Category Archives: Mental Health

Releasing Control

I must admit my fear of losing control causes me to strive and micromanage my time, activities, and even my emotions, at times. Honestly, it’s quite exhausting. So why do I still do it?
When I take an honest look at this tendency, it exposes my simple lack of trust in God – in His ability to handle everything that comes my way. It’s not my ability that matters, but His. If I am fully trusting God, I am not relying on my own strength. I’m letting Him take the reins over my heart, life, and mind. Can you relate?
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
God calls us to trust Him and to not lean on our own strength. Then, when we acknowledge Him in all our ways, he makes our paths straight. Perhaps this concept seems easier when things are going well. But what about when things get tough?
But, slowly, I am moving toward letting go and trusting. It’s a journey, though, isn’t it, my friend? I’d sometimes like life to hurry up and my struggles go away. But part of the beauty of life is this tension we live in here on Earth until we go to our final home. God promises that we will have struggles on this side of heaven. So, I have a choice. I can let it be miserable, or I can let it be a beautiful unfolding – a beautiful unfolding of events and emotions. I can choose to accept and embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly. Through acceptance, I am learning to trust God more fully and embrace the ups and downs of life more willingly. In regards to my mental health, I am trusting His process of healing instead of trying to figure it out on my own. How freeing! To let go of the striving and rest in His love. Someone once told me rest is trust – I believe that is true because you can rest when you are trusting Someone bigger than yourself to take care of you.
Today, I choose trust over worry and control. Today, I chose Jesus rather than myself. Today, I am ready and willing to trust.
Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Hello, New Year – A Little Late!

A New Year. A fresh start. A deep breath, exhaling all that is past and breathing in what is new. New beginnings. New life. A reset. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Hello, New Year. I welcome you. I welcome the goodness of God to chase me down in this New Year. I welcome healing. I welcome wholeness. I welcome the process – the joys, the hurts, the tears. I welcome God’s journey for me. And I choose to go all the way through with Jesus this year. Lord, have Your Way in all things. I promise to trust You, let You take me by the hand, and go all the way through with this journey in You!

Instead of being overwhelmed by New Year Resolutions, may you be overwhelmed by the love of God. You are accepted by God, just as you are now. May that acceptance draw you toward change, instead of forced, pressured goals. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Let your instinct guide you. Instead of piling a whole list of goals on yourself, set one or two simple goals. Start slow, and let the change build and grow.

Happy New Year!

Marie

P.S. It’s been a hard year for me, mental health wise and otherwise. I moved home to live with my parents for extra support, and soon after, my father suddenly died in June. I am still grieving and recovering, yet I have found a newfound strength and stability since his passing. I look forward to using this new strength and stability to write and encourage others through my blog once again – I’m back!

Life is a Trust Walk

Life is a trust walk.

Sometimes it is through the dark.

Life is a trust walk.

And we must trust in how He walks.

Life is a trust walk.

We cannot see the road ahead.

So we nestle ourselves against His chest.

We want easy answers, quick fixes.

But we rarely get these requests.

God wants us to walk this walk

And learn to talk the talk-

That is the talk of trust.

And the heart position of surrender.

We may not know where we are going.

But we know the One who is leading us.

So we can trust this One, knowing He will hold and shepherd our hearts,

Leading us to the right destination.

The final result is in His hands.

So let’s trust in His plans.

Life is a trust walk.

 

Copyright 2019 Marie Lorah

 

Being Real About Your Feelings for the New Year

At this time of year, we often are focusing on our goals and New Year’s resolutions. Many have new hope, excitement, and motivation for the coming year. That is all well and good, but what if you are facing deep fears about the coming year? What if all you can see is darkness and have no hope?

Maybe you are facing a looming diagnosis or a strained relationship. Perhaps there are just some circumstances that you don’t know will ever get better (at least that’s how it feels). You’re feeling doubt and worry, and then, on top of that, guilt for feeling doubt and worry.

Well, friend, take heart. You are not the only one going through this. I think through all the glimmer and glammer of the holidays, we place this expectation on ourselves that we should be happy, excited, and hopeful for our New Year. But, what if it’s been a really hard year and there’s not one single piece of hope in your heart? What if depression is heavy upon you, and you are just out of steam?

I want to encourage you, whatever you may be facing, that God is still good, and God is still with you. He’s not mad at you that you aren’t feeling all the good things that others around you may feel. He’s not looking at you as a failure for having some doubts and fears about the coming New Year. If nothing else, you can hold on to who God is no matter what you are feeling or experiencing. Don’t give up on the One who does truly hold it all together, even when it doesn’t make sense. Perhaps find a song that brings you some hope or solace. Practice gratitude – I know gratitude is a hard one when you’re overwhelmed by circumstances, but even just the act of trying to think of some good things is helpful for your mental health.

No New Year’s resolutions? That’s okay. But maybe one might be to trust God with the unknown and the hurting places of your heart this year. Remember to keep Him in the center of it all, no matter how difficult the circumstance. Don’t give up on Your God – He will not give up on you. May God lift any burdens on your heart and give you eyes to see from His perspective.

