Thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person

The chaos of the world can be overwhelming for those who are deemed to be highly sensitive. A highly sensitive person (HSP) reacts differently to the environment around them. Most of the time an HSP will be someone who is highly particular about details.

They want to know the cause and effect of any given situation. The emotional intelligence of someone who is an HSP is much higher than most of the people around them.

It is possible for highly sensitive people to learn how to excel in life with their sensitivity. By understanding themselves and their reactions, a highly sensitive person can thrive just as they were designed to.

HSP is a personality trait that is connected to the way the brain engages in sensory processing. This means that a highly sensitive person can thrive and grow in a lifestyle that accents the gift of sensitivity.

Most people who find they are highly sensitive have done this by becoming more aware of how they live life in comparison to others. Self-identifying as an HSP means that you have an inner awareness of your increased response to people, places, and things around you whether they are positive or negative.

What it looks like to be a highly sensitive person.

Because you are highly sensitive, you experience the world differently than others. You can notice things others don’t. You are sensitive not only to words, sounds, or sights that you hear from others, but you are also awestruck when it comes to the beauty of God’s creation. You have a deep level of emotions and thoughts, which causes you to appreciate the value of being alone to rejuvenate your soul.

The characteristics of being a highly sensitive person affect you positively and negatively. They cause you to react differently because of exposure that can overwhelm your senses. Here are just a few of those behavioral characteristics.

  • Big crowds tend to overwhelm you. Not because you are shy, but because there is so much going on at once. A highly sensitive person will take on the emotions around them and this causes them to become exhausted.
  • Changes and transitions cause you to experience anxiety. You are not comfortable when you feel like you are out of control. Because of change and not being able to get everything done in your normal way, you feel a loss of confidence.
  • Criticism affects you deeply. Because you do not like to experience the negative, you will use any means to avoid criticism. People pleasing becomes your way of avoiding being criticized.
  • Changes and conditions in your body is more noticeable as an HSP. You tend to be aware of the taste of food as well as the pain of headaches in a more heightened way that others.
  • Because of all the energy it takes when you are in a chaotic place, you find that you need more downtime.
  • Many may think you are shy or an introvert because you have a hard time performing any type of task in front of others. Public speaking puts you on alert for criticizing yourself. As an HSP you do not want to be criticized, so you feel like you will fail when you perform in public.
  • Medication, caffeine, and pain are a few things to which you are highly reactive You may have to take less medication than others because your body reacts differently to the dosage that most people can take. Caffeine is much the same.
  • Because you notice so much more around you than others, you tend to overthink and worry about things others have not even considered.

This is not a complete list, but it is the bulk of what types of behavioral characteristics a highly sensitive person will exhibit.

The goodness of being a Highly Sensitive Person.

When you accept that you are a highly sensitive person, you can find inner peace and completeness, knowing God can use your gift of enhanced sensitivity to bring Him glory. You can use this to thrive as you relate to the escalated senses that you have. Productively using this trait means that you have come to understand how it relates to your environment.

How can I use being an HSP to help others?

Emotional Intelligence. When it comes to being highly sensitive, your emotional intuition is higher than normal. You find that you can get an internal feeling about the room you are in and the people around you.

You have a deep thought life and you hold the emotions that go with those thoughts. It is in this inner peace that you truly know the Spirit of God. As you are in tune with this you are also able to understand the spiritual need of others.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. – 2 Peter 1:2, NIV

Heightened Intuition. High sensitivity comes with heightened sense of intuition. This means that you will have a heightened awareness of the things around you. Because of this you find yourself aware of those around you and how they are feeling.

You step in with the support they need encouraging them to seek the hope that we don’t always see. You bring the love of God to those around you in a way that builds their faith.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7, NIV

Emotions run deep. As a highly sensitive person, you will find that your sense of compassion and empathy runs deeper than you would like to experience sometimes. You can become engulfed with heartache for those around you.

On the other end of the spectrum, you will also find that you can be overcome with joy. This aspect of being an HSP is how you can positively impact those around you in a way that they know the truth of God’s word.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32, NIV

Appreciation for creation. Most of the time a highly sensitive person will have a deep appreciation for the beautiful things around them. Whether it is music, art or the simple creation of the wind and leaves, you can get lost in the tranquility of seeing the beauty of God’s creation and gifts. Because of this you are able to find goodness and joy in the small things. This trait allows you to help others see the goodness of God even when they are hurting.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV

Details are never hidden. A highly sensitive person will always see the things that most people miss. Because you are paying attention to everything around you, there is very little that you don’t notice.

This characteristic helps you see what is going on in your environment. You tend to make any space a safe and loving place. God designed you to see the things that others do not so you can help in ways they are not able to see.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.Proverbs 2:6-8, NIV

How do I cope with being highly sensitive?

There are many things that you can do to help you cope with your sensitivity. It doesn’t have to be a bad experience. By understanding the traits of being a highly sensitive person, you can apply those to every aspect of life in a way that will help you thrive.

Understand it as a gift. We know that God has created each of us as unique individuals. Being highly sensitive is no different than being mechanically inclined. It is a gift that can be used to help others truly see who God is and how much he loves them.

“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills –  to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.Exodus 31:2-5, NIV

Honor what it is and be mindful. Take into consideration how you can see the creation of God. Because you notice the in depth beauty of the world you live in, you can share it in ways that others cannot. Give thanks that you are able to notice the beauty that many take for granted.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. – Psalm 105:1-2, NIV

Rest and appreciate the time to reflect. Being highly sensitive can sometimes lead to exhaustion so it is important that you learn to rest. During these times of rest, reflect on the goodness of the gift and connect with God. Take time to hear what God is saying to you. Listen for His still, small voice of instructions for your life.

for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. – Hebrews 4:10-11, NIV

Being highly sensitive does not have to be a negative part of your life. You can thrive and live a very fulfilled life by understanding the trait and how to apply God’s Word to your life. If you feel overwhelmed and need someone to talk to you as you navigate using your sensitivity in a positive way, reach out to a Christian counselor. There are many who are willing to help you create a faith-based plan to become a thriving highly sensitive person.

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Balancing It All: Tips for Single Mom Help

Are you looking for single mom help? As mothers, it can be easy to scrutinize everything that we do. Our thoughts can plague us with doubts and frustrations that intrude our peace and bring us to lash out towards our kids, ourselves, and other people.

Are you worried that you are messing everything up? Do you think that if you had a sense of control, you could balance it all? That sense of accomplishment and feeling at ease with your life comes down to where you put your trust and time.

Being a single mother is challenging, yet millions of women have been put into or chosen that very circumstance. Although the traditional design did not include women raising children without a male figure, there are more than fifteen million U.S. families with women as the only breadwinner and no husband or father figure in the home.

In addition, historically speaking, millions of women have lost husbands due to death or found themselves in situations where they had no choice but to be single mothers.

Tips for single mom help.

Although these tips for single mom help are designed to help you stay more mindful and in the present as you manage single motherhood, the most important aspect about changing the way you feel in and about motherhood is where you put your trust. Trust in the wrong things will lead to repetitive disappointments.

By establishing trust boundaries, you are able to dispense your time and energy into what aligns best with your values and beliefs and be built up instead of torn down.

For example, you could be waking up an hour earlier than your children to get dressed and spend some quiet time alone or exercising. This advice was given to you by the “you deserve” movement passed on through well-meaning individuals. The trouble with this advice is it can seem cut and dry, when you put in good routines and get that “me” time, you will be a better person.

Then the days happen when you haven’t had any sleep, or the kids wake up and want you “too early” and everything is ruined, or you do it all and still find yourself a wreck. The system failed, and left you right where you started: tired and frustrated.

