fear, envy, compassion, comparison, isolation, love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Love Defeats Fear: Replacing Envy with Compassion

As we listen to the lies inside, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear.



I have a confession. Sometimes I feel jealous. Of my husband. His life just seems so glorious to me.

What I see is that he gets up, goes to the gym, goes to work, and gets to go on business trips. In my mind, this translates as he gets up and gets ready without children hanging on him, gets to do what he wants to do without dragging children with him, goes to a place with other adults where he is respected and valued. When he travels (which has been happening more often) he gets to go out to eat at restaurants and sleep alone without being woken up.

In his mind, he has to get up super early, not getting enough sleep, so that he can stay healthy, has to go and talk with adults who act like children, and when he travels he has to be away from his family, eating unhealthy food and not able to sleep in a strange bed.

As we listen to lies inside, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #comparison #envy #love #compassion #jealousy

Revelations

It’s easy for me to play the martyr. I can easily feel sorry for myself, thinking that I alone bear the burden. What I am craving is appreciation. I want to feel valued. I want to feel loved. And it is easy for this to lead to a division in my marriage because I am only focusing on myself.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast;

1 Corinthians 13:4, ESV

Instead of throwing another fit, I decided to talk about this need with him. Then a revelation hit me: we were both throwing our own pity parties. We were both playing as we had it “worse” than the other. And that’s when we decided to stop complaining. We stopped trying to make ourselves look “better”. Instead, we began to focus on how much the other one was juggling.

Isolation

Feeling envious occurs when we are fearful and insecure, which in turn leads to building up our defensiveness. We are trying to protect ourselves, but in doing so we end up in isolation. People need people. Strange things happen when we are isolated. In isolation, we to listen to lies being whispered in our heads.

At a recent Gathering, a lady mentioned that we know they are lies if they begin with “I”. I think there is truth in this. Also, we can pinpoint the lie when they are in absolutes like never, always, only, etc.

I am the only one who does anything.”

I am the only one who feels this way.”

I never get to have time away.”

I am always the one stuck doing this.”

Love Defeats Fear

As we listen to the lies, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear.

Hallelujah! Love defeats fear.

Here’s a dose of truth for you: Your Heavenly Father loves you. You are loved. You may not feel like it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. And the best way to feel loved is to show love.

Be patient with others, showing kindness. Stop talking about yourself, and listen to them. Do what other people want to do, and enjoy it. Don’t be happy when others mess up. Put up with the annoying things they do, appreciating the good. And never, ever stop doing these things. (Adapted from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

As we listen to the lies, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear. Click To Tweet

Compassion

Now when my husband is out of town, I show compassion for what he is having to deal with rather than complaining that I am home with the kids. And you know, my attitude about being home with the kids has changed. Now, I try to make it something fun, doing things that we normally wouldn’t do. (But I absolutely still look forward to him coming home!)

As we listen to lies inside, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #comparison #envy #love #compassion #jealousy

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
depression, provision, replenish, isolation, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Replenish: Accepting God’s Provision in the Depths of Depression

Seeking God while battling depression seems impossible, but God guides us to take strides to care for ourselves so that we will hear Him clearly. So He can replenish our souls. 



Like many women, I have spent a good deal of my life living with depression. I liken it to parenting a toddler who you are never allowed to hand off to anyone else to care for. Sometimes it trails along quietly in your shadow, other times it rides piggyback. Others still, it wraps itself around you like a writhing boa constrictor. Any time it has its hold on you, it weighs a portion of you down. Depression restricts your ability to move forward or function normally. It is exhausting.

There comes a time when the weight and the exhaustion gets to be too much to bear. At these times, I feel like Elijah under the broom bush. He is running from Jezebel, knowing his life is hanging in the balance, and he collapses under the pressure.

He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

1 Kings 19:4-5, NIV

Seeking God while battling depression seems impossible, but God guides us to care for ourselves so that we will allow Him to replenish our souls. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #isolation #replenish #provision

God’s Provision

There are moments where I have had enough of the struggle to keep moving, to survive the days and hurts and struggles. When it’s bad enough, my mind whispers Enough.

