Mental Illness and Jesus


So I’m crazy. 

At least that’s what society says. Of course the stigmas of depression have continued to improve as years pass by and we can see that people all around the world have it, but still, there are lot of people who don’t understand mental illness. Either because they have it and don’t know, or they just don’t have it. Which is awesome. 🙂

But for those of us who do understand and are also Christians, there is this post.

So I have mental illness all around me. As you know (hey frequent readers!) I myself have been diagnosed with depression. I’ve got anxiety, more anxiety, addiction, and ADHD hanging out in other people in my family and friends. And it’s a new learning experience every day.

First thing’s first. Jesus CAN fix anything. He totally can. Prayer works, and you should keep praying, no, matter, what. There have been plenty of times when I have been hopeless for the people around me with mental illness. And by nature of depression, I was pretty hopeless for a long time for myself. But, I have learned to not relent. God wants us to keep knocking on that door until He opens it. He desires healing – he desires peace for us. But, that doesn’t always mean that He’s going to answer in the way that we think He will. He’s going to answer in the way that is most effective for bringing us to Him.

I will tell you, being mentally ill will bring a person to Jesus. There’s not a lot more to do without actually going crazy. Trying to help someone with anxiety, depression, or ADHD will as well. And you know what? I’m thankful for that. Some of us are on meds. I used to think that they weren’t necessary. Jesus humbled me…sometimes that’s the tool he wants to use. Sometimes the meds can’t do it all and there’s some serious soul-digging that has to happen.

But through it all, Jesus is king. He knows that mental illness is just another piece of the fallen world, and the truth remains the truth – He has freedom for us. We may not know how healing will come in earthly terms, but we do know that it will come from Jesus.

Anyway…if you’re ill, or someone you know is, don’t give up. Beg for strength, mercy, healing. Keep your eyes on the goal. You may need to change the plan to get to the goal, but walk in with a shield of love, and see that healing will come, in some way. It will. So rest in that. You’re not at all alone.

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…because love wins.

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40 days to a Radical Life.


So yesterday I got quite a few new followers to my blog. (Ohhhh, heeeeyyyyy all!) One of them is a beautiful lady with a sweet blog herself. Here, don’t just take my word for it – check it out: https://laurabrookekeith.wordpress.com/.

She’s doing this sweet 40 day challenge dealio to be like Jesus. And…I’m gonna follow along with her. And do the things myself, cuz I feel like I should. Maybe you want to join me. I think you totally should.

Yesterday’s was this: TODAY’S DARE: The next 40 days are going to be radical… so today’s dare is simple. In Mark 6:21 Jesus invited His friends to go away with Him to rest. Rest is so important in today’s rushed and hurried world. Today, take comfort in something red, a red blanket, woolen socks… anything that brings you comfort and let it remind you that Jesus wants you to commit to R.E.S.T…. Radically Entrusting your Savior To-supply-all-your-needs.

I’ll let you all know how things go. Jesus loves you all.

…because love wins.

10 Things American Society Uses to Turn Men Into Boys


I’ve always been best friends with guys. It’s a long story as to why, but regardless, it’s taught me a lot about them. From the age 5 to 50. The relationship before the one I am currently in was abusive, painful, and needed to end when I ended it. While I felt the pain, the reason the hurt existed by that guy was not because of his choices alone. It’s a bunch of things. It’s what American society does to and about men. So here are 10 ways that America messes up men.

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1. It teaches them that they can have what they want, when they want it. Usually sex.
I’m not saying that all Americans aren’t this way (women included), but I am saying that men live under this belief most of the time. How can they not? Have you watched TV? What happens? The man thinks the women (usually all of them…) are “hot” (ew, such a gross word.) and then picks one that he wants, talks sexually to her, and then gets to have sex with her. Making him the king and her the prize. That’s not love. 

2. Pornography.
The ever-present-but-never-talked-about-issue of nearly all men. In college I came out of my nice naive state and learned how intense this stuff is. The most current statistic is that 68% of men take part in pornography each week. From what I can tell, I think that number should be much higher. And it’s devastating. It’s not real, but after so much absorption in it it’s nearly impossible for a man to even know that. Their brains and minds are taught that they can again, have whatever they want, when they want it. And that sex is an act, not a showing of love. Not an experience of love. Untying that in the mind of a sex addict is not something easy to do.

