Category: Christian Counseling

Video Blog: Anxiety and Philippians 4, Reading it Differently

This week I am trying something new…a video blog….and now apparently a YouTube channel. Yikes! Not sure about this. It feels super vulnerable but I’m hoping it is a new way to share helpful content with you guys.

Anxiety is something we all face and I am sure you’ve heard Philippians 4:6 and maybe you even get irritated with that verse because it is asking you to do something that seems impossible. How can I really be anxious for nothing?? I want to challenge us to look at this scripture with new eyes as we start in verse 4 to get the full context.

What stood out to me the most as I was talking was how God does this work in us of reducing our anxiety….it’s not from us…it’s from Him. Now that is good news.

Things I have learned already about video blogging: landscape mode is best!! Oh well, one take and here it is. Please feel free to leave comments or direct message me on topics you would like to see covered.

I’ve attached the scripture (with my notes) below!!

Originally posted on my YouTube Channel: Counseling4Hope


Anxiety and Philippians 4

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Wanting an Instant Fix: How Our Instant-Upload Culture has Distorted Our Perspective on Change

Instant FixInstant fix. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Isn’t that what we’ve come to expect….a instant quick fix. I wonder if we have the right view of change? That may sound like a silly question. But seriously, how long do you think real life change takes?

You see I’m wondering if we have unrealistic expectations when it comes to a lot of things, especially change. It’s not our fault. The rapidly changing world of technology has lulled us into this mindset.

Today we can quickly take a picture and immediately edit it and share it with all our friends. There’s an actor’s name we can’t remember or some information we need…no problem, just grab your phone and search for it. Need to know how to get somewhere, just type it in the maps app and bam, up come directions. Want to see a movie? Check for times quickly on your phone and even get tickets.

The rapidly changing world of technology has lulled us into a instant fix mindset. Click To Tweet

I know I’m about to sound really old…but I remember a time when we had to WAIT for all of those things. We had to drop film off (praying and hoping we took one good picture) and wait a week to pick it up. We had to drive to the library to research anything. We had to find a map, figure out the route ourselves, and figure out how to fold the darn thing back up. We had to call the movie theater and hope it didn’t have a busy signal (that’s the beeping sound when the line was busy…man I’m feeling old) so we could sit through the list of times recorded by the theatre….or better yet and simpler, we would just drive to the theatre and pick a movie that was showing.

I’m not even scratching the surface of how life has changed over the last 30 years.

Now I am a HUGE fan of this advancement in technology. Cell phones and apps have revolutionized everything and I am grateful. So much has been simplified and streamlined. Yet, we’ve lost a few things along the way.


So much comes easy now that we’ve forgotten life's not that simple. Click To Tweet

So many things come so quickly and easily now that we’ve forgotten that not everything in life happens that way. Sometimes things happen in life and there isn’t an instant fix. In fact, an instant fix would not really even solve the problem. Some things in life are meant to take time.

Some things in life are meant to take time. Click To Tweet

Now we are willing to wait for pleasant things (aka…standing in line for concert tickets, roller coasters, meeting someone famous, really good food, etc.) But, are we willing to wait for things that aren’t as easy but take time? Things like:

Healing from Betrayal

Healing Relationship Problems

Healing from Anxiety

Healing from Depression

Healing from Trauma

Healing from Abuse

Changing Distorted Thinking

Healing from Perfectionism

Walking through Grief

No one wants to walk through those hard things. No one. But we all will face one if not several in our lifetime. So many come into counseling and want to rush the process. They don’t like the emotions they feel, it takes too long, it’s not easy, or simple. So they avoid, numb, deny, or distract themselves with more technology, another relationship, or some other dysfunctional coping strategy. This delays real healing.

So many come into counseling and want to rush the process delaying healing. Click To Tweet

Healing the body, the mind, the soul, or relationships takes time. It’s not a quick insta-change process. Yet real healing and real change is worth the wait and perseverance it takes to get there. Don’t be afraid of a slower process. It’s normal, good and necessary for lasting change.

Yet real healing and real change is worth the wait and perseverance it takes to get there. Click To Tweet


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The Troubled Journey: A Parable of Life, Obstacles, and Hope

This week I am excited to share a parable written by my son.  It’s an amazing picture of what I’ve observed personally in my own life and as a counselor who sits with many people on a troubled journey.

