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Help, I don’t want a Divorce: Try these 5 Tips!!!

Posted by Shawn on  February 19, 2020

Category: Uncategorized

Will Marriage Counseling help?

Where has the time gone?  You quietly tell yourself “I guess nothing lasts forever”. 

You used to be so in love with each other. Enjoying each other’s company and time spent with the family, but now the spark, romance is gone. 

Sure you both still say the words “I love you,” but there is something a bit hollow in them.  

A stay at home mom and your husband working all the time leaves you both feeling empty and alone

Household responsibilities and work seem to get in the way of taking time enjoying each other or the kids.  There is no time for going to the park, walks throughout the neighborhood, or any meaningful interaction as a family.  

By the time the chaos of the evening finally winds down, it’s as though one of you or both are completely exhausted and checked out.  What’s worse is that this is the only opportunity you have with one another before the lights go out and you rinse and repeat.

You’ve tried being nice, sending cute texts, focusing more on the other person, providing non-sexual touch, and it feels as though it goes unnoticed.

Your sex life has been emotionally reduced down to a one-night stand.

You’re struggling in every aspect of life trying to hold on to a love that once blossomed.

Not to mention worrying about the kids!!

You want your Marriage Back

Oh, how you want to pour your love out and be loved in return.  You desire romance and friendship, not just to be a single parent raising your kids alone.

Maybe you’ve tried Marriage Counseling before and it was not successful.  

If that is you, I am so sorry about your experience.  All too often, as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I hear this very sentiment from couples in their first counseling session.

In my experience marriage counseling, only works when both partners are willing to be open and honest with one another.  Couples have to actively participate in changing the rut they find themselves stuck in.

Here are 5 tips that I have personally seen, help couples like you in marriage counseling.

  • Remember

    Remember how you felt when you first met, how you fell in love with one another, and why you chose to get married in the first place.  It’s time to remember the vows you made to one another at the altar.

     

    Try and remember the good times you had.  Right now it may be hard to see those good times, through the mess you’re in now, but try.

     

    You have the ability to change who you are right now and be who you once were.  Madly in love, so full of life and joy, do you remember?

  • Engage 

    Use this opportunity to begin pouring into your loved one.  The key in this is to not do this with the expectation of anything in return.  The goal here is to see once again the person you once were so in love with. And for them to feel love without strings attached.

     

    Take time to focus on your friendship.  There once was a time before you were lovers you were friends.  You most likely spent countless hours talking to one another about nothing and everything.

     

    Engage your spouse with your time.  You may not even realize how much time you are spending working or even thinking about work when you could be focusing on them.

  • Rekindle

    Rekindle the fire.  When you build a fire you have to start with the kindling (the small pieces of twigs and dry stuff found on the ground).  These little pieces ignite quickly and burn fast. Their purpose is to burn long enough to ignite the bigger pieces of wood. 

     

    This same principle should be applied to your smoldering relationship.  Begin by doing little things that mean so much to your partner with the hope that they will last long enough to light the bigger deeper parts of the heart.

  • Resist

    At all costs, resist.  Resist the urge to argue, fight, belittle, begin a tit-for-tat cycle.  These actions are some of the quickest ways to negate any positive momentum you’ve made.  Not only does it hurt your spouse, but it hurts you. It allows bitterness and resentment to creep into your relationship.

     

    Resist pointing fingers and the blame-game.  Relationships are not always 50/50, sometimes they are 80/20, 99/01, 60/40.  There are times when you have more to give and others where you need to receive.

  • Request

    Request help from professionals that specialize in helping couples change their relationship.  If you have a medical condition, you’re going to seek out a specialist for your issue, not a generalist.  Would you like more information on counselors that specialize in Marriage Counseling OKC?

     

    If you’re seeing a counselor and do not feel it’s helping, request a referral to another counselor.  Requesting a referral does not mean that the counselor is bad, there are a number of reasons why counseling may not be working.

We provide Marriage Counseling in OKC and Edmond

Just because your marriage is struggling now, doesn’t mean it has to remain this way.  At New Vision Counseling we help struggling couples like you create a life worth celebrating.  We have 2 locations conveniently located in Oklahoma City and Edmond!!  Give us a Call or schedule your free consultation.  Let us work with you on your path to healing and restoration.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Written by:  Daniel Edwards, II., MS, LMFT.  Daniel is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist that specializes in couples counseling focusing on building trust, respect, kindness, and affection in their relationships.

Is Therapy Right for ME?

Posted by Shawn on  February 12, 2020

Category: Uncategorized

Can Therapy Really Help ME?

Yes! The great news is that research consistently confirms that the majority of people who receive therapy are better off than those who did not receive therapy. We can say with confidence that therapy is helpful for most people!

However, despite these results many people never take the step (and it is a courageous one, for sure) to get help. At New Vision Counseling in Edmond and Oklahoma City, we want you to know that help is available and we want to join you on your journey. We also understand you might have some reservations, so we are going to address those in this blog.

I understand therapy helps others, but I’m still not sure that therapy can help with my problem

Have you ever had the experience where you thought you were the only one who had a problem or a struggle, only to find out it is a very common problem? The writer of Ecclesiastes writes, “there is nothing new under the sun,” and this is true in therapy. Therapists spend their days listening to and encountering the problems people have, and even though your problem is unique to you in some ways, there is a very good chance your therapist has encountered a similar problem before. Some therapists may even specialize in your problem—anxiety, depression, marriage problems, anger, grief, relationships, OCD, etc.

We see every individual as unique and tailor treatment to what you need. Our goal is to help you with your problem and your goals, not fit you into a box!

I’m nervous about coming in, is that normal?

Yes, it is totally normal to feel nervous! You are taking a major step toward change and transformation when you come to counseling, and it can seem scary and daunting. Coming to an appointment to face something you are ready to change means admitting you need some help, and few people like to admit that! However, clients will often express to me that even though the step in the therapy office was hard, they feel a little regret for not taking the step sooner.

It is also normal to feel excitement and hope about finally getting some help with something that has you stuck! Whether it is excitement or nervousness, or something else, the most important thing is you’ve taken courageous action to heal and change.

Only crazy people go to therapy, right?

Many clients tell me that before coming to therapy, they always saw therapy as somewhere only really messed up or “crazy” people go. Nothing could be further from the truth! Therapy is not just for people struggling intensely with mental health issues and difficult situations, therapy is for anyone wanting to change and heal. In truth, the people that come to therapy are the ones ready to change and stop feeling so “crazy”  on the inside or in a relationship. Maybe this puts it better: “Crazy” people don’t go to therapy, but people tired of feeling crazy do.

I’ve seen pastors, lawyers, executives, oil field workers, students, mothers, fathers, kids, families, and couples of many different cultures. At the end of the day, those needing and looking for help are the people in therapy.

If I want to start therapy, what do I need to do now?

