the laundry, cook dinner and finish a work assignment by tonight. Say my little one comes up to me during the middle of my to-do list upset because she can’t find her blanket. Now as an adult we can see that this is absolutely not the end of the world. But am I going to let my child know that her emotions and needs are important by taking an extra five minutes to help her find it? Or am I going to continue my to-do list because I think it’s more important? Situations like this can unintentionally communicate to children that their needs don’t matter. Is having a goal of getting your to-do list finished a bad thing? Absolutely not! But if doing laundry becomes more important than the relationship, it is.
A friend of mine approached me the other day in tears.
The 9-year-old of a close friend of hers tried to kill himself.
“He’s 9!!??!!” she said.
“How do you explain that?”
It’s true that we are all born with genes that predispose us to all sorts of things — in my case bipolar disorder and depression. And yes, our ancestors had these same genes. However, there is a new science called epigenetics (meaning “above” or “outside” of genetics), the study of cellular variations that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. Pam Peeke, MD, bestselling author of The Hunger Fix, explained it to me once in an interview. “If you can change certain key choices — your diet, how you handle stress, your physical activity — it’s like writing notes in the margin of your genome, and you can flip the switch to support and protect your health,” Dr. Peeke said.
That’s where I think we have failed our youth. I believe we are creating a world in which the genes that are predisposed to anxiety and depression are getting “turned on” and developing into mood disorders because we don’t have the proper protections in place.
In a study published in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, it was demonstrated that approximately one fourth of children and adolescents experience a mental disorder during the past year, and about one third across their lifetimes. The World Health Organization reported last year that depression is the predominant cause of illness and disability for both boys and girls aged 10 to 19 years.
Was this always the case?
There is more awareness today, and that’s a good thing. The field of child psychiatry has evolved, and with it better ways to screen our kids. However, I can’t help but scratch my head and wonder what is “turning on” so many unhealthy cells. Here are a few of my theories, backed by a bit of research, of course.
1. Lack of Play
Play allows your brain to breathe and form the neurons that help you fend off negative intrusive thoughts and the baggage of a mood disorder. In his Psychology Today blog, The Decline of Play and the Rise of Mental Disorders, Peter Gray, PhD, connects the rise of depression and anxiety among children and adolescents with the deterioration of relaxed play in our society. “Free play and exploration,” he writes, “are … the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control their own lives, develop their own interests, and become competent in pursuit of their own interests.” I plead guilty to not providing my kids, ages 11 and 13, the space for unstructured recreation, time to hang out and just be. However, we live in an area where they are not safe even in the front yard without supervision. And even if they could ride their bikes around the neighborhood, they would have no one to go with, because all their friends are at sports practices.
Today, approximately one mother in three gives birth by Cesarean section in this country. That’s 32.8 percent, as compared to a rate of 4.5 percent in 1965. The World Health Organization recommends that the Cesarean section rate should not be higher than 10 to 15 percent. It is associated with high maternal and neonatal complication rates. I think we are only beginning to learn about the long-term, complicated consequences of C-section births. For example, many studies have shown that babies born by Cesarean have an increased risk for developing allergies, asthma, and diabetes. However, a recent study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry adds autism and ADHD to the list. Why? Babies receive two critical exposures in the birth canal: the vaginal microbes or bacteria that protect mood and the acute stress that primes the baby’s immune system and calming, parasympathetic system.
Even harder for babies than Cesareans, I think, are emergency Cesareans, when a mom goes through the pleasure of child labor, only to end up having a Cesarean. In most cases, these also involve some kind of trauma, like an umbilical cord wrapped around the neck. The poor guys come into this world with anxiety, and often need to be taught how to calm themselves down. Intrigued by how many kids with anxiety and depression were born in an emergency c-section, I have conducted my own study and have been asking the moms that I know. Approximately 75 percent of the kids with mental issues were born in an emergency C-section.
As evidenced in my recent column about sugar, I hold some strong opinions about the sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates that saturate so much of the American diet. I remain shocked by the influence that Swedish Fish, cupcakes, soda — and especially anything made with that poison known as high fructose corn syrup — have on your mood. I have seen the devastating consequences in my kids.