Luckily, our God is so immeasurably good. He knows what we need and how we need to receive it.

He could have told Elijah to suck it up. There was Kingdom work to be done, and he proceeded to wallow under a bush, welcoming the very outcome he had been running from. God could have inspired him to go right then and anoint the kings He would later command him to. But Elijah wasn’t ready for that, so the Lord sent an angel who said,

‘Get up and eat.’

1 Kings 19:5, NIV

That’s it. Just get up and eat. God provided the food, so Elijah only had to do the two things he commanded. Get up. Eat. And then God let him sleep again, before telling him to get up and eat once more.

Elijah needed nourishment. He needed God to replenish his body, mind, and spirit. Kingdom work was laid in front of him, but first Elijah needed to stop succumbing to the desire to give up. He needed to start getting ready for the journey he was going to embark upon. He needed his mind and heart at rest to be able to hear what God had to say.

Taking the First Step

What does that mean for those of us who suffer from depression? When getting out of bed feels like a monumental task, what does “Get up and eat” look like in a real way?

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2, ESV

Depression presents along a very broad spectrum, so there is not a one size fits all answer to those questions. At certain points in our lives, replenishment requires exactly what Elijah needed… eating and resting. At others, we need to reach out for the love and support of those closest to us. There have been many times I have said, please pray for me because I cannot pray for myself right now. God expects us to spread the weight of our burdens so that we do not have to bear them ourselves.

There are still other times where eating, sleeping, and calling on friends may feel like putting a bandaid on a severed limb. At those times, get up and eat means go to counseling or start taking medicine again. There is no shame in finding help where help is most needed.

Discerning between God and the Enemy

The important thing is to figure out what you need to replenish. Replenish enough to start seeking God and His Word again. This is not about fixing our depression, but mobilizing ourselves. When we are immobile, it is difficult for us to recognize the vast power and grace of God. But when we replenish ourselves and position ourselves to mobilize, we can see the immensity of His power. And, like Elijah, find His quiet voice in our hearts and in His Word. We must always remember to be seeking that voice so we may not confuse it with the voice of the enemy.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8, ESV

If we are under the broom bush, Ladies, we are easy prey. But when we give ourselves sustenance and rest, we gain the energy to stay in the Word. Energy to discern His sweet voice amidst the chaos and cacophony the enemy would try to distract us with. We can see the lion approaching. We can hear God’s encouragement, and we can remember that we know who wins in the end.

When depression makes us immobile, it is difficult for us to recognize the vast power and grace of God. But when we replenish ourselves, we can see the immensity of His power. Click To Tweet

Getting Help

All of this being said, I do not want to forget the people who have times where their words of concession are precisely Elijah’s:

Enough. Take my life. I am no better.

I was there. I asked God to take my life, and in His outstanding goodness, He refused to take it from me. I know how that moment feels, and I pray for each and every one of you that you find help before you get to the point I did. I pray that you feel God’s hand on your shoulder. I pray that you call that friend, that counselor, that suicide hotline as soon as you have the thought: things would be better if I just…wasn’t. We were not meant to survive on this earth in a vacuum. Our Creator built us to be in relationship with one another, to choose community over isolation.

Seeking God while battling depression seems impossible, but God guides us to care for ourselves so that we will allow Him to replenish our souls. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #isolation #replenish #provision

unsplash-logoKat Love

brokenness, darkness, intercession, isolation, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Isolation: A Letter of Intercession to the Broken and Alone

Pain can tempt us into isolation. Being alone is not the answer to healing and protection. God calls us to stand in the gap for the broken.  



There have been a few seasons in my life that have pulled me toward darkness. Darkness is an isolating place to hide. It can shield us from the truth. There were times I was pulled and other times I stumbled into the shadows. I lost my way to the light on the hill. I lost my way to the little lights shining in my loved ones’ hearts. But they always left the light on for me; God left the light on for me…

Pain can tempt us into isolation. Being alone is not the answer to healing and protection. God calls us to stand in the gap for the broken. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #isolation #alone #pain #darkness #support

Pain on Canvas

Art school was my first glimpse of how fast the world can drag someone to such darkness. This was the height of my battle with self-harm. And it’s no coincidence, this was the height (or the depths) of my lack of confidence. See, this culture taught that great art comes from great pain. So pain I bred, and pain I endured. I concocted it, fed it, let it flow through my veins, and poured it all over canvas.