Troubled Journey

There was once a person, who sat, troubled. For this person had been on a journey, and had come to a cliff blocking their path. They saw no bridge to cross it, and saw no way around it for the air was too dark. So they sat, wondering if their journey had come to an end. After what seemed like a very long time of sitting and staring, they began to question if they need only walk off the cliff. And up they stood, with rash, to walk off. 

But then they saw something approaching them in the darkness. A spirit had come to them. The spirit seemed to have a familiar face and they greeted the spirit as one does. Then the spirit turned them around. And all of a sudden, they felt comforted by a presence that had always been with them but they had never noticed. They saw that the path behind them was light, and they saw many faces all smiling towards them. Many faces of which they knew as old friends, and many faces of which were unknown to them.

Guided by the comforting presence they walked to the smiling people and told them their problem. Then all of the smiling people walked to the edge and began to form a bridge. All together the smiling people formed a bridge and for the first time the person, once troubled, could see the other side of the cliff. So they walked across the bridge with the comforting presence. While walking across, they almost fell many times, but whenever they did the comforting presence carried them back to balance.

Eventually, they crossed the bridge and stood at the other side that once did not exist to them. The smiling people stood together with them and they began to walk the new path they saw. And through the time walking this path they crossed many cliffs where the smiling people made bridges for them, and they helped make many bridges for others of the smiling people who then frowned. But they could always tell that the comforting presence was with them, either guiding or carrying.

Written by Nathan Thompson

Everyone sees something a little bit different in this parable. Please comment below with your thoughts and reflections. Like it? Please share it on social media. There is always hope!

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The Happiness Myth: Embracing The Power of Radical Acceptance

radical acceptanceAre you happy? How much time do you spend thinking about happiness? Everyone seems to be chasing it. The pursuit of happiness is ingrained in Americans. Do you think happiness is an achievable, permanent state? I think a lot of us do. Most clients mention happiness as one of their goals for counseling. I hear a lot of people say things like “I’m just not happy”; “I just want to be happy”; “Life shouldn’t be so hard”.

As I listen to people speak about happiness, I’ve observed a common definition of happiness. Most view happiness as the fulfillment of personal desires and pleasure and/or the absence of struggle, conflict, or pain.

Unfortunately, this definition of happiness describes a fleeting, temporary experience not a permanent state. This collides head on with our expectation that happiness be permanent. We freak out thinking something is wrong with us because we aren’t happy. If our expectation of life is perpetual happiness, we will find ourselves continually frustrated. Because life is full of difficult circumstances, painful emotions, and challenging people.

There’s a great concept in psychology called radical acceptance. I’ve thought about this idea a lot this week. Basically radical acceptance is accepting all of what is instead of resisting reality. You may not think you resist reality but you probably do. Radical acceptance involves accepting your circumstances, your emotions, your past, and your pain.

You see, we add to our pain by resisting. We resist reality, we resist emotions, and we resist our circumstances. One way we resist is by dwelling on how awful something is and wishing it were different (or desperately praying for God to intervene and change it). Take a moment and think about what situation or emotion you are resisting? How are you resisting? Radical acceptance involves accepting reality for what it is even if it isn’t what we want it to be.

Radical acceptance involves accepting reality for what it is even if its not what we want. Click To Tweet

Acceptance isn’t approval. Much of life falls outside our control: we may lose a job, a close family member dies, a marriage ends, a traumatic event happens, or we may become ill. All of these situations are not things we would choose or approve of. However, we can radically accept that they are a real part of our life. Failing to do this actually increases our suffering and delays healing, growth, and problem solving.

Acceptance isn’t approval. Click To Tweet

Acceptance is also not surrender. We accept what is in our past and in our present moment. Change comes by what we do next…in the future. Accepting reality allows us to let go of what we have no control over and look at the power we do have. It is a shift towards resilience which is the ability to recover from difficulties. Resilience first begins with accepting that the difficulty exists.

Acceptance is also not surrender or hopelessness. Click To Tweet

This is not easy. Radical acceptance is a deeply internal and difficult experience because our nature fights against this idea.

