SCARED MELANCHOLY

SCRIPTURE

A CHRISTIAN LADY SAID, “WOW! WHAT WAS THAT? All of a sudden for no rhyme or reason, a distressed feeling came over me; a despondent, disconsolate, doleful feeling of fright and dejection, an awful down in the dumps feeling.”

Is she needing professional counseling?  Did this strange feeling of scared melancholy arise out of physical distress, maybe mental, emotional suffering?  Is there no one to help her?  I care, but I was a pastor of a church. Is there anyone out there to care?  It still begs an answer to her why!

Is it a learned helplessness in her part?

Psychology Today magazine quotes Thomas Plante: “The American Psychological Association’s yearly Stress in America study found that stress levels have never been higher, with most people pointing to the state of our national politics being the cause of their stress; it ranked higher than personal work and family troubles.  Extreme divisiveness, incivility, verbal aggression, and so forth seem to get worse by the day.  Worries about the future of our nation and society is on the minds of all. While anxiety and stress is commonplace, perhaps despondency is now setting in.”

Continuing Plante’s thoughts, he suggests a few things:

•Connect with others of like mind and do something, anything, for positive change.

•Embrace the notion that you can work to change what you can control and accept what you just can’t control.

•Reflect upon and evaluate your own values and ethical principles carefully and be sure to express them in civil ways to others.

•Minimize media exposure and inflammatory news that tends to escalate problems and worries.

•Be sure to spend time in relaxing activities such as being in nature, getting away from computer and smart phone screens, and engaging in healthy activities such as exercise and spending time with friends. [And stay away from Facebook!]

•Engage in satisfying service and volunteer activities where you feel that you might be able to make a difference in the lives of others.

•If you are spiritually or religiously engaged, increase your involvement with your spiritual/religious tradition and community.

•Get professional help if your stress doesn’t get better.  You can start with the Help Center at the American Psychological Association if you aren’t sure what direction to go to get assistance.

So, what do you think? What can you do to cope?

(Copyright 2018, Thomas G. Plante, PhD)

It is interesting that Plante suggests engaging with your spiritual community. The Psalmist encourages God’s people –

“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God!

“I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.”

Psalms 120:1 (nlt)

“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”

Psalms 121:7-8 (nlt)  🎼🎶🎹

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

(Charles Gabriel)

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STRAIN AT A GNAT

I DON’T CARE ABOUT MOST OF THE THINGS THAT A FEW OF THOSE PREACHERS ON TV DO.  For instance, I really don’t care if the earth was formed 6,000 years ago or 10 Billion years ago.  I don’t think the Lord God inspired the Bible to be a book of irrefutable science. If it was important for us to know exactly when and how the earth was formed he would have made it abundantly clear.

If  Jesus had wanted us to know the exact date of his coming he would have told us.  And yet I have heard a few TV guys and others laboriously trying to find in Scripture and signs in the sky when we will see Jesus coming.  I’m ready!  Are you?  Maybe those speeching-preaching entertainers are too busy raising money for their $50 million dollar jet plane to:  “Preach the word; to be prepared in season and out of season; to correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”  (2 Timothy 4:2 (niv))

I heard a guy on TV say that we are going to be in heaven exactly the way we are on earth, but without the limitations.  Reeely?

As for me, I don’t want to be like I am now.  I like myself, kinda, but I’m not a narcissist.  Being free of limitations may be great, but I would need to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel to find anything like that in the Bible.  I’ll guarantee you that when Jesus comes – whenever that may be – and he introduces me to my heavenly body,

🎼🎶🎹

“there’ll be singing, there’ll shouting

When the saints come marching home,

In Jerusalem, in Jerusalem,

Waving palms with loud hosannas

As the King shall take His throne,

In the new Jerusalem.”

(C. B. Widmeyer)

Much of that preaching is designed to either raise money or scare the living daylights out of people.  My heart and life are ready.  I love the Savior and he loves me, and his saving grace makes me unbelievably happy.