Give us a Call at New Vision Counseling in Edmond and Oklahoma City! Or schedule a free consultation. We will take your call and discuss with you how we can help and how soon we can get you an appointment. No question is too big or too small! We have an awesome team of therapists ready to work with you on your path to healing and restoration. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ben Thompson, LMFT

Posted by Shawn on  January 30, 2020

Category: Uncategorized

If you are in the process of looking for a counselor, let me first say congratulations!! Yes, congratulations for beginning the steps of self-care.  Gyms and weight loss programs are full in January and February, with New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps more important is our mental health. A few years ago, it was reported that by 2020, anxiety disorders would be the 2nd leading diagnosis for mental health.  Counselors can also help couples struggling in marriage, trauma, pre-marital, family issues, a wide range of emotional issues that can keep you from living your best life.  To help you navigate how to find a counselor that fits your needs we are going to share questions you can ask to help you connect with the right person. 

A few short years ago, when people needed to look for a service, they turned to the yellow pages!  Do you even know what a phone book is? Baby boomers may have an old one laying around but that is not the place to look for your counselor.  Ads in phone books are not regulated or verified!  

Where do you go when looking for a service?  Chances are, you google something like Counselor in OKC.  That is a good place to start, google reviews lets you read comments about people’s experiences with therapist and what different offices in your area have to offer.  New Vision has great reviews because we have awesome therapists!! I would not hesitate to give any of our therapists a referral. This leads us to our first question, if you have a friend that is a therapist, ask if he or she could refer you to a therapist.  They will be able to give you names of therapist they know and trust.  

You can ask another professional, someone, you work with, someone you trust and that has a good network of other professionals.  You can ask friends and family if they will be supportive and not intrusive. You shouldn’t feel like you need to explain the reason you need a counselor.  Counselor’s have a wide range of skills and there could be a hundred different reasons you are seeking a counselor; you don’t owe anyone an explanation. 

You can also ask your human resources personnel at work if they offer an EAP, an Employee Assistance Program, some businesses offer EAP’s as part of your benefits plan and will pay for a specified number of counseling sessions.   Your insurance company may also be able to give you referrals to counselors in OKC who are paneled with them. Therapist who are paneled with insurance companies, have been vetted and credentials checked and re-checked. 

Use the internet, sites like Psychology Today, are used by professionals to help you find what you are looking for in a therapist.  You can search for Counselors in your area, the therapist professional qualifications, their specialties, insurance they take, and a biography are listed. If you want a Christian counselor, you can look at sites like Christian Counselor’s Network, or American Association of Christian Counselors, again credentials and education are screened before they will list them as a referral.

Gather a list of two or three counselors that pique your interest.  A great therapist will build a relationship with you, give you skills and walk beside you to be the best version of you. If you are struggling with unprocessed emotions, they will be able to help you walk through how to deal with uncomfortable, painful, negative emotions.  If you do not make a connection with the first one try the next one on your list until you find the one that puts you at ease and can draw out the emotions you have been stuffing and avoiding. The process is sometimes painful but can make a world of difference when you know you are no longer fighting the battle alone.

Once you have your top 2 or 3 counselors, you can call and ask specific questions to see if they feel like a good fit and if you connect with them.  New Vision offers a free 10-minute phone consultation, this would be a good time to use that opportunity. You want to be able to trust, build a rapport, and feel at ease while navigating through issues that can be debilitating in your daily activities and keeping you from living your best life and feeling like you are reaching your full potential.  

Let 2020 be the start of you taking charge of your mental health, of you taking care of your overall wellbeing, not only getting in physical shape but working on your mental health as well.  A new decade a new you, taking care of mind, body, and soul!

 

Partner with New Vision Counseling because we use Biblical Principles combined with cutting edge Counseling Techniques to help you Discover what better looks like for you and then Equip you with the tools to Create it.

Marriage brings about many changes and challenges. One such challenge is building a loving and cooperative relationship with your in-laws.  Here are three tips to keep the peace and steer clear of relationship pitfalls with In-Laws.

Establish clear boundaries right away.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6 (NIV).

Your home is intended to be one of the pleasant places to establish and develop a family.  The home is the space that should feel pleasant, safe, and beautiful.  When couples marry, they must determine what their pleasant place looks and feels like. Although healthy relationships with family can be the most challenging to establish and form, healthy boundaries must be established to prevent any disruption to this sanctuary.   Couples should discuss boundaries for in-laws before marriage and then communicate these boundaries with the in-laws to minimize conflict.  Consider this scripture, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24-25 (NIV).  As a married couple you and your spouse will establish values and traditions for your growing family apart from those of your parents and family including childrearing practices.  Your in-laws may not agree but you must both present a united front to your families.

Build a Healthy Relationship with Your In-Laws

Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:2-3

This scripture extends to your in-laws as well. Treat in-laws like you would any other member of your family as they are your family.  Love your in-laws and tell them you do. Build a healthy relationship with your in-laws but do not expect to be close right away. Give your relationship the time it needs to grow. Discover ways to connect through shared hobbies or interests as it demonstrates that you are making an effort to know and understand them.  Listen to their stories even if you have heard them several times.  They can provide a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about life in general or about your partner, which may help you learn more about them. Also, it might make them feel good be listened to as well.   

Keep quarrels to yourself

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”  II Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV)

Do not complain about your spouse to your parents or in-laws.  Hearing complaints will likely cause them to become defensive. In-laws will always take the side of their child, sibling, or family member. Discussing problems or issues in the marriage may make the situation worse.  Work out your issues privately with your spouse. Do not attempt to get your spouse’s family involved or make them choose sides. 

In a Conflict Between Your Spouse and Your Family, Support Your Spouse.

Your loyalty is to your spouse. It is your duty to support your husband or wife and manage your family in a way that consistently conveys this fact. Again, you must both present a united front to your families, making it clear from the beginning that your spouse comes first. Marital problems typically occur quickly in couples where an allegiance has not been established. A failure to support your partner may lead to bitter disputes and one partner feeling isolated.  You and your spouse must agree on how to handle issues as in-laws are an inherent part of your life. A mutual understanding will help nurture healthy relationships with your in-laws.   

Be as patient with in-laws as they learn to let go. Don’t complain to others or speak unfavorably of your in-laws. Do not compare your in-laws to your parents or family. Be willing to compromise. Your family may have different values that you feel need defending when you’re with your in-laws but do not take the bait!   Offense is one of the most common causes of relationship pitfalls with in-laws. Let go of the need to prove anything. Again, give your relationship with your in-laws time to grow.  

Faith Based Marriage Counselor

Posted by Shawn on  July 30, 2019

Category: Uncategorized

You wish to be counseled by somebody who knows what they’re doing, and thus don’t risk your marriage by utilizing someone who isn’t legitimate. You probably wish your marriage wasn’t so challenging. Not every marriage is ideal, even just a Christian one. It can be tough at times, so here are a few tips for finding the right Faith Based Marriage Counselor. Every marriage may benefit from marriage counseling. Your marriage has become the most important relationship in your life. Your marriage is serious business, so take some time and effort to have a look at the background of the counselor you would like to hire.

