From Mental Obsessions to Peace:
Our current struggles and frustrations with life’s situations, early recovery, or experiencing situations that seem too much to bare, are merely an obsession in our minds.
We are constantly analyzing ourselves; our thoughts & actions, – disappointments – regrets – what we think others are thinking about us & what others may have done because of us (to harm us or offend us).When the world is not exactly as we wish it to be, we literally become obsessed in our minds.
This is ANXIETY! It drives us to want to keep ourselves extremely busy with task after task, in order to avoid feeling so anxious. This b ehavior only works as long as we can keep ourselves busy. Eventually, we run out of things to touch, move, rearrange, clean-out, purchase, sell, paint, build, etc…
A mind that is obsessed with it-self eventually destroys itself!
As we dwell on some mental or emotional conflict in our life, small situations that cause us fear, or someone else’s life, we develop a mindset based on a diseased attitude. We become critical of ourselves and others – Wanting to cause everything in our life to work out for our own selfish desires, we in essence, become our own god… And, we make other people & things are own god, as well.
As long as everything in the world works out the way I want it to be, THEN, and only then will I be okay! Now, Imagine a life where this is not true. A life when you will actually be able to handle the imperfections of life and others while STILL keeping your own sanity and anxiety under your control. Yes, this is possible! Healthy people live this way every single day!
Your job is stop trying to figure out HOW to make the world run your way, but instead, LEARN new coping skills- understand the ‘why’ of your current anxieties. The why in order to heal & change yourself, not to blame or change someone else!
(you will need professional help but you can get there)
Our mental obsessions are centered in self… What we want to happen for ourselves, and what we want to happen for others or from others; “If I could make this situation work out the way I want it to, only then, can I be happy”. We deceive ourselves into believing that we know what’s best for everyone and until everything works out to our satisfaction. By doing so, we delay our own joy & happiness.
The lie (self-deception), of course, is that we can’t be happy & joyous right now. We won’t accept that trials & testing’s are a natural part of life and can be used by God to grow and mature us in Christ. Contrary to popular teaching, GOD does not cause difficulties in our life so we can be refined. The act Jesus was a once for all event. There is no further refining that is required (study God’s grace).
However, we do a very good job of causing our own difficulties, but God is faithful to bring us back onto His path… IF, we are diligent and are willing to do work. God will not simply take away our anxieties. He will however surround us with the people and experiences to teach us how NOT to live anxious life (Jesus said “peace and Joy come from the scripture”).
We don’t know peace because we don’t know God.
When we are focused on self we tend to allow our feelings to dictate our behavior. As Christians, we are no longer to live by feelings but rather by God’s will (for starters, simple daily responsibilities will begin to move us in the right direction).
Obedience, based on the word of God, which is the will of God, should dictate our behavior, regardless of how we’re feeling and regardless of our situation…
Instead of playing God, we are to trust God. Trust that, at the moment of surrender, God will “cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, for us” (Rom 8:28)
Our contentment in all circumstances is dependent upon our obedient response to God in our thoughts, words, and actions (NOT, getting everything we want at every moment). We must move from the “Feelings” stage to the “Doing” stage of Willingness and Obedience, Without any regard for our own feelings, or other’s feelings.
Our own anxieties and mental obsessions are based on our regrets from the past and fears of the future… We are to remove ourselves from the throne, surrender our circumstances to God and allow Him to work in our lives and exert His will, as God on the throne…
This moves us from being self centered to Christ centered.
Whenever we are anxious, un-easy, frustrated, restless, etc… we are saying “God, I don’t trust your plan for my life and I really don’t think you have complete control of my life- I think I better handle this one on my own”… and, that’s why we have no peace. We are only trusting in ourselves, our circumstances, other people’s words or behavior.
Preoccupation with self is a sin. When we take our focus off of ourselves in every daily situation, how we feel and what we want, and put it where it belongs – onto others, God will take over our situation, change our desires and begin to work through us to help others. As a result, we become less obsessed with our own minds and more loving towards our neighbors.
Follow these principles if you want a peaceful and productive life!
We must first love God and ourselves, then our neighbors as ourselves. This only comes through genuine seeking of something much greater than we our or can even imagine… God the Father!
Dr. Miles K. Lewis
Justin’s Lighthouse Recovery
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Let’s face it, by the time our children fall into the drug & alcohol trap, a whole host of other mal-adaptive behaviors are in full swing and unloading on the entire family. Adolescence is a difficult enough time, as it is. Life is much, much different than when we were kids.
How many times have you thought, or even said out loud “I will not allow my own children to go through what I had to go through when I was a kid”?
As parents, we tend to go over board, with the best intentions, when it comes to our kids. Because we don’t want them to suffer, we put ourselves in a position to absorb many of life’s lessons, thereby, inadvertently short cutting the process of growing up.
Let me explain; if my goal is to keep my child from “suffering the way i did”, then I buy, buy, buy, them stuff, every time they stub their toe, see something they want, get bad grades in school, get good grades in school… We are covering up their opportunities to experience real life situations.
We finish their homework for them, we cover for them on the phone when a friend calls they don’t want to talk to, we give them money they didn’t earn, we allow them to blow their money and then we replace it. In essence, we let our kids off the hook!
I can keep going but I’m sure you get my point. .. And let me say, folks, I’m guilty of this too! All parents want our children to have easy going lives, but, now, it’s time for the tough news.
This is the very parental behavior that produces children who are unable to handle life’s little jolts.. In our quest to raise a happy, healthy, easy going kid, we end up manufacturing a child who feels entitled to everything he/she wants, unaware of how to load a dishwasher, clean their bedroom, or worse, complete their own school work.
I come from a family where my oldest brother turned out fine, and, I, on the other hand, struggled quite a bit through my teen and young adult years, for the very reasons I just described. It is possible for some siblings to be unaffected by this parenting and others to go off the deep end.. Which tells me, the kids have major responsibility, here!
What we teach at Justin’s Lighthouse is; in order for recovering addicts to be truly happy and healthy, it’s the ADDICT’S job to become accountable for their own actions. They can no longer blame their parents, teachers, friends, whoever!
We work very closely with parents, spouses, and other family, when possible, to mend all the resentments that have surfaced, and help each family member to get on a new track. Moms actually learn how to say ‘NO’. Clients feel better about themselves and Dads learn how to spend more time on dates with mom!
I beg your forgiveness if I offended anyone, but, please know, I offer this information as a tool. I will always share with you from my own experiences as a parent, not just a counselor. I make the same mistakes you do, for the same reasons!
I hope this helps you better understand some small adjustments we can all make around the house that will lead us to happier, healthier times. Our children must be allowed to fail… That’s right, they must gain the privileged of failing! Our self-esteem comes from failing, picking ourselves up, and then accomplishing.
The next time your child fails at something, let them fail; your job is to support them, love them, assist when asked, but, don’t do it for them, regardless of the consequences. If you cover for them you’ll be robbing them of a precious process of growth.
So often I’ve heard parents say (and I’ve used this one, too); “But if I don’t do it for him, he’ll get an ‘F'”. Then, let him get an ‘F’… That’s how we learn to be accountable for our own actions. Once we become adults, we have no one to bail us out, so unless you’re planning on doing everything for your child until he’s 80 yrs old,you better let them learn a few things the hard way, now.. That’s how we grow! That’s how you grew, that’s how I’ve grown, and that’s how your children will grow, as well… It’s ok to watch them struggle with things. They’re learning, so let them learn.
Rev. Miles K. Lewis, PhD, C-PRSS
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