Overcoming the Fear of Abandonment with the Help of Christian Counseling

Abandonment is a fear that haunts many children and adults in our country. Due to high divorce rates and broken relationships, many of us have a deep-seated fear of abandonment. This fear can paralyze us, but with God’s help, we can overcome it. You may also benefit from Christian counseling to deal with abandonment issues.

The Fear of Abandonment

Anytime a significant person leaves your life, you can face abandonment fears. These can be tied to a sudden death, divorce, or painful breakup. You may fear abandonment even if you never knew one or both of your parents. These fears are very common for children of divorce or children who experienced the death of a parent.

Abandonment is traumatic. When you don’t deal with it well, it can turn into other problems. Signs of abandonment fears in children include clinginess, anxiety, self-harm, angry outbursts, crying spells, and withdrawal. Your child may also have psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches or other pains that are rooted in abandonment fears. Children can heal faster from the fear of abandonment with professional counseling.

Adults may experience these symptoms after a bad breakup, or if they have unresolved childhood issues. Abandonment fears typically affect adults in two different ways.

For example, one person with abandonment fears may overshare, be too trusting, and cling to a dating partner in an attempt to connect and feel secure. By contrast, another person may withdraw, criticize, and rage in an attempt to keep from getting hurt again. Both types can leave you feeling frustrated, lonely and confused.

Since the fear of abandonment causes complex reactions unique to each sufferer, it’s important to seek counseling. A Christian counselor can help you work through these issues and find healing. Here is a good place to start while you prepare to get help.

Healing Your Abandonment Issues

The good news is that God is your Healer who wants to calm all your fears. With God’s help, you can overcome the fear of abandonment. Take these steps to seek healing.

Meditate on God’s Word

We tend to associate our view of God with the most important people in our lives. When people like our parents or romantic partners have abandoned us, we may fear that God will abandon us, too. At the heart of every abandonment fear is a broken view of God, but you can replace that fear with the truth of God’s Word. Meditate on the following Scriptures to heal your abandonment fears.

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

Though they were afraid, God led his people into the Promised Land. He is leading you ahead of your abandonment fears. Lean into him because he promises not to abandon you.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

You can find great comfort and hope in your dark valleys of fear. God walks beside you at all times, even when your abandonment issues haunt you. He will help you and protect you from harm.

Even if my mother and father abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. – Psalm 27:10

No matter who has hurt you, God can heal you. Whether it was your mother, father, or another loved one who abandoned you, you can have hope in the Lord. He always holds you close.

“I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you.” – Hebrews 13:5b

This promise can serve as a hopeful banner over your abandonment fears. Every time you feel the triggers for fear, recite this verse and put your faith in God. He is the only one who will never abandon you.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18

By learning to accept God’s love, your fears will diminish. As you practice internalizing his perfect love, you will be comforted and soothed. You need to tell yourself that there is no fear in love because God is love and freely offers his love to you.

Journal Your Hurts

Before you start counseling, it can be helpful to write down your feelings to discover how your fears originated. Write down any memories you have about feeling abandoned. Also, record current situations when your abandonment issues are triggered.

By studying these times in the past and your current life, you can start overcoming your fears. Your counselor can help you work through the feelings you record in your journal.

Grieve the Past

You won’t fully heal from your fear of abandonment until you grieve what you lost. By grieving the past, you can let go of the hard feelings and open space for hope and healing. A qualified counselor can help you walk through the grief stages of denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. This process takes time but it can enable you to put your fears of abandonment to rest.

Choose Healthy Relationships

There is great hope in forming healthy relationships after being abandoned. Through counseling, you can learn to take baby steps in trusting new people. You will gain tools for connection and heal from clingy tendencies and/or withdrawal. Your counselor can tell you what to look for when choosing safe people for relationships. You can fill in your voids by connecting with people who will build up your faith and commit to staying with you no matter what happens.

Christian Counseling for Abandonment Issues

Abandonment issues have deep roots that are difficult to extract on your own. To truly overcome your fear of abandonment, you can experience great benefits from seeing a trained counselor.

A Christian counselor is equipped to help you identify triggers and deal with the heart of your problems. Please give us a call if you are looking for help to overcome your fear of abandonment. The staff at Seattle Christian Counseling is ready to help.

Photos:
“Abandoned”, Courtesy of Johnhain, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Pretty Woman”, Courtesy of RondellMelling, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Fear of Abandonment”, Courtesy of Rebcenter Moscow, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Depressed”, Courtesy of Masimba Tinashe Madondo, Pixabay.com, CC0 License

Affair Recovery for Christians: Surviving Infidelity with God’s Help

If you have recently learned that your spouse has cheated on you, you may feel like you are barely hanging on. However, you can experience affair recovery with help from Christian marriage counseling. Here are our seven best tips for surviving infidelity after the affair.

