Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Losing My Religion

Losing My Religion is a song by this rock/alternative group, R.E.M and the title of this song is the best way to describe how I felt last Sunday. I was annoyed, irritated about the circumstances at my home church and it felt like a pile up of emotions crashing down and around me. I felt a sinking feeling. I felt literally nauseous in my spirit. Sickening. All of this gave me a panicking feeling as I headed home from service.

I had never felt this intensity of what I felt. I felt like giving up on God. (I know the super-saints or super religious could never relate). I felt like giving up on my religion. I searched for something that explained how I was feeling. It wasn’t until the next day, and I was still feeling unsettled, that I heard a message from one of my favorite pastors that somewhat made sense of what I was feeling. Somewhat.

It wouldn’t be until yesterday morning it came to me. “Let nothing separate you from the love of God.” Don’t let the actions, a person, a situation separate you from the love of God. Don’t get so caught up in things you can’t control, people you can’t control, you become so agitated, frustrated, and angry that you give up on God. This made me see that I had become so engrossed with the “wrongness”, with the grotesque situation, I was becoming ill. I was also losing site of WHO was in control of the situation and that person IS NOT ME. I cannot control people. However, I can let my voice be heard. And there will be a time for that.

You’ll be happy to know that I am okay now and I decided to “Keep My Religion” (HA! THE REMIX). It’s my choice. It’s my freedom. I respect others choices and freedoms because it’s only right to do so.

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 7

Avoid minimizing

People face all kinds of unpleasant situations in life. Some of these challenges have a much broader or far-reaching impact than others.

It’s not for anyone else to say how upset someone should (or shouldn’t) feel about any given type of distress.

Comparing a loved one’s difficulties with problems faced by other people often happens inadvertently, as an attempt at consolation.

You might intend to cheer them up by saying things like, “It could be a lot worse,” or “At least you still have a job.” This denies them their experience and often implies they shouldn’t feel bad in the first place.

No matter how trivial you think someone’s concern is, avoid brushing it off.

Sure, maybe the lecture your best friend received from her boss wouldn’t have bothered you. But you can’t fully understand her experience or emotional response, so it’s not fair to minimize her feelings.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-minimizing

My thoughts: When I was younger and I was having these mood swings or thoughts, my parents told me to “pray about it”. I really didn’t understand the whole concept of God and prayer. As time went on, not only did I not pray about it, I did nothing about it for a very long time and it was just accepted behavior or “something is wrong with that one”.

Since I have become older and I finally started to not only get the help I need but, also to understand what it was I was dealing with, my parents seem to have grown as well. They have somewhat of a better understanding and acceptance that praying is necessary but, so is self-help (meditation, reading, exercising, etc.) and therapy.

I figured out who I could talk to and who I could not by the responses of those in my circle. If I was minimized, if anxiety and depression was minimized, if they stared at me as if I had a unicorn horn in the middle of my forehead, or the pompous, “Sorry, I don’t have anxiety. So, I don’t know what to tell you”, I never opened my mouth to those people again. When they ask me what’s wrong, I say, “Nothing.”

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 5

Skip the advice

You might think you’re helping someone by telling them how to fix a problem. But, generally speaking, people don’t want advice unless they request it.

Even when you know you have the right solution, don’t offer it unless they specifically ask something like, “What do you think I should do?” or “Do you know of anything that might help?”

If they’ve moved from “venting” to “talking through the problem,” a better approach often involves using reflective questions to help them find solutions on their own.

You might, for example, say something like:

  • “Have you been in a situation like this before? What helped then?”
  • “Can you think of any specific changes that might help you feel better?”

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-advice

I know you know everything or maybe you know exactly what to do BUT, SKIP THE ADVICE UNLESS YOU ARE ASKED!

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Loved One or Friend w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 3

Validate

Think about the last time you went through something difficult. You probably wanted to talk to someone about the problem, but you may not have necessarily wanted them to fix it for you or make it go away.

Maybe you just wanted to vent your frustration or disappointment and get some soothing acknowledgment in return.

Support doesn’t require you to fully understand a problem or provide a solution. Often, it involves nothing more than validation.

When you validate someone, you’re letting them know you see and understand their perspective.

The support people often want most is recognition of their distress. So, when a loved one tells you about the challenges they’re going through, they may not need you to jump in and help. You might offer the best support simply by showing concern and offering a caring presence.