I’ve never been surrounded by so many people yet felt so very alone. That’s dangerous on an already heavy mind. There’s a despicable desire to retreat even further… Become thin enough to waste away. Make the dorm room dark enough to feel gone. Take late night walks in an unsafe place, trying to fade out of existence. Don’t answer the door or the phone… disappear.

Complete isolation. It’s dangerous.

Familiar Friend

Recently, I’ve been feeling the pull towards darkness, towards isolation. I’m not sure if it’s a bout of seasonal depression or a year-long strain on my mind. Whatever it is, I’ve had to fight so hard to stay away from my familiar friend. I’ve had to fight thoughts of wanting to run and fade away.

There’s a feeling that I know what to expect there, in the dark. I know who can hurt me, or more importantly who can’t hurt me there. I know I can shelter my heart from pain and keep my mind from having to work through normal human living…

Lies and Truth

But it’s all lies… what I know are lies. In the dark, Satan circles like a vulture. In the dark, he whispers, destroys, devours. He knows there’s weakness in seclusion. Absolute singleness… unsheltered, unsafe, exposed.

The truth is… it doesn’t matter who you are, there is at least one, The One, who cares whether you are safe. Who cares to leave the light on for you.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

Romans 8:38, NLT

It’s okay to fall into the darkness, but Love please don’t stay there long. Allow those little lights to pull you to safety; allow the brightest light to pull you to safety. Safety forged by His blood. Safety promised through grace.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT

We must stand against isolation. We must let those who have walked the dark path before usher in our Champion. Let us, shoulder to shoulder, faces to the ground, intercede for our brothers' and sisters' souls. Click To Tweet

To You:

If you’ve lost your way… if you’ve stumbled your way into the dark…

Oh, Sweet Friend please allow me to nurture your heart for a moment…

Please be brave. Do not be alone. Do not sit in isolation. In isolation is a vulnerability that kills. Sometimes physically, but more dangerously, the soul, the heart, the mind deteriorate. The terrors Satan throws are murderers.

Beautiful Sister, you must stand against this… but not alone. We must stand together. Will you let us stand with you? Let us fight with you! Will you let those who have walked this path before, those who know it’s darkness, usher in your Champion? Let us, shoulder to shoulder, faces to the ground, intercede for you… for your soul. Because Love, wars are waging against your soul, not your body, YOUR SOUL.

Satan doesn’t care about your body, though it’s a nice perk when he gets it. He cares that you don’t belong to the only ONE who died to save you. He wants to steal that from you, one whisper at a time. Speak out, Beauty. Tell your sisters, your pastors, your prayer warriors… tell them and let them fight. Don’t allow the isolation of shame, heaviness, condemnation make you silent; make you alone.

Oh please don’t be alone. Let us remind you of the God who selflessly left His throne to destroy your condemnation. Remind you of the Father who pursues, pursues, and pursues again! He never stops. He breathed you into existence, you are not forgotten, you are not condemned.

And, oh Sweet Sister, you are so precious. Valuable. He will restore you; He has restored you. The holes, the mutilations, the breaks in your heart… He will return those, mended. Whole. You are not broken any longer. You are rescued. Redeemed.

Isolation Intercessors

You see, I had intercessors. I had twinkling lights on their knees every night for me (still do). People who didn’t know exactly what I was battling, but knew I wasn’t strong enough to fight for myself. And they fought, oh they fought.

Oh yeah, that’s great for you, Katie. Aren’t you so blessed? 

My Sweet, so are you. Do you know how many ladies we have praying for you? Yes, you! The Oh Lord Help Us Team is full of survivors of darkness. We know the importance of praying in the gap for those who don’t have the strength. Reach out to us. Let us know how we can intercede for you! Step out of the darkness.