7 Tips for Surviving Infidelity

1. Commit Everything to Prayer

If there is ever a time to draw close to God in prayer, it is during affair recovery. The Bible promises that God is close to those who are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). As you carry all your hurts and fears to him, he will comfort and sustain you.

God understands what it is like to feel betrayed by those he loves. The people of Israel strayed from him many times, breaking his heart each time. Only God can fully identify with your pain. He will guide you into the next steps to take and hold you close during your suffering.

Commit to meeting him in prayer every day. Take every matter of your mind and heart to him, and he will heal you. You can trust God to help you through this crisis and you will feel closer to him as you pray.

2. Let Your Feelings Flow

An affair causes a wide range of feelings to erupt. At first, you may feel shocked by the news and rightfully offended. You may move between anger, shame, depression, and worry. One moment, you may blame your spouse for everything. The next moment, you might blame yourself and feel deep shame.

To deal with this rollercoaster of emotions, it’s essential not to bottle them up. You could explode with rage and bitterness or destroy yourself with hopelessness. Let your feelings flow without judgment.

You may find journaling helpful. Simply record your feelings as they occur, not editing them as you write. By letting your feelings flow, you can release them so that healing can enter in. No one needs to see this journal; it is for your eyes only. Let God guide you as you write.

3. Take One Day at A Time

When you experience a marital affair, you may be overwhelmed by choices that need to be made. Should your spouse move out right away? Or should you wait until a calmer moment to discuss things? What do you do about finances?

How much should you tell your children, if anything? Do you tell your extended family members what happened? Do you need to begin divorce proceedings? These are important questions to consider, and you may feel pressured to answer them as soon as possible.

Your spouse’s decision to have an affair creates a world of choices for you. But you don’t have to make decisions about all of those things at once. In fact, it’s better not to make life-altering decisions when you are in the middle of a crisis.

Take one day at a time, making decisions only when you feel peace about them. You need time to pray, consult with trusted friends, and receive counseling. Don’t rush to make decisions that you may regret later. God will lead you on what to do next, and that takes time.

4. Practice Self-Care

Surviving infidelity requires a lot of energy. Don’t take on more than you can handle as you heal from the affair. It’s probably not the best time to start something new. Instead, find activities that bring you pleasure, and do them just for enjoyment.

You may enjoy a bubble bath, bike ride, walk in the park, or time to read. Whatever brings you joy should be a priority on your schedule. Your self-care activity will serve as an oasis in the hard times.

It’s also important to get adequate rest, eat right, stay hydrated and exercise during your trial. If you neglect your health, your mind and emotions will suffer even more. Make your health a priority and you will feel better both inside and out.

5. Give Yourself Time to Grieve

Whether you and your spouse reunite or not, your marriage will never be the same after the affair. You need to grieve the dreams you had that did not come true. Grieving is hard work that cannot be rushed, and you must make time for it.

It’s important to go through all the steps of the grieving process so you can fully heal. You will move back and forth between the grief stages of denial, anger, bargaining, and sadness before you reach acceptance. This could take months or even years to complete. Realize that as you allow yourself time to grieve, you open avenues for hope and healing.

6. Talk with a Trusted Friend

Talking with a friend after an affair can serve as a pressure release. However, don’t talk to just anyone during this difficult time. You need a trustworthy friend who will keep your secrets and not hurt you by spreading them around. It’s also essential to choose a friend who will comfort and encourage you instead of condemning or criticizing you. If you can find a friend who is also willing to speak the truth in love to you, you have found a treasure.

If you don’t have a friend that fits these descriptions, be sure to speak with a Christian counselor. By talking about your feelings, you can gain clarity and relief. Your counselor can offer a valuable and objective perspective on your problems. Talk therapy, whether with a trusted friend or counselor, can be a life raft during your affair recovery.

7. Consider Your Options

Sooner or later, you will need to take a hard look at your options. These all depend on your unique situation, and only God knows the best answers. Cover them in prayer, consult with trusted friends, and make choices only when you have had time to carefully think them through.

If you choose to divorce, know that the Bible is clear on this issue. An affair is a biblically-permitted reason to divorce (see Matthew 5:32, 19:19). This may be the best option for you after an affair.

However, it’s wise to consult with your pastor or priest, as well as a marriage counselor, before speaking with a divorce attorney. You don’t want to proceed with such a definite decision without solid counsel. If divorce is your choice, you can benefit greatly from divorce support groups.

However, divorce is not required after an affair. Many couples have healed and reunited after affairs. If you choose to reunite, there is much work to be done on both sides. You will need to set boundaries, rebuild trust, establish healthy communication, and set up accountability factors.