Some validating phrases you can use are:

  • “I’m sorry you’re dealing with that situation. It sounds so painful.”
  • “That sounds so upsetting. I understand why you’re feeling so stressed right now.”

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#validation

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Tearing Down Paradigms

Me: Why does this have to be so hard?

God: Because walls don’t come down easily. It takes demolition.

Me: I don’t like this.

God: I know. But, it’s for your good.

That did not make me feel much better. Knowing something is for my good but, the huge challenge of not just shifting thoughts but, tearing down fixed thoughts. Breakthroughs are BREAK-THROUGHS and they come by breaking something. This mental war to remove a fear is a battle I haven’t fought in a long time. I am not sure if I have ever been through something like this and if I have, I can’t remember. So, how do I deal with this thing? This…huge fear about a particular thing. This fixed array of thoughts?

I’m not quite ready to face it but, I know I have to. In the meantime, I am trying to understand the root of this fear and how to control my thoughts and tear down thoughts at the same time. In my research, this came about, “THOUGHTS ARE DIFFICULT TO CONTROL BUT, NOT IMPOSSIBLE”. The NOT IMPOSSIBLE part gave me hope and it’s continuing to give me the strength to keep up the “good fight”. Think about it, so many things we do or have done are difficult but we do them!

I got that from Swami Makundananda along with these things:

  • It requires EFFORT
  • It requires PRACTICE. Effort and Practice.
  • It requires DETACHMENT. Effort and Detachment

And this will lead to success.

I am trying and it is a very difficult challenge that has come at a time when I wish it had not. Yet, here I am in the middle of it. If you believe in prayer, send up some for me. If you believe in love and light send that, too. Continuously. Overcoming this paradigm is draining and I am just beginning to uproot it through understanding. Not to mention, my attitude is “I don’t like this!” and I am trying to conform to “acceptance” because I know accepting it will make it easier.

~Nikki

Strengthen What Remains Notes: WAKE UP

@theconfettishopbynikki on FB

I don’t know what you have been through or what you are going through. I don’t know what you are facing but, I get a sense that we are all tired. We are tired of covid, monkey pox, the economy, politics, the job and then we have our own trials and tribulations, battles, dilemmas. You get off the merry go round only to get on the sea-saw. You get off the sea-saw and now you are on the roller coaster. We are tired! We’ve gone from a shooting here and there to shootings daily and mass shooting every few months. We are tired!

All we want to do is sleep until it’s over. But we can’t sleep until life is over. We must WAKE UP.

Wake up. Be alert. Pay attention to what is going on in our lives, in the world, within us and in our homes. We must pay attention to our thoughts and our minds for the Bible says, TAKE EVERY THOUGHT INTO CAPTIVITY to obey Christ (the anointed one).

END OF NOTES.

IN OTHER WORDS, monitor your thoughts and anything that is not “right” or of “love” or “true” replace it with the proper thoughts. This can be done by meditation, affirmations, prayer or all three. This can be done by staying connected to spirituality or your religion.

~Nikki

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. NIV Revelations 3:2

Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. NLT Revelations 3:2

STRENGTHEN WHAT REMAINS

Why Some Can’t Change

Some people can’t change because guilt has a stronghold on them. Grace and mercy and forgiving yourself will fix that.

You may have to apply grace and mercy to your life over and over and forgive yourself over and over until you get to a place of acceptance. Or you could accept the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that is available to you at all times. You may think you can’t accpet it until you change completely and how is that working out for you? Change is a process and accepting grace, mercy, and forgiveness until the chains of guilt are broken is part of the process.

When you start to blame yourself, feel guilty, remind yourself that you are forgiven and you are covered by grace and mercy. You do not have to stay defeated. You do not have to live a defeated life because of guilt. You can move on. You can grow. You can enjoy this life.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Understanding Anger Triggers

It all started with a text at 4 am that woke me up. It really could have waited until after 7am because it was not urgent. I could have waited to get up to do what they were asking me to do but, since they had already woken me up…I got up. There was a problem with the site I was on. Then I realized after a frantic search my license was missing. Magically, the site fixed itself and I was able to do what the person was asking me to do. Now, back to the license, I tried to enter my number and it just would not take it. I texted my friend at a decent hour because I knew they were up and they knew about the DMV and he asked me if I had 0 in front of the number. I tried that and it worked.