In the event the Faith Based Marriage Counselor managed to minister to your friend, then he or she might be worth your prayerful consideration. He or she will then explain that pointing fingers and yelling is not allowed. A marriage counselor can enable a couple through difficult occasions and they are able to also assist a couple have a happier marriage. If he or she is really good at their job, they’ll give you the tools you need to address the problems on your own. The term Christian Marriage Counselor may be used for several individuals.

In order to give effective levels of care, Faith Based Marriage Counselors want to keep on the very edge of their area. On the flip side, you won’t ever grow to be that type of counselor without the years of training, and experience that it is going to take to secure you there. The counselor has to be supportive and sympathetic, but in addition forceful and assertive to aid patients overcome self-imposed obstacles. Our faith based counselors are here to assist. If you want to turn into a certified counselor, you will also will need to engage in a master’s degree in counseling. If you anticipate employed as a certified counselor in a certain state, make sure you fully grasp the requirements fully.

Each Faith Based Marriage Counselor typically will specialize in specific locations, but a lot of them may also provide a wide array of services. Much like many specialized and sensitive professions, counselors should make a license before they are legally permitted to practice. Not all counselors are made equal, and simply because you’re likely to a counselor doesn’t guarantee you’ll achieve the results you desire. Our faith-based counselors practice the exact same psychological theories and techniques in their treatment plans as all skilled counselors. Christian counselors may discuss behavior in conditions of sins like pride, greed, or lust. They can also choose to begin a private practice. The 1 thing you ought to be effective Christian counselor is to get a passion for counseling.

Because Faith Based Marriage Counseling is a rather wide field, you have to specialize during your graduate work. Marriage counseling is helpful to anybody who’s married. It is only there when you’ve decided you can’t go on in a relationship like you are and don’t know what the best course of action is. In case you go to marriage counseling, you are going to be PREPARED to get the most out of it. Christian marriage counseling occurs through many of unique outlets. Whether you’re searching for Christian marriage counseling or conventional therapy, it’s important to bear in mind that therapists provide a range of approaches.

There are several sorts of counselors, working with people for a range of explanations. In order to be certified, they also need to show that they are active in their religious community on a local level and have served at least three years in the ministry. Last, locate a counselor who’s available to you. To begin with, locate a counselor who’s competent. Search for a capable and skilled biblical counselor who can assist you.

The very first step to becoming a counselor is to get a bachelor’s degree. Pastoral counselors frequently have private practices by which they see patients, but they’re not confined to seeing patients in the expert setting of a workplace. On the flip side, if you discover a prudent counselor who uses God’s Word that will help you grow in your Christian walk, in your marriage and in your family members, Scripture says you’re going to be blessed!

Though your Faith Based Marriage Counselor might be able to provide you additional spiritual insight from personal expertise, beliefs, and wisdom, there’s absolutely no guarantee your counselor is going to have the formal training to best address your faith-based troubles. For instance, you can discover counselors which use new age practices that embrace spirituality and relation to the universe. If you are especially seeking to be ordained as a pastoral counselor, a minumum of one counselor is going to be on the committee. Because of their training in therapy and counseling tactics, a pastoral counselor can help patients in the very same ways a certified therapist can.

Selecting a counselor is a huge thing. Christian counselors have many choices in regards to jobs. In many instances, Christian marriage counselors are extremely active in their community church community.

Contact a Faith Based Marriage Counselor in Oklahoma City Today.

Marriage Counselors in Oklahoma City OK

Posted by Shawn on  June 20, 2019

Category: Uncategorized

Counseling by an experienced counselor, psychiatrist may also give miraculous outcomes. To begin with, Christian counseling is a type of worldview persuasion. Christian based marriage counseling is vastly different than many different types, even though most of them share the identical aim.

A third sort of counselor can be equally as dangerous as the initial two. Counselors should have extensive understanding of the Scriptures and the thorough philosophies found inside them. Pastoral counselors offer spiritual along with psychological resources to increase communication among couples. A Christian counselor should cover the issue that’s at the crux of humanity’s dilemma. As you might be the only licensed counselor providing services by your company, you may benefit by hiring additional staff to assist you. There are several Christian counselors around the planet that could aid a person in unraveling the sorrows and problems that he’s undergoing through the use of different counseling ways. Christian counseling for weight loss may be an ideal gateway to freedom from long-lasting weight difficulties.

Do not permit toxic relationships to alter the way that you deal with life. You desire the type of relationship you truly deserve and you ought to keep this in mind in any way times. Most of us are emotional about their relationship with other individuals. If you’re just starting out in a relationship, just know it will take some time. To begin with, your relationship to your wife has become the most important relationship in the house, therefore it should be nurtured in a distinctive way, aside from the noise and pressure of kids. As a physical relationship isn’t allowed before the wedding, babies ought to be born after the wedding has occurred. Many great relationships are constructed from a good foundation of friendship.

If you’re focused solely on avoiding divorce, you may be tempted to take actions that merely make it possible for you to survive, when you need to be searching for techniques to thrive. If you would like to find out how to prevent divorce, you want to understand that it all starts with a willingness to take real action. If you wish to understand how to prevent divorce, you will need to look for the smart counsel of somebody who knows their way around troubled marriages.

Adopt an intelligent strategy to direct your actions and you’re going to be far better positioned to do what it requires to save your marriage. You don’t need to muddle through a lousy marriage indefinitely. You wish to have a fantastic marriage. Without love, you’re not going to have a truly joyful marriage. Christian marriage counseling just may become your marriage last resort once it comes to divorce-proofing your marriage. Lutheran marriage has many facets which might not be found in different marriages. It comes with strict guidelines for what is and is not acceptable in the eyes of the church.

Christian marriage counseling services are offered in individual or by phone. Furthermore consider what other items which you require for your counseling business like an appointment book or scheduling program. Before you start accepting clients, you will need to find out what rates you’re going to charge for services. Clients, like families, couples, and individuals, have the choice to get in-person or internet therapy.

By having a personal coach it’s possible to find the emotional and spiritual support you should get past the overwhelming impulse to overeat and stay inactive. Wise people seek the assistance of marriage counselors when misunderstanding, frustration or several other miseries strike their loved ones. It’s important to see that trouble in a marriage doesn’t need to end in divorce. Otherwise, the long known problems in medical care administration and attention for Veterans in the us would have already been addressed over the previous 16 decades. Today, it’s very difficult to distinguish the difference between the world and the church.

There are not any Christian vows. In addition, it isn’t only schools. Based on your aims, you ought not necessarily rule out an on-line school simply because it’s not accredited by a regional or national body. One of the absolute most important lessons to be learned in marriage is the best way to steer clear of criticisms. Counseling sessions vary from a few meetings to relatively long discussions.