Most people are not equipped to take these steps on their own. To heal your marriage, consult with a Christian counselor. We can walk you through the steps that are necessary for restoration and prevention of another affair.

Christian Marriage Counseling for Surviving Infidelity

If your world has been shattered by your spouse’s affair, there is no shame in reaching out for professional help. If you decide divorce is the best option, a Christian counselor can help your heart heal.

If you and your spouse wish to reconcile, we offer both individual and couples counseling. Please give us a call to learn about the services we offer. We are ready to help you at San Diego Christian Counseling.

Photos:
“Prayer”, Courtesy of Samuel Martins, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “One foot in front of the other”, Courtesy of Zack Minor, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Grieving”, Courtesy of Wallace Chuck, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Decisions”, Courtesy of Kat Stokes, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

I Need to Lose Weight. What Could I Do?

Have you recently thought to yourself, “I need to lose weight”? If so, perhaps you want to know what you could do. The truth is you may know what you could do. You may have a wealth of knowledge and you might have even followed the advice of various experts.

Perhaps you know where you struggle — you start off strong, but struggle to sustain outcomes. This article is written to get you thinking and maybe even curious about translating those thoughts into action while feeling great.

With serious health problems, increased medical costs, epidemic rates of obesity, and a general sense of knowing I “should,” why do so many struggle?

The 50+ million internet articles would like to tell you, or just sell you. It’s hard to know what is true anymore. We now know obesity is a medical condition. The Body Mass Index, a height and weight ratio, has been one measure to define overweight and obesity, though it seems body fat percentages, body’s muscle, bone, fat, water percentages, and bioimpedance metrics are quite common.

We also know there are drugs, procedures, programs, fads, and I tend to think it seems almost anyone can call themselves an expert based on the many tools and services claim they understand. I want you to ask: What is best for your health, happiness, and vitality?

A healthy weight is an important part of health, wellness, and vitality. We have all experienced or know of a family member with weight-related health conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugars, sleep problems, high cholesterol, pain, depression, anxiety, and hormone dysregulation.

Turns out, there are many reasons to lose weight, including health, wellness, or maybe even someone else that you care about. Yet, even knowing a healthy weight is an import part of health, wellness, and vitality does not equal a lifestyle of healthy choices.

It can be difficult to decide what to do for one reason because they all tell you how fantastic and effective they are. Did you know that the studies have shown that just about any diet can result in weight loss?  That when you look at most programs, they address weight loss and management, and include fitness, nutrition, behavior, and some kind of behavioral change?

What most do not point out is the abundance of evidence towards a healthy lifestyle is practicing a whole food, plant-predominant diet with regular physical activity, restorative sleep, and stress management.

Instead we have articles running the gamut on how to lose weight fast, quick, naturally, with this or that eating habit, or this frequency, intensity, time, or type of exercise.

So maybe instead of arguing about how the programs differ, we can unite in what worked for you. I would love to hear what worked, what did not, why, and see if we could use this strength because I believe you have the ability.

At this point it is no wonder that one in three Americans are obese. The media content is confusing. The messaging can stray from the fundamental evidence and maybe at the end of the day it really does not matter who or what works as much as are you meeting your objectives. The good news is that you could treat, prevent, and even reverse your health problems and start feeling well and vibrant. Luckily, change does not have to be drastic.

Diet, exercise, and behavior change are undeniable influences on health. Sure, it matters what you eat, but how and when you eat are equally as important. Knowing what to do versus how to do it are different. Remember all that knowledge does not always translate into action but what you likely do know is it is hard to lose weight and keep the weight off. It is much easier to eat 500 calories than burn off 500 calories.

Losing weight can be confusing, frustrating, and outright difficult. My weight fluctuated from 160 lbs to 240 lbs as a 6’2″ male. At 160 lbs I was training for triathlons and playing tennis six plus hours a day. At 240 lbs I welcomed a bottle of a Napa Cabernet, steak, and cheesecake followed by a breakfast burrito just to start the next day off right.

I felt fantastic at 160 lbs but I never had my “six pack.” I felt terrible at 240 lbs and even today that meal sounds fantastic. I had personal trainers, dietitians, meal delivery, and physicians telling me what I could do, but no one asked me how I felt. No one knew that the Cabernet, steak, and cheesecake was a reward. I was lonely but not with my wine.

I had hypertension, heart disease, obesity, shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, and felt hopeless. After two hospitalizations, I finally got it. See, during the first hospitalization, I was not ready. The second one stays with me to this day. My mom was at the end of the bed. She did not say a thing. We did not exchange any words. We did not have to. That was all I needed to initiate a change. Sometimes we change for ourselves, other times health; for me, I started for my mom.

