Your morning run. You say one mile will be hard. Go one mile and one step.
Your work. You have a long list to do. It looks hard. Do the list and one more thing.
Eating Right. You believe it is hard to avoid the ice cream. So avoid the ice cream and eat some broccoli.
Each of these are examples of a step past hard. If you go an extra step everyday on your run then pretty soon you will be going two miles.
If you avoid ice cream long enough and eat enough broccoli then you will be healthy. Well, healthier than you were before.
My point is, anything worth doing is on the other side of hard.
So step past hard every day and you will see some amazing things happen in your life.
I once thought about writing a book called A Step Past Hard. Two hundred pages of how to step past hard. But, in all honesty, that would be a waste of trees. You have everything here you need to reach your next goal.
For the last 18 months I have experienced a real darkening of the mind and spirit. A hopelessness that I cannot explain. It has left me with questions like, “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” What is all this for?”
These are questions that everyone struggles with from time to time I am sure. But I have been unable to shake these thoughts. The conversation seems to always be “God what is all this for?”
As I walked this morning I decided to change my approach. Instead of identifying all the terrible things in life and in the world I decided to just thank God.
To thank God for Life. To thank God for family. To thank God for the earth to inhabit. To thank God for air to breath. In short, just to be thankful.
The Lord spoke in that moment. He showed me that if he had not created the earth, or humanity, or animals, or plants, or the moon, or the stars, or the universe He would be no less complete. He does not need his creation to make Himself whole.
As I thanked God and He spoke to me I realized He is the instigator in the relationship. He started all this and therefore He is the focus of life, and thanks, and praise, and honor. I did nothing and I can do nothing to make Him more. I can do nothing to make myself more appealing in His eyes.
He is complete in and of Himself and in order for me to be complete I must find that completeness and wholeness in Him!
I just watched this video today. Take a few moments to watch it. This man is using his resources to address some fundamental problems across the world. He makes it sound so simple. I know it’s not quite this simple but he makes it sound simple. Lots to learn here.
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them.14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
How many times have you read this verse? Me? I’ve it a hundred times or more. Every time I read the verse I always use the pronoun THEM. “Jesus ate with them (the sinners) and so should we.” “Jesus went them (the sinners) and so should we.” “Our mission is to reach them with the Gospel.”
Yesterday I had an eye opening experience. Reading this passage with the pronoun THEM or THEY really created an air of elitism. I am better than them. I am so good in fact that Jesus doesn’t have to eat with me. Wait? That is where my eyes were opened. The THEM is actually ME. Jesus came to ME, the sinner.
If he didn’t come to me then I have no hope. If I have no hope of dining with Jesus then I have a greater problem.
Jesus, friend of sinners. Friend to you and friend to me.
Even though I am not tax collector I am a sinner (Probably much worse than being a tax collector). Jesus came to dine with me. Jesus came to share himself with me. He came to share himself with you too.
This eye opening experience came to me when I was reading a post be Ann Voskamp yesterday. In this post she talks about her summer of heart failure. It is a great story. Sad, difficult, but great. I recommend you read it. You will probably cry (fair warning).
I have two reasons to say that social media is dumb right now. Maybe it has always been dumb and I am just now realizing it. (I guess that makes me dumb then)
The over-users blow everybody up with everything that they read. (Did you spend all day on social media?) The share button should be used very sparingly. I find it hard to believe that every article that gets shared is really that important. My suggestion, share button limits. One per day and 25 per month. That’s all you get. (I know I know it will never happen)
The other part of that is that I think a person should only have one post per day. No more. No less? Use a social site to publish the most important thing you want to say in any given day. I would be willing to use it more if I could see everyone’s one important thought/insight/memory.
Here’s to a new social media site. “One a Day”. (Isn’t that already a vitamin) It will be healthier.
I think the under-users really bug me more. Most often they are referred to as lurkers. The under-users are those that have accounts, but never share anything. Maybe once or twice per year. So yeah, never. They just log on to see what everyone else is up to. (They would probably have more fun if they just watched a movie.) I liken this behavior to a person that walks the neighborhood at night a peeks in everyone’s window to see what is going on. (“Wow Richard, that’s harsh!”) I don’t think it is. A social network is meant to be social meaning all who are in should be in. Tell us about your day. (Keep it to only one per day though please.) We want to hear from you.
For that reason on the social network I would create (One A Day: The Healthy Way to Socialize on The Web) I would require one post per day or five per week at least. That would encourage everyone to get involved or not. That means that if you don’t keep up with your one a day posts then you are out for a while. (Harsh again) Ahh I guess we could let them back in at some point. I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud here.
Anyways (It’s a word! I Googled it.), I am beginning to see some negative effects of social media in my own life and in the life of my family. These are just a few of the problems I consider.
I do believe there is a place for social media and it can be a positive place but I also believe we could all stand to consider the consequences of our actions just a little more.
There are so many great writers out there trying to have their stories told on the big screen but due to market conditions and a variety of stories and other factors most of these writers never have their works see the light of day.
So they go find a “real job” and waste their days away working for something that is not their dream. This shouldn’t be that way. So we wanted to give these writers another way to have their stories told. Another way to build an audience. Another way to earn some income.
That ways comes in the form of Same Shirt Audio. Same Shirt Audio produces unproduced, unoptioned screenplays into fully produced audio books. By fully produced I mean that the books have voice actors for each character, a full soundtrack, musical scores and so much more to make these stories come alive.
So if you are a screenwriter or know a screenwriter let them know about our company. We would love to help them produce their screenplay as an audio book.
Several years ago I worked with a gentleman who was trying to explain to me what his understanding of faith was.