Radical acceptance  involves accepting:

  • reality for what it is
  • that everything has a cause
  • that life can be worth living even during painful circumstances.

Now I think radical acceptance is a part of faith for the Jesus follower. The Bible teaches that God is sovereign and that suffering is a part of life. Jesus radically accepted that he must go to the cross even though he experienced suffering and betrayal. Paul radically accepted tremendous hardship for the sake of spreading the gospel. Nowhere in scripture is happiness taught. What is taught is contentment in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13).

So here’s what blew my mind this week….contentment requires radical acceptance. Contentment is a deeper satisfaction despite circumstances. This is sustainable.  Unlike happiness, contentment is rooted in acceptance: acceptance of reality as it is and the acceptance of God’s unchanging truth.

Unlike happiness, contentment is rooted in acceptance. Click To Tweet Contentment requires radical acceptance of reality and God's unchanging truth Click To Tweet

These two ideas increase the power of radical acceptance

  • I can radically accept reality. We live in a broken world with broken people.Whatever is going on in your life that is outside of your control, accept it. That difficult person, accept them for who they are. You may wish they would change but you have no power to change them.That challenge you are facing (loss of job, physical disability, loss of a relationship, unfair treatment, large amount of work for school, the political chaos right now etc), accept it. It is what is.

    Wishing circumstances were different doesn’t change reality and doesn’t empower you for the next moment. Accept it. Change, growth, and hope begin with acceptance.

    You can radically accept reality Click To Tweet

  • I can radically accept God at his word. God is good and works all things for his glory and my good. His definition of my good may look very different than mine. Yet, I can trust what God says and walk by faith regardless of what I feel.I can radically accept myself because of who God says I am (Psalm 139, Ephesians 1).I can radically accept that I am saved, justified, and made right because of Jesus.

    I can radically accept that I live in a broken world and will have trouble. I can radically accept that God has overcome (John 16:33).

  • Radical acceptance brings contentment, peace, and rest. (Matthew 11:28-29)You can radically accept God at his word. Click To Tweet

What are you resisting accepting?

How has this resistance increased your suffering?

How might acceptance empower you for what’s next?

Struggling or want to learn more about radical acceptance? Follow my social media this week for additional articles and information. Need help, reach out and contact a good counselor.

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Struggling? Experiencing Trouble? Need A Very Present Help??

Present HelpI’ve decided to write occasionally about thoughts God shows me during my personal Bible study time. This week I’ve been really thinking about Psalm 46:2. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” This is something I think we as Christians have a great intellectual understanding of but struggle to really grasp it with our hearts and soul.

We know God is for us and gives us strength and we know that we can turn to Him in times of trouble. Yet, I’m not sure we really believe He is a present help. I mean we know eventually it will all work out when Christ returns but do we believe He is a present help? Not just a present help but a very present help? If we really believed it, I think we would be less worried and stressed. So what keeps us from experiencing God’s very present help?

I think it may be connected to our ability to surrender to Him. We like to be in control and we like to know what is going to happen next. If we know, then we can prepare for the bad or rest in knowing that it will work out. Right? But God doesn’t help us in that way…He doesn’t tell us what is coming or what is next. So maybe we don’t experience God’s present help because we don’t surrender to His way of helping us.

God is a Sheild“This God—His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him. Psalms 18:30

This passage indicates that God wants us to take refuge in Him. We go to Him. He wants us to confidently “draw near” as Hebrews 4:16 tells us. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.” So maybe God’s help isn’t always taking away our trouble but being with us in our trouble. Perhaps He wants us to come to Him, seek Him, and find that He is enough.

God is not for my comfort or my easy happy life. God is for God and His glory. He gets glory because He creates, love, saves, is merciful, extends grace, is patient, redeems, and restores. God is doing big things and wants us to join Him. He is working in good times and bad to change us and mold us. He wants us to be a part of ministering to broken people and saving lost people. We weren’t promised an easy happy life without trouble. But we were promised God’s very present help in trouble. You may not feel it but it’s there. Scripture is very clear on that. It doesn’t say you will feel differently as God is a present help OR that God will take away your trouble….it just says He IS a present help IN trouble.