British psychiatric researcher Malcolm Peet conducted a cross-cultural analysis where he found a strong link between high sugar consumption and both depression and schizophrenia. One reason for the sugar-mood connectionmay be that refined sugar, as well as anything your body processes like it (Doritos, Cheetos, Triscuits), sets off chronic inflammation in your body, which then mucks up your immune system and causes a cascade of issues you don’t want. Sugar also suppresses activity of a key growth hormone in the brain called BDNF, and those levels are low in both depression and schizophrenia.
The average American consumes between 150 to 170 pounds of refined sugar a year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 16 percent of total calories in our kids’ diets came from added sugars. That’s disgusting.
Hear me out before you roll your eyes on this one. In the last year, I’ve learned quite a bit about the critical role of our gut flora and bacteria in maintaining good mental health, and I believe it’s because ever since I started paying very close attention to my diet and taking a probiotic, I have started to feel better. Researchers at McMaster University published a study in the online edition of the journal Gastroenterology where they disrupted the normal bacteria of healthy adult mice with antibiotics. As a result, the mice became more anxious and there were changes in certain parts of the mice’s brains affecting emotion and mood.
As I read GAPS: Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, I thought more about the times I’ve been flooded with antibiotics — like after my appendectomy — and how that affected my mood. And then I thought about the first two and half years of my son’s life. He was almost always taking an antibiotic for an ear infection until we had tubes put in. No wonder why the poor guy is not as emotionally resilient as his peers who were not born by an emergency C-section followed by two years of antibiotics.
5. Screen Time
So, instead of playing a game of kick the can with neighborhood friends like we did when I was young, kids are often by themselves, inside, on their iPads or phones playing JellyCar. An August 2013 British study found that children who spent more than four hours a day in front of computer screens or television had lower self-esteem and greater emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression.
There have been many studies that have shown the deterioration in certain brain areas due to screen activity, microstructural abnormalities in adolescents who play games on iPads, computers, or phones for more than 20 hours a week. In a study published in the European Journal of Radiology, game addicts showed significant atrophy in parts of the brain’s gray matter: the frontal lobes responsible for executive functions and the insula, related to our capacity to develop empathy and compassion for others. Psychiatrist Mary G. Burke has compiled a helpful, comprehensive list of studies in her article The Impact of Screen Media on Children in Psychiatric Times. Dr. Burke concludes that “fMRI studies during and after screen media exposure reveal pronounced and specific activation patterns,” some of which are similar to those seen in drug addicts.
At my kids’ school, they introduce iPads in sixth grade, so unfortunately they have mandatory screen time. Any texting or games is on top of that, which is a problem considering a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that sitting in front of a computer for five hours a day can dramatically increase your risk of depression.
6. Broken Homes
Have you heard that divorce rates have leveled out or even started to decline in the last decade? Yeah, that’s not true, according to demographers at the University of Minnesota. Using new data from the American Community Survey, and controlling for changes in the age composition of the married population, they found there was a substantial increase in age-standardized divorce rates between 1990 and 2008. In fact, divorce rates have doubled over the past two decades among persons aged 35 years or older. Peacemaker Ministries published a paper that said that in 1935, there were 16 divorces for each 100 marriages. By 1998, the number had risen to 51 divorces per 100 marriages. Now more than a million children experience divorce each year, and more than 8 million children currently live with a divorced single parent.
Now I know there is research to support getting out of a bad marriage (for you and your kids); however, children of divorce are significantly more likely to develop depression and anxiety well into their twenties than their peers from nuclear homes. A study published in Journal of Marriage and Family found that divorce had serious consequences on the psychological well-being of children both before and after the divorce, and that the negative effects could not be attributed to the pre-divorce stress within the family.
I don’t remember ever having to worry about a scratch on my knee before swimming in the creeks nearby my home growing up. Now? I’m petrified to submerge myself into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay if I have any open wounds. I have heard too many stories about flesh-eating bacteria that leads to amputations of limbs. Of course, it’s not just the water that’s toxic. The air quality is worse. Foods are sprayed with nasty pesticides. (Read about the landmark 20-year study that found pesticides are linked to depression in farmers.) We are exposed to all kinds of poisonous substances in our cleaning products, toiletries, not to mention our tap water. In his book, The UltraMind Solution, Mark Hyman, MD, shares all kinds of case studies about people with symptoms of severe depression and anxiety that needed only to be detoxified. He, himself, was poisoned with mercury after living in Beijing, China, breathing in raw coal used to heat homes there, eating too many tuna sandwiches, and getting a mouthful of silver (or mercury) fillings.
