Counterfeit Comforts

“You can be good and have a godless life, you can be nice and have a godless life, you can be miserable and have a godless life. You just never reach the peace that God has created for you to have on planet earth without Him.  You can’t drink it, you can’t smoke it, you can’t sex it, you can’t ride it – you can’t do enough to have the peace…” – Ralph Douglas West

How do you soothe yourself when you want to feel better?

Do you turn to shopping, food, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.?

“The more we lie to ourselves about how we are contributing to our problems, the more harm we will cause to ourselves and our relationships because we will blame others for undesirable aspects of our lives instead of taking responsibility for our role.” – Cortney S. Warren

A few years ago I caught a bit of a television show where I heard a woman (Robia Scott) talking about her life and her new book, “Counterfeit Comforts.”

The author, a professional dancer and actress by trade, shares her journey of overcoming her counterfeits — such as smoking, excessive spending, and obsession with food and body image.  Outwardly she had the signs of success that many people believe will make them happy — a career she loved, good looks and lots of money, but inside she wasn’t at peace.

He said, “Food’s not your issue.  It’s the fact that when feelings are coming up: abandonment, rejection, disappointment – you don’t know how to process what’s going on with you.  So you’re running to a counterfeit – food, for comfort.  And so food is really just a fruit of an unhealthy root.'”  And that counterfeit can be so many things. – Robia Scott

Robia Scott shares her story:

Calling Out the Counterfeit Comforts

Robia Scott – Counterfeit Comforts

“You’ve got to get clear about what you do, how you do it, why you do it and the results that you’re getting.” –Iyanla Vanzant

 

Professor Pain

There is no growth without change, no change without fear or loss and no loss without pain. – Rick Warren

Have you ever been in so much pain that all you do is lie in bed staring up at the ceiling as tears run down your face, crying out to God (or whoever) for Him to change your circumstances? And then a few minutes later – when the relief and comfort don’t come, you turn over on your side, curling up in the fetal position and really go into the ugly cry – you know, the kind of cry that has tears pouring out of your eyes and snot running out of your nose – all at the same time.  You need two separate tissues just to deal with it.  This is the kind of upset where your mind starts thinking crazy thoughts like wishing that you would just fall asleep and never wake up – until you’re in heaven.  Yep, I’ve been there too.

Pain is pain. Loss is loss.  None of us will go through this life without experiencing pain.  And if you live long enough, you will experience loss and disappointments.  The reason doesn’t matter – pain HURTS!  Whether the pain is physical or emotional we can sometimes find that the challenge to overcome it seems like it is too much for us to bear.  So what do we do when the pain of life feels like it’s too heavy a weight?  Do you try to escape it by running away or finding a distraction?  Some people try to numb the pain through drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, work, you name it.

Well now might be a good time to seek the advice of a professional (therapist).

God doesn’t intend for you to handle all the pain and stress in your life by yourself.  We were wired for each other.  We need each other. – Rick Warren

Maybe we need to have a different perspective on this whole pain thing.

“What if in skipping the pain, I was missing my lessons?” – Glennon Doyle Melton, author

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos in the personal development category.  Two that stuck out for me talked about pain.  We usually want to run and hide from pain, but what if we were to lean into that pain, to go deep inside our mind and look at that pain – can we use that pain to propel us forward?  Time and time again as I watch these videos, I see how people overcame their circumstances and transformed their lives.

You can either break down and stay broken down and shut down, and you can break open, and it’s, it’s a decision you make, it’s a commitment – I’m not going to waste this opportunity to become the best me.  You’re always given these opportunities to either break open into the mystery or to shut down. – Elizabeth Lesser (Co-founder of Omega Institute; Author)

 

“Accept that their actions hurt you deeply. Accept that this experience taught you something you didn’t want to know. Accept that sorrow and strife are part of even a joyful life. Accept that it’s going to take a long time to get that monster out of your chest. Accept that someday what pains you now will surely pain you less.” – Cheryl Strayed, author

Glennon Doyle Melton – How Letting In Pain Can Make You the Person You’re Meant to Be

 

Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings by Dr. Joan Rosenberg

 

Mandy Saligari talks about feelings

 

 

Going Through A Storm?

Are you going through a storm right now?

When passing through the storms of life, please remember:

  1.  It could be worse.
  2.  It will get better.

Stay strong, focus on what you can do, not what you cannot, and know that the clouds will soon part, and the sun will return again. – Doe Zantamata

We all will experience storms in life.  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like them.  I like things calm, peaceful – no drama and chaos please. Regardless of what I like, that doesn’t keep the storms away.  Several times in these past couple of years I’ve heard this about life storms:

We are either feeling a storm approaching, in the middle of a storm or in the aftermath of a storm.

I knew we’d all go through stuff in life but somehow I thought I’d get to a point in life where it would all just be smooth sailing.