Steps to Take Toward Losing Weight

So what could you do to get started? Below are a couple ideas to think about.

You could:

  • Identify what stage of readiness for change you are in.
  • Find the Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change) here: www.prochange.com
  • Initiate change with small attainable steps focusing on what you could do today.
  • Work towards SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely
  • Start with a specific action today. Then create goals for the week and month that are measurable. Need help? Just ask. I would be happy to help.
  • Ask yourself, what has worked for you? What have you done well?

Sometimes we forget to focus on what we do well. Other times we disqualify the positives. The emphasis here is on your abilities, potential, and values.

What are your values? Why are you doing this? I initiated change for my mom. I sustained change for me. Maybe health and feeling happy are one of your values, you just aren’t where you want to be.

  • Do you need accountability? Do you need reinforcement?
  • Could you eliminate a certain food group? What would happen if you went through the house and threw out the sugars, salts, and alcohol?
  • We can focus on how to differentiate physical from psychological hunger later. I think this is very important.  Do you know how?
  • Can you identify your triggers or the antecedents that contribute to you making a poor diet choice?
  • Are you an emotional eater? Do you reward yourself with food?
  • Do you forget to eat? Are your eyes bigger than your stomach? Do you make the wrong choices when you are stressed?
  • Do you hate the gym?  Do you have the right clothes to exercise in?  What type of activity do you like?
  • Do you track your intake? How do you track your exercise or dietary habits?
  • Is tracking problematic for you? Maybe you perceive tracking as a chore? Do you utilize any technology? Keep in mind that tracking does not have to be a long-term objective.

Knowing what to do and knowing how to do it are different. Some believe this begins with what you are thinking. The hard part is slowing down enough to identify when those problematic thoughts get in the way.

Google or search with your favorite browser “cognitive distortions.” These are thinking patterns. It may be difficult to determine thinking patterns in the moment. Ultimately, we want to connect the thoughts to a feeling and action. Sound difficult? I can help, it does not have to be.

Quality sleep can be pivotal. Water consumption can be pivotal. Do you know how to start?

Could you apply a SMART goal to drinking more water? I think so.

Chances are, if you have read this far you probably relate to something written. Are you looking for new tools? Are you looking to initiate change and share your story? Maybe you want to stop yo-yo success. Whatever the reason, I believe I can educate, enable, and empower the attainable change you desire.

Still worried if I am a good fit? This is one reason our initial appointment could be FREE. For all I know, you may not like my colorful socks. I want to make you comfortable by being helpful, nourishing success, creating safety, and guiding through to resolution.

Schedule an appointment today.

Photos:
“Be able to love”, Courtesy of Lesly Juarez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Man at the Crossroads”, Courtesy of Vladislav Babienko, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Change”, Courtesy of Ross Findon, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Together, We Create!”, Courtesy of “My Life Through A Lens”, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

Quotes about Losing a Loved One: Comforting Bible Verses to Soothe Your Soul

Grief. It’s not something that we can emotionally prepare ourselves for, regardless of whether we’ve had time to consider that a loved one will leave us through illness or if it’s a sudden death that turns our world upside down.

Grief also doesn’t follow an orderly timeline – friends and family may encourage us to “take the time we need,” implying that after a “reasonable” period we will move on and life will continue.

But the pangs of anguish can sweep in at the most unexpected moment; such that we can also resist the grieving process and block it out because it is just too painful.

Grieving is critical, however, and has even been described as medicine. A season of grief is what God gives to us in order to cleanse our souls from the agony and to set us on the path towards healing and wholeness.

He also gives us comforting Bible verses for death and Bible verses about grief that we can meditate on, knowing that it is the truth contained in his Word and the power of the Holy Spirit that will give us the daily help that we need.

Bible Quotes about Losing a Loved One

Here are some Bible quotes about losing a loved one to reflect on in this difficult time:

In our sadness

These Bible verses about grief and sadness show us that life here this side of heaven will not be easy. In our lives, we will experience heartache, suffering, and struggle, but God’s Word promises us that Christ will be there with us.

He won’t give us more than we can handle with His help, and even our lowest times can be used to glorify God. God loves to draw close to us when we are most vulnerable, tending to us like a loving father and being compassionate and full of mercy.

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Grief can be overpowering. It can make us feel as if we are in a long dark tunnel with no light at the end. But this verse teaches us that even in the midst of soul-crushing grief, God has mercy on us and heals our inner hurt.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

David knew grief and this is why many Psalms address the topic. Psalm 23 is possibly the best known of all of David’s Psalms. In it, he describes the rest and peace that God provides.