So draw near (Heb. 4:16). Gaze on the beauty of God (Psalm 40:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Remind yourself of His truths (2 Peter 1). Meditate on how much He loves you (Psalm 139, Ephesians 1). Worship God, know He is near, tell Him everything, surrender to Him, and He will give you peace (Philippians 4:4-7).

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

Maybe God’s help isn’t always taking away our trouble but being with us in our trouble. Click To Tweet

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Small Steps to Big Change. Pushing Past the Overwhelm.

Goals. Change.

Do you want to make a big change in your life? Do you have a goal that seems so far off that you’re overwhelmed by the very thought of taking steps to reach it? So many of us don’t take steps to our goals because we are overwhelmed by change and all that it takes to reach it.

So many of us don’t take steps to our goals because we are overwhelmed by all that it takes to reach it. Click To Tweet


Take a deep breath in. Slowly exhale.

Visualize your goal.

Is it growing as a person? Dealing with anger, resentment, bitterness? Healing from a past pain or trauma? Is it finding a new job? Going back to school? Improving a relationship?

Whatever it is visualize it and visualize you’ve met the goal. What emotions come up when you think about achieving that goal? Write them down.

Now imagine you are a year in the future and you’ve taken no steps toward this goal? What emotions come up?

Now write down the emotions that come up when you think about starting to change and move toward your goal?

What is one step, one change you can make this week that is a small step toward your goal?

See small changes and small steps get us to big goals. No one ever leaped over a mountain. They climbed it one small step at a time. Overwhelm is a normal experience when facing a big climb. Yet, nothing ever worth anything came easy.

See small changes and small steps get us to big goals. Click To Tweet

You can do it! You can take one small step after another. Before you know it you will be able to see your mountaintop. Grab your bravery, strength, and perseverance and take a step!

Grab your bravery, strength, and perseverance and take a step! Click To Tweet

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14

What do you need to forget? What do you need to focus on? What is the next small step toward your big goal? You got this!

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Guard Your Heart. A How-To Guide.

Guard Heart

We hear this phrase a lot: guard your heart.

What does this mean?

Is guarding your heart a defensive maneuver meant to shield us from hurt?

If that is true, does it mean isolating ourselves from others?

Is it strictly for those that are dating?

If it is about protection, that seems to contradict what God tells us other places in scripture. God commands us to love, be light, have compassion, and be humble. How can we do that and guard our heart? How on earth does this all connect? C.S. Lewis captured the tension in his book The Four Loves. 

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

To love is to be vulnerable. Click To Tweet

Loving clearly puts our heart at risk and yet God calls us to love Him and love others. So, what on earth does guard your heart mean? I’m not sure I know the exact answer but I have discovered a few things that I think are key:

How to Guard Your Heart

  • Anchor your identity in Jesus: We could end the conversation here really. The first part of Proverbs 4 talks repeatedly about gaining insight and wisdom. Proverbs defines wisdom as the fear of the Lord and insight as the knowledge of God (Proverbs 9:10). So in context, we guard our hearts by knowing, loving, and pursuing a relationship with God. This relationship is the only secure, safe relationship. The only one that won’t hurt or disappoint us. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us how deceitful our hearts really are. As a result of our deceitful hearts, we seek to find our identity in things other than God. In doing so, our hearts are left unguarded. Life and relationships are full of hurt. The intensity of the hurt and the ability to recover depends on where you place your identity. Is it in God? If it is, then when life becomes hard and painful your boat won’t sink. Is it in a job, talent, or relationship? Watch out…you anchor is thrown into a neighboring boat and a storm is coming. Anchoring your identity in the depth of God’s love for you allows us to love, be vulnerable, and risk because we know we are first and foremost forever loved by God. Perhaps thats why God commands us to love Him first before we can love others. (Luke 10:27). Click here to read more: We Dig: The Daily Struggles with Addictions and Idolatry and Identity Attacked.
  • Know and pursue your passions: We are all different…we have different strengths, different weaknesses, different temperaments, different life experiences, and different passions. Frequently, we compare ourselves to others and feel less than. Comparison can drive our heart away from God and cause us to miss the unique person He created us to be. Comparison can drive our heart away from God and cause us to miss the unique person He created us to be. Click To Tweet

    guard your heart expectationsKnowing and celebrating how you are uniquely made serves to protect us from comparison and guide our choices. Not sure about how God designed you…seek out personality tests that can help you figure it out. Draw close to God and ask him to show you. Consider what gives you energy and excites you. All these things will help you on your journey to discover your purpose and passions.