If you don’t establish a healthy boundary about where you put your trust, no tip in the world for single mom help will help you for long. The best place to put your trust? In a place that is timeless, truthful, good, beautiful, deserving of praise, honorable, and pure.

These tips for single mom help are to help you establish healthier thinking and behavior that will impact your life and the lives of your children in a positive and lasting way. Once you’ve established healthy boundaries for your trust, the next step is to establish healthy boundaries about how you spend your time. The following collection of tips for a single mom have that in common. Spending your time in these areas just ten minutes a day can build lasting impact.

Spend your time with wise people.

You don’t have to socialize without the kids (though I agree, it does provide a different experience that many crave), in order to take advantage of this tip. Keeping yourself connected with a community that focuses on building you up, providing practical help in times of need, and encouraging your trust boundaries will help you and your family thrive.

When you do bring your children along, they benefit from seeing you model healthy relationships and learn which people are going to be positive for them to socialize with.

Stay connected with these individuals daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. Set regular times to connect both in person and through phone or writing. You won’t do everything the same as the people in the community, but you can take advantage of learning from those who have gone ahead of you and being encouraged to continue on by those who are in the thick of it with you.

Search for diversity in the group (different life stages), but there’s no set number or variation for ultimate benefit from this tip. Just one or two women who are similar to you can help just as much as a group of twelve women who have been there and done that and found a good path.

Practice good stewardship and humility.

Being a single mother means living through hectic moments, sometimes daily chaotic events. If you have a special needs child or a few young children, you might feel simultaneously as if you are doing too much, yet not enough.

Sometimes our pride or idea that there is no other option but to press on in the madness keeps us from seeing that there is another option. It’s not always. In fact, as chaos consumes, it is often the only option but to press on and survive – no other focus is possible.

So, I offer this tip as a flexible one in its timing. Please consider that while you may have opportunity to implement it more often that you think during times of distress, it is also very real that the only option is to use it as a recovery tool.

The self-care movement seems to have taken the idea of airline safety (put your mask on first) and created a place where we place our trust and come up short again and again. As a single mother, you may find very little time for yourself. That is why this tip is not self-care centered, but instead focused on being a good steward of what God has given you, including yourself and your children.

Try asking yourself:

“Can I take time to throw even the meal that I’m pressing so hard to finish (while the children are falling apart around me) straight out the window and direct my focus on helping myself and the children calm down with love?”

“Can I help myself and my children establish routines and habits of cleaning both body and possessions/space?”

“What about establishing habits of compassion and love for one another?”

“Can I humbly and lovingly admit to myself and my children that I need a moment of silence, a few deep breaths, or a walk outside (even if it means I take them along)?” Because it is likely that they need it, too – and if anything, they will at some point. It’s okay to turn the homework in late but complete, to eat cereal again for dinner, or ask your kids to put in work around the house.

This idea of good stewardship with humility does not come as an easy task because it will be challenged by all the things to be done, the ticking of the clock, the expectations of others, and by the idea that “it would just be easier if I did it.”

Your children need time to practice their skills in stewardship just as much as you do. The way that you steward your time and energy and space will model for them the very ways that they will follow.

Stay present.

We often bring our heartaches and hurts into the present by focusing on our past regrets, betrayals, or future worries. Do you find your mind wandering back to mistakes? Do you still feel bitter toward an ex? Are you wasting time reliving the life you think you might have led?

Practice mindfulness throughout the day. Mindfulness directs your mind back to the present and appreciating where you are in the moment. Of course, you must plan and prepare for the future, but don’t get so caught up that you miss what is happening now. Appreciate the present time with your children. They grow up fast, so savor their childhood.

Wiser words about this were never spoken as these in Philippians: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Don’t feel like you should respond to everything.

Does it feel as if everyone wants a piece of you? Your children, boss, parents, extended family, friends, and social media compete for your attention. This is where you will need to practice trust boundaries, putting your guard up, and practicing self-discipline. Setting boundaries includes prioritizing relationships and how you spend your time.

To a single mom, the most demanding responsibility is the welfare of her children. They require focus and attention, especially if there has been a recent life event, such as divorce or the father’s death. Depending on your circumstances, your next priority may be your family outside your children, such as your parents and siblings and/or a core community group as the tip above suggested.

Putting your guard up challenges you to practice discretion in how you use your time and what you fill your mind with. Allowing yourself to be free to communicate when it is the best timing for your family (i.e. after the kids go to sleep, or not during dinner time, etc.) gives a level of chastity to the relationships and keeps you in the present moment with a singular focus.

This means, even if it’s not the best moment for your family, you can take the time to communicate that to anyone involved (i.e. “Kids, Mommy will be there in one minute – set a timer,” or a quick “Sorry, can’t talk right now” auto reply to the other person). It is up to you to set the boundaries and expectations in place and stand by them – which takes self-discipline.

Practicing self-discipline leads you to resist temptations to stop setting boundaries and let your guard down, which can lead to increased chaos and stress in your home as you try to give your attention to everyone and anything.

Take control of finances.

Most single moms find their worry and frustration stem from making ends meet and providing for their children. If you have never managed finances, now is the time to learn. It is possible to budget on a small income. Once you master the skill of sticking to a monthly budget, you may find that you have enough money to build a savings account or pay off debt.

A big thing to do with the stress around finances are the influences of envy and jealousy. Coming together with your children and learning as a family how to resist envy and jealousy, as well as nurture values of hard work over money can be a good step for you.

Finances are a personal subject, but you can find courses, workshops, and videos online that cover budgeting, savings, debt relief, and investments.

Christian counseling for single moms.

Do you need single mom help? Are you anxious, depressed, and frazzled trying to support and care for your family? Contact our office today to schedule a session with a therapist specializing in women’s issues and single parenthood. Not only can your therapist help you with the mental health aspect of being a single parent, but they also may be able to assist you in finding local resources for support.

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Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Learning How to Deal with Anger  

We’ve all had bad days. You got out of bed late because your alarm didn’t go off for some reason. Then, because your morning routine was turned upside down, you left the house quite abruptly, and not on the best terms with your spouse and kids. Traffic was especially bad (or was it your foul mood that made it feel that way?).

Then when you got to work, you were put on the spot about a project and your answer was less than satisfactory, and your colleague was more than happy to swoop in and “help you” give your boss what he needed. By the time you get home, you know it’s only a matter of time before whoever comes to you with their next request feels the impact of the wrath that’s been building up all day.

Anger can creep into our lives in both subtle and obvious ways, and if we give it full vent, it can break relationships with others. Though we may desire to walk through life at peace with ourselves and others, it seems as though circumstances conspire against us and our best intentions. Our anger is provoked, and before our hearts are settled again, the damage may have already been done, either through reckless words or actions.

What does the Bible say about managing our anger versus allowing our anger to manage us?

Anger is serious.

In dealing with anger, it is important to first recognize that while we are designed to feel, our feelings are also a part of our flesh that is born with a sinful nature. How we feel gives us important clues about what’s going on inside us, and it directs us to remedy the situation. Our sadness, joy, fear, pain, and anger, all point to certain realities around us, and they alert us to our mental state in a given situation. So, it is good to pay attention to what our emotions are telling us.

This is where discernment and self-control come into play. While they are good advisors, feelings make for terrible commanders. In other words, our emotions are an important part of us that we need to pay attention to for the sake of our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health, but it’s dangerous to be led by them.

Having self-control, which includes control over our emotions, thoughts, and actions, allows us to make considered choices. Having discernment allows us to utilize the self-control in the most wise way. There are many warnings in the Bible about anger and what can result if we are led by that powerful emotion. Consider a few examples.

Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.Proverbs 16:32

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.Proverbs 14:29

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. – Proverbs 15:18

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Ephesians 4:25-27, 31

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.Colossians 3:8

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.James 1:19-21

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21

These Scriptures, among many others, remind us just how seriously we are called to take anger, and how carefully we should examine our anger to determine if it is righteous or sinful. Instead of looking at anger as just another emotion that we can indulge without consequences, these verses remind us that there is a cost to it. For the person that’s chosen to follow God, a life marked by anger is something to be avoided.