When David was facing death (whether his own or that of someone else is not clear), he found solace both in God’s discipline (God’s “rod”) and guidance (God’s “staff”). In other words, God is taking care of David both through daily guidance, instruction, and wisdom.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.Romans 8:26

Prayer is the way we communicate with God. But because He is a holy God and we are sinful people, we don’t know how to pray properly. This is even more the case when we are in the midst of grief.

However, Paul informs us that though our prayers may seem ineffective, scattered, or distracted, the Holy Spirit stands between us and God and makes intercession for us. There is a great deal of mystery here which is beyond our ability to understand, but at the very least we have the comfort that our prayers are heard by God no matter how insufficient they may seem to us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you’re seeking strength

As we read and meditate on Bible verses for grief, we see that we do not need to muster up the strength to get through each moment and day; God calls us to hold on tightly to Christ and He will give us the strength and grace to carry on. He is an ever-present help in need, and, even when life circumstances seem unbearable, he can give us peace which transcends understanding.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

This verse has provided comfort to many in their grief. No matter what we are going through, the grace of God is enough for us. We may be weak, but His power is demonstrated in the midst of our weakness as he lends us his strength.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3 

When our world seems to be crashing in and trouble and grief are on every side, this verse offers us the comforting knowledge that God will defend us and strengthen us. Even though everything around us might be falling apart, God is the one source of stability in life.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73: 26

Though we may feel ourselves to be at the end of our rope we can count on God to be our strength and our inheritance. This means that no matter how bad things are God will still do good to us and help us to get through the though times.

How we see death as Christians

If the loved one you are grieving was a believer in Christ, it is encouraging to remember that, while the pain of loss is arduous, you will be reunited with them for all eternity when Jesus returns! The following verses about death point to this amazing hope. Reflecting on the reality of heaven is uplifting.

If they did not know the Lord, you can seek refuge in the knowledge of God’s absolute sovereignty and that this life, with its pain, is temporary – we can fix our eyes on what is unseen and rest on the truth of God’s Word.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.Revelation 21:4

This verse speaks about the world to come. The New Heavens and the New Earth will be free of sadness, tears, and pain because this present world will be renewed. Whatever grief and misery the Christian may experience here in this world will be done away with by the presence of God, Himself.

Additionally, even the source of the grief will be no more because the old world will be forever gone. Though for now, we live in this world, we can be comforted by the thought that this life is not all that there is and that all will be made right in the next.

May the Lord meet you where you are at in your grief, and may you rely on him, through these Bible quotes about losing a loved one, and grow ever deeper in your knowledge and faith of God.

Christian Grief Counseling in San Diego

If you’re looking for a grief counselor in San Diego, we invite you to browse our counselor directory or call our scheduling assistant to make an appointment. It would be our privilege to walk alongside you as you navigate the various stages of grief with the Lord’s help.

Photos:
“Reading”, Courtesy of Lisa Fotios, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Grieving Alone”, Courtesy of Pixabay, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Contemplation”, Courtesy of Yogendra Singh, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “The Long View”, Courtesy of Pixabay, Pexels.com, CC0 License

Turning to Scripture for Loss: Comforting Bible Verses about Grief

Loss can take many different forms, and you may be suffering from one right now. When losses hit you, you can find lasting comfort in Bible verses about loss. Scripture can lift you up no matter what type of loss you are facing.

Perhaps you have suffered a loss due to the literal death of a loved one or a pet. Maybe your loss is related to a life transition, like divorce, the empty nest, or a cross-country move. Other losses like breakups, getting laid off from your job or a sudden friendship change can hurt, too. In each of these losses, you can find a Bible verse for comfort in a time of loss.

Scripture for Loss: What Does the Bible Say?

When we look up loss in the Bible, we can find all kinds of examples. Job experienced sweeping losses of his children, flocks, and health, all within a swift time span. Sarah and Hannah experienced the painful loss of infertility. David suffered the losses of at least four children and his dearest friend, Jonathan. Jesus felt the painful loss of companionship in his greatest time of need.

The Bible shows us real examples of loss to give us affirmation and comfort. It never sugarcoats our pain. God knows each of our losses and cares about every one of them, no matter how small they may seem to others. He offers us comfort and hope when we study Scripture for loss.

A Time for Loss

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Because we live in an imperfect world, loss is inevitable for each of us. God designates times of loss in his great sovereignty. He saw your loss coming before you did, and he weeps alongside you.

This verse tells us that there is a chosen time for weeping and mourning. We must do this to get past the pain of loss. If we deny it or put it off, we will only suffer longer. God will walk through our time of loss with us. Then, as we get to the other side of the loss, we can laugh and dance with God again.

The Lord Offers Comfort

For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13

When you are experiencing a loss, you need comfort to get well. It can be tempting to numb ourselves with the wrong things when we need comfort. Food, alcohol, drugs, social media, unwise relationships, and a myriad of other activities may offer temporary relief.