3. Women should be size zero. With D-sized breasts. And a thigh gap. And that’s what they’re worth.
So men don’t spend a lot of time around real women. I mean, they do. But society, and porn, and movies have them living in their heads a lot. So they may see a woman, but they may imagine them to be something else, or inherently think they need to look some other way than how they do. Because most women who are healthy have body fat, no thigh gap, and whatever sized breasts. But society (see Target’s ad mess up) doesn’t seem to think reality sells. Though they haven’t really tried that for a while.

4. Men don’t need to lead their families. 
Enter, sitcoms. Enter, The Bachelor. Enter Pop music. What is a man anyway? According to society, they’re someone who sits on the couch and watches sports and then picks what women they would like and can go to the club and pick any shorty they’d like. To use as they’d like. All while looking like some prize to these women to swoon over.

juan5. Men have lots of muscles. 
I don’t even know the origin of this. But I do know that men are just people. And while they like to pretend that they’re not insecure, porn lies about them as much as it lies about women. A strong man is not one who can bench the weight of his girlfriend times three. It’s someone who would step between anyone and his wife to keep her heart safe.

6. The need for “Bro-time.” 
I’m not saying that men don’t need men time. But what I am saying is that time with other men should not be spent as an “escape from your girlfriend or wife’s crazy mind and unrealistic expectations.”

7. Lack of vulnerability. 
Ask a man how he is. Any man. He’ll probably not tell you that the real deal is that he often doesn’t feel good enough, doesn’t know how to kick his sex addiction, and doesn’t know if he can be a good enough significant other or father. That’s because America doesn’t like vulnerability unless it has really big dramatic background music in the climax of the movie. And it’s usually not the man crying.

8. Men don’t need support. 
Check out Superman. Or Spiderman. They just fly around and save the world and aren’t supported by their women. They’re just always saving the women. Why those women can’t deal with anything on their own, I don’t really understand. But I do know that women need to be a lot better at holding their men up as the head of their families. Just tell them you’re proud of them. Just thank them for loving you. Just let them know you love them.

9. Men can’t have family and work. men
It’s like robbery on television or in the news to take a man from his career. How dare he be asked to come home and have dinner with his family? Shouldn’t he be respected for going out and “providing for his family?” Yeah, he should. But it’s also good for him to come home and be loved on. Men need that. Families need their man. To just be there and loving.

10. Men are everything. 
As much as women are expected to be something, men are too. But men aren’t perfect. A perfect man is the one who knows he’s not perfect, but lays his heart before Christ to be made perfect. The one who doesn’t know how to lead, but knows how to be led.

I’m not bashing. But I am tired of seeing men hurt. Because when men hurt, so does the rest of the world. If you’re a man who has stopped being a boy after the world tried to make you one, keep standing in that. If you’re a woman, don’t be afraid to be respected like you need to. And to support your man like he needs. We’re all just humans. And we all just need love.

…because love wins.

I’m a woman. My best friend is a man. We don’t intend to get married, and it’s awesome.


Ask my parents who my closest friends have been my entire life, and they’ll tell you it has always been them, my sister, and boys. Not in a weird always-crushing-and-being-a-hopeless-romantic kind of way, but in a hiking and biking and dancing and building and drama-isn’t-really-my-thing, and never has been kind of way.

Enter the year 2013. My best friend is a guy. Here we are.

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And, I’m a Christian.

Scandal.

Haha. I’m just kidding. But, only a little bit. I cannot even begin to express how hounded I have been by others in the church who were quick to ask me if my friend and I were dating, and when I said that we weren’t, be sure to tell me that it looked like we were. Duh. Hanging out with anyone can look like that these days. And they have always been sure to make sure they can make me feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, and that being best friends with the opposite sex is basically the seed of Satan. I wish I was exaggerating. No matter how good the “intention” may be, it’s not always good.