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29:11

Watch the red flags.

Anger can alert us to the fact that something is not right in our world. We get angry when we experience personal injustice, feel frustrated or threatened or attacked, or when we witness injustice in the world around us. That anger can move us to act in ways that bring positive change in the world.

Anger has a place and serves a purpose, but even what you might consider “righteous anger” can become such a predominant emotion in your life that it becomes problematic and leaves room for God’s command to love others. That’s why it’s important to learn to recognize it and detect if anger issues are in your life.

You may be said to have “anger issues” when sinful anger has a hold on you and has made a huge impact on your life. For example, if relationships have ended or you have regrets in your relationships because of things said and done in anger, it may signal that you have anger issues.

Are you angry most of the time? Do you get angry quickly and find yourself easily going overboard in your anger? If so, you may have anger issues. It may be easier to blame the people around you, or the circumstances you find yourself in, but at the end of the day, your anger issues are your responsibility. You will stand alone in front of God to account for all of your doings.

By paying attention to the red flags that signal anger issues, you can be better positioned to deal with anger more constructively and to regain a degree of control over it. Controlling or properly addressing any emotional issue can be done by addressing two main pillars: physical and spiritual.

Because anger issues can be related to underlying conditions such as depression, alcohol abuse, Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, PTSD, grief, physical nutrition, and certain medications, involving a doctor or mental health professional can help set you on the road to recovery by addressing your physical needs. Involving yourself in spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, Bible study, solid teaching, and sound counsel addresses your spiritual needs for recovering from anger issues.

Bringing anger under control.

It can be frightening when you lose control, and your anger overwhelms you. But there are ways you can learn to manage your anger when you find yourself in tough situations.

You can bring anger under control by looking out for warning signs, such as a faster heartbeat, shallow breathing, or your body becoming tense, and that will give you a small gap to think about how you want to react to a given situation.

You can also buy yourself some time to think by counting to ten before you respond, or by taking yourself out of the situation for a little while. Going for a short walk or simply stepping outside the room to calm down can do you (and the people around you) a world of good.

You can start learning anger management techniques to help you control your anger, and these can help you either in the moment, or they can provide you with the capacity to deal with anger before it even becomes a thing.

Such techniques include breathing or mindfulness, exercising, directing your anger and energy toward something like ripping up a piece of paper, or even taking a cold shower are all ways you can begin to bring your anger under control.

In the long term, you can pay attention to your thought patterns, taking the time to break down harmful or unhelpful patterns of thought, and learning new ways to think and act. One therapeutic technique that therapists will use to accomplish this is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Something important to be aware of is what your triggers are, which can help you know ahead of time what situations are likely to stir up your anger, and the possible responses you can put in place in advance to choose a healthier alternative action. You can also improve your communication skills so that you can communicate your anger in a clear, assertive, and respectful way.

If others understand you and why you’re angry, it can go a long way toward helping you express yourself and what you’re feeling without losing important relationships.

By taking care of your body through good nutrition, exercise, avoiding alcohol and drugs, getting good sleep, and by picking up skills to learn to cope better under pressure, you can help yourself to become more resilient and better equipped to deal with situations that can otherwise prove emotionally overwhelming.

A trained therapist can walk with you on this journey, and you can pursue your efforts towards peace in the power of the Spirit. Paul writes in Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

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What to Do When You’re Feeling Depressed

It’s never easy when feeling depressed. Your body and mind don’t do what you want them to, and they seem like they’re at war with you. Fighting against yourself by not trusting your thoughts and instincts can be difficult, but there are circumstances when it’s necessary.

Typically, our moods are well-regulated because our hormones, sleep patterns, and general rhythms are functioning well. When they are not functioning well, however, mood swings and erratic behavior can result.

Depression is a common mental health concern in the United States, with around 8% of all adults having at least one major depressive episode. Depression also affects adolescents and younger children. Regardless of age, it can affect a person’s ability to enjoy life and function in daily life.

If you’re feeling depressed, you may experience big changes, but depression can also subtly affect how you think, feel, and act. This is why it is helpful to understand depression and seek help sooner than later.

Depression is a mood disorder.

Depression is more than just feeling sad or down for some time. A better way to think about depression is as a mood disorder that affects how you think, act, and feel. That means that the issue goes deep and is more than a passing feeling that you snap out of or a funk that will go away on its own.

There are different types of depression that can be categorized according to the intensity and persistence of the symptoms, as well as what triggers the mood disorder.

Some types of depression include Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD) which is when mood changes are linked to changes in the seasons, peripartum or perinatal depression which occurs during or after pregnancy and affects both men and women, and major depressive disorder, which is what many people refer to when talking about depression.

As a mood disorder, depression requires treatment to be addressed properly, as the underlying causes won’t disappear on their own. Not only that, but treatment can also help address the unhelpful thoughts and behaviors that accompany depression and that one should be on guard against, such as being irritable with loved ones, low self-esteem, and feelings of hopelessness.

Signs of depression to look out for.

Being alert to the symptoms of depression can save a life, whether your own or that of a loved one. When a person is feeling depressed, they don’t think, act, or feel like they would under normal circumstances. When you feel sad, that can color everything you experience, and depression is more intense than sadness.

Some people have described feeling depressed like being in a fog – you’re unable to think clearly or understand what’s happening around you. When you see these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from your doctor or a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or counselor.

While not everyone will experience all of these symptoms or experience them with the same intensity, you can be on the lookout for the following:

Withdrawing from your life. If you find yourself losing interest or pleasure in the things that you used to get excited by, that might be a sign of depression. You may find yourself withdrawing from family and friends, and no longer enjoying normal activities such as sports, hobbies, or sex.

Being irritable and angry beyond what’s reasonable. You may have angry outbursts at the slightest provocation.

Suicidal ideation. You may find yourself having frequent or recurring thoughts about death, or you may think about suicide or even make suicide attempts.

Trouble sleeping. You may find yourself out of your usual rhythm, either having trouble falling and staying asleep or sleeping too much.

Changes in your eating habits, such as losing your appetite and eating very little, or having increased cravings and eating more than usual.

Difficulty with mental activity. One may experience sluggish thinking, and struggle to concentrate and remember things. This can make decision-making difficult.

Drastic weight changes. Connected with changes in eating habits, one may lose a lot of weight, or find themselves gaining a lot of weight.

Lack of self-care. When a person is feeling depressed, they may let go of self-care habits such as bathing, grooming, eating well, and getting exercise.

Feelings of worthlessness or guilt. One may find themselves having low self-esteem, fixating on past failures, or blaming themselves for past events.

Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless. Depression can make a person feel like there’s no way out, and that there’s no pleasure to be found in life.

Feeling fatigued and a lack of energy. Even after sleeping for an adequate number of hours, one may feel tired, making even small tasks seem large and as though they require extra effort

Feeling anxious, agitated, or restless.

Somatic pain. Depression can result in unexplained physical problems, such as body aches, nausea, muscle tension, back pain, or headaches.

Anyone can get depressed. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your gender, socio-economic bracket, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. We live in a broken world, and part of living through that reality of brokenness is that our bodies and minds don’t always function as they ought. Thankfully, the Lord has made treatment options available to address depression and its symptoms.

What to do if you’re feeling depressed.

If you or a loved one experience these symptoms, especially if they persist for two weeks or more, you should seek help immediately from a doctor or a mental health professional. Depression is a serious mental health issue, and it should not be taken lightly. Instead of thinking it’ll blow over or ignoring the symptoms, seek help.