However, this type of comfort never lasts and can even leave us with guilt and additional pain. The Lord himself offers us comfort that is everlasting. Because he is all-powerful and mighty to save, he can comfort you better than anything or anyone else.

As you rest in his presence, you will feel his comfort and compassion. Draw close to him in prayer and meditate on Scripture for loss, and you’ll experience the comfort that you need.

Relax in God’s Comfort

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. – Isaiah 66:13

Babies often will not stop crying until they are resting in their mother’s arms. Then they calm immediately because they feel comforted and secure. Hopefully, you experienced a loving relationship with your parent, relative or guardian when you were a child.

Perhaps you have offered comfort, yourself, as a parent or watched others offering it tenderly. God wants to offer you loving and tender comfort in the way a mother comforts her child. He wants to hold you close and let you cry it out. He wants to offer you the security you seek.

The Lord Strengthens You

You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. – Jeremiah 8:18

Does your heart feel faint with loss? Maybe it’s hard for you to get through a single day, much less a week or month, without feeling overwhelmed with loss. This Scripture for the loss of loved ones can bring you the comfort you seek.

You don’t need to do anything except to receive the comfort of the Lord like a warm blanket wrapped around you. He is holding it out to you now in love. When you find comfort for your loss in God’s presence, you will feel stronger.

The word “comfort” can be broken down into two parts“with” and “strength.” God wants to be with you in your sorrow to offer you his mighty strength, which will help you get through your loss. He will help you through the days, weeks, months and years ahead with his strength.

The Holy Spirit Gives Comfort

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor – Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you. – John 14:16-17

When we believe in the One True God, the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be our Comforter. He also helps us through our struggles. He intercedes for us in prayer.

The Holy Spirit strengthens us and continually stands beside us. If you believe in God, you already have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside you! He will comfort you with Bible verses for mourning. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to remind you of everything God wants you to know.

He will speak to you through God’s Word, sermons, podcasts, Christian books, counselors and Christian friends. As you ask the Holy Spirit to help you, you will find comfort in many different ways.

God is Faithful

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

You may only have a glimmer of hope in your heart right now. That is enough for God to use. Cling to that hope like an anchor in a storm. If you hold tight to it, God will prove himself faithful to you.

He will not let you sink or be cast away. God will never leave you nor forsake you in your loss. He is watching over you every minute, growing your faith as you hold onto hope in his promises.

The Value of Courage

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

It takes courage to face our losses and ask God and others for help. In Bible verses on loss, we learn that as we take courage and hope in the Lord, he will strengthen us. It’s similar to weight training. Muscles become stronger only when they are pushed past their limits.

The muscle fibers break down during a workout but become stronger when the fibers grow back together. Courage is like the weight we use in a loss challenge. With each repetition of courage, our faith in God becomes stronger. Choose courage instead of disappointment, and God will strengthen you.

Your Loss Has Purpose

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

You may have heard the phrase, “God never wastes a hurt.” This Bible verse proves the statement to be true. As you begin to heal from your loss with God’s comfort, you will be able to comfort others in the future.

His comfort is designed to fill up your heart and overflow onto others. That’s why it’s important that you take steps to heal now. You can find purpose and strength with God’s help.

Christian Counseling for Loss

You may get stuck after a loss and need help to move forward. Study and meditate upon these Bible verses on loss, but don’t be reluctant to ask for help from a Christian counselor. A counselor is equipped with the right tools to help you handle your loss. Please give us a call at Seattle Christian Counseling to learn more about how counseling can help you.

Photo credit:
Kate Motaung, copyright 2019, all rights reserved

Parenting Teens: 8 Tips for Talking to Your Teenagers about Social Media

Learning to Love Yourself When You Don’t Feel Lovable

How to Handle Manipulative Behavior in Relationships

Relationship Help: How to Fight Fair

Are you looking for relationship help regarding fair fighting rules for relationships? Do you find yourself getting into heated arguments with the same person regarding the same issues, over and over again? Perhaps you end up fighting over the smallest of things and never being able to bring the issue to an acceptable resolution.

This article will discuss some suggestions for fair fighting rules so that you’re in a better position to have effective conflict resolution in your relationships.

Rules for Fair Fighting in Relationships

Ask yourself why you’re upset in the first place.

If you’ve ever begun arguing with someone simply because you’re upset, you’re not alone. It’s actually really common. For example, you might return home from work after a really long day and find that no one has bothered to tidy up or even wash the dishes they’ve used.

Before you know it, you’re yelling at the kids, your partner or your roommate, yelling that they need to start cleaning up after themselves and start being more responsible. Later, you begin to regret the way you reacted and find yourself beating yourself up because of your overreaction.

