Abide 

  Abiding is such an old word that I don’t hear often enough. This word used to scare me to death. Growing up baptist, I thought God had a list of rules I had to abide by or I would get punished. I was terrified of everything that heavy word meant. It wasn’t until I switched churches, I realized God didn’t mean that word to use as a punishment for us.

Abide by definition means: follow structured series of spiritual instruction, exercises, prayer and encouragement to heal the hardest parts of your life. To heal the hardest parts of your life. I think of the hardest parts of my life and I think how much I want to be healed from the situations I’ve been in and am still battling every single day. There are days when you want to be someone else or be somewhere else. There are some days where you want relief and want to crawl in a hole just to hide from the hardest parts of your life. As I prayed over this post to help someone, I hope it helps me as well. I get it. There are days when you aren’t feeling like yourself. There are days when you pray to God to end your suffering. It won’t always be like this. I wanted to dig and dig and figure out what the Bible says about abiding. In John, Jesus talks to his disciples and says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.“
I’d like to think Jesus meant don’t let your head run wild in search for answers by trying to solve your own problems. Just stay calm and stay close. A branch can’t produce fruit without the vine. You can not face your problems and come up with solutions without Jesus. Instead of worrying and feeling anxious about what’s to come, whether it is financial stress, relationship issues or just the grind of every day life. Abide. Place your feet on the ground and stay with him. You deserve good things. You deserve all the blessings that God wants to shower you with. But dear, how are you going to look for and get those blessings if you are trying to grow fruit in a garden with no vines? In a life where Jesus isn’t the front runner of your race?

Only in the darkness do you know light. Maybe you’ve listened to that sad country song one too many times. I don’t know what battle you are facing. Maybe you feel left behind or forgotten. Maybe you’re sipping coffee reading this and wondering if God will ever show up for you. Maybe you can’t feel him like you used to. It’s okay if you don’t feel whole right now. It’s okay if you feel lost or confused. Just keep fighting the battle. I pray you abide in Jesus so he can abide in you. Stay so he can stay with you. 

Always in your corner, 

-B

What the Bible says about anxiety

I have prayed and prayed about what to write about. I’ve started writing a few blogs and then they just came to a halt. I realized today I knew what i needed to write about…I’ve actually known for a while and I keep saying, “not today God…NOT TODAY.” But God pushed me and not in a bad way. I want to start off by saying I am not a medical professional. I have my degree in Psychology but so does half of America. You can pretty much google different disorders and hey, you probably know just as much as i do. But, I am going to talk about this because it’s personal. I’ve been going to therapy on and off for about 7 years. If anyone who has a mental illness knows this to be true, when you think you’re better, you think you’re ALL better. Medicine tricks you sometimes into believing you’re okay. Anxiety, for me, has been a lot like that. I thought I was better and needed no help only to take 10 steps back.

Recently, my anxiety has increased dramatically. I blame my job and having a lot on me but thats probably not the case. The case is that I think I can handle it alone then I realize I just can’t. My anxiety comes in waves. It’s a constant struggle of wanting solitude and wanting to be with friends. I want to handle my crap myself. I want to be bigger than any mental illness. Unfortunately, you can’t wish anxiety away. In a world that’s fallen & fractured, nervousness and worry lurks around every corner.

 Have you ever almost missed a step while walking down the stairs and your heart races but usually subsides within a few seconds? Imagine that feeling lasting anywhere from 2-30 minutes multiple times a day and you have no control over when or where it happens. Followed by sweating and feeling like you’re going to faint and you can not catch your breath. There’s such a stigma when it comes to mental illnesses that needs to cease. I’ve known about my anxiety for years but no one else has. I’ve been called antisocial, snobby, shy, awkward and pretty much everything except a white girl. All because no one knew I was dealing with something that wasn’t visible like a broken leg. Imagine someone telling you it’s in your head and you’re just being dramatic. It’s a constant battle of wanting to be brave and wanting to crawl in a hole and never come out because you feel like no one understands how you feel. Anxiety is relentless and there have been days where I feel like I just can’t go on. 

There is one thing that has helped me more than medicine, therapy and solitude ever could and that’s Jesus.

If anxiety, fear, stress or worry creeps up on you, remember, you are only human. That God forgave you for your sins and you are PRECIOUS. I have constant feelings of inadequacy. Like no matter what I do at my job or my relationships that I just am not enough. I always had this weird connection with the stars. Ever since I was a little kid, I could just look at them for hours and feel how powerful they are. Then I stumbled across this verse..

“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”- Isaiah 40:26

How much more valuable are you than the stars?? If the same God who calls stars an army, imagine what He’s doing in your favor if you are willing and unafraid.

