Category Archives: Spiritual Reflections

The Lord is My Pacemaker: A Version of the 23rd Psalm by Toki Miyashina

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The Lord is my Pacemaker

The Lord is my pacemaker – I shall not rush.
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals:
He provides me with images of stillness,
Which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency
Through calmness of mind, and His guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things
To accomplish each day, I will not fret –
for His Presence is here:
His timelessness, His importance will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal
In the midst of my activity,
By anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.

Surely harmony and effectiveness
Shall be the fruits of my hours;
For I shall walk in His house forever.

A Version of the 23rd Psalm

by Toki Miyashin

 

 

Simplify, Slow Down, and Stay There

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God gave me the theme of single mindedness this year – focusing on Him and keeping Him first. He wants me to simplify, slow down, and stay there. I have found some progress in this area, but the “staying there” part is hard! Distractions keep pulling me away – or I start searching in vain for the next “best thing” that will make my life better or fix it somehow. I must chose to remember that I already have enough. I have Jesus living on the inside of me. The closer I stay to Him and that truth, the closer I will stay to what He is calling me to do: Simplify, slow down, and stay there.

What is God calling you to do right now? Slow down to listen, obey, and then make the choice to stay in it…as long as it takes.

There is Hope Even if You Feel Hopeless

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I have the above saying on an index card on my bathroom mirror. When I get thrown some negative experience or I am struggling with depression, I sometimes feel hopelessness creep in. When I start to feel hopeless, I start to believe that my situation is, in fact, hopeless. We must remember in our life and recovery that feelings are not facts.

Emotional reasoning is a common cognitive distortion that says “if it feels true, then it must be true.” For me, hopelessness is a place that I can still sometimes default to after a negative experience or during a depressive episode. Simply having this reminder on my bathroom mirror is such a great reminder for those moments that there is, and always will be, hope. That hope is anchored deeply and securely in Jesus Christ.

May you experience God’s hope today no matter what you are facing.

 

MORE

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Always wanting to do more. More work. More friends. More activities. More commitments. More health and healing. More time with God. More. When is “more” enough? When will “more” ever be enough? How can I enjoy life now if I never have/am doing enough? What would it take to let go? What would happen if I let go, actively trusting God to give me the true more that I need? What is the true more?

As I ponder this question, that true more comes in satisfaction in Christ, what He has given me already, and who He says I am. Not the stuff, activities, or what I do.

I have come far enough. I have put enough in place in my life. I am healed enough. I have done enough. More life will come. But the time is not now for that “more.”

“More” productivity, success, goals, activities, achievements. Now is the time to rest. To celebrate. To breath. To soak in God’s goodness and presence. Discover. Create. Fellowship. Let go. Surrender. Let in God’s love and blessings – see and appreciate all that He has already given you. HE has more for me and you – and that’s the more I want to be after. The rest comes into place. Trust HIS process, not the frantic process of this world.

God, please show us the more that You have for us now. Thank You that You are working behind the scenes to bring forth our desires and dreams. Today, help us to see the blessings and answers to prayers You have already given us. Thank You for “the more” we have in You.

Small Steps Create a Snowball Effect 

Sometimes, life is just overwhelming and we don’t know where to start in reclaiming our wellness. For me, I deal with this overwhelming feeling often, and I have slowly been learning to break things down and do things in small steps. This change has involved how I specifically view a situation and also changing how I take in well meaning, often good advice from others. I tend to take others ideas as some form of pressure, that I must act now, or something is wrong with me. This pressure only adds to my anxiety and often paralyzes me. One of my former pastors once told me all that we are responsible for is what the Lord has put before us. Praise God, we don’t have to figure it all out now.

I am only responsible for this moment. I can make small choices that will lead to a healthier life. Here are a few steps I’ve taken over the last few months that have helped me. For example, I have taken small steps to be healthier physically. I started taking a probiotic, drinking more water, and eating less sugar. An all or nothing approach to sweets, carbs, and unhealthly foods just doesn’t work for me. So I take small steps in the right direction, and that is progress! To help my emotional well being, I have started volunteering as a receptionist at a local medical clinic for uninsured individuals. To help my spiritual well being, I am reaching out to God more. These seem like simple things that everyone does, but for me, it is harder to take steps forward, and I even beat myself up when I don’t take those small steps. Each of these steps have begun a snowball effect, where my motivation has been growing and my creativity increasing. Taking small steps can help you reach your goals and overcome mental health obstacles. Sooner or later, you will gain momentum that will continue to increase and help you get to a place you’d like to be.

Take a small step in the direction you want to go – toward wellness, a career, or simply a better life.

Celebrating Slow Progress

I have been silent for quite a while. It’s not easy to make blog posts in the midst of your darkness, and I went through quite a deep time of darkness for the first four months of this year. I hit a level of depression I never thought possible, and nothing was seeming to help. I was doing all the right things to recover from mental illness, but I kept falling backward after a step forward. In a moment of crisis, I stumbled upon a treatment that has brought slow but steady progress.

While I feel like I’m finally starting to get my life back and feeling a level of contentment, many of my personal circumstances have not changed. My dreams are still in the ground, waiting to be resurrected. I don’t have that perfect career. I don’t understand why this season has lasted so long. But, I have hope, and my heart is dreaming of the possibilities.

I think the big difference is, I’m okay with things not all happening NOW. We live in such an entitled, face past culture that demands we get what we want when we want it, and that attitude bleeds over into our relationship with God. We must be broken of this attitude, and unfortunately, that is a painful process, as the Lord will take away things that we thought were ‘ours.’ As if somehow we earned those ‘things’ and they can’t be taken away from us – what false security this is! Christ wants our security to rest on Him and His work, not on our success or hard work. Yet again, culture goes against this Kingdom reality. How do we find our way in this type-A, driven culture that has even come into the church?

I believe the answer, at least partly, is to have patience in the process. Celebrate your small wins and progress. Trust that you don’t really have to have it all now (What would you do next if you had it all now, anyway?)

So right now, I’m celebrating feeling happy and stable. And that is enough. And on the days I struggle to be patient, I will remember that God is a good leader that can be trusted with the process.

When life presents mental health difficulties that continue for long seasons, we need to remind ourselves of our greater purpose in life and God’s unfailing love toward us. Life may not make sense. We may not see a light at the end of the tunnel. We may struggle to find purpose and a place of rest in our hearts.

This scripture came to mind today…

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21

Who will fill your mouth with laughter? Who will fill you lips? He will. The God of the Universe. Sometimes, we take on the weight of the world and the weight that only Jesus was meant to carry. WE must fix it. WE must figure out the next step. WE must. Our role in the journey of life with God is tricky and challenging mystery, in my opinion. We do need to listen and act on what God is leading us to do. We do need to take risks and try things out of our comfort zone to grow and discover where we are meant to be. We are never expected to do it perfectly, yet how often to we place it all on ourselves to figure out the story of our life? Whether is a relationship, career move, or making some major life change, the weight of the stress of these things can really take a toll.

If I was sitting at the table and having a conversation with Jesus, I don’t think He’d be looking at me and saying why don’t you have all your stuff together yet? I think He’d be full of compassion, wanting to comfort and direct my heart toward His love and toward His ways.

May you find the grace to rest in the arms of Father God today and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, that’s all you can do – and that’s all that’s expected of you. What a relief!