One of the key ingredients of fair fighting is being able to figure out why you are upset and how this can lead to picking a fight for the smallest of reasons.

For example, in the scenario above, it may be that earlier in the day your boss was yelling at you and took you off the big project that you’ve been working on for weeks. Being upset isn’t a justification for taking your feelings out on others, so it’s important to learn to recognize when you’re upset before you start overreacting.

Mindfulness techniques can help you to recognize your feelings before they become your justification for starting a fight. Mindfulness keeps you in the moment and helps you to be much more aware of your emotions.

If you tend to pick fights when you get home from work, you can try taking a few deep breaths and some time to explore your feelings before you go in the house so that you don’t mistake seeing a messy house as the cause of your upset.

It can be helpful to have a place in your home that you can retreat to, a place that is solely yours so that you can calm your emotions and get back to a more settled baseline.

One issue at a time

Do you find that you can start fighting with someone over a really small issue which quickly becomes a much more complicated fight about something much bigger? This is a common problem, and these kinds of fights can quickly become emotionally draining.

For example, if you’re driving somewhere with your partner and they take a wrong turn, you may start fighting about that, but it quickly escalates into a much more heated argument about the way that he never listens to you or respects your opinion.

If you commit to only fighting about one issue at a time, then in this scenario, your fight would just be about taking the wrong turning. Abiding by the one-issue-only rule means that you’re not allowed to bring other issues into the fight. It can take a lot of work and a lot of time to be able to completely stick to this rule, but it will set you on the track towards being able to resolve issues by focusing on finding a solution.

One way to try to stick to a single issue is to make a list of things you want to bring up and gradually tick these off as they’re discussed, one at a time. By doing this, you stay focused and are less likely to try to bring all of the issues into one almighty fight.

Avoid using degrading language

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or your emotions are really running high, the language you use tends to become more derogative. Calling someone a mean name can feel like a good release of the anger you’re feeling but it won’t help the situation. Derogative and degrading language can quickly escalate an argument into a much more serious fight because it makes the other person defensive.

There’s no way that a fight can be productive if you are resorting to degrading language. It is, therefore, a good idea to find less antagonistic ways of releasing your anger in order to keep an argument productive.

For example, instead of yelling, “you’re an idiot” at your partner, you could instead ask, “I don’t understand why you think it’s okay to behave like that, can you explain your reasoning?” It’s much more productive to ask questions rather than to jump to conclusions.

Alternatively, if your emotions are really heightened and you don’t feel able to have a discussion without it turning into a huge fight, you could try writing down what you would like to say and they tearing it up or burning it. That way you get to release your anger and use all the degrading language you like, but it doesn’t cause a massive fight. You’re in a better position to have a less heated discussion later.

It’s also important that you ensure that you’re fighting about an issue rather than fighting about the things you don’t like about the person you’re fighting with. For example, if you’re fighting about the dishes not being done, you shouldn’t make the fight about the person being lazy and irresponsible because taking that approach is degrading the person rather than seeking to understand reasons why the dishes haven’t been done.

Take responsibility for your feelings and express them with words

Emotions can be expressed in a variety of different ways, not just through words. You can express your feelings through your tone, your volume and other types of non-verbal communication such as the way you stand and the expressions on your face. For fair fighting, you need to learn how to express your emotions using your words, not these other ways.

For example, if you’re feeling angry, say “I’m angry” rather than yelling or becoming aggressive. If you’re feeling disappointed, say “I’m disappointed”. When you use “I” statements, you are taking responsibility for your emotions.

When things get heated and accusations start flying, it’s common to fall into the pattern of making “you” statements and putting blame on the other person. For example, “you make me so angry!”

Using “I” statements can make arguments much more productive. You’re talking about how you feel without blaming someone else. For example, if your teenage son stays out past his curfew and you wait up for him, worried that something has happened to him, your emotions will be running high. He doesn’t pick up his phone but eventually sneaks in two hours past his curfew. Your immediate reaction, based on your emotions, might be to yell at him and make “you” statements.

If you make “I” statements instead, such as “I get worried for your safety if you’re not home when I expect you to be and I can’t get you on the phone. Next time, I just need you to let me know where you are,” you’re owning your feelings and explaining them. This approach is more productive and may mean that your teenager will answer his phone next time he misses his curfew and you phone to check if he’s okay.

Take turns talking

It sounds easy to take turns talking since that’s how we know that conversations work. In fights, however, it’s much more difficult to hold back and wait for the other person to finish talking. You might interrupt or talk over them or yell over them. This can then become a vicious cycle where the other person feels justified in interrupting you because you interrupted him.