Support groups for mental illnesses will allow you to understand that you’re not alone. Parents provide more care and protection for children when they’re learning how to grow stronger. Children are occasionally placed in a house that’s not right for them. At some point, they will face the complicated task of trying to understand a loss. Try to remember that you’re NOT the person that you have been made out to be. Sometimes a person who’s in a custody dispute may be asked to have an evaluation should they have a history of drug usage. Numerous totally free marriage counseling programs are available on the internet also.

Marriage and Family Services

Posted by Shawn on  April 19, 2019

Simple Tips And Advice For Conquering Depression

Now you have what you need. You would like to feel better mentally and live a happier life. There is no time like the present. You may wonder how to begin. Don’t worry, this article may help you. Keep reading for some tips for treating depression that you can start using today.

Banish your blue moods by cutting sugar out of your diet, including the natural sugars contained in honey, fruits and molasses. Sugars are simple carbohydrates that enter our bloodstream a lot faster than carbohydrates like whole grains. These fast-burning sugars produce a quick jolt of energy, but the crash following after causes fatigue and tends to exacerbate the symptoms of depression.

Get some sun every singe day. It has been proven through studies that a correlation exists between lack of exposure to sunlight and increased depression.

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Sadness and clinical depression are different, but quite the same. One important step is to stay away from depression triggers. When you realize certain things that cause you to feel depressed, make sure you avoid them.

Grow your circle of friends so that you’re not continually pushing all your feelings on just your best friend. You run the risk of that person becoming burnt out listening to you.

Listening to some relaxing music can really help, and playing music is even better. The same holds true for all of the arts, being involved in them, even if you aren’t that good, can be a great way to deal with hard times.

Support your loved ones who suffer from depression. Depressed loved ones need comfort during difficult times. There are resources, both in books and online, that can help you to help your loved one.

If you are ever prescribed antidepressants, take the medication and do so as directed. Never take either less or more medication than you are prescribed, and never stop the medication suddenly without talking to your doctor first, as it may be dangerous. You must be slowly weaned off antidepressants.

If you have depression, it may be helpful to join an online support group. Being anonymous in an online group can help you be more honest and open to others that you may not be able to do with those that you know. You will find many groups online concerning depression.

Don’t neglect food just because you don’t feel like eating. A lot of the time when people are depressed they tend not to eat, usually because their sadness overtakes them. Make sure to eat enough food to keep you healthy, even if you are not hungry.

One effective way to soothe depression is to try to be positive, no matter what happens. If you keep a positive attitude toward your situation, you will be able to work actively and find solutions.

Control your stress. Stress makes depression worse and makes it stick around longer. Examine what is happening in your life, and then determine what it is that is causing you stress. When you have identified your stressors, you will be better able to address them and minimize them, or even conquer them.

Dress well each and every day. If you’re wearing old, dirty clothes it’s easy to be depressed. Looking sad makes you feel said. Try dressing nicely each day. Just take a shower and do your hair. This can help you feel good about the way you look.

If you feel down and in a rut, venture outside for a refreshing change of pace. Don’t give in to your negative mindset because it can lead to a viscous cycle of even more depression. You’ll realize there’s a beautiful world out there if you actually step out in it and experience it.

Beware of phenylalnine, a common amino acid that is not good for depressed people. It contains an allergenic compound. Depressive people are usually allergic to items, and phenol can boost reactions right away. It is important to keep this product out of your daily diet.

Unemployment is a frequent cause of depression. It can be hard to get used to the lack of income after you have been released from your job. Not being able to pay bills adds to that feeling of depression, despite it being temporary.

Consider scheduling an appointment to see a psychological counselor. Therapy and medication is a great combination to treat depression. Research has documented the simultaneous effectiveness of the pair is far greater than either medication or therapy individually. Meditation helps you manage immediate mood downswings. Therapy helps you determine what is causing your depression.

To treat depression, it is a good idea to eat well-balanced meals regularly. Eating a breakfast full of protein and whole grains will speed up your metabolism and keep you feeling fuller longer. One important item to include on your menu is cold water fish. Research has linked Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish to an easing of depression.

Sometimes, it just takes a bite of chocolate to beat depression back. Studies show that eating chocolate releases endorphins into the body, and these are mood-altering chemicals. This may help you to feel better.

Sometimes our actual life is the reason for depression. If your employment or partner in life is the cause, you certainly need to remove yourself from that situation. Don’t be afraid of the consequences if this is the cause. You simply cannot worry about the feelings of others when the situation is causing your life and well-being to spiral out of control. It actually can be that easy. People have to respect your decision.

You likely now feel empowered to tackle your depression. The above tips are meant to help you battle depression and feel better. Remember that help exists should you ever need it.

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Simple Strategies for Bringing Your Personal Goals to Life

Posted by Shawn on  January 22, 2019

Category: All

Remember when you woke up on New Year’s Day and immediately sprang into action on all those realistic goals you set forth the week before?  Yeah, neither do I!  I recall waking up on New Year’s Day, sipping coffee in my pajamas, scrolling through Netflix, munching on something from Hickory Farms and half-heartedly proclaiming, “I’ll start tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the first REAL day of 2019.”   I had good intentions, but zero direction on that first day of this fresh new season.  Thomas Edison once said, “A vision without execution is hallucination.”  I suppose that means I was borderline psychotic for the first several hours of this year, but lucky for me I quickly found my way into remission!

During my first Sunday church service of the year, our beloved Pastor Craig Groeschel reminded us that “our life is the sum total of all the small decisions that we make.”  This made me realize that most of us approach our resolutions and personal goals in all the WRONG ways!  We’ve been told much of our life to focus on the BIG picture.  “Keep your eye on the goal!”  “Focus on the prize!”  However, with our eyes exclusively on the reward, we overlook the individual steps it takes to get there, and then we wonder why we never made it.  In his book “Atomic Habits,” James Clear says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals.  You fall to the level of your systems.”  So in order to simplify our strategies for bringing our personal goals to life, we must first take a look at our systems.  Let’s identify what we tend to do wrong when approaching our personal goals, then let’s visualize the improved version of ourselves and choose one small new system for getting there.

MOVE AWAY FROM BIG, BROAD AND BEST

I believe the problem we often make when approaching our goals is that we focus on BIG, BROAD and BEST.  For example, “I’m going to rise to the top this year!”  Too big – Too broad!  Or perhaps we say, “I’m going to get my life together.”   Your LIFE entails no less than 100,000 different things, so how and where exactly does one begin?  Too broad!  You might even say, “I’m ready to be the BEST version of myself!”  Unfortunately, BETTER must come before BEST, so if you only focus on the best, you might miss all the small, meaningful victories along the way and then give up prematurely.

Voltaire said, “The best is the enemy of the good.”  Smart guy, that Voltaire!  If we set our personal goals around big, broad or best, we don’t know where to begin, we miss small (but important) achievements and we give up too soon!

