Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Psych Info: WHAT IS EMOTIONAL MATURITY?


Q. It seems to me that more and more people are emotionally immature.  We hear about road rage, child abuse and outrageous competitive behavior by parents at their children’s soccer games. What is emotional maturity and how can we instill it in our children? 

A. Emotional maturity is lacking in many people today. We are tempted to tell them to “grow up”, if only just saying this would make it happen. William C. Menninger, MD, noted psychiatrist, lists seven Criteria of Emotional Maturity. These are excellent guidelines to judge and guide our quest for maturity in ourselves, and in our children. The comments following each of these are my own understanding and thoughts.

1. The ability to deal constructively with reality. Individuals with this trait are able to face the truth about them self and to see the world realistically.  For example, when given a bad review at work they will remain rational, though inwardly in turmoil. They will attempt to understand and grow from the criticism if it is valid.
   
2. The capacity to adapt to change. Change is inevitable in life. The mature person lets go of the past and moves forward in the direction change takes them. This isn’t necessarily easy even for the mature person, depending on the significance of the change.
   
3. A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties. The emotionally mature person is able to function in the world even though they may have some anxious or tearful times, occasional insomnia or minor physical symptoms. They go to work and do their job in spite of tension or anxiety.
   
4. The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving. Our culture encourages self-centeredness, grabbing for ourselves. Until we learn that giving is more rewarding we remain like children. When we enjoy giving we are kind, gentle and loving with others and with ourselves.
   
5. The capacity to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness. We enjoy working and relaxing with other people and there is mutual give and take in our relationships with others. Again, we connect and enjoy friendships. We are kind, gentle and loving.
   
6. The capacity to sublimate, to direct one’s instinctive hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets. I’m not sure I would describe anger as “instinctive hostile energy” but we certainly are born with the God given capacity to get angry. The emotionally mature person has learned to control his anger so it does not do emotional or physical damage to anyone.  After his or her anger has subsided, the emotionally mature person attempts to find a rational, constructive solution to the problem. Though anger may be justified often forgiveness goes the second mile.
   
7. The capacity to love. Love is not a feeling. It’s how we behave toward others. Love is the action we take no matter how we feel. A sick child wakes us at night and we stay up and nurse the child though we certainly don’t feel like it. The apostle Paul defines love in this way: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”  Read I Corinthians 13 for Paul’s complete description of love. 
   
How can we help our children grow toward emotional maturity? Children learn from our behavior as well as from our words. If we lovingly model emotional maturity they will learn this from us. We must understand that their growth toward maturity is a slow process. We must be patient and accept their immaturity while applauding each sign that they are becoming more emotionally mature. We need to be patient with ourselves in our own growth to maturity also. No one meets these criteria perfectly or all the time.

“Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.” Proverbs 3:13

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, April 12, 2018

CARING FOR A DYING LOVED ONE


Q. My sisters and I are taking turns caring for our elderly mother who is very sick and not expected to recover. She has been declining for the past year and requires a great deal of care. It bothers me that my sisters talk about Mom as though she were already dead. I guess we’re all wishing she would die soon because we’re worn out by her care. I feel terrible for having said that but that’s how I’m feeling. What can I do to handle this better?

 A. You and your sisters are already grieving the loss of your mother.  This kind of grief is called “anticipatory grief.” It’s a normal part of the grief process which occurs when a person lingers for months on end.  Our minds are preparing us for the loss. 
    
Caring for an elderly, dying family member is often overwhelming for the caregivers. They love their family member and want to provide care but the added responsibilities along with the emotions involved, create major stress. Caregivers continue to meet the needs in their own families and many also have full time jobs. As a result marriages suffer from neglect and time for oneself is only a fleeting memory. 
    
It’s no wonder you find yourself wishing for your mother to hurry up and die. This does not indicate a lack of care for her. In fact, it may be a sign of your love for her since the quality of her life is minimal now.  Here are some things you and your sisters can do that will help.
    
1.  Allow yourselves to grieve, each in your own way. Be accepting of each other’s grieving styles. Grieving isn’t a one time event, it’s a process. Though grieving is painful it will relieve some of the stress you’re under. Face your Mom’s coming death and let your tears flow as you feel the sadness. 

2. Grieve together. Share your tears with your husband, your sisters, other close family members and close friends. Talk about your concerns and fears about her care. Don’t ignore any issue. However, don’t dwell only on the pain and the problems. Talk also about happy and humorous memories of your loved one.
    
3. If your mother is mentally alert, talk with her about her dying. Listen for her to bring this up or gently do so yourself. It can relieve the dying person to know you are facing this loss and accepting her passing. It may even give her permission to stop fighting for life when there is no hope. 
    
4. Tell your Mom how much you love her and what you appreciate about her. Ask her for forgiveness for ways you’ve hurt her and tell her you have forgiven her for any hurts she’s caused you. Settle all accounts with her. It will help you both. Tell her all this even if you’re not sure she can now understand you. Her spirit will hear you.
    