During this small window I was ANGRY. I was beyond ANGRY. I was unnecessarily ANGRY. You get the picture. After two meditations and half an affirmation, I began to calm down but, because I am analytical, I wondered WHY was I SO ANGRY. I should have been irritated perhaps but not ANGRY. Frustrated, yes. ANGRY no. And what exactly was I really angry about? Therapy has helped me to get this far in understanding my emotions and actions but, at this moment I am in search of a new therapist because mine retired. So….WHY? What’s the real trigger?

It wasn’t the text. It wasn’t the site. It was the loss of my license but, why? I can get another one even if I have to go there physically. It was finances, also. It cost me to do what the person asked me to do and I felt irresponsible for losing my license. Here is what you have to understand, the trigger is anxiety that surrounds finances that started when I became really ill and lost all of my savings. I was struggling going through the disability process. The irresponsible feeling really is from a feeling of YOU ARE ALWAYS GETTING IT WRONG OR CAN’T GET IT RIGHT that comes from childhood. You’re creating a problem and you are a problem because you create problems and this time with your “irresponsibility”.

No matter what it is, it is my fault. Getting sick and having a disease, my fault. Having anxiety around money because I could no longer work for 3 years and struggled, it is my fault. These thoughts are not reality. These things were out of my control. Although I AM responsible for managing my finances and keeping up with my license or important documents, I do not have to feel the huge weight of “fault”. We all misplace things. I am not the only person to have some unexpected expense or expected expense that impacted my finances. And that feeling of FAULT really is derived from GUILT. The guilt of not having it all together since my illness. And once again, why don’t you have it all together by now? You’re a problem.

But it also comes from me in the present having an overwhelming schedule of things to do and it’s not all related to the past. The feeling of I don’t need anything else on my plate! The inconvenience of it all. The waking me up, the site not running smoothly, the problem with the DMV site first thing in the morning sent me into ANGER.

So, as you can see, it’s complex! You can see where you may need some professional help to not only understand it but to create an effective plan to help you to put things in perspective and when you do that, you can learn to adjust your emotions and have the appropriate feelings. GOOD therapists are a gift to this troubled world. It’s four hours later and I am using my skills learned in therapy to put things into perspective and change my emotions. I am almost at a good place. There was a time when something like what happened this morning would have taken me all day or days to get over.

I am telling myself, “It was irritating getting that text. It broke my sleep and sleep doesn’t come easy for me. I was irritated. It was frustrating because the site was slow and logging me out. It was frustrating when I couldn’t enter my license to get a new one. I felt overwhelmed because I have quite a bit on my plate. I felt anxious about money coming out of my account.” I can see it now. I can understand it now. I don’t have to be angry but I can be these other things and I can let it go.

~Nikki

Sleep Walking Through Life

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Maybe you don’t realize you are sleepwalking through what could be the BEST and MOST fruitful time in your life???!!!!! It aint over! It aint over! Your work, your life, is incomplete! You are not finished being a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a friend, a spouse, you are not finished!!! You’ve got more life left in you! You’ve got more to give! Wake up!

You can’t stay mad too long. You can’t stay sad too long. You can’t stay nonchalant too long. You’ve got to grow. You’ve got to move on. I know it’s difficult. I know it’s scary. I know it’s not fair but, you must, we must wake up and see what’s going on. We must open our eyes and deal with the reality and tragedies that are going on. God is asking you to care about the church. God is asking you to care about yourself! God is asking you to care about other people!

Believe it or not, God really does care about you. God cares about your success, progress, your hopes and dreams. God cares about your disappointments, heart breaks, and let downs. God cares. And I am mighty glad that he cares, and he is working things out for you! But you’ve got to get back in the game of life! You can’t win sitting on the bench!

~Nikki, from my message last Sunday, Strengthening What Remains

No Room for Complacency

Photo by Secret Garden on Pexels.com

The church and our lives are in a time of great stagnation and mediocracy on many levels. I’m talking spiritually as far as the church and our lives. I’m talking about career and personal goals, dreams and so forth. I love to be the one to tell you that there is no room for stagnation and mediocracy in our lives!

No, no! This is not the time to sit back and see. This is not the time for compromising on your standards and requirements. This is not the time for tolerance and complacency.

He came that you may have life and have it more abundantly. The Word says may you prosper, and be in good health.

From my teaching (preaching, okay sermon), Strengthen What Remains

~Nikki