  • Have realistic expectations: Expectations unconsciously drive our emotional reactions. If what we expect happens, then we tend not to notice it. BUT, if what we expect doesn’t happen….then watch out….we feel violated, irritated, annoyed…and we react. All of this happens in a split second without a lot of thought involved. The problem comes if our expectations are unreasonable and unrealistic. See we live in a broken world with other broken people. We want (and need) others to give us grace but we often don’t expect to have to give it to others. People demonstrate who they are over time. Whether you agree with how they choose to be in the world or not, they are who they are. Are your expectations based on the real and not what you wish or hope for? Life involves difficulty and struggle. Do you expect things to be difficult at times or do you have idealistic expectations? Realistic expectations help guard our hearts from unnecessary emotional reactions and pain. Read more about expectations and reactions.
Expectations unconsciously drive our emotional reactions. Click To Tweet
  • Keep safe friends: Safe people accept us for who we are and don’t try to change us. They are trustworthy, compassionate, real, and care for us as guard heart with boundarieswe care for them. These are (or should be) your best friends. These friends help you guard your heart because they love you, know you, and accept you. If you find yourself withdrawing from these safe friends, think about why. Reflect on the person or circumstances. Pulling away from safe people is a warning sign that we may not be guarding our heart well. If we are in close relationship with people who are not safe, than our heart is unguarded because we are in relationship with someone that doesn’t love the real you. This can leave your heart unnecessarily exposed. Read more about safe people here.
  • Set boundaries when needed. Fences around our yards are the best visual for boundaries that I can think of. If a tree falls in my yard, than I know it is my responsibility to clean it up. If a tree falls in my neighbor’s yard, that’s not my responsibility but his. We all have personal boundaries around our soul. They are emotional, physical, mental, and relational. Just like a fence, we all have imaginary gates that allow things in and out of our soul “yard”. Some of us never learned we had a gate and so our gate is stuck open….everything comes in to impact our soul. Learning how to close your gate, learning what is yours to own, and learning what to take in or let go is all a part of boundaries. Boundaries guard our hearts. Read more about boundaries here.
Boundaries guard our hearts. Click To Tweet
  • be real guard your heartBe real: We all love people who are real. Who don’t hide…who share their imperfections…and own their strengths and weaknesses. It draws us to them. These people appear confident and we envy their confidence. It’s not confidence as much as embracing who they are and being real. Hiding our imperfections and weaknesses while only presenting our strengths or a mask breeds shame and self-criticism. This is highly toxic to our heart.  “Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” (Brene’ Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection). Embracing who we are (warts and all) and bravely sharing that with the world guards our heart. “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”  (Brene’ Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection). Read more about embracing imperfection.

    So guarding our heart is more complex than most people think and it’s definitely not about  isolation and protection. It’s loving God first and then loving others in a healthy way. So how are you doing at guarding your heart? Need help with any of these ideas….seek out solid resources or find a counselor. There is always hope!

Guarding your heart is about loving God first and then loving others in a healthy way. Click To Tweet

If you like what you read, please comment below or share on social media. ❤️


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5 Anxiety Management Tips

anxiety management tipsSeeking anxiety management tips that really work? Tired of struggling? Worn-out and exhausted by anxiety and stress? Want something different? We all struggle with anxiety and stress on some level. Yet, some of us experience it at more intense levels. These anxiety management tips are the most frequent things I teach in my counseling practice. I’m going to give them to you for FREE! So take a deep breath, get comfortable, relax, and keep reading.

Anxiety is a powerful emotion that can develop into a vicious cycle.  It may start for one reason but the cycle can continue for different reasons.  See my previous post on anxiety to understand how this cycle starts and continues.

anxiety cycleNow, understanding anxiety is helpful but what someone struggling with anxiety really needs is in the moment help!  When in the midst of anxiety, the natural response is to escape NOW whatever situation you’ve decided is causing this response.  Unfortunately, this  can lead to increased anxiety either now or in the future.

Aaaah! So what can you do?  What does the Bible say?  What does the research say?  Is there hope?