That’s not a productive way to fight, because neither of you is going to feel heard. Feeling heard is one of the most important aspects of having a productive fight. If you get frustrated that your partner isn’t listening, then they must feel the same way.

Learn to respect each others’ right to be heard, and allow for pauses so that you’re both able to collect your thoughts and think about what to say next. Pauses are not opportunities to jump in and continue your side of the fight. If one of you is breaking this rule, you should not continue the fight, but rather take a break and wait until you’re both able to abide by the rules.

Avoid stonewalling

Stonewalling is a term that’s used to describe a situation where you shut down and stop participating in the fight. In some cases, this is because you don’t want to argue, or you feel that “if you can’t say something nice, don’t bother saying anything at all.” This attitude is more common if the relationship is more superficial and expressing your true feelings might not be the best approach.

In long-term or serious relationships, however, stonewalling is a problem. That’s because the emotions that you have don’t just go away when you shut down. They simmer away in your mind, festering like open wounds, and negative feelings tend to grow until you reach the boiling point and all those feelings just erupt in a massive argument.

For productive fighting, you need to express your feelings in the moment. Problems can be solved when you talk about them but keeping them festering away doesn’t solve them. You can use phrases that start with “I feel” or “I noticed that I was thinking” to discuss how the conversation or argument is making you feel.

Don’t yell

Yelling is one of the things most commonly associated with fighting, so why would it be against the fair fighting rules? The answer is because when you’re yelling you’re using your tone and volume to express how you’re feeling rather than expressing your emotions in words. When you yell, all the other person is focused on is the yelling. They don’t take in the words, they just focus on the fact that you’re yelling at them. Yelling makes people defensive, too.

If the other person in the fight feels that you are attacking them with the tone and volume of what you’re saying, things can quickly escalate, and a simple disagreement can become a nasty fight. Lower the volume, try to neutralize your tone, and you’re in a much better position to have a positive resolution to the argument. Be mindful that raising your voice can seem like yelling to some people, too.

Take a timeout when the fight is getting heated

There are points in a fight when things have gone beyond the point of having any possibility of resolution when you’re both yelling and screaming and breaking all the rules of fair fighting. At this point, taking a break from the discussion is the best solution. It’s okay for both of you to walk away from a fight when you’re too emotional to be able to keep to the rules.

Taking a break from the argument doesn’t mean that it’s over and that one of you has won. You will have to go back to the conversation at some point but ensure that you’re both in the right frame of mind when you do reopen the conversation. In the meantime, practice skills like mindfulness to help you manage your emotions during a fight better.

Reach a compromise

First of all, it’s important that you realize the difference between compromising or an understanding and coming to an agreement. A compromise is not agreeing that the other person is right, nor is coming to some kind of understanding. You have no doubt heard the phrase “agree to disagree” – that’s what it means to compromise.

When you come to an agreement or decide on a compromise, you are both agreeing that the other person’s opinion is valid. For example, if you’re engaged in a fight about a TV show, it’s possible to validate the other person’s view about the show, while maintaining that you have a different opinion. With more serious issues, like buying a new house, a greater level of compromise will be necessary, however.

For example, if you’re house hunting and you just can’t come to any kind of agreement, you may need to find a compromise by choosing a property that meets some of your individual demands. It might be that there’s a house that has the living room that your partner wants, but you’re not keen on. However, you do love the pool in the backyard, so you’re able to compromise on other features because the house has some things that each of you likes.

In some cases, the other person may be unwilling to make a compromise – for example, with regard to the number of children they want. In those cases, you may need to respect their boundaries and come to an understanding instead of a compromise. If you’re the man in the relationship, you need to recognize that it should be a joint decision with your wife as to how many children you will have.

Getting relationship help from a Christian counselor

It can be daunting to explore the idea of finding a therapist to help with your relationship but getting professional help can make a lot of difference. There are lots of therapists who are experienced in working with couples who have a volatile relationship and struggle with keeping to fair fighting rules.

Find therapists in your local area and schedule appointments with several of them. Often initial sessions are free or discounted, so you’re able to try different therapists to find the one that is the best fit for you. You should be looking for a therapist that you feel comfortable with, who welcomes you and your partner and makes you feel supported.

Look through the profiles of Christian counselors for therapists who specialize in offering therapy to couples and in aspects of communication. You should ask any questions that come to mind in order to find out whether a particular therapist is going to be right for you and your partner. Even if the first few that you try aren’t a good fit, keep looking. There is bound to be a therapist who will be able to help you and your partner work through your issues with fighting.

Photos:
“Married Fight,” courtesy of Gratisography, pexels.com, CC0 License; “The Boxer”, Courtesy of antfrank, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “US”, Courtesy of Harsha K R, Flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0 License; “They ARE”, Courtesy of Celynek, Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0 License