Ah yes, stress. I couldn’t leave that off the list. No less than once a week, my husband and I discuss the problem of our kids being way too stressed out. However, when we start going through the alternatives, they don’t work either. For example, the kids have too much homework. Do we pull them from school? If I home-school them that will be much worse for their psyches. Their sports are too competitive. Do we not sign them up? Then they won’t be with their friends, because, as I said in my first point, kids don’t “hang out” today. They play club sports, where they travel 60 miles to crush another team. Stress compromises almost every biological system in your body, wearing out important organs so that you are vulnerable to mood disruptions. Constant cortisol flooding your bloodstream is bad news. But I don’t have a clue as to what to do about it.
Join the conversation “Why Are So Many Young People Depressed?” on ProjectBeyondBlue.com, the new depression community.
Article found at:
Are you a COLLEGE STUDENT home for the summer?! It's the perfect time to say YES to a new adventure and start counseling! With the stress of school gone for a few months, the summer allows a perfect amount of time to develop and grow as an individual! It also is a great time to process through some of the old junk from our past. It can easily creep up when we are home with the family for an extended period of time!
I found this article on RELEVANTmagazine.com
Ephesians 6:2-3 tells us we must honor our father and mother. I have continuously wrestled with this verse as one of my parents was abusive. What does it mean by honoring them? Am I disobeying God if I don't have a relationship with one of my parents?
Thanks for your time,
Ashley, before I get rolling on what honoring may look like in your circumstance, I want to assure you of something: Your abuse was not warranted. Even if you were the most bratty, difficult, disrespectful punk of a kid, whatever abuse you suffered was horrible and wrong. I hope you know that. And even if you don’t, or have some reply queued up like, “Well, it was a complex situation and sometimes ...”, I hope you continue to heal and grow and know for certain that your abuse was unjust. You are perfectly and wonderfully made.
Having said that, let’s talk about your thoughtful and quite honorable question about how to honor a parent who is also an abuser. And let me just say, it says so much about you that you would even care enough to engage this idea. Because no one, and likely not even God, would blame you for running from that abuse and never looking over your shoulder to address Ephesians 6:2-3 (Exodus 20:12, Colossians 3:20). But you have, and I respect you for it.
God is out to love you, walk with you, even restore and redeem that which has been lost in you (and all of us to some extent).
To that end, I’ve done a fair amount of research in preparation for this question because, quite unfortunately, abuse and our reconciling of that abuse is almost common. I think there’s a deeper conversation to be had—one that focuses on the nature of God.
The Nature of GodMy podcasting buddy, Joy Eggerichs, says a lot of wise things. But one of my favorite things I’ve heard her say is, “Hey, you know what, God isn’t out to trick you.”
Every time she says that, I get jolted back into a new place of thinking—a place where I remember that whatever I’m questioning at the moment is not best served by swirling in my own scriptural knowledge or feelings about a topic—but rather by remembering God, His character and His desires.
Ashley, to your inquiry about honoring an abusive parent, I would first say God isn’t out to trick you. God is out to love you, walk with you, even restore and redeem that which has been lost in you (and all of us to some extent). Put more directly, God did not chisel the fifth commandment in the hopes that you would remain or return to an abusive situation. That is, by any reasonable standard, outside of the character of a loving God whose heart, compassion and grace is on display throughout the canon of Scripture.
Now people will say, “Well, God wrote that, how can you just choose to ignore it when it’s convenient for you?” I won’t ignore it, and neither should you, Ashley. But I also won’t ignore everything that happens after Moses received those words.
In the broadest of terms, those commandments (and the following chapters of instruction) were not God’s only words—they were His first words. Furthermore, they were words meant for a group of people who had completely derailed. And, like a good parent who is appropriately disciplining a child, God gave some very clear, easy to understand action steps that would help them get back on track.
But the kids grew up, and then they wandered, and then they came back, and then time lapsed, and then—Jesus. And it’s in Jesus that words that were chiseled in stone get covered with the soft blanket of grace.
Grace, Ashley, grace—that’s the nature of your loving Father who did speak those words “Honor your father and your mother” many millennia ago, but who also said:
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged (Colossians 3:21).
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
And my favorite:
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror
Ashley, honoring your parent, by no reasonable standard—let alone God’s standard (see aforementioned scripture)—means having to engage them and continue to be abused. However, just because Grace abounds, we can’t ignore the clear command to honor. But how?