The first step if you’re feeling depressed is to tell someone. A loved one can walk with you and keep track of your symptoms. It is also important to seek help from a professional such as a doctor or mental health expert. This will allow you to get an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.

Should you get diagnosed with depression it’s quite likely that you’ll have a combination of regular counseling and medication. Your doctor will put together a treatment plan that fits your circumstances, and part of that plan may also include having your family as part of your support structure.

Your friends and family can help you be consistent in taking your medication, getting to your counseling appointments, as well as keeping up with other areas of your health such as what you eat and getting some exercise.

There are a few things that will help you on your journey as you deal with depression, and these include:

Stick to your treatment plan. Keep taking your prescribed medication. If the side effects are serious and are affecting your everyday life, let your doctor know. They can change your medication or the dosage until it works for you. Keep going for counseling to help reinforce healthy thought and behavior patterns while exposing and disrupting unhealthy ones.

Take care of your physical health. Exercise, sleep, and eat well. Doing this will help you keep your health up and exercise can also help elevate your mood through the release of feel-good neurochemicals.

Embrace your support network. Don’t ditch church, friends, or family, though you may feel inclined to withdraw from them. Allow people to draw close and minister to you through prayer, visits, making meals, and providing support. Go for walks with people, which gets you up and about and helps you connect with others.

Take it easy. Don’t make huge decisions like starting a new relationship, moving house, or leaving your job when you’re feeling depressed. It may also help to simplify your tasks and break your day up into manageable portions, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

Create firm boundaries so you don’t overextend yourself. While it’s important to connect with others and allow your support network to be present in your life, it’s also important to maintain healthy boundaries so that you don’t exhaust yourself. These boundaries can also extend to work and learning to say “No” to certain things you’re asked to do.

Depression can be overcome. If you or a loved one are dealing with depression, don’t do so alone. Seek help and schedule an appointment with a doctor or a mental health professional. The counselors in our office can help. Call today.

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Being One Flesh: Understanding Divorce in the Bible

Our various experiences in life mark us in definite ways, but we are more than those experiences and our choices. The issue of divorce in the Bible can be difficult to wade into because when marriage becomes stained with pain, alienation, and dysfunction, the fallout can be devastating, not only to the people immediately involved but also to those that are connected to them in some way.

Many struggles arise around divorce including pain, guilt, a sense of failure, and other such challenges. It’s difficult to chart a path through our culture’s easy acceptance of divorce as just another reality of life, the heavy-handed treatment of divorced people within faith communities, and what the Bible has to say about it.

To be sure, it is an understatement that life after Eden is messy, and people’s hearts aren’t always aligned and driven by the same values and sense of purpose. Not one I’ve ever met in all of my practice as a therapist, nor in life, has ever declared that they got married with the idea that things were going to be horrible and they would get divorced at some point in the foreseeable future (of course, there can be someone out there with that idea, but I would call that a ridiculous attitude).

Divorce happens under widely varying circumstances, making it hard to speak to every one of them. The Bible speaks broadly about marriage and divorce leaving the principles found in there applicable to any and all.

One flesh.

The main picture that we have about marriage is that it is a union between two people that places them in a permanent covenant relationship. The first man and woman are brought into a relationship when God creates them; they are two distinct individuals whose differences complement each other while being equal in dignity. When God brings these two together, the man says:

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” Genesis 2: 23-25, NIV

The two are now one flesh, which denotes intimacy as well as unity of purpose. There was no discord between the man and his wife, no selfishness, or hidden agendas. They are naked in front of each other, and there is no shame. Husband and wife are open and vulnerable to each other, without holding anything back.

The situation changes, of course, as Genesis 3 describes for us. Their disobedience to God means that they break the relationship between themselves and the Lord, but also within themselves. Now, shame floods into the picture and they blame one another, their circumstances, and God for what went wrong. Both husband and wife refuse to take responsibility for their part in disobeying God and they attempt to cover themselves up while trying to hide from God.

Instead of being for each other, they are now aggressively for themselves. This is the same pattern that persists to this day. We see in those brief verses a microcosm of the world we now live in, of the tensions between the joy of vulnerability and the pain of being betrayed by the very one that you are joined as one with.

We see in these verses the seeds of husbands and wives keeping secrets from each other, using their spouses for their own ends, betraying their commitment to each other, refusing accountability, pretending ignorance, hurting one another, being insecure or overbearing, resisting intimacy and taking advantage of that intimacy, and many other wrongs that plague our marriages and relationships today.

The innocence, fullness, richness, and depth of what was there at the beginning of creation is now somewhat lost to us. By God’s grace alone do we have the capacity to break free from committing these wrongs without stopping and love deeply the one we are bound to in marriage.

Does God allow divorce in the Bible?

The answer to this question is “it’s complicated.” In the Bible, we find not only examples of divorce, but instances where there seems to be permission to divorce (with certain ways dictated in how to go about it and for what reasons it may be permissible).

Being in a country where there is “no fault” divorce laws is far from the reflection of what God desires for His people in His Word. Instead of a permanent union between a husband and wife, the culture now encourages us to configure our relationships in whatever ways seem right in our eyes.

Therefore, it is important to look for the whole picture of what God is saying in His Word when you are asking to know the difference between right and wrong and already have your own ideal or culture’s very loud voice in your head.

By looking for the whole picture, we can avoid getting stuck in certain parts of Scripture that seem to fit our desires and miss the balancing Scriptures that complete His truth. Even those who study and teach the law have fallen into this trap. Here we see an example of this in a conversation between Jesus and some religious leaders from the book of Matthew:

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”  Matthew 19:3-9, NIV

f there is one thing that we can get from the study of being one flesh in the Bible, it is this: God hates divorce. While divorce is permissible, that wasn’t what God had in mind “in the beginning.” It is a compromise in a broken world populated by imperfect people with “hard hearts,” as Jesus put it.

Divorce undoes something intended to be permanent, so it is a grave thing to go through with or even to consider. The gravity of the decision is often mocked in our culture and even celebrated as both a right and a passage to freedom. In complete contrast, the Bible describes ending a marriage as the tearing of flesh.

It goes on in other passages to say, “’The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.’ – Malachi 2:16, NIV

Not disqualified.

One of the key things to remember as we seek understanding divorce in the Bible is that God’s grace toward us is abundant. Divorce happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, we make choices that aren’t wise or honoring to the Lord, and sometimes choices are thrust upon us that we wouldn’t have made.

This is where the search through Scripture is rightly expanded from the topic of marriage and being one flesh to divorce and what to do from there as a believer, to also God’s grace and our need for a Savior. The Lord knows our hearts, in all their depths. Jeremiah reminds us:

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”Jeremiah 17:9-10, NIV

God is all knowing and unchanging – which is difficult to relate to, as what we feel like and how we see things is constantly changing. God knows the whispers of our hearts, the deep pain residing there, and he offers comfort through truth amid our wandering and grief. Our perspectives and feelings won’t be what bring us healing, but instead our trust in God. God is gracious, and He is also righteous, which means He will not sugar coat the truth or sweep aside His law.

His plan for humanity and marriage was for that union to be permanent and exclusive, a mirror and reflection of His commitment to His people (Ephesians 5:31-33; Ezekiel 16; Revelation 21; Hebrews 11). Breaking a marriage is not what God desires, so the proper response is to mourn a divorce as tragic when it happens.

God also desires healthy relationships and healthy marriages – that is His plan for us – and He is well aware that the presence of sin and the hardness of our hearts often stand in the way of us doing what is best for us. Marriages all too often contain abuses of many kinds, and they are not always healthy spaces that promote human flourishing.