START SMALL, SPECIFIC, AND SATISFYING

So if we aren’t supposed to start BIG, BROAD or BEST – then what are we supposed to do?  You guessed it!  We should start small, specific and satisfying.  The Bible says, in Job Chapter 8, “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous your future will be”.   Small beginnings are the key to realistic outcomes!  Specific beginnings are the arrows on the map.  If I am going to save more money, I need an exact amount per week (or month) to get started.  If I am going to lose weight, I need an exact macro count, calorie count or fitness plan to execute each day.  If I am going to pray more often, I need to identify the exact number of minutes I’m striving for.  Finally, why must it be satisfying?  Because let’s face it, we live in a generation of immediate gratification.  If I need information, Google answers the call in less than one second.  If I want something but don’t have the cash for it, Capitol One Venture Rewards Card!  Amazon delivers things to your doorstep faster than you can press “buy now,” and Uber shows up quicker than I can walk to my driveway and engage the ignition of my own car.  We must choose small steps that are satisfying because if we don’t get some type of gratification fairly quickly, we are more likely to give up.  If I choose “pray 3 minutes each morning after I wake up” as my faith-seeking goal, then it will only take 3 minutes before I feel the satisfaction of completing that goal (and likely, God will reward me with answers!)  Satisfying steps keep us moving!

START AND RESTART

Identify a specific area of your life that needs work.  If you aren’t sure where to begin, I recommend praying about it and asking God to direct you to the area that needs your attention right now.  He says in Psalms 32:8, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.”  So ask Him!  And listen for answers!  Another strategy is consulting what ThriveTime Business Coach, Clay Clark calls the “F6 Goals”:  Family, Faith, Fitness, Finances, Friendships and Fun!  These are the primary 6 areas of our life that contribute to whole-hearted living.  Look over these and decide which area you might want to tackle first.  Next, visualize what we EMDR therapists call a “future template.”  Get comfortable in a quiet place, close your eyes, and run a movie in your mind of you operating exactly as you would if your chosen focus area was “on point.”  For example, if I choose faith as the area I’d like to work on:  When I’m running my future template of ‘me living with strong faith,’ I might see myself waking up each morning and reading a few scriptures, spending a few minutes in prayer, attending church on Sunday, and possibly engaging in a small group or Bible study.   After I finish my mind-movie, I should then ask myself: “What is one thing that I saw myself doing in that visualization that I am NOT doing now?”  Choose one that is small, specific and will be satisfying shortly after you do it, commit to that one thing, and begin doing it every single day.  Gretchen Rubin said, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”  So start your small action, and then restart the next day, and restart again the next day.  THAT will be a small, specific, satisfying thing that leads you to your big, broad, best-self goal.  Before you know it, it will simply be something you DO, and it will be time to identify the next thing to START! You will be proud of each new healthy habit you create, and each will be a building block in the tower of your personal success.  Your tenacity and repetition will pay off.  If you get bored or discouraged on your small-stepping journey, remember these words from Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap harvest if we do not give up.”

Shawn Maguire has been trained in EMDR, NLP, and CBT (to name a few) and uses these techniques with an emphasis on Christian Counseling.

My shoulders had tension that no amount of yoga or deep breathing would cure, the grip on my steering wheel would undoubtedly break any stress ball, and a puddle was quickly forming beneath my sweating palms.  The GPS on my phone repeated, “re-routing” over and over through the speakers of my car.

Yes, I was lost.  Hopelessly, lost.

You see, I’d just moved to a big city.  It was dark.  I was in the middle of traffic on a bridge in an area of the city that did not look safe to stop and ask for directions.  The only hope I had for the drive was that I would eventually be able to get off the bridge and park long enough to look at a map—well, cry and then look at a map.

Have you ever been that lost?

If not, I have news for you: without a vision for your kids, you will eventually end up just as lost.  On my ridiculous drive, I didn’t have a destination or a vision.  I was just aimlessly driving around the city to learn it better.  The GPS on my phone had no way of helping me because it didn’t know where I was going.  Creating a vision statement for relationships with your kids is as important as identifying a destination for your drive.  You can’t expect to get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go.

So how do you do that exactly?

First, make the vision statement kid-friendly. 

When downloading a map app for my phone, I always choose the English version. Why? Because I only speak English. While there’s a chance that I could look at pictures and decipher where to go in an Arabic version of a map, any specific instructions would be entirely lost because I do not speak that language.

Yet, we expect kids to understand our grown-up jargon—and we punish them when they don’t.

When creating a vision statement for your family regarding relationships, it is essential that it uses kid-friendly language.  For example, your kid-friendly vision statement might be, “God made humans to treat each other like we would want to be treated.” This statement makes sense and is easy to apply.  For younger kids your statement might be, “God made us to be nice.”

A good way to determine whether your vision statement is kid-friendly is whether it can be chanted.  Kids love to be silly and chant with their family.  You can’t chant, “Relationships are an entity God designed to display His glory to the world.” That statement may be a good place you and your spouse to begin brainstorming, but it can’t be the final version for your kids. 

In addition to chanting your kid-friendly vision statement, making a hand motion can be a fun way to help kids really learn the vision you’re casting for your family.  If your vision statement is “God made us to be nice,” you could use two cupped hands moving upward for the hand motion.

Having trouble thinking of a statement, chant, or hand motion? No problem, have your kids help you! The more they are involved, the more likely they are to engage. 

Second, don’t be afraid to initiate hard conversations. 

The birds and the bees is without-a-doubt the conversation I hear parents worry about the most.  Afterall, who wants to talk about sex with their child?

Like the dreaded sex talk, most hard conversations with children involve relationships.  Whether it is explaining why the family dog can’t come back after that tear-filled vet appointment or why a kid on the playground didn’t invite them to a birthday party, each of these conversations is made difficult by the feelings surrounding relationships.  Your child was designed to be in relationship with others and they are going to seek relationship with others, regardless of the instruction they receive from you. 

The best way to help your children have a godly vision for relationships is to initiate the conversation first, before the kids on the playground or the Internet taints their view of relationships.

Kids on the playground might say, “my older brother told me sex is for grown-ups and is a lot of fun.” While both of those statements are true, you might prefer your children know about sex from God’s perspective before knowing that sex is fun.  Let’s explore how having a vision statement for relationships can make equipping your kids with that information easier.

I’ve seen some families come up with a specific vision statement for sex.  For example, “God made sex for grown-ups in marriage.” For younger kids, this can be helpful because it helps answer those questions like, “Where do babies come from?” Instead of responding with a deer-in-the-headlights look, a parent could respond by explaining that God designed babies to come from two married people having sex.  For older kids, parents can use this statement to talk about how sex is purposeful but it is also pleasurable.  Initiating the conversation about sex being pleasurable can help preteens and teenagers feel safer to talk to their parents about sex rather than trying to find out the pleasures of sex on their own.