🎼🎶🎹

“Whenever I am tempted,

whenever clouds arise,

when song gives place to sighing,

when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to him;

from care he sets me free:

his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me;

his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me.

“I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

for his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me.”

(Civilla D. Martin)

THE FORGOTTEN PAIN

THEY WHIPPED JESUS. THEY HUMILIATED HIM WITH TAUNTS. THEY SPAT ON HIM.  THEY SHOUTED SNEERING INSULTS. THEY LAUGHED AT HIM.

But there was a stabbing pain of the soul not recorded in Scripture.  Oh it’s there alright, but very little or nothing is written about the hurt, the disappointment Jesus felt when Judas stooped so low in his betrayal for a measly 30 pieces of silver.  Jesus loved Judas. He occupied an important position as treasurer of the group.

Jesus told the assembled disciples, “‘One of you is going to hand me over to the conspirators.’”

Matthew 26:20-21 (msg)

It could have been any one of them.  Jesus didn’t name the guy because he didn’t want to embarrass anyone.

If your husband or wife or friend betrayed you, would you publicly hold them up for ridicule?  Jesus would never hold anyone up for public embarrassment.  He knew  the unexplainable pain of disaffection and deception.

“Then Judas, already turned traitor, said, ‘It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?’ Jesus said, ‘Don’t play games with me, Judas.’”

Matthew 26:25 (msg)

Although nothing is mentioned of Jesus’ feelings at the time, but can’t you just feel Christ’s mixture of anger and hurt.

Arrogantly taking someone for a chump creates a toxic emotional poison in body and mind.  You may have read my article on oxytocin, a hormone associated with betrayal and revenge (“Love hath no fury like a woman scorned!”)  Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus.  In my book, WRITE IT ON MY HEART, I address the issue more completely, but suffice it to say that if you betray her or him, you better watch out!  In fact, if either of you starts to nibble around the edges of moral certitude, you’re a goner. Something crazy and destructive begins to happen and all hell will break loose. Your sins will find you out.   Have you noticed it in real life? Oxytocin & Cortisol – Tiger Woods, John Gotti, Charlie Sheen, and countless others great and small are gluttons for punishment?

Write It On My Heart – Speaking Truth in Love

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 9.13.36 AM.jpg

No, I’m not a molecular biologist so don’t get all freaked out that this is an illustrious article with ibids, op cits and quotes from noted scientists, PhD’s, DD’s, MD’s, DVD’s, and other learned D’s past, present and future.  Cortisol is a hormone finding its origin in the hypothalamus which then tells the pituitary gland to shoot out Oxytocin, known as the DEATH HORMONE. I think the medical name for it is hydrocortisone. Sometime, old people have too much of it, and then they kick the bucket. BUT, would you believe, IT CAN BE TRIGGERED BY GUILT!

It is a “stress” hormone.  Cortisol, the hormone,  can increase blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety and other stuff.  From a “ministerial” (😊) perspective, I might even jump to this conclusion: since guilt is  “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined,” tragic consequences occur in your body, daily activities and even in your thinking.

We know – it is proven – that the mind affects the body. I would submit that your spirit affects both mind and body.  The Psalmist wrote:  “Then I let it all out; I said, ‘I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to GOD.’   Suddenly the pressure was gone— my GUILT dissolved, my sin disappeared.”

Psalm 32:5

CORTISOL is the Death Hormone. Oxytocin is the betrayal/revenge Hormone.  It could be that Jeremiah is addressing this thought:

“All … your friends have forgotten you. They don’t care about you. I have hurt you as an enemy would. I punished you very hard, because your GUILT was so great and your sins were so many. Why are you crying out about your injury? There is no cure for your pain. I did these things to you because of your great GUILT, because of your many sins.”

Jeremiah 30:14-15

“Let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. … in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, GUILT, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!”

1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Jesus, being fully human as well as fully God, most assuredly had a broken heart beyond words when Judas betrayed him. But think of Judas – he “threw the silver coins into the Temple and left. Then he went out and hung himself.”

Matthew 27:5 (msg)

Oh the hurt that Jesus felt!