This entire post will make a point, but let’s start here. Gossip is gossip, even if you’re asking someone about their personal life and you’re a Christian. Is it your place to know? Are you even a close enough friend to ask? Should you respond with any sort of opinion without listening? Have you been in this place before, and do you know the deep hearts of the parties involved? Those are pretty important questions to ask. Because I assure you, if you don’t listen to me, nor seek to understand, I won’t be coming to you to speak anymore. And I’m not the only one.

The point is, be careful. And the other point is, don’t assume that others are always living in sin. It is possible that two people enjoy the same hobbies, and seek the same Lord, and have been able to live true siblingship in Christ. And it’s also possible that we could all learn a thing or 12 from that.

Now, moving on. I do know that opposite sex friendships are kind of a scary thing for most Christians, because we’ve all been (at least if we’re past our teens), in a place to be hurt by someone of the opposite sex. But this is where I take a stand. I don’t think that Jesus said that the girls were to stand on one side of the room and the boys were to stand in another room, just to make sure we don’t slip into adultery. No, just like every other sin, Jesus tells us to be alert. But He also tells us He’s overcome. So, if you’re wondering how exactly you can have a best friend who you don’t intend to marry, check out these helpful points.

There are definitely challenges that come with opposite sex friendships.

1) Hormones. Hello, I’m 23. And my best friend is 24. We’re basically hormonal animals. We never know when we’re going to be attracted to someone and we rarely know if we should actually act on what we feel. It’s likely that, if spending enough time with someone in a place, the idea of connecting on a romantic level will cross your mind 1 or 50 times. And, that’s normal. What matters then, is what you do with that. We’ll get to how to manage that further down.

2) Later relationships. Yup, if you’re best friends with someone, it’s not okay to later date them because they are about to like someone else and that might leave you with less time with them. Jesus is in control of that, and you’re not meant to marry everyone. Sit tight and be siblings. It’s actually a lot of fun, and if you continue to listen to Jesus, it’ll probably be more incredible as the years go on.

3) Society. Have you listened to pop music lately? If you have, and it’s the only thing you’d ever heard, you would assume that everyone is drunk, high, and having sex always. If you have only heard Miley Cyrus, you would assume that it’s actually IMPOSSIBLE to stop doing things that are bad for your person. Cuz that’s what the song says, and it must be true, right? Wrong. That’s not real life. We’ll get to that too.

Now, how do we deal with those?

1) Seek the Lord with a pure and open heart on your own. There is nothing quite like needing to have a pure heart that will continually push you to Christ. I love my best friend. He’s a big brother to me, and as 1 Corinthians says, love protects. If I really am seeking Christ in our relationship, I would always aim to protect his heart. I wouldn’t do things that I know will cause him to stumble, and he would protect me, doing the same. That’s love. And that leads to us knowing Christ more fully.

2) Communicate. I know, this seems simple, but that’s most of Satan’s hold in our lives. If he can keep us from speaking with each other and holding our lives out in the light, then we are going to be fumbling around in the dark with each other. And I can promise you, that’ll lead to a mess in more ways than one. Be honest. Be honest. Be honest. If you’re nervous about something, talk about it. Read the Bible. Apply truth. Don’t listen to your fear, and trust that in Christ, we actually can speak about all things.

3) Seek Christ together. I know that we can have non-Christian relationships like this, but I also know that without something to seek together, people run out of hobbies and make one another their hobbies really, really fast. Do not do that. If you’re not seeking Christ together, there’s a serious problem (in any relationship really). Do you care about this person? Then point them to Christ. And the reality is that they probably will do the same. My best friend and I worship and pray and encourage our friends together. We speak honestly and openly, and point out each other’s sin. And we feel so alive in that.

Now, why are these relationships worth it?

1) The Bible says so. Galatians 6:10 – “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith. “That means boys and girls. And we’re in the same family, under the same Father. Brother and sister. And that means that there must be some value in having fellowship with another in the body of Christ, no matter what gender they are.

2) There is a lot to learn from the opposite sex. A ton, in fact. Have questions about how you should be treated? Need to know if you should or shouldn’t date someone? There’s a good chance that the opposite sex (if they’re using their Biblical wisdom), will be able to guide you in that. And there’s an even better chance that they can help you heal from pain from that past. They shouldn’t fill a void, but they should be able to help you make sense of pain.