Copyright 2019 Marie Lorah

Thankfulness in the Midst of Pain

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Artwork Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

It’s that time of year. The holidays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. We are bombarded with messages of happiness and that it is “the most wonderful time of the year.” But what if you are experiencing heartbreak, discouragement, or illness? What if you can’t even look in your partner’s eyes with love this season? What if life just doesn’t make sense right now?

First, I want to validate the pain you may be feeling at this time of the year with whatever you may be facing. Trials are difficult themselves, let alone dealing with them during the holiday season. So be gentle with yourself. When I need to encourage myself of certain truths or reminders, I break out my index cards and write those truths and reminders on them. One truth I have as a painting is: “Be gentle with your heart.” Isn’t is so easy to be down on ourselves and literally beat ourselves up emotionally over the troubles we are already facing? So take heart, lift up your head. There are things to be thankful for. Remember that. Just take a moment to think of even the simplest things you are grateful for. It might not feel like a lot, but I pray this simple exercise will bring at least some relief. You see, when we are in pain, it is hard to get our focus off of ourselves. We can spiral into negativity, which breeds more negatively. Thanksgiving is a way to help you get back on track. And remember, you don’t have to be thankful for everything, but in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In other words, God is saying He wants us to always choose thankfulness, even if it doesn’t all make sense or seem good. So we can thank Him in our distress, as opposed to for our distress. He isn’t the one who sends distress (that is from Satan), but He will use it for our good (Romans 8:28).

Can you trust God with your pain today? Take a step toward Him, be gentle with your heart, and find a little something to be thankful for. Praise God that we have Him as our hope, an anchor for our soul.

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

Progress, Not Perfection

Are you seeking progress or perfection in your life? For me, I was humbled by our loving Father that I was striving for perfection recently.

This week I had a colossal meltdown, one of those public, overwhelming volcano of emotions. I felt overcome with shame and more anxiety than I had in a long time. “Here we go again,” I thought. “I fell apart, yet again. I am a failure because of these struggles. I’m never going to get better.” Crazy how easily we can fall into these lies and automatic negative reactions, yet we do as fragile human beings. 

I reached out to a friend, and we did dinner. She reminded me there was no shame in having a tough time and reaching out. I spoke with another friend the following day, who totally re-framed what happened – she said that instead of looking at this meltdown as a failure, look at it as progress, as I had not had a meltdown like this in a while. Having that connection with another person helped me see the truth about my situation and break me free from the shame and condemnation – which is NOT from God.

As I began journaling and talking to God about what happened, I felt He reminded me life is about progress, not perfection. And the truth is, I did make progress. As frail human beings, we can tend to go straight to the negative when processing things. We can think things will never change and believe we are failures. But what is God’s truth? How does He see us in the middle of our messes? Really. Ask yourself. How does God see you in your worst moment? Friend, I can tell you He isn’t look away in disgrace; He is looking toward you with compassion, wanting you to come to Him. 

So today, meditate on what is good. Meditate on how well you are doing – because there are things you are doing well, and things you are still learning. Look for progress, not perfection. Stand tall, confident in God’s love for you through it all.

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

How To Grow and Heal From Sufferring

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When we have negative experiences, they are opportunities to grow and heal, if we will allow ourselves to step back and find new perspective. Personally, my mental illness and accompanying difficult experiences have really helped me grow – but it was choice. Was I going to accept where I’m at and learn from it? Or would I let myself get bitter and shut down? I had (and still do have) moments where I’m all in to grow from the pain of it all, and other days where I’d rather do nothing but hide and escape from my problems. I’ve learned to let myself have both days, while slowly moving toward growing and learning instead of avoiding and hiding.

Walking through my own mental illness has made me strong in the midst of chaotic and painful emotions. Also, my struggles have given me compassion for people who go through similar difficult things. I have learned the art of being aware of my emotions, paying attention to what they might be telling me, and responding appropriately. This awareness has allowed me to notice the individuals who hurt the most, sit with them in their pain, and encourage them that, they too, will grow from their pain. We can allow mental illness (or other struggles) to define us in a negative, victimizing way (like “I will always be this way” or “nothing will ever change”), or we can allow it to grow us and change us to become stronger, more compassionate people.

I also have found my faith in Jesus through my battle with mental illness. So, in reality, mental illness is a gift that has kept giving – giving me opportunities to wrestle with God and my beliefs, to find answers (or to accept I won’t have answers!), to feel deeply, and to accept myself more fully. I have discovered my gifts and who I am – my struggles do not define me as weak, but they have allowed me to find God and my purpose in the midst of it. I would not be the kind, caring, compassionate person I am without all that I have gone through.

I share these beautiful things, but they have come from the depths of my pain, anger, shame, disillusionment, severe instability, and fears. They have come from the breaking of me – of life falling to pieces and God and I somehow slowly putting those pieces back together. I have found meaning and purpose through my breakdowns, which has created a deep well of hope and wisdom that I pray shines to others.

Mental illness has been a shaping factor in my life that has brought chaos, disaster, and healing. This cycle of pain and healing will, in some ways, always continue on this side of heaven. Jesus promises us both hope and pain on Earth. We must carry our crosses, learning to fellowship with Him in the power of His resurrection AND in His suffering (Philippians 3:10).

He cares. He understands. He’s been there. Let your pain move in you in a way that heals you instead of holds you back. Take courage that this struggle you are going through is not wasted.