The bible tells us that we will have trials and hardships. Anxiety is a tool that the enemy uses. Knowing that gives me extreme peace. In most cases, I am anxious over something I have no control over. That’s when God steps in.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”- Phil. 4:6

The best defense is continuously communicating with Him, sprinkled with thanksgiving. Try to confess and talk about your nervousness. 

It took me a while to seek help. Talking about what is bothering you really puts things into perspective. Saying how you are feeling out loud speaks volumes about you and that you will not be defeated. The words you say or type have complete power over your life. His word is powerful. Speak it in victory and not fear.

If you are having any of the symptoms I talked about above, i encourage you to seek medical help, but also pray. pray without ceasing. I hope you love yourself enough to take care of yourself.

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”-Psalm 118:6

If you are in this battle, you are not alone. The devil can use it for evil but only God can use it for good. God speaks volumes about rest in the bible. He created the Sabbath specifically for it. Rest and realize God is on your side. It’s all downhill from there.

Hello 2016, it’s me…

I hope everyone reading this has had more love, joy and unpredictability that 2015 could possibly offer. As this year draws to an end, it’s hard not to think about what 2015 brought. For some people you might hate to see it go because you can’t possibly think of another year that could top this one. For others, you might have helped 2015 pack its bags, dropped it off at the airport and never looked back in the rearview. Whatever your situation is, I hope 2016 leaves you humble and speechless. I hope you find so much love and give so much love that you look back at this time next year and thank God for 2016.

I usually think of things I want to accomplish come this time of year for the upcoming one. But this year, I got married, I bought a house, I’m in good health, all of my family is still living, I got a new job and started this wonderful messy blog. I can’t think of anything else that I need or want. So I thought about contentment. I thought about how scary that word is. How there’s so much gray to it. On one hand, you don’t want to be so content that you stop moving and shaking. On the other, you don’t want so much chaos that you wouldn’t know what contentment looked like if it was looking back at you in the mirror. So there’s an ultra fine line when it comes to being content. My version of content is to not fall into comparisons death trap. It can steal everything from you if you let it.

This year i will unfollow things that leave me wanting more. Things that leave me feeling a little less worthy of being happy. Trust me; you are so worthy of being happy. You are beautiful and wonderfully made. It is in our human nature (thanks to Adam and Eve) to want what we can’t have. It is so easy to get caught up in the idea if you have XYZ then you’ll be happy.

I want you to slow down. I want you to be content with what you have. That doesn’t mean to settle and not push yourself to be a better you. I don’t want you to compare your life to others. Unfollow people on social media if you have to. Work towards becoming the happiest you. With contentment comes letting go and that’s a hard concept for many people. I hope you leave all the things that were bad for you behind in 2015. I hope you let go of that relationship that makes you feel second best. I hope you let go of that dead end job that won’t ever promote you when you’re all too deserving. I hope you let go of that toxic friend that drains you. I hope you let go of feeling the need to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Say yes to the ice cream.

This year, I hope to spend more time with God. I hope to be less impulsive when the world comes pressing down on me to have the latest and greatest thing. I hope you ask yourself before doing something, “how will this serve you, God?”

I started reading what the bible says about being content and this stood out:

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”- Philippians 4:11

 

“..in whatever situation I am to be content”…that is a hard one for me. I know I have had too many situations where the last thing i’ve felt is contentment. I hope this year I will learn to be content no matter the situation.

This year, I promise to fall flat on my face. I promise to make messes and clean them up. I promise not to let the world make me feel unworthy. I promise to realize we all fall short and it’s okay to not get it right. I promise to cut myself some slack and not be so hard on myself. I will show fear that love ALWAYS wins. I’ll show up for my family and friends. I’ll really see people for who they are, not who i expect them to be. I’ll chase after the life I want, no matter the cost. I’ll help others along their journey of 2016 because no matter who you are, we’re all just trying to make it. I hope you show 2016 what you are made of. You are cherished, loved and completely rad. I hope you promise all the above to yourself and so much more.

always in your corner,

B

 

 

Not being okay is okay….

I have been wanting to write about this for a while. But every time I sit down to write it, it seems to fall short of everything I want to say. I hope I can give this topic justice. Mental Illness. I see it every day of my life in my job and in myself.
The thing about mental illness is no matter which strand of it you may have, it still will affect every other aspect of your life. Your job, your relationships, your well-being and everything else stems from your mental health.

As I have been going to therapy a lot recently to figure out why on Gods green earth I can’t sleep, it makes me wonder how many people are hiding behind a therapist. I could go see said therapist and no one ever know. There’s a stigma that people put on mental health that people get embarrassed about. It has got to stop. I have heard people SO many times say, “I don’t get depression, why can’t people just be happy?” REALLY? How about you try telling a cancer patient to just not be sick anymore. That’s the thing, mental illness is a sickness. It is not something someone chooses, I promise.