5. Take time off from caring for your Mom without feeling guilty. If you’re attempting to help on a daily basis over a lengthy period of time, ask other family members or close friends to relieve you for a day or two each week. Maintain outside interests. Make time for yourself and for your marriage.

6. Share your pain with God. We are conditioned to pray for health and healing so it seems some how wrong to ask God to take our loved one. But it’s not. God knows our hearts and accepts our deepest emotions. 
    
7. Hang onto your faith. We don’t understand God’s ways. Ask him to help you through these tough times.  Psalm 23 can help also. 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 23:4

Blessings, Dottie


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God


This is the thirteenth section of Psalm 119 – the longest chapter and the longest Psalm in the Bible. There are 8 different terms referring to Scripture used through out. These are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances.

Mem. February 5, 2016

97 O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

Father, I love your Word!
I ponder and feed on your word every day.

98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.

Your commands and precepts and word make me wiser than unbelievers,
For your way is eternal and will be mine forever.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.

Father, I have more insight than some of my former teachers,
Your Way and Truth are my daily contemplation.

100 I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.

I grasp more than many believers of all ages,
Because I study and follow your laws and your way of love.

101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.

Father, I keep my eyes and mind and my actions from evil ways,
That I may be true to you and your Word.

102 I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.

I will not and have not drifted away from your teaching,
For You Yourself have touched me and taught me.

103 How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Your words are delicious and nourishing to me!
Yes, sweeter than ice cream to my mouth!

104 From Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

Father, from your Word I gain understanding of you;
Therefore I deplore and pray against every false way.

Blessings, Dottie


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Resurrection Doubt? No, He's Alive!


Christ the Lord has risen! He's alive! Do we believe this? The disciples spent three years with Jesus, living and learning from Him. They saw the healings and miracles and knew He was the Messiah. But they didn't expect Him to die. They witnessed His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, though some ran away and hid. Some helped bury Him. Then they hid together and grieved.
Three days later they saw Him! Can you grasp the surprise, amazement, and yet belief in their voices?
Mary said, "I have seen the Lord! (John 20:18) She knew it was Him!     
The two men on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Him until He broke the bread and revealed Himself to them. They said, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32) Their hearts burned within them even before they recognized Him. Does your heart burn within you in His presence?  
Thomas wouldn't believe the reports of the other disciples until he saw Jesus a week later. Then he said, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28) I imagine he said this with a hushed and humble voice. He may have even bowed before him. Wouldn't you? Do you now?
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most essential doctrine of the church. Any who don't believe this truth are denying Jesus, Christianity and Scripture.     
He said He was the Son of God. (Luke 22:70) He said He would rise from the dead. (Luke 18:33) And He did. He said He would return and He will. (Matthew 24:30) What a marvelous faith we have.  
Blessings in the Risen Christ, Dottie



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

HOLY WEEK THOUGHTS AND AN OLD RUGGED CROSS


This is the most holy week of the Christian calendar. Most churches will have special services this week to recount the events of the first Holy week, to commemorate the Last Supper, to honor our Lord's agony in Gethsemane, His betrayal and arrest and His suffering and death on the cross to redeem us. And three days later his resurrection!

Let the meaning of this week sink in to your soul in a deeper way than ever before. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the amazing significance of this event in history. Wrap your mind and heart around the fact that Jesus, God in the flesh, the son of God, lived a sinless life, taught profound lessons in love, showed us God's unchanging character, and voluntarily died to save you and me. And he rose again. He's alive!

We can't stand in God's presence in eternity without Christ's blood covering our sins. Here's what Scripture says about the effect of Jesus sacrificial death on those who are in Christ:

God has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over His own head on the cross. And then, having disarmed all the powers ranged against us, He exposed them - shattered, empty, and defeated-in His final glorious triumphant act! Colossians 2:13b-15

             On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
            the emblem of suffering and shame,
            and I love the old cross where the dearest and best
            for a world of lost sinners was slain.
            So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
            till my trophies at last I lay down;
            I will cling to the old rugged cross
            and exchange it some day for a crown.

In Christ,

Dottie




Saturday, March 24, 2018

Events of Holy week in Scripture


We will be blessed this holy week if we read, study, meditate and pray on the events of this week as recorded in Scripture. Today I’m listing Sunday through Thursday. Meditate on His life as you read through these events.

Sunday: Jesus “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem occurred on Sunday with Jesus riding on a donkey fulfilling Zechariah 9:9’s prophesy. “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See your king comes to you, righteous and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” See Matt 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-44, John 12:12-19.

Monday: Jesus is anointed (for burial) at Bethany (John 12:1-9) and he clears the temple of the money changers. (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48)

Tuesday: His authority is questioned. Matt. 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8. And Jesus teaches in the temple. Matt. 21:28-23:39, Mark 12:1-44, Luke 20:9-21:4.