When a person gets divorced, whether with a heavy heart or frivolously, we must understand that the divorce doesn’t disqualify them from God’s grace or His love. It is in fact evidence of their very need of a Savior. The call is the same to all of us, single, married, divorced, or widowed, whatever our path has been to get to where we are today – to return to the Lord and to pursue fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are reminded that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, ESV), and God’s people are given the Spirit by whom we can walk in obedience to the Lord. That Spirit leads us away from “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21, ESV).

He leads us to “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24, ESV). We are then reminded that “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25, ESV).

Our various experiences in life can both mark and define us, but we are more than those experiences and our choices. Thank the Lord that the God of the Bible is a God who renews and restores all things. It is my hope that this has helped you in understanding divorce in the Bible.

If you are in need of support through a difficult marriage, the difficult decision of divorce, or the aftermath of a divorce, feel free to contact me or one of the other Christian counselors in our online counselor directory.

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Single Mom Help: Survival Tips from Other Single Moms

Being a single mom can be stressful, lonely, and exhausting. Trying to do everything yourself may at times feel like a wild ride of time management stress and financial woes.

According to a 2018 Pew Research Center Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, one-third of all American children under the age of eighteen live in a single-parent home, and 81% of those single-parent homes are headed by a single mom. If you are a single mom, you aren’t alone in the struggles you face.

She has to have four arms, four legs,
four eyes, two hearts, and double the
love. There is nothing single about a
single mom. – Mandy Hale

Common single mom struggles.

  • Financial strain
  • Social isolation
  • Solo decision-making
  • Guilt
  • Fatigue
  • Never enough time
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-doubt

Following are some tips from single moms to help you address those struggles and make it through the tough times.

Survival tips from other single moms.

Reach out to family and friends. Being self-reliant may be necessary for many of the situations you face, but you also need the support of others. Don’t feel ashamed to reach out and ask for help when you need it, or to accept help when it is offered. Be specific about what you need. Some people may want to help but are not sure what to do.

Readjust your priorities. Know that you can’t do it all. There are only twenty-four hours in a day. It’s okay to take shortcuts and to have a less-than-spotless house. Not everything has to be perfect. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do, and learn to say no. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do everything and be everywhere.

Balance your schedule. Just because you are a single mom doesn’t mean your primary focus must be on work. Try to balance your schedule as much as you are able, and prioritize time spent with your children when you are not working. Quality time will always trump quantity time.

Make peace with the past. Don’t let your past define you or rule your life. You cannot change what you’ve gone through, but you can learn from it and use the strengths you’ve gained to make the best possible life for you and your child going forward. Try to stay positive, and create a peaceful, happy atmosphere in your home.

Set goals. Set goals for yourself so that you have something to which you can look forward. Even if it’s something as simple as a fitness goal, a reading goal, or finding a few moments to write in your journal before you go to bed at night, it will propel you forward.

Let go of guilt. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, feel guilty that you have a fractured family, or feel discouraged about the things that are lacking or you can’t provide. It’s not the number of parents in the home, but the quality of the parenting that’s most important. Are your children loved and cared for? Is your home a happy place to be? That’s what matters most.

Be flexible. Be flexible when things don’t go as planned. Have a plan B to put into play if the children get sick, for example, or a babysitter cancels at the last minute.

Be organized. Being organized can help save time and keep things moving smoothly. Have consistent morning and evening routines so your children know what to expect on a daily basis.

Make the most of stolen moments. Make the most out of your time by taking advantage of small moments where you can squeeze work or personal tasks into commutes, or while you’re in a waiting room or at a sports practice.

Take time for self-care. Taking care of yourself is an important part of taking care of your children. It helps you build up the energy, stamina, and inner strength you need to avoid burnout and be the best parent you can be. Make sure you eat well, do some kind of regular exercise, and stay connected with friends. If you are healthy and happy, your children are much more likely to be so as well.

Live within your means. Raising a child on one income can be challenging. Track all your expenses for a month and then see where you can eliminate purchases or cut back on overspending. Use the list to create a budget and keep it updated so you can see how much money is coming in versus how much is going out.

Look for creative ways to save money, such as finding fun free activities to do with your children, as well as smarter ways of spending money, like making lists before going to the grocery store, looking for discounts or off-brand products, and/or shopping in bulk for things you use regularly.

Take advantage of available resources. Look into things you can take advantage of such as tax breaks you are entitled to on your tax return, and government-run programs and grants you may qualify for as a single mom.

Make friends with other single moms. Other single moms can relate to your situation better than anyone else. In addition to being friends, you can help each other out. Consider carpooling, for example, or swapping out a few hours of childcare.

Carve out some me time. Look for places that keep children entertained while you are doing something for yourself. A gym, for example, that has a supervised space for the children to play while you are at your exercise class, a play date at a friend’s home, or taking advantage of a Mom’s Day Out program sponsored by your local church are all good options.

Join a single-parent support group. Becoming a single parent can be a very lonely and isolating experience when you don’t know anyone else who is going through a similar experience. Joining a single-parent support group is a good way to connect with other single moms in a safe space where you can share your experiences and struggles, learn about available resources, and get advice, as well as tips and strategies for enhancing your parenting experience.

Find a trusted friend or mentor with whom you can brainstorm. Making tough decisions on your own can feel overwhelming and lead to self-doubt. Finding a trusted friend or mentor who shares your fundamental values with whom you can share ideas and get feedback can lessen your anxiety.

Have children help with tasks. Let your children know they’re needed, and give them real responsibilities to take care of in the home. It will save you time and will allow them to feel valued.

Work as a team. Have regular family meetings with your children. It will help them feel listened to, valued, and empowered. Work together as a team to set rules, solve problems, and come up with ideas for fun things you can do together.

Cling to God and seek His wisdom. Spend time reading your Bible and in prayer. When you’re having doubts and don’t know what to do, turn to God. You may not have all the answers, but He does, and you can always rely on Him. Remind yourself that He is faithful, and in control and that when you commit your life and decisions to Him, He will guide you in the way you need to go and give you the strength to cope with your current situation.

If you have questions and/or would like to set up an appointment to meet with one of the faith-based counselors in our online directory, please give us a call today. You do not have to walk this path alone.


Brodwell, Laura. “6 Strategies for Single Mom Success.” Parents. October 3, 2005.

Maggio, Jennifer. “Being a Single Mom: 17 Surviving to Thriving Tips.” The Life Of A Single Mom. January 15, 2019.

Ward, Kate. “18 single mom survival tips from other single moms.” March 16, 2021.

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Counseling for Spiritual Development: Faith in the Storm

We can all recall times in our life when our faith was tested and we fell to our knees and asked, “Why is this happening to me?”

The reality is, we are offered two choices when something goes awry, 1) let our frustration turn to anger and steal our joy, or 2) get on our knees and ask God to use this situation for good.

  • Maybe your bills are behind, and you feel completely defeated.
  • Maybe your best friend just told you she is moving 2,000 miles away.
  • Maybe you felt so certain of your career calling and now that calling feels so foreign.
  • Maybe your parents are now in an assisted living facility or have asked to move in with you to help with long-term care.
  • Maybe your spouse is deployed or is a first responder struggling with PTSD.
  • Maybe you have a child with special needs and feel so tired and overwhelmed, you do not know where to turn.
  • Maybe you have been battling thoughts of depression but are so overwhelmed and filled with guilt, you do not know how to ask for help.
  • Maybe you are the parent of a newborn trying to figure out how to function with no sleep, emotions are overwhelming and foreign, and have an unfinished to-do list that could reach the moon.
  • Maybe you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and feel like you are succumbing to the darkness and do not know how to let the light back in.

Take a long, deep breath. Put your hand over your heart and remember that God created you. He created you, loves you, and wants the very best for you.

As you walk through whatever obstacles are on your current journey, take to heart these reminders of God’s plans for you:

God’s Word says He will not abandon you.

