Empowering your Mental Health - Faith: Hope: Love with Barry Pearman
Are you Tired and Weary? You Need a Refuge
Tired and weary, worn down and burned out. You can’t find relief because you have no refuge. So let’s build a storm shelter together.
It’s the noise that wears you down. The ambient, in the background but all around you, stresses of life.
You’re the meat in the sandwich, and everyone wants a bite.
Feelings and thoughts
The grind of the grindstone wears you down till nothing is left.
All you want to do is to go to a place where the streets have no names, no postal codes, and there’s no one hammering on your door.
I want to run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls that hold me inside
I wanna reach out and touch the flame
Where the streets have no name. U2
My Mothers Bible
The other day I was flicking through my mother’s Bible and happened to come across a verse in the Psalms where she had marked with pen and added a date.
I checked the date with other memories of what was happening in the stream of her life at that time.
It was a time of struggle for my mother.
My father was unwell, and she was losing him. He died 82 days later, on October 3rd. She would follow him in ‘promotion to glory’ 166 days later.
I recently wrote about this in a guest post on Contemplative light – I’m Grateful For Ink
What a stormy time for us as a family that was.
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The Problem is Not the Problem
“The problem is not the problem. The real problem is much worse.” Sandy Burdick
I can still see the look of abject horror on Alma’s face, and the dark brown eyes opened wide as I approached her. I was about to tell her that she was magnificent, and she was terrified.
She was an inmate at a women’s prison where I was part of a team that met weekly with groups of women who were sexually abused as children or adolescents.
In our first session, we always showed the short classic movie, “The Butterfly Circus.”
It is an incredible telling of the gospel story and the impact of a relationship with Christ without mentioning faith or religion.
In it, the leader of the Butterfly Circus, Mendez, encounters a man, Will, with no arms or legs at a different circus’s sideshow.
While others make catcalls or pull back it horror, or even throw tomatoes at him when the crowd clears out, Mendez approaches Will, leans down to look him eye-to-eye, and says in true admiration, “You are magnificent?”
Will is so stunned; he spits in Mendez’ face.
When the movie reaches its dramatic conclusion, we members of the team get up and go look each of the inmates in the face and say “You are magnificent!”
Alma had seen that happen to several of her fellow inmates and now saw me approaching her.
With that look of horror on her face, wide-eyed, she began to shout at me, “No! No! Don’t you dare say that to me.”
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Are You Afraid of Who You’re Becoming
The change felt good, but they were also afraid of who they might be becoming. Then they learned that they were not alone and to trust the train they were traveling on.
It’s always scary when you don’t know what’s on the other side. Who am I becoming? What will happen as my new self is revealed? Will I be rejected? Will I be hurt like the last time I stepped out?
For my friend John, this was new ground he was walking on.
Never been here before, and he felt fragile.
We had been walking, talking, and praying together for a few months, and he was beginning to see something change in him.
It wasn’t forced or fake. It was, in his words, ‘Natural.’
Like it was something that was there all along but now seemed to be making an appearance and revealing itself. Like a spring of water starting to bubbe up seemingly from nowhere.
But he was kind of scared about who he was becoming.
He knew he couldn’t stop this internal growth, it was good, and he didn’t want it to stop, but what about how others would react to the new man.
All the scenarios played out before him.
Where was this train taking him?
When you’ve learned some new things about yourself, processed some pain, asked some hard questions, and worked out some shakey solutions, then there is always an invite.
It’s an invitation to move forward. You can no longer stay where you are or even retreat back.
You feel like you’re on this train and it has already left the station of yesterday. It’s chugging along, and you’re wondering what’s coming next.
There may be quiet and excited anticipation, but more so, there may be a fear of here we go again.
In the past, you put yourself out there and showed your best creative self, but people, even your family, and friends shot you down. Instead of cheering you on, you got ambivalence and negativity. No one captured your vision.
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How to Stop Being the Scapegoat. Six Keys
Are you tired of being the Scapegoat but don’t know how to stop it? Six key steps to stop being the dumping ground of other people’s rubbish.
She felt like they were making her a scapegoat.
They were saying she was responsible for all the terrible things that had happened. It was her fault. Everything bad that happened was her responsibility.
This was a pattern of abuse she had experienced for a very long time. Jenny remembered as a child that once her mother had broken a cup, but somehow it was her fault. Then, the vicious words rained down.
Now it felt like she was a human receptor for other people’s stuff.
She was wired for it. Anything that went wrong, she took the blame.
Even when they didn’t blame her or say it was her fault, she still, for some strange reason, felt she was to blame.
She reasoned that it must be something to do with her. She was a failure, and so she caused all these bad things to happen.
Jenny had a big ugly, smelly goat bleating in her brain.
This belief entered early into her brain when she started to receive the abuse of others. Then she took it on as part of her identity.
The scapegoat was as much of her identity as goat’s cheese is made of goat’s milk.
Her depression was worsening as the guilt and shame piled up. Her anxiety was building as she waited for the next guilt-filled message to be handed out and for her to take in.
She was tired. Really tired. The goat, and its bleating, was keeping her up at night and alert all day.
But now, she was beginning to wake up to the bleating, blahhing, and destructiveness of its voice.
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Do You Have a Scapegoat in the Backyard of Your Brain
They kept feeling a sense of guilt and blame for something they didn’t do, but then they discovered a Scapegoat living in the backyard of their brain.
It wasn’t nasty, or maybe in a subtle kind of a way it was, but they felt like they were receiving all the blame for things that happened, and because of that, they were being excluded from the relationship.
Why would anyone want to have a relationship with someone like them?
Someone so terrible as they were.
And it was so subtle, so sly, that over time this inner negative critic wove its words into their deepest beliefs about themselves.
It was a goat. A scapegoat, and they had one bleating in their brain.
It’s all your fault
You’re the one to blame
You never get anything right
They did this because of you
You don’t deserve any relationship
Then with these inner voices bleating in their brain, they began to believe that they didn’t have any value or worth.
Nothing beautiful or meaningful about this smelly old goat.
They withdrew, hid, and definitely didn’t put themselves out there because they knew that there would be just more criticism, blaming, and shaming.
They had a goat, a scapegoat, grazing in their brain.
Read more at Do You Have a Scapegoat in the Backyard of Your Brain?
Five Actions to Take when Someone Rains on Your Parade
Some people seem to like to rain on your parade, but we can learn how to hoist an umbrella and continue on.
They couldn’t help themselves.
Anything my friend did was negated. Any attempt at doing something special, creative, or different was criticized and smashed with harsh words. Sometimes an indifference, a bored ‘Whatever.’
It wasn’t that they wanted approval, but more so, they wanted to share the joy they found in their creativity.
They had the breath of a creative God within them, and they wanted to share their own creative expression with those dearest to them, but it was routinely dismissed as nothing. So there was ambivalence to their deepest gift.
Something began to die and shrivel up within them. The spark of expression was growing low.
Nothing they did was good enough. Depression, a poverty of spirit, and despair slowly began to suffocate the God breath out of them.
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