Mental Health – Top 10

10. Adopt a learner’s perspective.

9. Have down time when you are not looking at a screen.

8. Ask, “Why am I feeling what I’m feeling?”

7. Spend quality time with others.

6. Don’t make decisions in the midst of strong emotions.

5. Remember, this too shall pass.

4. Get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and spend time outdoors.

3. Don’t rush to judgments – either about others or yourself.

2. Do one thing every day that scares you.

1. Remember that God is for you.

Giving Forgiveness

I found this to be a helpful explanation of forgiveness, taken from Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s book As For Me and My House, pages 79-81:

“For-give-ness is a holy, complete, unqualified giving.”

Giving Up: “Forgiveness is a willing relinquishment of certain rights. The one sinned against chooses not to demand her rights of redress for the hurt she has suffered. She does not hold her spouse accountable for his sin, nor enforce a punishment upon him, nor exact a payment from him, as in ‘reparations’. … In this way she steps outside the systems of law; she steps into the world of mercy. She makes possible a whole new economy for their relationship: not the cold-blooded and killing machinery of rules, rights, and privileges, but the tender and nourishing care of mercy, which always rejoices in the growth, not the guilt or the pain, of the other.” Continue reading

The Good-ness of Anger

Who hasn’t gotten angry? Anger is such a pervasive emotion that it touches everyone’s life. We get angry with the driver that cut us off in rush-hour traffic. We get angry with our boss, our spouse, our children, and the checker at the supermarket. We get angry with the people who perpetuate injustices in this world.

Unfortunately, we oftentimes take a simplistic approach towards anger. “I want it to roll off my back like water off a duck,” we say. We then try and replace our anger with phrases and behaviors designed to calm us. (See Frank Costanza’s attempt at “Serenity now!”) But does this work? Does this get to the heart of the problem? Continue reading

What is my aim?

Weeding. If there ever was an unending job, this is it. The weeds in my garden were thick. And plentiful. The truism states that the best way to root out weeds is, well, by the roots. Yet, the longer I worked, the hotter it became, the more tired my fingers grew, the prospect of just ripping off the green was tempting. “I can grab a whole handful and be done with this,” I thought. My work became sloppy, and my goal shifted from quality to being satisfied with surface-level appearances. Continue reading

When I want to be the elm…

I was reminded the other day about an elm tree that grew in my parents’ yard during my childhood. Though it wasn’t good for climbing, it was nonetheless impressive. This tree had two defining characteristics: 1) It grew. Elms typically are fast-growing trees, attaining stature in a relatively short period of time. 2) Because of its quick growth, it often would litter our yard with twigs and branches after a storm. (Needless to say, this frequently added to my chores in keeping the yard looking presentable.)

A number of years ago, my parents had to cut down this elm tree. It had been a beautiful tree, but simply wasn’t sustainable in its growth. Contrast this with the neighboring tree, an oak. Continue reading

A Well-Lived Life

I have had the pleasure (and the frustration, at times) of living in both rural and urban locales during my life. As I’ve done some pondering during these beginning stages of CarePoint, some important aspects seem to be reflected in these rural and urban settings – urban environments create the possibility of greater community while rural environments create the possibility of greater reflection. It is both of these – community and reflection – that we believe are essential to a well-lived life. Without community, we are in danger of going astray or becoming self-focused. There is a strong possibility that we end up justifying or rationalizing our behaviors because we lack accountability. Without reflection, though, we are in danger of pursuing things like a dog pursuing the next squirrel. Here, the ditch we might fall into is sacrificing depth by filling our lives to (or even, beyond) the brim. Both of these paths leave us living a superficial life.

Here’s where CarePoint comes in. In our own lives, we have found it beneficial to have someone objective to walk alongside us or to lean on when the silence or loneliness is too heavy a burden. As such, we believe that the process of reflecting and opening ourselves up to others (i.e. living in community) can be healing, encouraging, and strengthening. Continue reading