YES!  There is HOPE for those brave people willing to try something different.  Let me tell you, I am serious about the word brave!  It takes incredible bravery to face any kind of fear head on and I am humbled by those I’ve seen take these steps.  To me, you are a real hero!  

It takes incredible bravery to face any kind of fear head on! Click To Tweet

Below are methods for dealing with anxiety that I teach in my counseling practice. These are proven techniques that are both psychologically and Biblically sound. 

5 Anxiety Management Tips

  1. Accept the anxiety. Stay with me…I know it sounds crazy but give yourself permission to experience the anxiety. Instead of trying to distract or get rid of the anxiety…acknowledge it…expect it. This emotion is trying to speak to you. What is it saying? This turns the tables on the anxious experience. Instead of anxiety being the uninvited guest barges in your house, it becomes the welcomed messenger.Instead of trying to distract or get rid of the anxiety...acknowledge it...expect it. Click To Tweet
  2. anxiety management tipsCalm the physical body:  The physical response to anxiety is so overwhelming that it’s extremely scary.  Fear is a physical experience because our body is preparing to fight or run. That is a natural and normal response to fear. When we experience fear:  all the blood in our body moves to our legs, our breathing and heart rate increase, and certain hormones are released. This all happens to protect us but often in our culture, we don’t need to run or fight. So how can we short circuit this physical cycle? With deep slow breathing. Take a deep slow breath in (count to 4)….Hold (count to 4)…Breathe out slow (count to 4). Repeat as many times as needed, till the anxiety comes down. Pay attention to your breath…imagine you are breathing in calm and breathing out fear. Practice this type of breathing when you are not anxious so it is easier to do in the midst of panic. Scripture tells us we have the power to calm ourselves in the face of fear.  “I have made myself calm and content like a young child in its mother’s arms. Deep down inside me, I am as content as a young child…put your hope in the Lord both now and forever.” Psalm 131:2-3How can we short circuit the body's response to anxiety? With deep slow breathing Click To Tweet
  3. Focus on the Present Moment:  This just means being fully present in the current moment.  So much of our worry and fear is focused around something that happened in the past or what might happen in the future.anxiety management tipsThe present moment is all we really have power over. Focusing on the present moment brings us into a space we have power in and it focuses our mind. The psychological term is mindfulness.For the Christian, this has two parts:Being fully present with yourself in the current moment.  This involves taking the focus off of your anxiety/fear and placing it onto the observable world around you.  Using your senses, evaluate what you hear, see, taste, touch, or smell.  Start describing you immediate present moment.  Name 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you touch, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. Sometimes just observing the world with our senses can bring mental calm.  When Jesus deals with his disciple’s anxiety, He points out what He observes in the present moment around them. So much of our worry and fear is focused around the past or what might happen in the future. Click To Tweet Observing the world with our senses can bring mental calm. Click To Tweet

    “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?   Matthew 6: 25-30

    Being fully present in the current moment with God.  God is always with you no matter your experience.  Remembering that in the middle of panic is one of the ways the Bible instructs us to handle the difficult situations we encounter.  Jesus reminds his disciples of this in Matthew 6.  God calls us continually to come to Him for REST.

    God is always with you no matter your experience. Click To Tweet

    Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6: 31-34

    “Be still, and know that I am God.”   Psalm 46:9

    “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him, fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices.”  Psalm 37:7

    You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.  Isaiah 46:8

    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28

    “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

    You can read more about mindfulness, here.

  4.  Challenge anxious thoughts:  Thoughts are powerful and most of us believe whatever we think.  In addition, we develop thinking habits over time.  Do any of these habits sound familiar to you:

    Negative thinking

    Jumping to conclusions

    Predicting an outcome

    Comparing yourself to others

    Reading other people’s minds

    Critical internal voice


    Harsh judgments of self and others

    Thoughts are powerful and most of us believe whatever we think. Click To Tweet

    If you identify with any of these thinking patterns (and let’s be honest, we all do this on some level) then let’s start here.  You may anxiety management tipsnot even realize that those thoughts are leading to anxiety….but it is! That is why anxiety must be accepted and listened to. It is telling you that something is off…often what’s off is our thinking. Learning how to challenge our thoughts and change our internal dialogue will dramatically change our experience.  

