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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The REST Approach Workbook

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 @ 7:18 PM

‚ÄčThe REST Approach is a Christian counseling workbook aimed at helping followers of Christ process and heal from psychological distress including anxiety, depression and other symptoms of complex trauma.

Through this scripture-centered interactive workbook, individuals are introduced to a variety of evidence-based psychosomatic treatment interventions such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, guided imagery, prayer-based emotional freedom tapping (EFT), somatic soothing and the "mindfulness what and how skills" of dialectical behavior therapy. In addition, narrative and cognitive-behavioral therapeutic techniques are incorporated to help readers process their thoughts and feelings related to self-awareness and God-awareness (SAGA).

The four components of the REST Approach are embedded in the scripture of Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Rest implies release - letting go. Letting go of tension in our bodies by learning to pause and relax. Letting go of tension in our minds by learning to focus on the things we have control over instead of the things we don’t. Rest also implies a divine exchange. Exchanging your worries for God’s peace. Exchanging your bitterness for God’s love. Exchanging your thoughts for God’s promises.

The REST Approach follows the mnemonic, R - E -S -T: 1) Rest & Repent “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"; 2) Embrace “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart”, 3) Settle “and you will find rest for your souls" and 4) Trust & Testify “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

A Memoir of Spiritual Healing after Adultery: ?The Surrendered Heart

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 @ 7:13 PM

In this remarkable memoir, Christian Psychotherapist, Cherie Burgess shares her story of emotional resilience, spiritual sanctification and renewed hope in marriage. A Memoir of Spiritual Healing After Adultery: The Surrendered Heart is divided into two parts. Part One contains most of the journal entries Cherie wrote to God while she was separated from her husband. The entries highlight the thoughts and feelings she experienced under the spiritual strongholds of adultery, anger, anxiety, betrayal, depression, rejection and suicidal ideation. Cherie shares how the Lord gave her visions, dreams and Bible verses to encourage and edify her through the trial. Part Two focuses on how she was able to grow spiritually and soulfully when she surrendered her heart to the Lord. Cherie felt compelled to write her story so that others would be encouraged to live faithfully focused and free.

From Quicksand to the Mountaintop

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 @ 4:45 PM

“Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don't turn away from me, or I will die” (Psalm 143:7).
When I was trapped in what I called the “quicksand” of depression, I read Psalm 143. I tried to identify with David who was also in a deep state of despair at that time he wrote the Psalm.
Unfortunately, when I was up to my eyeballs in the “quicksand” of depression, I found it impossible to see clearly. What I saw in the Psalm was a healthy (even robust) man, surrounded by people who loved and respected him enough to help him hide from a king. I saw David as a guy, enduring adventure and intrigue. In my self-pitying, nerve-pain-wracked, trapped-in-my-home-prison mind, David's life was a pony ride compared to my lonely life.
Depression shifted my focus inward and the more I looked at ME, the more pain and depression I felt. When I tried to look outside of myself, fear snapped my focus inward. How could I empathize? How could I reach outside of myself when the pain and loneliness, the emptiness consumed me so completely?
How did I escape my prison? I'd like to say that the Lord immediately enabled me to blast my way out, and I’ve never looked back. After all, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). I can say that the Lord freed me from my depression, but it took time, it took praise – even when I felt like crying, it took prayer, it took a daily dose of His Word, and it took allowing God to shift my focus from an inward concentration to an outward reach.
Psalm 30:11,12 says, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” Grabbing hold of this verse, I awoke daily singing praises to the Lord. In fact, when pain awoke me at night (every couple hours), I would put earbuds in, listen to my favorite praise music, and walk laps in my house, belting out songs whether or not I knew all of the words.
Praise eased the heaviness of my heart and shifted my focus upward, away from the pain, away from the loneliness and depression. It allowed me to rise above my circumstances and to actually function amid the shackles of debilitating nerve pain. With daily praise as a springboard, I rose above pain and depression enough to include prayer and Bible reading. Soon, the Lord lifted me out of the “quicksand” of pain and depression, and called me to reach further outside of myself by sharing His love and compassion with other people in pain.
Praise is STILL the foundation of my daily routine. It draws my focus outside of me, away from the distress of chronic pain. Praise reminds me that pain and other trials are temporary; God's love is eternal.
You can rise from the pit -- or quicksand or whatever you call yours – of depression. Here’s how:
• Each time you feel a flood of depression pulling you inward, blast that praise music and sing along until you feel yourself rising above the pain of resentment and depression and outside of yourself.
• Talk to the Lord; pour it out, every thought, feeling; give Him your whole heart. Now, listen. Take at least three full minutes (more if you can) to be still.
• Finally, get out and go. Do whatever the Lord told you to do when you were listening. At first, you might not hear much. If that’s the case, go for a walk, a drive, a bus ride; come back and dig into your Bible.
Eventually, your praise, prayer, listening and the Word will produce results. Press on.
Read more about overcoming the stronghold of depression here:

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Navigate Away from Anger

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 @ 8:32 AM

Galatians 6: tells us, "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."

At first blink, it looks like a caution against anger; "DON'T EVER BE ANGRY YOU NASTY SINNER!" After a couple seconds, though, it looks different. It IS a cautionary statement, but also an acknowledgment that anger is natural. Everyone gets angry; it's what a person does with anger that matters -- to God, to those he loves, and those around her.

I have a client, call him Nathan. He is kind, passionate about his friends and loved ones, a great listener, caring, and giving -- would give the shirt from his own body to help someone in need. Nathan is in jail right now after he tried to help a friend. In the process of trying to rescue his friend from a crack house, his anger reached its boiling point, and he broke the jaw of a "bad guy."

Unfortunately, even though the crack dealer (bad guy) wouldn't dare press charges for fear his occupation would be under scrutiny, the D.A.'s point system determined that a violent crime had been committed, landing my client, Nathan, in jail for six months.

I could tell Nathan to -- "Breathe away your anger and frustration." Just inhale through your nose, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7; exhale through your mouth, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 -- which is a great strategy for high emotions in many cases. Still, when your anger is high, without a foundation of diffusion strategies, it is near impossible to walk away from that emotion.
Am I saying it's okay to "sin" by giving full vent to your anger? You are going to slip because you are human. When you slip, you will pay the consequences, much like my friend, Nathan. In order to keep from ALWAYS giving vent to your anger (or anxiety or fear), you need to lay a foundation of diffusion, humility, and forgiveness.

WHAT TO DO?
This means praying for humility DAILY; practicing "belly-breathing" so that it is THERE when you need it; memorizing Bible verses (so they are “hidden in your heart”); start with verses on forgiveness, peace, and humility.

When you build a strong foundation of peace, forgiveness, and humility, then you will be able to call on your "tools" to ward off and to diffuse those STRONG emotions. You can't expect to use a tool with which you have never practiced. Right?

Practice this daily: prayer, memorization, and BREATHING. With that foundation firmly in place, you can implement what I call the F.U.N. strategy...it is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy method for diffusing anger. In short, F = FREEZE; U = USE your belly breathing; N = NAVIGATE away from the source of your anger.

Check out my course on Freedom from Anger (Link below) to learn more about F.U.N. In the meantime, build a fortress of peace in Christ daily. Awake every morning to prayer and a devotion and/or Bible reading. Break up your day -- maybe at lunchtime -- by meditating on a Bible verse, an affirmation, or an uplifting podcast. Finish your day by recalling two or three things that went well; write them down in a gratitude journal. Thus, you are building a foundation in the morning, walls of peace to surround, you around noon, and a covering of gratitude every evening. You will find this fortress of peace a great beginning on your way to FREEDOM from anger. God's blessings to you!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Stillness...

Thursday, January 7, 2021 @ 6:48 PM

“be still and know…”

Psalm 46:10

I opened a book today and the is what fell out.

It makes me think about myself and the world around me today. Nobody wants to be still. Sure, it is a good idea in theory and we all say we are working as hard as we can to have the luxury to be still, but really, are we prepared when we finally have a moment? The answer I see is a resounding no.

What I see is a world that is covered in fear. Fear causes us to compulsively move faster because if we slow down, if we are still, we have time to really think of the things that keep us up at night; the Coronavirus, our kids health and wellness, our bills, the next presidential election, immigration, what am I going to make for dinner… as women we are concerned with both the large and small details of life.
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A priest once told me that for years his habit was to wake up and watch the news because he felt that it was part of his commitment to serve. He wanted to know what was happening around the world to be informed and aware of all the suffering. Recently, due to logistics he was unable to do this and said that what he found was liberating. All that information was distracting him from the connections and care he could foster right in his backyard community. He now pays more attention to what is in front of him, focusing on helping those closest to him.