Isaiah 41:10 reminds us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

  • You might feel alone in the waiting room as you await test results.
  • You might feel alone as you hear the words, “You experienced a miscarriage.”
  • You might feel alone if your spouse is struggling with PTSD.
  • You might feel alone as you long for that pregnancy test to finally read “positive.”
  • You might feel alone as you walk the entryway to knock on the door to have a long overdue conversation with someone you have been distant from/angry with.
  • You might feel alone in the shower as the tears stream down your face after a terrible bout of depression.
  • You might feel alone as you sit with a pile of overdue bills, wondering how in the world things are going to be okay.

Rest assured, dear one – you are not alone.

  • God is in the waiting room, ready to hold your hand.
  • God is present for the awkward and uncomfortable conversations, ready to set the tone and soften hearts.
  • God is with you while your spouse is deployed, ready to give you a peace that comes only from Him.
  • God is with you as you battle anxiety, ready to comfort you and strengthen your faith and dependence on Him.
  • God is with you during the middle-of-the-night rocking and feeding sessions with a newborn, ready to give you the strength to endure another sleepless night.
  • God is ready to comfort you during those moments of defeat.
  • God is ever-present through every season and feeling that we endure.

Affirmations for faith

Write these down and memorize them as a reminder that God is right there with you through this tiring season:

  • I can take things one step at a time. (Matthew 6:34)
  • I know God’s love and spirit will guide me through this uncomfortable season. (John 16:13)
  • I am thankful for the gift of today. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  • I know that God loves and cherishes me. (Isaiah 54:10)
  • I believe in God’s endless possibilities for me. (Luke 1:37)
  • I am open and willing to receive all the ways God wants to bless and teach me. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

We must arm ourselves with God’s Word to build faith.

If there is one thing that we can be certain of, it is that Satan wants us to feel defeated. He wants us to wallow in the guilt and frustrations that come our way and make us feel inferior. He wants us to feel depleted, alone, and insignificant.

1 Peter 5:8 reminds us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

  • You are not alone.
  • You are not too broken.
  • You are not damaged goods.
  • You are not too weak.
  • You are worthy of love.
  • You are special, unique, and beautiful!

When Satan tries to whisper lies, you need to be dressed in your “spiritual armor.” Spending time in God’s Word, memorizing Scripture, having community with other believers, and spending time talking to God are all powerful weapons to stand up and ward off the lies Satan tries to tell you.

If this feels overwhelming, take baby steps.

Read the Bible.

Download a Bible app and start by looking at the verse of the day. There are unique plans you can search by topic (anxiety, depression, hope, healing, etc.). This is a wonderful and guided way to get in the Word without feeling too overwhelmed with where to start.

Find an accountability partner.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” It is essential to have other believers to encourage us, pray for/with us, and walk alongside us in life. The world is dark, and we need to find rays of sunshine wherever we can. Serve with your accountability partner. Have in-depth and authentic conversations where emotional barriers are torn down. Attend a Bible study together.

Try the “one step” mindset.

When life and circumstances feel overwhelming, take the one step approach. Take things one day at a time. Approach the person you feel distant from with one conversation. Start tackling your debt one bill at a time. Start trying to reconnect with your spouse one intentional moment at a time. Chase your God-given passions by simply taking the first step – sign up for the class, sign up to serve, or start writing a book by just sitting down for one hour at a time.

Address the things you have been ignoring.

I think we all have a desire to simply “leave things alone” and from there, the problems will disappear. While God does have perfect timing for our life and circumstances, we must trust Him with the process by surrendering our worries to Him. We must choose healing for our past wounds.

The baggage from your past can range from unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms, to negative self-talk, to enduring the pain and shame from trauma. You do not have to walk this road alone. Do not let Satan tell you that the things that have happened to you are keeping you from following God’s beautiful purpose for your life.

Moving forward in faith.

You can begin this new journey of moving forward instead of hiding your past.

Start journaling. Write down the things you are thankful for, looking forward to, and the things that have been holding you down and trying to steal your joy. You might find that writing it down really helps you process your thoughts and reset your focus.

Remember that you are not alone. God is with you, and He puts people in your path to help you move forward in your faith and healing journey. Today is the perfect time to schedule a counseling session with a counselor at our office who wants to help encourage and equip you to move forward with a faith that can withstand the storms of life.

Find the glimmers of hope. No matter what storm you are facing right now, look for the glimmers of hope – the meal that someone drops off, the kindness of a random stranger, the timeliness of a message at church, the anonymous gift card that is left in your mailbox. Find the glimmers and try to send some glimmers to those around you.

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Questions for Building Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy can provide some of the most enriching and gratifying aspects of your life. When a relationship includes emotional intimacy, it can provide joy, comfort, and support. It is through emotional intimacy that you are able to strengthen the bond of the relationship and marriage even further,deepening your connection and allowing you to better understand what each other wants, needs, and desires.
In order to help you build emotional intimacy, we have compiled a list of questions you can ask each other. You can ask these questions in turn and at a time when you are both relaxed. You may be surprised at what you discover.

Questions to ask and how to ask them.

Keep in mind that you are merely asking questions, not interrogating your spouse. You can ask a question by leaning forward and making eye contact while waiting for the response. Like you would with your best friend, pay attention to the response and respond with as little judgement as possible. The goal is to make a safe space for the two of you to connect. When your spouse gives a nod or a smile, mirror his or her facial expressions and verbal cues.

Asking thought-provoking questions to build emotional intimacy.

When you begin a new relationship, or seek to grow a lasting marriage, you want to learn as much as you can about the other person. But sometimes you don’t know how to move from the lighter stories to the more serious topics. It can be difficult to get personal if you’ve never done so or are out of practice.
This list was created to help you get started and stress less about the “what” in talking. It’s okay to acknowledge the awkward feeling, and then remind yourself of the end goal—to get to know the other person (again).

With which member of your family do you feel closest?

This query can reveal a lot about a person’s family dynamics and the people he or she feels the safest around. This question doesn’t feel as probing or complicated as inquiries like “Tell me about your family” or “Did you have a happy childhood,” even if he or she had a complicated family or childhood.
You might also discover what makes someone feel loved or accepted. Is it because an aunt always listens? Is it because a sister or brother makes him or her laugh? Does he or she feel closest to mother because she never discounted his or her feelings?
Knowing how he or she experiences love will help you build a stronger foundation for your relationship. Additionally, it will take a lot of the guesswork out of what he or she needs from you.
Your relationship will struggle to advance if he or she doesn’t value it (or are even suspicious of it) in the way you may think you’re showing him or her your love.
On the other hand, you can make him or her feel safe and respected once you start expressing your love in the ways that he or she needs it.

What qualities do you think characterize a wholesome union?

Learn about his or her expectations for the relationship and what he or she considers to be healthy by exploring why your significant other admires those things about a relationship. You can also find out who has served as a good example of a relationship he or she aspires to emulate and if he or she sees that happening for the two of you.

What are you currently passionate about?

Learn what is important to your loved one and how he or she spends free time. Express interest in sharing his or her passion once you have learned about it. Don’t forget to acknowledge his or her enthusiasm!. You have the chance to be the one to support and encourage your significant other. This is something you don’t want to miss out on. We all appreciate support and encouragement, so being that for your spouse/significant other is important.
This doesn’t mean you have to change everything about yourself and spend all your time doing what the other enjoys. Instead, it means opening up to new things, within reason, and making a measurable effort to listen to, engage with, or physically show up and support the other person in these areas. If it is something you are not comfortable with, this is an important topic to explore further with your significant other.

Who in your life can you always rely on?

This person holds a significant place in his or her life. It may be a best friend from elementary school or a fun aunt or uncle. You can learn about your loved one’s struggles, successes, and even regrets by asking him or her to share some of the times the significant person came through for him or her.

What is something about you that most people don’t know?