First, I would continue to do what I suspect you’re already doing, which is praying for the person who abused you. This is a big/difficult/brave step and it's not something that's necessarily something everyone is ready for, but it is a healthy goal. Because while there may be some fluidity on how kids are to honor parents, there’s nothing but clarity for how we are to care for our “enemies,” that is, by not letting our hearts harden to them. So a huge first step would be to pray for the person who abused you. Pray for their journey. Pray for whoever it is that hurt them so much that they thought hurting someone else was OK. Pray for them to know God and for them to be transformed into the image of Christ.
The best thing my daughters could do to honor me would not be to face me and do all they can to please me, but face the world and serve God relentlessly.
Second (and really you should do this at the same time as the first one, I just like lists), you should pray for yourself. Ask God to form your heart to see your abuser as God sees your abuser: as a child of God. Yes, the child may have strayed and disobeyed, to put it lightly, but they are a person whom God loves deeply, and we should be about the things that God is about.
Finally, and now I’m speaking as a parent, the best thing my daughters could do to honor me would not be to face me and do all they can to please me, but face the world and serve God relentlessly. Please do that, Ashley. Honor your parents by being a child who breaks the cycle of abuse, chooses grace over hate and walks into the world determined to be a light in a dark place.
Might honoring your abuser/parent look like reengaging with them? For some, that has been the path—for others, it has not. Might you need to set up stronger boundaries to keep distance from them? You may. And finally, might you need to completely disassociate with that person because the trauma is too much? Yes, Ashley, that may be your case. These are all valid, and there are ways to do them all honorably.
However these questions shake out, you can still honor your mother and father by: Recognizing that they are God’s children. Praying for them. Remembering that God did do at least one incredible thing through them (they made you!). And finally, living a life that isn’t spent shrinking in the shadow of the past—but thriving in the light of God’s grace.
You are not alone in this struggle. Many of us are journeying and praying with you.
Have a question? Good! Send an email to AskRELEVANT@relevantmediagroup.com. All identifying information will be kept anonymous.
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/how-do-i-honor-my-father-and-mother-if-they-were-abusive#JtQJrrXz6ssWLYjU.99
This article was found at: http://fightthenewdrug.org
Porn has largely become a normal part of our society.
Don’t believe it? Well, there is no better place to go than Twitter when looking for the consensus popular opinion on any given subject. The site contains the thoughts and opinions of hundreds of millions of users worldwide, making it just one big massive reflection of our society.
Check out what Twitterverse is saying about porn:
"I love short films, especially short films with nudity. What I really mean is, I love porn."
"I love the happy endings in porn"
"Ughhhh so much porn. I love the internet!"
If only these people knew the facts behind the real harmful effects of porn.
Well, that’s what we are here for.
All this acceptance and normalizing of porn only makes the problem bigger. And because of it, it has become almost commonplace for us to assume porn’s presence is inevitable; that it’ll reach all of us and there’s nothing we can do about it.
NEWSFLASH: Porn’s seriously harmful effects is no longer a secret. The science and research has been out for years now and enough life-damaging consequences have been experienced for the world to no longer claim ignorance.
So let’s shed some light on it.
We’re here to drop some truth bombs on you about the reality of porn.
10 PORN INDUSTRY STATS THAT NEED TO CHANGE ASAP:
Seriously, if this doesn’t wake people up, what will?
These problems aren’t going away as long as people continue to justify the consumption of porn. Once upon a time, porn wasn’t so common. It wasn’t an issue that affected millions and millions of people, much less an entire society. It wasn’t a topic that needed to be discussed. Well, wake up call:
Those days are over.
But we can change that. These are stats we can control. We hold the power to change these stats. We can dictate what we demand.
Right now, the porn industry is simply supplying what people are looking for. The only way this changes is if people dare to stop, re-examine reality, and make a conscious change.
By stopping the demand for porn, we are putting a stop to something that addicts people, destroys relationships, and warps our society as a whole.
It’s time to change the stats.
You with us?
- See more at: http://fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind/#sthash.R0pc0G97.U5DXpK1u.dpuf
I am technically challenged so I'm not sure how to upload a video onto the blog! BUT this is an interesting video about how childhood trauma affects your health over your lifetime! Good stuff!
By: Nadine Burke Harris
I'm a Christian counselor who loves to help people get to the root of their current problems so they can live from a place of authenticity and freedom!