Pain can tempt us into isolation. Being alone is not the answer to healing and protection. God calls us to stand in the gap for the broken. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #isolation #alone #pain #darkness #support

Annie Spratt

home, community, fellowship, alone, mentoring, Christian, scripture, Oh Lord Help Us

Home: Five Tips for Building Community Where We Are

Where we feel the most at home, isn’t always where we end up. Often times, it takes our own will power to seek out and build community where we land.



There’s something about going “home”. I love returning to the place of my childhood. Especially in the summer. I was able to return to Indiana this past weekend, and so many things made me miss my home state. The cool grass on my bare feet, the summer breeze that rarely happens in the South, the tall corn fields that make me feel protected. When I close my eyes, I can feel and smell and sense that this is home.

Community

Those pleasing sensations really do make me miss my home. But, when I close my eyes, I also see the community we left behind. Most of my family lives there, our beautiful church family, the friends I made as an adult, long-time family friends. The deepest parts of my soul, long for familiar community again.

I left a piece of myself, a piece of my heart, in all those I cherish.

With community comes a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose. There is confidence that no matter the season of life, we are not physically alone. When one is weak, the other is strong (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Where we feel the most at home, isn't always where we end up. Often times, it takes our own willpower to seek out and build community where we land. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Home Alone

When we moved to North Carolina, it was easy for me to seclude myself. I have a hard enough time making relationships, let alone attempting this while grieving the loss of my community. No one was checking up on me. No one making sure I was going to church or getting involved. This is dangerous for someone who is prone to hermit-hood…

Just let me be in my house, my safe place, and I’m happy. Or am I?

And the Lord God said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs.”

Genesis 2:18, ESV

God knew, even from the beginning, man should not be left alone. It’s not healthy for us to be alone, left to our own thoughts and plans. We need companionship. We need community.

It's not healthy for us to be alone, left to our own thoughts and plans. We need companionship. We need community. Click To Tweet

Building Fellowship

Fellowship isn’t always effortless. There are times we have to be diligent in creating it, but as I said before, I tend to be a hermit. I’m learning to break through this personality flaw. It’s only taken me 4 years to realize I have had the power all along. Through prayer, God is showing me ways I can stretch…He always answers prayers. Here are the areas He’s laid on my heart:

Go to church and get involved…

When we exhausted all the church options in our new area, we found that the effortlessness of our old church was very rare. I was not prepared to have to put effort into feeling like we belonged somewhere. I thought we would just fit right in, in the right church. Thus, creating a horrible habit of not even attending church. We are still working on fixing this habit, but we have found our church. Now, it takes ME to get involved and make it home.

Open up our homes, be hospitable…

I’m awful at this, Lord knows I need to work on my “grumbling”. Whether it be busyness, messiness, or lack of funds, I seem to always have an excuse to not open my home to others. This is not the command of God…

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:9, NIV

Practice sacrificial giving…

One way to build relationships and solidarity with others is to give what you have. It can be time, money, food; whatever we have. Everything we possess must be held with open hands because it all flows from God, above.

All believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

Acts 4:32, NIV

Share our stories, our testimonies…

Vulnerability and transparency have been my battle cries for about a year now. We all have our stories and they are important to share. Every single one, points directly to our good Father! No matter how wretched we were/are, God is still so good. And, in that truth, we find commonality. Camaraderie.

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.

1 Thessalonians 5:10, MSG

Show love, always…

This seems like a no-brainer, but so often we fall short of this commandment. When we put on love, fellowship falls right into place. All these other tips just seem to happen. Love is the greatest commandment. To put it plainly, love the Lord and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). Making sure our actions align with God’s word, is a good way to prove we are achieving love and building community with one another….

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:14, ESV

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

1 Peter 4:8,10, ESV

Where Are You?

Are you in this position? Feeling alone, left out, like you don’t belong? Have you found yourself in a place that doesn’t feel quite like home? In a place where community seems so distant? Trust me, I truly know this walk. I wish with all my heart I could walk alongside of you. Help you create a new community. But know this, when you are struggling to build that community with your own efforts, God has just what you need.

Where we feel the most at home, isn't always where we end up. Often times, it takes our own willpower to seek out and build community where we land. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Masaaki Komori