To encourage your loved one to share something personal about himself or herself, ask a fun question. This question can help you both become more intimate by encouraging self-disclosure from the other person, whether they give you a humorous or serious response. Remember, judgement doesn’t have a place here when you are working to understand and listen to your significant other.

What is a flaw in another person that annoys you?

A person will be judgmental and critical of what he or she perceives to be a weakness. This is an intriguing question because it reveals things that person finds frustrating in other people (and in himself or herself). With this response, you’ll learn a little bit about what he or she values most.

What do you like to do best after work?

After work, does he or she always hang out with friends? Does he or she prefer returning home to unwind on the couch? Does he or she go to the gym or walk the dog every evening?
Learn what he or she does to unwind. This may reveal whether a person is more introverted or an extrovert who gets energized by being around other people. You might also gain some insight into his or her approach to dealing with stress, which can serve as a clue to their stress level in the future. Take this question as an opportunity to encourage your loved one by helping them engage in this activity at least once a week.
If it seems to be out of balance, happening most days of the week at the cost of other obligations or your own desires, you can follow up this question with: “How can I help you de-stress and enjoy coming home from work and still be a part of the family/still have some ‘us’ time now and then?”

What causes you stress?

Encourage your loved one to talk about stress while listening sympathetically. Ask, “What stresses you most about that,” if you don’t know why something is causing him or her stress. You’ll gain more insight into his or her reactions to his or her environment, both at work and at home, as a result. If he or she seems discouraged, think of ways to cheer him or her up.
It’s important to remember that just because someone has an unprocessed wound from the past, doesn’t mean that they are excused from growing and treating you well. But be aware that it might affect how he or she treats you, particularly if it isn’t a problem he or she is currently trying to solve.

What would be your ideal day?

Why not structure the ideal date around your loved one’s response to this question? You’ll demonstrate to him or her that you paid attention to what he or she had to say and that you don’t depend on him or her to always be catering to your desires.

How do you see our relationship honoring God?

This question allows your significant other to explore the triad that is evident between a husband, wife, and God. It gives a beat to redefine what is most important in the relationship. It also grants you the opportunity to hear what has been on your significant other’s mind spiritually.
What have you learned about relationships from your parents?
Answering this question sheds light on each other’s upbringing and lessons learned along the way. There’s a chance you may come across a nugget you’ve never heard before and add it to your annex of wisdom regarding your loved one.

When was the last time you cried?

This is an exercise in vulnerability. Sharing the moments that made you cry requires openness and trust. Take note of any emotional triggers or sensitive subjects.

Have your friendships taught you anything about romantic relationships?

Your friends are often the main constant in your life, especially childhood friends. Not only are they there for you when you are in relationships, they also count on you when they are in one themselves. There are many lessons to learn from these past friendships, and this question allows you to hear what has impacted your significant other’s perception of romance the most.

What does work-life balance mean to you?

The answer to this question speaks to the priorities your partner holds. Is money more or less important than spending quality time? Is he or she skewed more toward working hard or living life to the fullest?

What was the most surprising thing you learned about me?

People begin relationships by putting their best foot forward and presenting the best version of themselves. Over time, the façade evaporates, exposing some surprising aspects of their character, for better or worse.

When was the last time you laughed so much you cried?

This is a chance to explore each other’s sense of humor and share a laugh in the process.

In what ways do you think were similar?

Find out what your significant other believes the two of you share in common. You don’t have to be twins, but it’s always endearing to discover how much the other person perceives you are alike.

In what ways do you think were different?

Celebrate your individuality while you revel in your relationship. Healthy relationships are characterized by interdependence, not co-dependency.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

There’s a part of your childhood self that stays with you for life. Sharing your childhood dreams may seem irrelevant now, but it will bring you closer together.

Christian counseling for emotional intimacy.

It is our sincere hope that these questions help you build emotional intimacy with your romantic partner. If you still struggle with emotional intimacy in your relationship, you can contact us and schedule to speak with a Christian counselor. Your counselor can equip you with tools to strengthen your relationship and build the lasting intimacy you are seeking.

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Christian Divorce: Four Considerations

Even though divorce is a common occurrence in our society, many Christians who are in unhappy marriages find it to be morally troubling. Do they continue to have an unhappily married couple for the sake of a vow or covenant? Or do they take a contrary course of action and file for divorce? Christians may feel stuck between no longer feeling committed to an unsalvageable marriage and being unable to move forward with a new life due to the stark choices. Scripture makes it clear time and time again that marriage is a lifetime commitment. Jesus said of the marriage between a man and a woman, “They are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, let nothing be divided that God has joined together” (Matthew 19:6, NIV).


Concerning divorce, Christians have the following questions:

  • Do Christians who divorce sin?
  • Do they send themselves to hell by doing this?
  • Do they have to endure an unloving, unhealthy union?
  • Do Christians have any exceptions to the prohibition against divorce?

Some of these challenging questions do not have clear solutions; there is still tension. Only the most extreme circumstances allow for the end of a marriage.

Sometimes the best a Christian can do when faced with a marriage that may be beyond saving is to look for God’s direction in the Bible, consult with reliable friends who are familiar with the circumstances and pray together for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Divorce: What the Bible says

First, let’s think about what the Bible says. The only divorce-related law in the Old Testament is found in Deuteronomy. Here, a law allowing divorce is given to the Israelites. If a man feels that his wife “does not please him” and “she is free to marry another man,” he may write her a “document of divorce.” (Deuteronomy 24:1-2, NIV).

Many theologians agree that this law was given as a means of protection to people who are in a situation that deals with divorce and/or remarriage. Opinions vary about whether this law was intended to justify divorce and/or remarriage.

In the New Testament, Jesus first presents a more complex answer to this query. “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” the Pharisees inquire to Jesus in Matthew 19:3. This verse is preceded by the phrase, “The Pharisees came and tried to trap [Jesus] him,” by asking Jesus to give a clear-cut response that would reveal His position on the divorce law that Moses provided in Deuteronomy. But Jesus is aware of their intentions and hardened hearts.

Jesus quotes Genesis rather than responding to their query and adds, “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Jesus uses this as an opportunity to elaborate on the law of Moses and explain why divorce is not what God intended as the Pharisees’ questions continued.

Jesus says, “Divorce was not what God had originally intended; Moses only permitted it as a concession to your hard hearts. Anyone who gets a divorce and gets remarried is an adulterer. Jesus said that God’s standard is higher than the law and that God intends that there should never be a divorce.

The situation here is comparable to Peter’s inquiry about forgiveness to Jesus in Matthew 18. “How many times should I forgive,” wondered Peter, “seven?” However, Peter wasn’t seeking an answer like the Pharisees. Jesus recognized his attempt to elevate himself and saw right through it. In response, Jesus said that God’s standard would be to pardon someone seventy-seven times.

This is a real-life illustration of what Jesus demands of us. He doesn’t want a resentful heart. He opposes our checking the box. He wants us to exert every effort to find Him. We are to pursue Him with a sincere heart that is a sacrifice to Him.

Four things to consider about Christian divorce

We shouldn’t file for divorce just because our marriages aren’t giving us everything we want. No one can meet our lofty expectations because they are so high. You can become disappointed in your partner because they’re not as romantic, ambitious, spiritual, or handy as you would like them to be, and you become disappointed because you see someone else who is.

It is easy to become contemptuous or critical or disappointed rather than being grateful and appreciative of what you already have, but a disappointing or challenging marriage is no grounds for divorce, but rather for faithfulness.

Christian divorce is neither encouraged nor promoted by the Christian faith. It does not lightly or casually accept divorce, but in some cases, it does permit it. A hint of why this is can be found in the creation metaphor of “becoming one flesh.” God wants a married couple to grow spiritually, emotionally, and physically close to the point where they are “one flesh.”

