Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: “Okay. I’m Praying for You.”

When I was a young adult, in my 20’s, I am sure I thought I knew everything or at least enough to make my own decisions. My dad is not one to get in your business. He’s not one to insert himself into his children’s affairs often. But when he does, we listen. We may not follow the advice or heed the warnings because well, we were in our 20’s.

At times we would go back and forth about a thing and my dad would say, “Okay. I’m praying for you.” It took me until now, at age 47, to realize that at a certain point in conversation with a child that thinks they know what they are doing or refuses to heed your warning, you have said all you can say. There was never a shouting match with my dad. When he saw he wasn’t getting through or he had said all he needed to say, “Okay. I am praying for you” would end the conversation. After you’ve said all you can say, beaten a dead horse maybe, there is nothing else to say. All you can do is pray for the child.

I was having a conversation with my young adult and I felt like I was trying to drive in a point to no avail. I found myself repeating the same thing and getting frustrated. Then suddenly, I realized I had said enough and she wasn’t going to change her mind even if she was listening. I stopped and said, “Okay. I am praying for you.” At that moment I realized, I am now my dad and she is me.

~Nikki

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 6

Build them up

Times of personal difficulty, especially ones involving rejection, can bring people down and make them doubt themselves and their abilities.

If you notice someone you care for seems to be a little low, harder on themselves than usual, or going through some self-doubt, a sincere compliment or two can go a long way toward improving their outlook.

When offering compliments, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Keep them relevant to the current situation. For example, you might remind a friend who’s upset about a mistake at work about their usual pattern of success.
  • Choose compliments that highlight specific strengths over empty compliments that might apply to anyone. Instead of simply saying “You’re so thoughtful,” pinpoint what makes them thoughtful and share your appreciation for that skill.
  • Don’t gush. A well-placed compliment can make someone feel great. Overdoing it can make people skeptical of the compliments, or even a little uncomfortable (even when you do really mean them).

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

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Big Mad

I decided to give up asking for a mate and looking for a mate. I am not happy about this but, I have a feeling God is delighted. I feel God was waiting on this decision so that we can move on. While God and all of heaven may be rejoicing, I am not. I made this decision Thursday and my mood has not been good to say the least. However, I was informed that God does not need my feelings to be in tune right now, he needs my ears. He needs me to listen. He does not need my feelings. He needs my obedience.

Ever since Thursday, the day I made the decision, God has been speaking to me in various ways. As I sat on the porch and that night, I heard, “I am here” over and over. I saw the numbers, 3333, 33, and 333 Thursday night and Friday. I listened to a prayer Friday morning and I know God was speaking to me via that prayer and certain scripture. I know God was speaking to me as I read. I know God was speaking to me as I listened to a sermon. My mood was dry. I was in a funk. I was feeling afraid, angry, and confused.

But God was not concerned with my feelings. Oh, God cares about my feelings but, was not alarmed or concerned. God didn’t need my feelings to line up with what was being said. God just needed to know I was listening. God is requesting my obedience to what I am hearing. God knows my feelings will subside and different feelings will arise.

God reminded me that this is evolution. For the most part, it will not be easy and it will not feel good but it has its rewards. In the end, I will want for nothing.

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James 1:3-4, The Holy Bible (that word perfect in this text means mature, whole)

~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 Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt. 4 You’re a Judge?

Avoid judgment

Nobody likes feeling judged. Someone facing a difficult situation as a result of their actions may have done some self-judgment already.

Regardless, when seeking support, people generally don’t want to hear a critique — even if you offer constructive criticism with the best of intentions.

When offering support, try to keep your opinions on what they should have done or where they went wrong to yourself.

Avoid asking questions they might interpret as blaming or judgmental, such as, “So what made them so mad at you?”

Even if you don’t offer any direct judgment or criticism, tone can convey a lot of emotion, so your voice might share emotions you didn’t intend to say outright.

Take care to keep notes of disapproval out of your voice by focusing on feelings like sympathy and compassion when you speak.

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

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Single, Saved, and Sick of It

It’s all about your attitude. You’re supposed to remain positive and chipper about being single. At all times. Said no one ever but, it’s been implied. Last night I was in quite a bit of pain. This morning it was the same. No one was here to help me. Again. And when I look back over my life, as an adult, there many times I bore my pain, my cross, alone. You can save the, “God was there” because I know that and you know EXACTLY what I mean when I say no one was there to help me.

Now let me say this, my parents were there and my family were there many times. Friends as well. But they cannot be there all of the time. I had to get up and get my own medication. I had to get up and go to the store with my child when she was small, alone. When I was in pain, there were so many times all I wanted was a hand to hold or to be held. Because I am not a saint, I do know what that feels like. I do know what it’s like to have someone there in that capacity. And I want it again.

If you are single, I want you to know that you can be lonely sometimes and it’s okay to admit it. It’s okay to feel it. You can be upset and sick of being single and that is okay, too. You can have your moments. You should have them. Get it out of your system and stop pretending that you never feel them.

It was refreshing to say today, to God, “I am sick of being single. I need some help. I needed help running a bath. I needed help getting and fixing something to eat. I needed a hand to hold and to be held. I am sick of being strong for myself.” I got it out. It’s not as if God doesn’t know what I really think and how I really feel. It was CONFESSION. God loves honesty and confession.

If two is better than one, I am ready for my two. I have been ready.

~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

What To Do When It’s a Loved One or Friend with Anxiety or Depression. Pt 2

Be Socially and Emotionally Supportive

What it is

People show emotional support for others by offering genuine encouragement, reassurance, and compassion. This might include things like verbal expressions of sympathy or physical gestures of affection.

Emotional support can come from other sources, too — religious or spiritual sources, community activities, or even your pets. Whatever form it takes, this support can improve anyone’s outlook and general wellness.

Some people have a knack for being emotionally supportive, but this skill doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

ASK AND LISTEN

Ask…

When you want to provide emotional support to someone you care about, asking a few questions is a great place to start.

“How can I support you?” can sometimes work, but it’s not always the best approach.

While good intentions lie behind questions like these, they sometimes fail to have the impact you desire.

People don’t always know what they want or need, especially in the middle of a difficult situation. So, this question can be so broad it leaves someone unsure how to reply.

Instead, try asking questions tailored to a situation or the person’s state of mind, such as:

  • “You seem a little upset today. Would you like to talk about it?”
  • “I know your boss was giving you a tough time. How have you been holding up?”

If you know someone has faced some challenges and aren’t sure how to open a conversation, try starting with some general questions, such as, “What’s been happening in your life lately?”

Try to keep your questions open-ended instead of asking questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” This invites an explanation and helps keep the discussion going.

… and listen

It’s not enough to simply ask questions. Listening actively, or empathically, is another important part of providing emotional support.

When you really listen to someone, you give them your full attention. Show interest in their words by:

  • displaying open body language, like turning your body toward them, relaxing your face, or keeping your arms and legs uncrossed
  • avoiding distractions, like playing with your phone or thinking about other things you need to do
  • nodding along with their words or making noises of agreement instead of interrupting
  • asking for clarification when you don’t understand something
  • summarizing what they’ve said to show you have a good grasp of the situation

Using good listening skills shows others you care about what they’re going through. For someone who’s struggling, knowing that someone else has heard their pain can make a big difference.

healthline.com

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

~Nikki