Other families might be inclined to incorporate the sex vision statement into their original vision statement for relationships.  For example, “God made humans to treat each other like we would want to be treated” can be a good basis for sex also.  This vision statement helps begin conversations about respecting our bodies and other people’s bodies.  Regarding sex, this could include, “God designed sex for marriage.  With sex, we treat each other like we would want to be treated by not having sex with someone until marriage.” This can also be a good opportunity to have conversations to prevent childhood sexual abuse and talk about respecting each other’s bodies.

Finally, live out relationships the way you want your kids to relate to others.

Has your child ever said or done something completely inappropriate that you know they learned from you? You are not alone.  Anyone with kids has experienced the gut-wrenching moment of their child imitating language or behavior not intended to pass on. 

As you chant your vision statement, make sure that you do what the chant says.  The vision statement, “God made us to be nice” means that your kids need to see you being nice to people.  This statement should challenge you as much as it challenges your kids.  Whether it is in heavy traffic, a long line at the grocery store, or to your spouse after a long day, let your children see what you want them to learn.

New Vision Counseling offers a unique Christian approach with proven therapy techniques. Call (405) 921-7776 today.

By Ben Thompson

 

“Be still, and know that I am God…”
          Psalm 46:10a

In the first part of this blog we discussed being present in all the chaos of life. If we wait until everything is calm and peaceful before we can become present, we will either wait a longtime (maybe forever) or rarely be present in our lives.

Most importantly, when we are present, we are able to experience the presence of God in powerful ways. We slow down enough to realize God is with us and wants us to look to him.

Imagine having God right by your side to guide you through life, but never taking the time to listen to him or ask him for anything. Crazy, right? But we are all guilty of this because instead of being consumed by God in the present, we are consumed with everything else.

How do we practice being present so we can experience a closer connection with God?

Here are three simple things you can start doing today:

  1. Breathe! Breathing is the quickest and easiest way to reorient our bodies and minds to the present moment. I recommend taking slightly deeper breaths than normal and simply focus on the in and out of your breath. As you are more connected to your breathing and to the moment, you can then feel the presence of God more fully.
  2. Be quiet and listen. This is especially important in times you are having a heated conversation with someone or find yourself mentally obsessing over something. Simply tell yourself to slow down and pay attention to what is going on around you and inside you. Your body, for example, may be trying to tell you, “Hey there, I’m getting pretty hot and frustrated here. I need a break!” Then, you can take the little break that your heart, body, and probably everyone around you knows you need to take. As you quiet down, this will allow you to listen better to God in whatever ways he is speaking to you.
  3. Surrender. Don’t confuse this with giving up or giving in to your feelings. Surrender means accepting that your thoughts and feelings are currently too hard to let go of and you must give them over to God before they take you over (see Psalm 55:22). The next time you find yourself frustrated and getting angry tell yourself, “Surrender to this. You are upset and feeling out of control. God I am giving you control,” and allow yourself to experience God taking care of you and your emotions.

Being present takes practice. At New Vision we are here to help you become more present in your life and more connected to God. If we can help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We have great therapists who want you to experience a more present and connected life with God, yourself, and others.

Tis the Season to be Present, Part 1

Posted by Shawn on  December 23, 2018

By Ben Thompson

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:23

“Be present”is something we’re hearing more and more these days, which is great advice, but who has the time? Sure, I’ll be present when the kids are quiet, it’s peaceful,and the last present is bought. If you are like me, that leaves little time to be present unless you are willing to get up at 2:30 in the morning.

Fortunately, God did not wait for everything to be calm before he sent his son, Jesus, to be present with us on earth. God did not wait for conditions to be perfect. As you read in the Bible, Jesus presence on earth started in the midst of scandal,serious danger, Roman rule, and potential death from King Herod that we read about in Matthew 2.

God showed us that peace was not a prerequisite to being present.

How peaceful and present are you feeling this holiday season? We find ourselves worried about getting the right presents, frustrated with our overspending, and getting angry with our loved ones. We are more concerned with buying presents than we are about being present. Ironically, we are in a season of year focused on the presence of God on earth, and it is one of the hardest times to be present.

Being present means being in this moment, peaceful or not.

It means taking a breath right now and calming down. It means stopping in the middle of a fight with your spouse or your kids, taking a breath, and asking yourself, “What’s most important to me right now?” When you slow down and pay attention to your body, mind, and soul, you are present.Then, you can make better decisions for yourself and those around you.

There is no better time than to be present than right now. Jesus presence on earth brought peace to a chaotic world. Likewise, our presence can bring peace on earth,peace to our families, and peace to ourselves in spite of all that is going on around us.

 In the next part of this blog series, I’ll teach you more ways you can become present in your everyday life.

How to Embrace the Season That You’re In

Posted by Shawn on  November 29, 2018

Category: All, Gratitude

Most therapists would describe fear of letting go of the past as depression and fear of what’s to come in the future as anxiety. All that lies between the past and the future is a single day–today.

Listen, I know how difficult it is to let go of the good-ole days, and I know first-hand how a coming deadline or the loss of income can send your mind spinning into hyper drive. How many fully-present days do we ever get to enjoy without fear of yesterday or tomorrow creeping in? Not very many.

We have to fight hard to embrace each day and remember they are each gifts. There is no guarantee of tomorrow, and entire lifetimes can be wasted fixated on what’s to come without ever getting to fully experience the here and now.

When our eyes are fixed on the days behind us or ahead of us, we lose sight of the gifts God has tucked away for us here, today! When we look at the day we’ve been given and accept it for exactly as it is instead of wondering what it could or should be, our hearts will be filled with gratitude and our minds will finally be at peace.

Accept Your Season

If you are living in a difficult season, it’s okay to acknowledge the challenges you’re facing!

I had a client once who was the mother to young twins, and she was so worn out that she felt this enormous guilt for not enjoying the season she was in. She tried her hardest to be as productive as she was before she had two babies to take care of and ended up driving herself into to the point of depression.

Once she accepted her new season along with the limitations that came with it, she was able to give herself more grace and pay attention to the gifts of motherhood at a much slower pace.

Are you in a new season where you have to give up the standards and perfection you’ve held in the past?

Accept Your Challenges

With every season comes challenges. Just like the mother I mentioned earlier, you may be hard-pressed for time or energy. Maybe you just lost your job and the greatest challenge you are facing is a lack of income as the holidays quickly approach. Maybe someone in your family was just diagnosed with a chronic illness and you are now having to change your lifestyle to accommodate it.

The reality is that every season, whether good or bad, comes with its fair share of challenges. The sooner you are able to name and accept those challenges, the easier it will be to stop looking back at how life used to be and you can live in confidence that you will one day step out of this season into something better.

Know Where Your Mind Wanders

I am someone who constantly looks to the future. I’m a visionary. That happens to be one of my strengths, but it also means that anxiety creeps in if I don’t constantly push against it and make every effort to keep my mind fixed on the present.