The four “A’s” – Adultery, Addiction, Abuse, and Abandonment – are the most frequent causes of broken marriages, though only two of them are biblical grounds for Christian divorce.


1. Adultery

One breakdown that Jesus specifically mentions is adultery. Marriages have been destroyed by infidelity throughout history. Adultery strikes right at the heart of the marriage covenant and so, while it does not require divorce, it at least grounds for it.

2. Addiction

Addiction will engulf everything in its path if treatment is not received. The drug or alcohol addict puts their addiction before their marriage, kids, and job. While this may be a cause for temporary separation to protect themselves and their children, addiction is not a biblical reason to end the marriage permanently.

3. Abuse

Most frequently, we think of physical abuse. However, it can also be verbal and emotional. Does your partner treat you differently when you’re alone than when they’re around other people? Does your partner insult, denigrate, or bully you? These are merely a handful of instances of non-physical abuse.

Sincere couples will work to address these issues because ongoing abuse can destabilize and harm a marriage. The “oneness” that God intends for marriage is violated when a spouse is repeatedly and unrepentantly harmed – physically or emotionally – and if left unattended, can result in brokenness.

Like with addiction, it may be a cause for temporary separation to protect themselves and their children. However, although abuse is a tragic and even dangerous sin, it is not clear from the Bible that it is a legitimate ground for divorce.

4. Abandonment

And finally, abandonment may result in brokenness. According to the Apostle Paul, in the case of a Christian who is abandoned by an unbelieving spouse, the Christian is not obligated to try to preserve the marriage at all costs and is free to remarry if deserted.

Regardless of the reason for divorce, a marriage can feel like an empty shell that no longer upholds God’s ideal of “oneness.” Marriage is, after all, about coming together rather than breaking apart, and was intended to be a blessing by God, but human sin frequently turns marriage into an intolerable burden. Though sin always works against God’s design for marriage, there are only two situations in which the Bible permits divorce.

Consider speaking with a Christian counselor if you are a Christian in an unsatisfactory or dangerous marriage. A Christian counselor can help you explore your options.

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28 Verses to Help Make Sense of Anger in the Bible

The relationships you have with yourself, others, and events that take place all impact your emotions. Human beings are designed with the capacity to feel, and you are often led by your emotions. This can be relatively harmless, but depending on the emotion and its intensity, your life can be derailed by emotive decision-making. That’s not a strike against emotions – they are a vital part of who you are as a being made in the image of God.

However, emotions, just like reason, should not be given free rein but must be brought under the authority of God’s Word. For example, the Bible warns of the dangers of holding onto emotions such as anger because they can negatively affect your heart and your relationships with people around you.

If someone breaks into your car, or a colleague takes credit for your idea, or your child defies you, or you find out that your spouse has been unfaithful, it can provoke anger. Even if your anger is appropriate, what you do with it matters. You need to be able to feel what you feel while not being controlled by it, letting it get out of hand, or leading you into bad decisions – in short, without letting it become anger that leads you to sin.

The Bible has many stories, aphorisms, and warnings about sinning in anger and what can happen if you give in to it. While giving full vent to your anger might feel empowering in the moment, in its wake you may regret the broken relationships or even violence (which has legal and other consequences).

And while many things ought to stir our anger and move you toward appropriate action, chances are your anger is far too often directed toward things that are best categorized as inconveniences, such as bad traffic or long lines at the grocery store, eye rolls and an upset tone. In such situations, it is appropriate to ask yourself whether your angry reaction is helpful and appropriate, or whether it is sin.

Anger in the Bible.

Below are some verses about anger in the Bible from both the Old and New Testaments to help you reflect on your anger and learn a few ways to bring that anger under control. One important point to make beforehand is that there are many instances in which people struggle with anger to the point where they have anger issues.

There are many causes of anger issues, and while all are within the control of the person, not all of them are equally easy to deal with. While this calls for a bit of sensitivity when responding to other people’s anger issues, the Bible makes clear that being controlled by anger is always a sin. “The fruit of the Spirit is…self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23).

God’s anger vs. our own.

God is a righteous judge, a God who is angry at evil every single day. – Psalm 7:11

Looking around at them with anger, deeply grieved at their unyielding hearts, he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So, he did, and his hand was made healthy.Mark 3:5

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

The Lord responded, ‘Is your anger a good thing?’Jonah 4:4

These verses make it plain that God does get angry, but what angers God is evil. The last verse is found in the book of Jonah. The prophet was angry with God because was gracious to the Ninevites when they turned from their evil ways and repented.

Jonah had hoped God would destroy the Ninevites and became angry because of God’s graciousness. God asks Jonah if his anger towards the people of Nineveh was justified. Be careful to allow the Lord to tell you if your anger is justified or not.

Anger has consequences.

People with a hot temper do foolish things; wiser people remain calm. – Proverbs 14:17

But I promise you that if you are angry with someone, you will have to stand trial. If you call someone a fool, you will be taken to court. And if you say that someone is worthless, you will be in danger of the fires of hell.Matthew 5:22

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and a man given to anger causes much transgressionProverbs 29:22

Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble. – Psalm 37:8

Keep your temper under control; it is foolish to harbor a grudge. – Ecclesiastes 7:9

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

Because churning milk makes curds, squeezing the nose brings blood, and stirring up anger produces strife.Proverbs 30:33

Violent people entice their neighbors and walk them down a path that isn’t good.Proverbs 16:29

Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that murderers don’t have eternal life residing in them.1 John 3:15

As with all other emotions, what you do when under the influence of anger matters. Not only does giving in to anger likely lead to more anger and strife, but it can lead you toward a poor standing before the Lord. This is a sober warning for  God’s people to not let your anger devolve into a deep grudge or hatred.

Be careful who you associate with.

Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes. – Proverbs 14:29

Insightful people restrain their anger; their glory is to ignore an offense.Proverbs 19:11

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man quietly holds it backProverbs 29:11

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered. – Proverbs 22:24

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. – James 4:1-2

Hotheads stir up conflict, but patient people calm down strife.Proverbs 15:18

The Bible calls those who give full vent to their anger “fools.” When you read the word “fool,” it would be a mistake to think of someone who merely makes bad decisions. Rather, the book of Proverbs takes great pains to show the fool to be the one who refuses to live their life according to God’s commandments. The fool, in other words, is a sinner.

Who you hang out with matters. Your friends have an influence over you, and you can easily absorb and replicate unhealthy behaviors such as giving full vent to your anger. If you want to learn wisdom, hang out with wise people. Don’t hang out with fools who let their anger get the better of them. This is especially true if you think you’ll be their friend so that they will be won over to Christ by the light you share-it doesn’t work like that.

Instead of anger, cultivate positive emotions and actions.

If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. – Ephesians 4:26

Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. – Ephesians 4:29

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.James 1:19-20

Therefore, I want men to pray everywhere by lifting up hands that are holy, without anger or argument.1 Timothy 2:8

Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. – Ephesians 4:31

But now set aside these things, such as anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene language. – Colossians 3:8

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.Proverbs 22:24

As for parents, don’t provoke your children to anger, but raise them with discipline and instruction about the Lord.Ephesians 6:4

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. – Galatians 5:19-26

Anger is such a powerful emotion that it’s not enough to simply refrain from unleashing it. God doesn’t ask you not to be angry. Instead, you  can cultivate other actions and attitudes to help yourself react in more productive ways. As the last verse indicates, this isn’t something you do by yourself, but you are to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual formation is a lifelong pursuit that takes place in community with others.


If you’re looking for additional support beyond these verses about anger in the Bible, Christian counseling can help. If you struggle with anger and your life and relationships have been negatively affected by anger, seek help from a mental health professional such as an anger management therapist. They will help you understand not only the roots of your anger but give you guidance in developing tools to curb your anger and keep it in check.

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