He said, ”Richard, faith is like this. You walk up to a wide, fast flowing river. It is so wide and moving so fast that there is no way across it. But God has directed you to cross at that point in the river. So you pray, ‘God you told me to cross right here so give me some rocks to step on to get across this river.’” My friend continued, “When you have faith like that God will give you the rocks to step on and make it across where He directed you to.”
I thanked my friend for this illustration of faith. But I disagreed with him on one point. I still disagree with him on one point.
Faith is like walking up to a wide and fast moving river with no way across. You know God has directed you across this way but it seems impossible. So you pray,”God show me a rock to step on.” God responds with, “Take the step.” Again you say, “God show me a rock to step on.’ Again God says, “Take the step.”
This debate goes on and on until you realize that to be faithful; to have faith, you have to take the step. My point to my friend and my point to you is, faith is taking the step even when it seems like you will sink into the river and be swept away by the current.
Here it is. The payoff. The outcome of truly stepping in faith. As you step out in faith your foot catches a rock below the surface of the river. Yes your foot may get a little wet but you do not sink into the river. You aren’t swept away. God has you the whole time.
That is faith. Not in yourself but in God your creator. True faith.
Today, you may be facing a huge decision. God has directed you to take a step of faith, but you cannot see any rocks to step on. God asks you to step and God will provide a place for your foot to land.
I challenge you with the thought. Where has God asked you to step out in faith but you are waiting for the path to be shown? How can you take that first step of faith?
Stepping into a river with no place to stand seems crazy, especially to people in the world. Such is the case with decisions we are asked to make as followers of Christ. Sometimes, God asks us to do things that seem crazy to the world. We must obey.
I would love to hear what decisions you are facing. Start the conversation below.
Do something for someone else. Often, depression causes us to only focus on ourselves. Find a way to do something for someone else.
Try to get the focus off of yourself. I know this is hard.
Read your Bible.
Pray some more.
Go see your medical doctor.
Pray some more. Do not give up.
Find a friend you can trust. Talk to them.
Exercise – Take a 15 minute walk around the block first thing EVERY morning.
Journal. Write down how you feel and why you feel that way. Try to keep track of the things that trigger your depression. If you are not a writer then draw.
Talk to a counselor. It can help tremendously to just talk to someone about how you are feeling.
Find a hobby. Take up something creative like painting, or photography. This will get you up and going.
Set some goals. Depression can leave you hopeless. Write down some simple goals each day. Celebrate when you accomplish those goals each day.
Write yourself a list of positive affirmations. Read them each day. Or better yet record them on your phone and listen to them each morning.
Make and keep a routine. Depression causes us to check out. Create for yourself a routine and stick with it. This can bring about a feeling of daily accomplishment that helps.
Read some books. Read books that are positive and encouraging. Read books that teach you about your struggle.
Pray without ceasing. Sometime it seems that God does not care when we are suffering. That is just not true. Keep seeking Him and you will find Him.
Do a personal check and make sure there is no besetting sin in your life. Did you hurt someone that you need to apologize to? Are you involved in a secret sin that you struggle with? Search your soul. Often a hidden sin can be the cause of a deep depression. If the Holy Spirit identifies one in your life confess it and start the healing process.
These are some of the things that have helped me over that last several months. Feel free to comment some other ideas or let me know if I missed on some of these. You are not alone in your fight against the darkness of depression. Join the conversation.
A 2015 report from the Child Mind Institute found that only about 20 percent of young people with diagnosable anxiety disorder get treatment. That means that many of your friends in class and on campus who struggle with depression and other mental disorders are not getting help.
Combine that with another survey that suggests that 1 in 5 students has considered the possibility of suicide and we have a lot of hurting people around us. You may know some of these who are hurting. You may have experienced a friend that wanted to commit suicide.
What did you do?
How did you handle the situation?
Were you able to help?
I hope you were able to provide help to this friend that was hurting. But some of you may not know what to do. I wanted to provide for you some ways to help a friend or friends who are suffering under the weight of depression.
Here is a list of some ideas. Feel free to leave a comment and add some other ideas if you have them.
Be there to listen. Make conversations about what they’re going through easy and open. Ask them what you can do – find out what they find helpful during tough times. Make sure you acknowledge they are feeling down but try and remain positive and encouraging. Send them notes of encouragement. Send them texts to help them get through the day.
Choose when to talk. If you want to bring up a sensitive issue with someone, try and choose a time when you are both relaxed.
Accept their condition. If someone is suffering from symptoms of depression, it isn’t possible for them to just snap out of it, cheer up, or forget about it. Asking them to do this can come across like you’re not taking their feelings seriously and could upset them. It is difficult for someone who has never been through depression to understand what it is like. If there was an instantaneous solution the person would have already done that to be well. It just does not work that way. Add an extra measure of compassion when you are helping a person suffering from depression.
Get informed. Finding out more info about depression might help you better understand what someone is going through. There are various website, books, and blogs that can help you become informed about the situation your friend is in.
Encourage them to get help. If you have a friend with depression, it’s really important that they seek help. It is a good first step to have them speak with their counselor if you are on a school campus. It is also a good idea to have them visit their medical doctor. Sometimes there are some real physical problems that can cause depression. If no solution is found down that avenue then their medical doctor can help them take the next step. If they are uncomfortable you might offer to go with them as an encouragement and support system.
Back down if they aren’t ready. If you think a friend needs to visit an expert but they didn’t respond well to the suggestion, don’t force the issue or put too much pressure on them – it could put them off getting help. Remain supportive by offering help and suggestions when asked.
The exception to #6 is if you think someone may be in danger or at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. In this case it’s important that you seek help immediately.
Finally, remember that depression is hard to explain and often a very lonely experience. When you are there to support a friend just by being available it can have a tremendous impact in their lives. Never underestimate the importance of just being there.
What other ideas do you have? How can you better help a friend who is going through a dark period in life? Feel free to comment.