Maybe you are the sort of person who by default always has your eye on the rear-view mirror. Knowing where our minds tend to fixate will help us fight against these temptations. If you are unsure of where your mind seems to wander, ask someone who knows you well and they can help you shed some light on the situation.

As we enter the holiday season, it is so easy to lose ourselves in the hustle and bustle of travel, family, and vacations. Remember, there are so many gifts in store for you each day, and unless you take time to pay attention and see what God has hidden away from you, you could miss out on what makes the holiday season so special!

Here are some questions for you to consider this holiday season:

  1. What season are you in and what challenges come with the territory?
  2. What challenges do you need to accept as the way of life for now?
  3. Where does your mind wander if you allow it? Does it slip into anxiety of the future or does it look longingly to the past?



Finding the Blessing Behind Every Curse

Posted by Shawn on  November 15, 2018

Category: All, Gratitude, Uncategorized

Have you ever been stuck inside on a rainy day feeling sorry for yourself and like the world is out to get you? Of course you have! You work hard during the week and you want nothing more than a beautiful, sunny day to enjoy with your friends and family.

It’s human nature to be bummed out about plans that went awry or for catching a cold when it’s most inconvenient. But if we allow our circumstances to make us happy then we are tying our happiness to something way too inconsistent.

We have to instead tie our happiness to God because He is always consistent. The Bible assures us He never changes! Not yesterday, today, or tomorrow! So practically speaking, how exactly do we do that?

Look for the Blessing Behind Every Curse

Sure it’s raining outside when you’d rather it be sunny. But you know what? That means you get to spend valuable time indoors with your family. It means your lawn will be all the greener. It even gives you a chance to slow down and curl up with a good book you’ve been meaning to read.

Rather than cursing the rain, we can thank God for the blessings He has tucked away for us in every circumstance.

Shift Your mindset from Disappointment to Gratitude

One of the best practices you can do to shift your mindset from disappointment to gratitude is to make a gratitude journal. Each morning when you wake up, challenge yourself to  write down 10 things you are grateful for.

Eventually this mindset will become a habit and you will be able to see the world through gracious eyes.

Distance Yourself from Negative People

Some people are bent on being negative and bummed no matter what. You need to remember you cannot control their mindset, but you can control yours.

Being around negativity will breed more negativity, but by surrounding yourself with joyful, gracious people, you can’t help but let a little positivity rub off on you!

So to help you get to a place of gratitude and joy today, let’s take some time to apply these steps. I promise you won’t regret it! Here are three questions to help you gauge your mindset:

  1. What are you disappointed by today?
  2. What hidden blessings has God tucked away in these disappointments that you could focus on today?
  3. Are there any negative or toxic people in your life that you need to create distance from?



Blessed to Be a Blessing

Posted by Shawn on  November 8, 2018

Category: All, Gratitude, Uncategorized

This month at New Vision, we are talking about all things gratitude!

We love that the holiday season offers a chance to slow down and take a look at the gifts God has blessed us with over the years. God loves His children and it gives Him great joy, just as it would give any father, to bless his kids.

And while we believe that God loves to bless His children, if we stop there and think that His blessings are intended for us and us alone, we actually miss one of the greatest blessings of all!

The Bible is full of examples of how God blesses His people and then commands them to use those blessings to be a blessing to others who do not yet know Him. It’s one of the sweetest forms of evangelism! By sharing the blessings God has provided us and our families, we are pointing others to see that there is a good and loving Father who will love, care for, and provide for those who choose to follow Him.

So rather than simply focusing on the blessings God has given us this holiday season, how can we take inventory and intentionally share these blessings with those who do not know God yet?

Say for example you received a gift card to your favorite restaurant recently. Rather than using it for yourself, maybe there is someone who you feel the Lord is tugging your heart to get to know and show love and grace to. Then share that blessing by taking this person to lunch. This kind gesture could go a long way in building a relationship which God could use to alter this person’s story.

What could be a better blessing than knowing that you could play a part in the salvation story of a friend, neighbor, or coworker? And what a great way to show God gratitude for all that He has blessed you with!

Let’s try an exercise together and commit to taking intentional steps in sharing our blessings this holiday season!

Blessings Exercise:

  1. Take a sheet of paper and fold it down the middle from top to bottom.
  2. Consider what gifts God given you in this season. Write those gifts in the left-column of the paper.
  3. Consider how each of these gifts could bless someone else who does not know the Lord. List these in the right-hand column next to each gift.
  4. Look at the list and see if any specific faces or names come to mind that you could bless. Jot down those names next to each blessing in parentheses.
  5. Now it’s time to take action! Place a star next to a blessing you can share this week. Then write it on your weekly calendar.

For more resources and to stay connected to the New Vision Counseling team, be sure to include your email in the subscription box below!



Do you find it difficult to say the word, “no?” I’ve met very few in my life, especially in ministry, who admit the word “no” slips seamlessly off of their lips. There’s something about the word “no” that just feels wrong or selfish. In many cases, it feels like the word “no” communicates weakness. While very few of us think someone is weak when they tell us “no,” (often it’s the opposite) we all have this rooted fear that by saying “no” we will appear not organized enough, not dedicated enough, or not strong enough. How do we fight this fear and start to view boundaries as an act of strength and health for ourselves and our relationships?

Write a List of Your Current Responsibilities

If you sat down to list all of the tasks and people you are currently responsible for, chances are you might be a bit surprised by how many things are currently on your plate. If you’ve been feeling tired or worn thin lately and your list appears long, well guess what! You’ve found the culprit! It’s tempting to pack our days with so many responsibilities that we are spread too thin to do any of them well. Before we can create boundaries and remove items off of our plates, it’s important we take inventory first to become fully aware of the mental and physical loads we are carrying.

Pray and Consider what God has Called you To in This Season of Life

It’s simple math–there is only one you, and only so many hours in the day–so the longer the to-do list, the less energy, attention, and time you can dedicate to each task. The problem is, some responsibilities can afford less attention and time, while others, such as your family or your relationship with God, can’t afford to be neglected.

You may be familiar  with the rubber or glass ball analogy. Consider each responsibility or task in your day as either a rubber or a glass ball. If the rubber ball gets dropped (work, laundry, golfing with your friends, etc) it will rebound and bounce back safely in your hands. The glass ball, however, cannot afford to be dropped (God, family, finances, etc) because it will inevitably shatter.

Looking at the list of responsibilities you just made, consider which responsibilities are rubber balls which can be placed on the back-burner if necessary, and which ones are glass and should be made top priority.

Set Priorities and Cut-Out Any Areas You Can’t Afford to Uphold Right Now

Now that you know which responsibilities you cannot afford to neglect, it’s time to protect those items and take proactive steps to ensure you are able to do those tasks well. This doesn’t mean that you create a list of good things to say yes to and a list of bad things to say no to. Serving in the church is a very good thing! But if saying yes to every single request for your time and service by the church starts to eat away at the foundation of your marriage, then it’s vital that you say, “no.”