    But how?  Start by:  1) Giving yourself permission to question your thoughts 2)Journal your thoughts, 3) Question whether your thoughts are true  or balanced, and 4) Consider alternative self-compassionate thoughts.  If you struggle with this, find a good counselor who can help you.

    Scripture tells us to:

    Pay attention to our thoughts:  “For as a man thinks within himself, so is he” Proverbs 23:7

    Renew our mind.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2  

    Evaluate  and recognize truthful and beneficial thoughts.  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32  “Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things.”  Philippians 4:8

    Read more about challenging your thoughts here.

  5. Look at your heart:  What we are anxious about reveals what we value and treasure.  I know that’s tough to hear but it’s truth.  Matthew 6:21 tells us that “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Jesus tells people this right before he instructs them not to worry.  Our worry reveals what we value.  For some people, it is safety, for others control, for some it’s how they perform, and for others it’s the image others have of them.Worry reveals what we value. Click To TweetWhat is deep behind your fear?  What are you placing at higher value than God?  Do you really trust that God is good?God is enough. God is in control.  God is good.  God is at work. God can be trusted. Your identity is settled.

    anxiety management tips“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”  Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!  My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,  “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3: 18-24

Cling to GRACE:  All of the above things will help you manage and deal with your anxiety.  After some consistent work, you will start to see your anxiety reactions decrease.  However, anxiety may still sneak up on you.  None of us are perfect nor will we achieve that status till God makes all things new.  You know what is awesome?  “There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)  and your perfect record before God as a Christian is the sin free life of Jesus! Cling to that grace! Take a deep breath and start again!  There is always hope!

Your perfect record before God as a Christian is the sin-free life of Jesus. Click To Tweet

Don’t be afraid.  Don’t give up.  The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty enough to save you.  He will take great delight in you.  The quietness of his love will calm you down.  He will sing with joy because of you.”  Zephaniah 3:16-17

If you like what you read, please comment below or share on social media. ❤️

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Identity Attacked

The idea of identity and its significance to our mental and emotional health has been rolling around in my head the last several weeks. Our ability to challenge lies, face fears, and stand up to temptation is all connected to our identity. So what is identity? It’s who, at the core of our being, we are…how in our own minds, we define ourselves. As I reflected on this idea…I came across a passage I have read many times.

matthew3Matthew 3:16-4:3. The temptation of Jesus comes immediately after his baptism. God declares His identity.

“My Beloved Son”.

It is set.


Not up for debate or argument.

Yet, with each temptation, Satan starts by questioning His set, established identity.

“If you are the son of God….”.

If you are? Are you kidding? God, the Creator of the Universe just said who He was! He’s God’s beloved Son! There’s no need for Him to prove it by doing anything.


Temptation begins with the questioning of our fixed identity. Click To Tweet

Yet here is where the temptation begins…with identity. See, your identity as a child of God is SET.  ESTABLISHED.  Identity defined by God's loveSETTLED.

It’s not up for debate.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and SO WE ARE.” 1 John 3:1

But our temptations start here too…with us questioning our set, established identity. We doubt. We wonder. We don’t feel good enough or worthy. We question. We listen to our shame.

Identity matters. Who we believe we are and where we get our value anchors our soul to something. Anchors keep boats from drifting due to wind or current.

Do you anchor your identity in the solid, oceans deep truth that you are a child of God? Or, do you anchor your identity in a neighboring boat. It may be your children, your job, your spouse, a close relationship, your possessions, your image or any other thing. Can you imagine if boats in the ocean threw anchors into each other? They would all SINK! Seriously, it would be chaos. There is only one solid place to anchor your identity.

Identity Anchor


God knows we will struggle with this. “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 1 John 2:28

This verse says that the secret to anchoring our identity in Christ is to abide. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9

Abide means to rest, dwell, accept, and to act in accordance with.
Even when we don’t feel it, abiding in Christ will help us have confidence in our identity. God knows our tendency is to shrink from Him in shame. That’s what we do with other people when we screw up, offend them, disobey, or have conflict. We avoid, hide, or distance ourselves from them. Yet God wants us to draw near.