Can you imagine feeling so hopeless that you can’t make it out of bed in the morning to start your job that the rest of your life (i.e. bills, food, survival) requires you to attend, but you just. can’t. Or feeling your heart about to beat out of your chest because you walked into a crowded room and felt like you just couldn’t take the heat, even if no one else noticed you. You may feel like this occasionally, but mental illness isn’t occasional. Imagine going through this every day. Now imagine someone telling you to “just be happy” or to “man up.” Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t racists, sexist and doesn’t base itself on geography.

I knew when I started this blog that I would be writing about this eventually. That someone needed this. I am not here to tell you to run to the nearest therapist door and spill out your problems. I’m just telling you it’s okay if you do. I’m just telling you that it’s okay to not feel okay. That it’s society that makes you feel like less of a person. You aren’t. I’m just telling you that you are so brave. And if you don’t have any demons that run through your mind, thank God! But, try to be a little less critical of someone who is anxious or depressed. You never know what someone is going through. It doesn’t come draped on their clothes like a big red A. It’s silent and dangerous.

I am not a therapist by any means. Having a degree that majors in people’s minds or suffering from PTSD or a sleeping disorder does not make me a professional. But it does make me aware and knowledgable and have empathy. Maybe you don’t want to talk to a therapist but just need a little extra love. I will give it to you. If you are struggling and need some words to grasp, I will be there. Simply email me. Whether I know you or not, I will send light to your inbox. I don’t know what you’re going through and I don’t need to if you don’t want to tell me. Just email me with the subject, “love letter” and I’ll show up.

Brooke_trent@icloud.com

always in your corner,

B

Fight or Flight

It’s been a crazy week! First off, I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog. It’s so amazing to get such wonderful feedback from family, friends and strangers. Y’all rock.

I’ve thought a lot about this post. It’s weird sharing personal things when I know everyone will read them and this is SO different for me.

Having a background in psychology makes me apply it to everything. Most people have heard of the “fight or flight” response. Saying, animals and humans have an innate ability to either face a problem and fight it or run (flight) when they feel threatened. I can’t help but to apply this to relationships. What’s worse than being in a relationship where you fight all the time? Being in a relationship where you fight then run.

One of the things I can’t get out of my head is the Hozier song, “Work Song”. If you haven’t listened to it, please do.
In the chorus he says, “When, my, time comes around lay me gently in the cold dark earth. No grave can hold my body down, I’ll crawl home to her”
The first time I heard those lyrics, I played it over and over again.

Music gets me. I feel more things emotionally from music than I can from most people. But, those lyrics make me feel some type of way. I have been in a relationship where I thought the world begins and ends with that person. Where I thought death couldn’t keep me away from him. With that being said, it was the most toxic thing I have ever been inflicted by. Human beings are 110% more toxic than anything else.

My brother and I have had many talks about which is better, a relationship that makes you feel like you’re so dependent on that person or one that makes you feel like you have it all together but that person just adds to your already great self? I think we all are guilty of trying to shove different puzzle pieces into the same spot and expecting to get the same picture in the end. Every choice, relationship wise or not, will lead you to a completely different outcome.

My thoughts on the situation is that I don’t ever want to feel like I need someone. I want to share a life with someone, not make someone my whole life. I’ve done that and at the end of the day, when they chose to leave, they’ll leave you standing with nothing. Most of us have had that relationship where it feels like you’re on a pendulum. When it’s good, it’s really good. But when it’s bad, it’s WWIII. There should be a balance. Someone should make you the best version of yourself and not make you hate yourself for the things you said during that knockout round.

No two loves are the same. Some people think that kind of love is the love that’s worth it. The kind that makes you crazy and the kind you think you can never obtain. And I’ll admit, I thought so too. But, it is so exhausting. I have been in relationships where I thought I saw someone’s true potential, even after everyone told me to take flight. You can’t wait on someone to ascend to their greatness when they don’t see if for themselves. We get disappointed when people fall short of the role we created for them without them ever even knowing it.

After going from a damaging relationship from the screaming fights to the on and off like a light switch to being on cloud 9 when he finally called back– to a healthy, loving, supportive relationship, I can’t say that I would care to feel like Hozier again. That song touches me because I know exactly what he’s speaking about and I know that’s exactly the person I don’t want to be. No body that loves you will allow you to love them more than you love yourself. Read that over again. Let it resonate. So, answering my own question, which is better? I think as long as you have someone who gives you their time, who talks to you after a fight, who understands the madness inside you, who supports you, who waits for you while you’re out trying to find yourself then you will be just fine.

XO,

B