Don’t Apologize for Saying No and Holding those Priorities Firmly

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you need to apologize for taking charge of the tasks God has called you to oversee. So what  if your boss has a hard time understanding why you can’t work late every night when you have a family to go home to. At the end of your life, you won’t have to stand before your boss and give an account of how well you treated your wife, how much time you spent with your kids, or how well you led the family you’ve been entrusted with. You will have to give an account to God, though, so don’t feel the need to be apologetic to the call God placed on your life. Once you realize that saying “no” is an act of obedience to God, it becomes easier to see it as an act of courage and strength, rather than of fear or weakness.

 

Learning to say, “no,” and holding firm to healthy boundaries is not an easy thing to learn. It takes practice, effort, and a whole lot of prayer. As you begin to evaluate your own list of responsibilities, ask God to give you clarity. I promise He will! And feel free to use the following questions as a starting point:

  1. What has God called you to in this season?
  2. What is keeping you from investing fully into those responsibilities?
  3. What do you need to say “no” to this week?

Safe-Guarding Against a Spirit of Fear

Posted by Shawn on  October 25, 2018

Category: All, Courage Over Fear

Chances are that after you set-up the coffee machine and turn off all the lights before going to bed each night, you instinctively walk to the doors and windows to see that they are shut tight and locked. If you have a security system, you likely set the code as well. Many houses have floodlights installed in their yards to expose threats and make it clear that intruders are not welcome. We go to great extents to keep our loved ones and property safe. Our mental or spiritual well-being, however, is often overlooked. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be around toxic people who hold unhealthy control over our lives. Sometimes we watch scary movies that keep us wide-awake at night, unable to get the dark images from our minds. When it comes to threats that are unseen, there are several precautions that we can take to ensure we are safeguarding ourselves from a spirit of fear. It is important that we identify easy access points where threats and intruders could enter our minds, and take steps to lock those doors and windows tight!

Identify Easy Access Points

The two easiest access points for fear to creep in and plant roots are the eyes and the ears. Current studies estimate that the average person spends between 5-9 hours on social media each day, listens to approximately four hours music of music a day, and watches anywhere from 22-29 hours of television a week! We can no longer fool ourselves into thinking that what we watch and listen to that many hours of our lives has no influence on our minds. Yes, watching a scary movie with friends from time to time might be an adrenaline rush, but if it affects the way we think or makes us less firm in our faith or more prone to fear, we should limit the amount of access we give to these influences.

Evaluate Your Influences

It may be easy to limit the number of scary movies we watch or find more wholesome music to listen to, but the greatest influences in our lives are the people we surround ourselves with. If you fill your inner-circle with people who are positive, faithful, courageous, and hard-working, you will naturally glean these qualities yourself. However, if your closest influences are negative, doubtful, discouraging, or fearful, then you will find your courage and faith slowly erode away. This doesn’t mean you cannot be friends with or love these people, but be cautious when deciding how much access you want to give them to your mental well-being.

Make a Security Plan

Only you can know for sure what influences cause the most damage to your spiritual health. Therefore, only you can create a security plan that works for you! The trick is to be completely honest with yourself and consider the long-term effects of the music, videos, and friends you allow into your life. So when you go to bed each night and walk from room to room checking the windows and doors, take this time to visualize shutting and locking the doors to your mind as well. Identify new threats that could cause unease, and consider how you can protect yourself from those threats in the future.

When it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones, don’t just settle for protecting your physical health. Make the emotional, mental, and spiritual health of your family a priority as well. Soon you’ll see first-hand just how much fear in your life was a result of the influences around you, and you’ll be able to live life in a more positive light! You can take the first step today by answering the following questions:

  1. What steps are you taking to safeguard your mind and your spirit?
  2. Are there any influences you are allowing in that are carving away at your faith and making room for fear?
  3. What doors do you need to bolt shut to ensure you and your family are living healthy lives free from the control of fear?



The Three Zones of Fear

Posted by Shawn on  October 18, 2018

Category: All, Courage Over Fear

This month at New Vision, we’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources to talk about the importance of facing your fears. God did not create us to be controlled by fear but to rely on Him to keep our fears at bay and live up to our full potential. That said, it is important that we are able to identify the warning signs of pushing ourselves too far or too fast. If you are currently challenging a fear in your own life or have been given the opportunity to help someone else face their own, there are three zones you should be aware of to ensure your efforts will create progress instead of regression. As you read, visualize a dart board with three rings. We will start in the center and work our way out. Take time to honestly consider which of these three zones you find yourself in today.

1) Comfort Zone

This zone is exactly what the title implies–comfortable. Without pushing ourselves, this is where we fall by default. Our heart-rate is low, our posture is relaxed, and our feet are likely propped up, completely at ease with the world. While this does not sound half-bad, it is important to note that very little growth happens when we are comfortable and unwilling to break a sweat. Is there a time and a season to step back and recharge, absolutely! But should we aim to stay in this zone for fear of really pushing ourselves to face what scares us? I’m afraid not. In the dartboard analogy, we will place the comfort zone in the center, or bulls-eye.

2) Grow Zone

Taking a step outside of the center circle, we enter the second ring, called the grow zone. The grow zone is where we feel most alive! When we step into a new situation that makes us nervous, our posture becomes poised to react, our heartbeat quickens, and our minds become clear and attentive. Yes, this zone may make our palms a little sweaty, and we may find ourselves uncomfortable or unfamiliar with our surroundings, but the benefits far outweigh these slight inconveniences. You see, as we step outside the comfort zone and challenge ourselves to face what scares us, we become more confident and courageous and our comfort zone or bull-seye begins to grow! In the moment the task you face may seem like a challenge, but in the long-game, you are expanding the boundaries of where you feel comfortable and confident. Whenever possible, strive to be in the grow zone and just watch how you live as your attitude begins to change!

3) Panic Zone

The third and final ring of the dart board is the panic zone. This zone is dangerous because once we push ourselves past the limits of the grow zone, we are no longer able to grow because fear has taken over. Our hearts are pounding out of our chest, the mental clarity we found in the grow zone becomes jumbled, and our minds are not able to cope with the experience around us. While it’s relatively easy to identify when we’ve pushed ourselves to the point of panic, it is vital that we learn to recognize the signs of panic in those we are helping. Once we reach this zone, the panic zone begins to grow and the comfort zone in the center of the dartboard becomes smaller. If we are in the panic zone, we are providing more strongholds for our fears to take control which force us to run back to our comfort zone until we are able to calm ourselves to try again.

 

We hope this analogy proves to be helpful next time you are in a new situation which makes you nervous. Here are some questions to guide you in self-reflection. Be honest with yourself and set safety barriers for to help channel you into the grow zone. Keep yourself from slipping back into the comfort zone and be cautious not to step too far into the panic zone.

  1. Which zone is your default zone?
  2. What area of your life do you need to step back into the grow zone?
  3. What signs does your body give you when you are about to slip into a place of panic?



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