Identity matters. Who we believe we are anchors our soul to something. Click To Tweet

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of gracethat we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

Jesus understands. Someone questioned His identity, too. He’s been asked to prove Himself, too. He went to the cross so your identity as a child of God can be permanently and forever FIXED!

Jesus understands. Someone questioned His identity, too. Click To Tweet

Let us with CONFIDENCE draw NEAR to the throne of GRACE to receive MERCY and HELP in our time of NEED.

What a remarkable phrase. You don’t have to have it all together, be perfect, clean yourself up, or have it all figured out to confidently draw near to God. It’s the exact opposite. We confidently draw near to find the help we desperately need!

You don’t have to have it all together to confidently draw near to God. It's the opposite. Click To Tweet



He wants you to!!!!!

Beloved, draw near to Jesus and rest in His work on YOUR behalf! Know that your identity is anchored securely in Jesus. Not in what you do. Not in your relationships. Not in what’s been done to you. It’s in Christ!

Beloved, draw near to Jesus and rest in His work on YOUR behalf! Click To Tweet



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Embracing Imperfection and Finding Freedom

perfection masquerades as goodThat’s a strange thought for me. Embracing imperfection. Several years ago, I sat in my counselor’s office and he challenged me with this idea.

Hi, my name is Aimee and I struggle with perfectionism. Anyone who knows me well will laugh at that statement…because it’s painfully true. I’m a first born, high-achiever, minister’s daughter. I grew up with eyes watching me, looking to me (or so I thought). Perfectionism was born and rooted deep in my heart.

Perfectionism masquerades as something good. Who wouldn’t want to strive for excellence or success in all things? Yet, it comes with BIG cost…insecurity, self-doubt, and lots of SHAME.

See perfectionism is impossible…

Let that sink in a minute.



Perfectionism masquerades as something good. Click To Tweet


No one is perfect; no one functions at that high level. We all know this deep down. Perfection is a mirage that leaves us in a desert wasteland, dry and thirsty.

Perfection is a mirage that leaves us in a desert wasteland, dry and thirsty. Click To Tweet

How can this be, you ask? How can something presumably good lead us so astray?

Perfectionism brings SHAME. It communicates, “be perfect and you’re okay”. When your humanity kicks inPerfection leaves us dry and you mess up, perfectionism shouts, “something is wrong with you because you aren’t perfect.” Cue the shame and unending self-doubt and self-loathing.

Here’s the light bulb moment….perfectionism and abuse communicate the same message.

Both speak condemning shame and inadequacy. Both shout, “something is wrong with you.” Both abuse and deceive us.

So how do we get free?

By embracing our humanity, weaknesses, flaws, mistakes, warts and all. By sharing our imperfections with those in our life. By living life fully transparent and real. There’s freedom here. Scary, vulnerable, beautiful freedom.





By embracing our humanity, weaknesses, flaws, mistakes, warts and all. Click To Tweet

You see perfectionism is often image and identity driven. You want others to see you as a “have it all together” person. You fear failure because you see it as your definition.

But failure doesn’t define you; it’s an experience to learn from. Identity isn’t in what you do or don’t do. Identity is rooted in something deeper; it’s who you are. We are all broken people living in a broken world with other broken people. We are human. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we fail. What’s beautiful about us IS our imperfections. It’s what unites us and sets us free.

What’s beautiful about us IS our imperfections.. Click To Tweet Owning my many imperfections, has freed me from the tyranny of shame. Click To Tweet

For me, owning my many imperfections, has freed me from the tyranny of shame that used to beat me up mentally when I failed. I think the biggest Aha moment for me in my own journey was this thought: “If I am perfect than I have no need for Jesus.” So beloved, I will revel in my imperfections because Jesus is so much better. I will trade SHAME for GRACE and experience REST and FREEDOM. My mistakes and failures remind me of His perfection in my place. Before God, the perfection I long for is mine, not because of my goodness or excellence but because of Christ’s goodness and excellence.

I will trade SHAME for GRACE and experience REST and FREEDOM. Click To Tweet My mistakes and failures remind me of His perfection in my place. Click To Tweet

Imperfection Gets Grace

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” 2 Corinthians 11:30

 “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

“Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron….For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son (Jesus) who has been made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:11, 28

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness (perfection) to everyone who believes” Romans 10:4

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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