3) It’s a lot of fun. To find someone who understands you, and who is understood by you, is a wonderful thing. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have other friends (Most healthy relationships do have many other sources of energy…even if you’re married to your best friend.) but that doesn’t mean that you have to only have friends who are of the same sex because you’re afraid of the stumbling that it could lead to. I laugh a lot. And so does he. Because there are things that, as a female, I can think more solidly about than my friend can, and he himself can think more solidly about than I.

Of course, these relationships take some awareness, but so do friends who are of the same gender. Anyone can cause others to stumble. Even in sexual ways. The point is, eyes on Christ. Soak up Christ. Let Christ love you, and protect each other’s hearts. Maybe you’ll get married someday, but you were meant to be brother and sister before anything else. And for now, that’s all you have to be. At worst case, you and your future spouse have another best friend in the body of Christ forever.

Oh, and Jesus uses love. Always, and forever. Don’t stop Him.

And that’s awesome. 🙂

…because love wins.

PS: Join us in our newest ministry together: http://www.Facebook.com/LivingLikeJesus7

“I suffer with depression.”


“It’s the stigma that makes you hold it in and you hide it, because the stigma around depression in our society is very real. Unfortunately we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs to sign your cast. But when you say you have depression, they run away. We can’t procrastinate on something this important.”

This, my friend says it all really well. Please watch – understand depression.

Depression is real. It’s not weak.

Depression

…because love wins.

Who do you say I AM?


“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

“They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

“Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Pause. What does that mean? Webster, whatcha got?

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I wonder if they all already believed that and were like, “Well, yeah, duh, Peter. Obviously. Maybe His question was rhetorical? He obviously just caught about a bazillion fish for you. Or were you asleep for that?” And then Jesus has to be all like, “Calm down boys, no competition needed here. You can repent to Me for that later. I’m still here to save you.”

I mean, it could have happened. They’re humans. And men. I’m half-kidding. We’ve all been at a football game before. Men are good competitors.

Anyway…moving on.

gardenThe other options are something likened to stopping breathing or realizing that this is potentially a mental health problem on a grand scale. They could have all been thinking, “You know, a year ago I was just chillin’ with my money and now I’m hanging out with these other 11 guys that I’m not sure have a clue, walking around with this guy who prays in gardens when he should be sleeping. This seems like a good time to jump ship.” Or, they were just like…”Eh, whatever, I was bored anyway, and this could be fun.”

That last one is probably unlikely, but still possible. Still humans.

The final option is that they could have gotten it. And knew that this was the real thing. This guy showed up. He didn’t come all fancy based on world’s standards (They probably thought he’d show up in a Fisker Karma or something.) but sure did have something special about him. Maybe that was the point.

Jesus goes on,

“[He] strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will

save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Man. We just established that he’s the Messiah. And now he say to these guys, “Well, let’s go. Leave your whole life. You don’t need anything you’ve ever had before; just Me.”

sandals

Are you kidding me? I would have been like…”Um, my house, my donkey, my only book that I’ve got hidden in my backyard, my rice, my beans, my SANDALS! You’re just a guy – and we won’t get many showers travelling like you intend. Smelly and no iPhone. How can we make it?” (Who knows…Apple could have been there too.)

I think we all would have been. I also think it’s easy to think that these men were something special, that they saw something that made everything make sense in a way that it doesn’t now. I think we think it was easy for this men to do this.

But think about it. There’s no way in the world that they would have been able to just do this without a major struggle. It’s quite obvious that there were enough people around who didn’t think Jesus was the right One. And they thought that enough to murder Him.

Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t easier for them to believe than it is for us to.

But he was also talking about dying. And saving the world. And that catches my attention. And theirs.

It’s then also safe to say that it was right.

Think about your closest friends. Do you care what the world thinks about them? No, you don’t. You care about who they are. And you will follow them, be with them, and live life with them, because you know who they are.

The same applies to Jesus. We are just like Peter. Who do the athiests say Jesus is? The Mormons? The Muslims? Well, they say He’s something that He’s not.

But He says to you, “Child, who do you say I AM?”

Will you come?

…because love wins.

Jesus

Cited: Luke 9:18-27