Wednesday: Judas plots against Jesus. Matt. 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6

Thursday: Jesus and His disciples eat the Passover meal, the Last Supper, the first Communion. Matt. 26:17-29, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-38, John 13:1-38. Jesus says to his disciples “This is my body, broken for you, do this in remembrance of me.” In John 14:1-16:33, He comforts the disciples, and in John 17:1-26 He gives His high priestly prayer, praying for them and for us – for our unity in Him.

This is a holy week with much to ponder about Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Blessings in Christ, Dottie






Monday, March 19, 2018

REASONS TO BELIEVE CHRISTIANITY CHANGED THE WORLD


This is the eleventh in a series of blog posts with my sister Betty Haynie about what we believe. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes. My thoughts follow her thoughts - be sure to read it all!

HOW CHRISTIANITY CHANGED THE WORLD

By Betty Haynie


One way that Christianity changed the world is that women in Christian areas are honored and respected, not oppressed. The truth is that, far from oppressing women, the Christian church has proved to be a liberating force. Women have achieved unprecedented status in nations where Christianity has had an impact. Jesus honored women among His followers. Mary Magdalene was the first to discover the empty tomb, see the resurrected Christ, and tell the other believers. Jesus stopped people from stoning the adulteress and treated the oft-married woman at the well with respect.

Throughout history women in non-Christian countries have been treated as property - chattel in some instances. Only in the Western countries and those in Europe and South America that embrace Christianity have women become more highly elevated and, in many countries equal with men. This is especially true in the United States, Canada, England and some of the European countries. In many countries women still cannot vote or voice an opinion.

In his book How Christianity Changed the World, Alvin Schmidt elaborates on how Christianity endorsed and promoted the following subjects:
1. The Sanctification of Human Life
2. Christianity Elevates Sexual Morality
3. Women Receive Freedom and Dignity
4. Charity and Compassion
5. Hospitals and Health Care
6. Christianity’s Imprint on Education
7. Labor and Economic Freedom Dignified
8. Science: Its Christian Connections
9. Liberty and Justice for All
10. Slavery Abolished
11. Christianity’s Stamp on Art and Architecture
12. The Sound of Music: Its Christian Resonance
13. Hallmarks of Literature: Their Christian Imprint
14. Additional Influence: Holidays, Words, Symbols etc.

I won’t go into each of these subjects, but this list is certainly something for Christians to take comfort in, knowing that without Christ this world would be a really sorry mess (even worse than it currently is). It is because we don’t acknowledge Jesus and live by God’s Word that the world is in such a mess. But without Jesus’ life and teachings it would be MUCH worse. If mankind would simply practice living as Jesus teaches us to, and follow His example, this world could be a heaven rather than the hell that it has become. The original name for the followers of Jesus was “The Way,” and that is what it really is, to those who believe.  

Blessings, Betty


HOW CHRISTIANITY CHANGED THE WORLD

By Dottie Parish

Did you read Betty’s list of how Christianity changed the world? What would the world be like if Christianity had never happened? Here are things I thought of that would be missing if Jesus had never lived and taught and died and rose again.

Marvelous music would be missing including Handel’s Messiah, all hymns, and great and beautiful classical Christian music. The same is true of art, such as the Sistine Chapel and the painting there by Michelangelo. Think of all the Christian literature, especially the Bible but also Pilgrims Progress by Paul Bunyan, Augustine’s Confessions, A Christmas Carol, and books by C. S. Lewis and Timothy Keller, and the Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer and so many more.

There would be no Bible, no Lord’s Prayer, no Christmas holiday, no Easter, no Thanksgiving (the pilgrims started this to thank God), no churches, no Red Cross, no Billy Graham revivals, no missionaries, no homeless shelters. Many hospitals started as Christian institutions, many colleges did also. They would not be here. There would be no child labor laws. No Salvation Army, no putting your hand on the Bible in court to swear to tell the truth, children would not learn to pray or sing Jesus Loves me. No Sunday off work, no ten commandments. Would it be ok to steal, to commit adultery? Would children learn to honor their parents?

There would be no story of the Good Samaritan, no angels singing to welcome the new born babe, no overcoming of death, no resurrection as a fact, no miracles of healing.

Life would seem aimless, no purpose, just do your own thing. There would be more immorality, more stealing, sleeping around, contentiousness, less listening to others and more doing whatever you please, more lawlessness, more self-focus, less kindness.

Women would be subjected to the whims of men as men are stronger. Why not? (Jesus was accepting and honoring toward women contrary to the culture then.) Our calendar would not be divided into BC and AD. Infants and children would be abused more and discarded if not healthy; children would suffer more abuse and be put to work at a young age.

Christianity is responsible for providing us over the course of the last 2000 years a reasonable, faith that teaches us who God is and how he wants us to live. He teaches us that we will fail without him. We need God in order to live a humble, honest, kind and loving life. We need him to save us from our sinful ways and with his Spirit in us to help others. Whether you are Christian or not, we all should thank God for Jesus and the Christian faith. Christ Jesus has changed us and our world! 

Blessings, Dottie

Watch for our final Reasons to Believe post on WHY I BELIEVE IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH in late April by Betty and Dottie