Several years ago I also remember seeing Sheila Walsh on tv talking about storms.  She caught my full attention:

Just as storms show us all sorts of debris on the shore, when we walk through spiritual storms or emotional storms, if you walk through a really tough season in life, I’ve discovered in my life it will toss up some things on the shoreline of your heart.  And I think what happens is, it shows you what you actually believe as opposed to what you hope you believe, or even what you think you believe…Storms serve a huge purpose because they actually show us where we’re at in our faith and what we believe.    -Sheila Walsh

I thought about what she said.  I knew that during some storms feelings of fear would grip me.  It was at those times that I really had to steep myself in watching sermons.  A long time ago I found out that watching sermons brought me comfort. Yes, I knew about reading the Bible and praying – sometimes I did that too, but for me, actually watching  sermons seemed to offer me both comfort and learning (knowledge).  I ended up feeling closer to God.

One day I was having a conversation with my daughter about this.  I broke it down this way:  When you get a headache you take an aspirin and your headache goes away.  You don’t know how it works – you just know that it works.  For me, it’s the same thing with God, with the sermons (when I’m fearful, upset, etc.).  I like how Joyce Meyer breaks it down:

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”– Thich Nhat Hanh

Why Do We Experience Trials?

Have you ever wondered why we experience trials in life?

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. – 1 Peter 4:12

Many of us have heard that we will experience trials and tribulations in life.  But how do we handle them?  Why do we experience them?  What’s the purpose?  What are the lessons we are supposed to learn?

Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways. -Proverbs 20:30 (GNT)

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

Okay, so we know about the trials and tribulations thing.  The next thing we know for sure is that people die, and one day too you and I will die.  With that said, where did you learn how to go through trials, tribulations and tests?  Where did you learn how to handle grief?  Where did you learn how to handle emotions?  In school, I certainly didn’t see any classes being offered on those subjects.  I don’t recall anything like Trials, Tribulations & Tests 101, Grief 101, Relationship Skills 101, Managing Your Emotions 101, Discovering Your Purpose 101, Personal Finance/Money Management 101, Conflict Management 101, Handling Disappointment 101, Anger Management 101, Love 101, Compassion & Empathy 101, Character 101 — Did you?

So we fumble through life with our limited knowledge and perspectives trying to figure it all out and deal with things the only way we know how.  Some people don’t even bother to learn anything past their formal schooling unless it involves acquiring a skill for employment.  So is it really surprising that so much of the population is trying to seek comfort in all the wrong places, trying to seek comfort in people and things that never satisfy but at most may give us a temporary, momentary high, or just assist us to numb out.

A couple days ago I watched a Rick Warren video on YouTube titled, “Learn How to Thrive When Your World is Shaken Up.”  In the video he talks about the four sources of shake-ups in life, but he really goes deep when he talks about how some of the problems and pressures and difficulties we have in life actually come from God.  And then he goes on to explain some reasons/purpose for the problem and what questions we are to ask ourselves.  And yes, sometimes we have a problem because we did the right thing.  Definitely food for thought.

Video:  Learn How to Thrive When Your World is Shaken Up – Rick Warren

Articles:

God’s Purpose Behind Your Problems

God Really does have a Purpose behind your Problems!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. – 1 Peter 5:10

 

What is Faith?

What comes to mind when you hear the word faith?  When we are going through a difficult time in life we hear things like:  Have faith, keep the faith.  Those words are meant to encourage us, to comfort us.  But having faith and keeping the faith can be very hard, especially when life isn’t going as planned or as we thought it should go.

What is faith?  Here’s several definitions I found on the word faith:

  • Complete confidence or trust in someone or something.
  • Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
  • Confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept.
  • Confidence or trust in a particular system of religious belief.

“Keep the faith” is defined as:

  • To continue to believe in, trust, or support someone or something when it is difficult to do so.
  • Don’t stop believing.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Faith is mentioned many times in the bible.  Just for fun, I did a Google search to find out how many times.  This is what Google says:

The word “faith” appears 336 times in the King James Version. Other bible versions have varying counts: Faith appears 458 times in the New International Version, 389 in the New King James Version, 378 in the New American Standard Bible and 521 in the Good News Bible (GNB).”

Short videos on faith:

What is Faith? by Jefferson Bethke

Faith

Bishop Barron on What Faith Is and What Faith Isn’t

“Trusting God completely means having faith that He knows what is best for your life.  You expect Him to keep His promises, help you with problems, and do the impossible when necessary.” – Rick Warren

 

 

 

Welcome

Welcome,

If you are here it’s probably because like me, you are going through a storm, looking for answers and wondering what to do, or maybe you’re just looking for a bit of inspiration to get you through the next moment, hour or day.  Maybe you’re struggling to hold yourself together, maybe you’re struggling to have hope.  Maybe you’re tired of the struggle and pain and fear and worry.  Perhaps you’re having difficulty keeping the faith.

This site is about going and getting through the storms of life. I’m not saying I have any answers for your particular situation, but I do have decades of experience going through/getting through life storms (a.k.a trials, tests, tribulations) and thriving afterwards.  Currently my life has been shaken up like never before.  Frankly speaking, life as I previously knew it is gone.  It kind of feels like a tsunami hit my life.  The destruction began 4 years ago.  It started with the death of my mother – and the waves kept coming.  Although I’m still “going through,” I thought maybe I could put my pain to some use and help others.  I have been blessed with some very special friends, successful people who have been a great help in my journey.  I will also be sharing their advice on storm navigation with you too.  My hope is that you find something here that will help you.