In Africa, there is a word Ubuntu. It means I am, because you are. When a neighbor has no food another neighbor provides, it is their way of life. In this country we have spent too much time separating ourselves. We take pride in our ability to be independent. We forget that we are a community that is connected by the same feelings, fears and world around us. If we could remember this tremendous connection maybe we would not feel so isolated and separate, even as our neighbors live a stones throw away.

Paying closer attention to our communities around us, our need for each other, allows us to start trusting. We need to know that not only our husbands and partners have our back but that our friends, families, neighbors, our church and our government have our back too as we have theirs in return. Fostering a trust in the community around us allows space for life to grow and expand. Expanding our ability to be a better mothers, wives, friends and humans. We could start to let go of our unrelenting fear.

Today I am going to bring flowers to a friend I have not seen in a long time, just to say hi. I want her to know that I have her back though we have not seen each other for a while. Today, my prayer is that we can all think a little about what we can do to foster connection in the communities around us. We are all living in the same spaces. We need each other and our separateness is not helpful in defining us. I am because you are…

Let us take better care of the ones around us.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Career Coaching group for young adults

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 @ 6:04 PM

Kerin Groves, PhD

Young adults in transition need support. Are you in school but worried about graduating? Have you already finished school and are wondering what to do next? Are you exasperated with job hunting? Do you wonder if you made a mistake? Are you fearful you'll never find what's right for you? Future planning and job searching is stressful, and you need focus, discipline, positive attitude, support, and self-confidence. We have just the crew for you! Dr. Kerin Groves, a professional Career Coach in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, hosts this weekly online career coaching group, just for young adults like you. It's a place to connect with your peers online every week to discuss, explore, complain (just a little), strategize, and encourage each other, plus fill your tank with advice and direction from a professional. Plan now to spend your Hump Day with us (Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 pm Central Time).

Breathe Through Anxiety

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 @ 4:03 PM

Just breathe.
Inhale...exhale.
Deep breaths; you can do it.

Sounds easy…but what if the pain, pressure, anger, depression, and/or anxiety is so intense that it feels like a gorilla crushing your chest, pinning you -- immovable.

Breathe...just breathe.

Emotions carry power. They empower you for good or break you when given control. Annabelle’s anxiety over her adult children is so intense that she experiences panic attacks when her son doesn't call every day.
John says that his children, "are a gift from God. He entrusted them to me during their formative years; I love them enough to allow them to make the good choices I know they can make – even if I don’t agree with those choices." John says that he dodges anxiety, first by trusting in God’s sovereignty, but also by realizing that worry is not useful. He says, “Anxiety does nothing to change the choices my children make or to make their situations any different.”
So, how do you STOP powerful emotions like anxiety, panic, even pain when they are already IN control? "Belly breathing" will diffuse the "fight or flight" mechanism that has taken control and caused the panic attack or even the escalating pain wracking your body. Please practice this process BEFORE a panic attack or strong emotional experience. Try practicing it daily. Here is how:
• Start by getting as comfortable as possible.
• Inhale through your nose, pressing shoulders down, expanding your belly, counting to 7 in your mind as you breathe.
• Exhale through your mouth, compressing your belly, counting to 11 in your mind as you breathe.
• Repeat this 4 times at first and increase to 8 as you get comfortable with the process.
Once your emotions have leveled off (fight or flight has subsided) take the focus OFF of the "trigger," or whatever has escalated your emotions. Go for a walk, bike ride, swim; read a book; use imagery to picture a better outcome; concentrate on every word of a favorite Scripture passage, for example Philippians 4:6,7 " Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." It’s nearly impossible for anxiety to escalate while meditating on a peaceful passage. If your mind tries to scoot back to the source of your anxiety – and it will – don’t panic; gently bring it back to the verse, or move on to a new technique. No matter what you do, though. . . .

don't forget to BREATHE!

You can find more tips for freedom from anxiety at https://joshua1nine.com/