Category Archives: Uncategorized

Depression During The Holidays, Part One: When Christmas Isn’t So Merry

20150712_210956_resized-1Just 80 more days ‘til Christmas. That may seem like a lot of time. But for many, those days are already being filled with plans. Plans for who will host dinner and who will be invited to dinner, what’s on the menu, who will cook what, what presents to buy for the gift exchange at work, what to wear to the office party, whether to buy a new outfit, whether to shop online for clothes, toys and other gifts or go to brick and mortar stores, whether to drive or fly to grandma’s and pa-pa’s house… Employers and employees are already thinking about closing out the year’s business and taking vacation days during the holiday. Parents who can’t take vacation are already thinking about childcare for their minor children while schools are closed.

Pastors and preachers are already thinking about the sermonic messages they will preach on the Sunday before Christmas (even though they still have at least 10 sermons to preach before that day). Choirs are busy rehearsing Christmas Cantatas and Handel’s Messiah. Sunday schools and children’s church are busy rehearsing plays. Club owners, party throwers and party goers have already started placing their orders and stocking up on “adult beverages” to get the party started right.

DEPRESSION During The Holidays picture80 days won’t last long, especially since every-day-life-as-usual has to be lived, even while getting ready for those few days at the end of December. It’s enough to drive a sane person crazy. And while most people won’t actually go crazy, more than likely, as a result of the anticipation of the busy-ness of the holiday season, what will happen, and may have already started to happen, is that many people will experience a sadness that goes beyond just feeling down. Many people, even people of faith, will experience depression during this season of joy, making Christmas not so merry. The first step in addressing the “holiday blues” (which some people have already begun to experience) is to educate yourself on what depression is, what causes it, and how to recognize it.

What is depression?

Depression is a serious mental AND medical illness that negatively affects how we feel, the way we think and how we act. It may start suddenly or build up over a period of weeks, months, or years. Who gets depressed? Many, many people. Men, women and children of all races, colors, ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions. What causes depression? Biological factors: Chemical imbalances in the brain and biological vulnerability. Psychological factors: Mental or thought processes meaning how we think about things; Psychological tendencies such as low self-esteem and pessimism. Social and environmental factors: Academic demands; balancing school, work, family and social life; Financial responsibilities or worries; Social isolation; Major loss such as the loss of a loved one including a family pet or loss of income; Chronic illness such as asthma, cancer, diabetes or addiction; Work stress; Family crisis and concerns; Unwelcome and welcome life changes; Alcohol and drug use, including both legal and illegal.

What are some symptoms of depression?

There are different forms of depression with different combinations of the following symptoms. Physical: Sleep disturbances-insomnia, oversleeping, waking much earlier than usual; Changes in appetite or eating much more or much less; Decreased energy or fatigue; Headaches, stomach aches, digestive problems or other physical symptoms that are not explained by other physical conditions or do not respond to treatment. Behavioral/Attitude: Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, such as going out with friends, hobbies, sports, sex, food, etc.; Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; Neglecting responsibilities or personal appearance. Emotional: Persistent sad or “empty” mood, lasting two or more weeks; Crying “for no reason”; Feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty or worthless; Feeling irritable, agitated or anxious; Thoughts of death or suicide.

People of faith, regardless of religious affiliation or denomination, are just as susceptible to becoming depressed as non-believers and those who do not ascribe to any religion. In fact, people of faith, particularly Christians, may be more prone to experiencing depression because this is supposed to be a season of joy: Christ has come, is come and will come! For what reason could Christians and other followers of God possibly be sad, you ask? For all the same reasons as those who don’t believe. LIFE!

Consider Elijah, that prophet and mighty man of God, who called down fire on Mount Carmel. After that mighty act of faith and God honoring his prayer, just days later these are the words that came from Elijah’s lips: ““I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under a bush and fell asleep.” (I Kings 19:4-5) Elijah was experiencing depression: feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness and thoughts of and wanting to die. Elijah was depressed! But the good news is that help was available.

“All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights…” (I Kings 19:5-8)

If you are experiencing depression, these verses offer suggestions on a few of the ways to treat those feelings.  What is the treatment for depression? For starters, SELF-CARE including: Healthy eating; exercise; sleep; rest; and relaxation.

Pay attention to and honor your feelings. Sad feelings can be a signal that something is wrong. Remember that feelings are a gift from God, even feelings of sadness. Feelings should always draw us closer to God, the giver of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17) And so above all, when feelings of sadness turn to depression, remember to make prayer and meditation a key component of your self-help.

Next Week: Depression During The Holidays, Part Two: Use Your Words

Learning the Language of Depression and More Helpful Solutions

Originally written and posted: October 5, 2015

*******************************************

No written portion of any article may be shared without giving credit to the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

STOP MAKING EXCUSES: 10 “I’m Not Voting Excuses” You Can No Longer Use

20150712_210956_resized-1Election 2016 is right around the corner.  This may be one of the most important elections of our time.  And yet — many people are giving reasons — no, excuses — for why they aren’t going to vote.  Here are 10 excuses people are using to justify not voting on November 8, 2016.  And here are 10 reasons why these excuses are weak and need to be dismissed.

  1.  I don’t feel inspired by either candidate.

The voting process is not supposed to inspire you.  Voting is how we get people into offices.  Voting is how we hire presidents, congressman and senators on the federal level, and how we hire governors, state senators and representatives, mayors, supervisors, sheriff’s and a slew of other officials on the state and local levels.  Voting is how we pass laws and implement policies that matter to the least than and the left out, and how we make life better for more than just the wealthy and privileged.  The candidate’s job description is not “to inspire the people.”  Stop focusing on personalities and get inspired by the issues that matter to you.  Vote for issues and facts, not emotions and personalities!  Vote for the candidate who has addressed the issues that you care about.

2.  I’m protesting against the Democratic and Republican parties by voting for someone else.

You don’t protest at the polls.  You protest in the streets.  To everything there is a season.  Election Day is not the day to protest.  If you are not voting for the Democratic or Republican candidate on 11/8/16, you have wasted your vote because your someone else is not going to win.  First, not all states will have other candidates on the ballot.  Second, the other candidates will not get enough total electoral votes to win the election.  So, even if you like someone else’s views, if that person is not a major contender and you vote for that person, you’ve just wasted your vote.  Question: Would you pay money to eat at a restaurant that doesn’t have the ability to fill your order and serve you?  No, you wouldn’t.  Don’t waste your vote!

3.  My vote doesn’t matter.

In 2012, President Barak Obama won the state of Pennsylvania by 300,000 votes – that’s three hundred thousand votes!  It sounds like a lot but it really came down to only 17 extra votes per precinct.  One vote here, two votes there – they add up!  Every vote matters!

4.  I’m tired of career politicians.

No one ever complains about a doctor being a career doctor.  No one ever complains about a teacher being a career teacher.  No one has ever complained about a soldier or a marine being a career military person.  No one ever complains about career chefs, mechanics or singers.  Stop complaining about politicians being career politicians.  Politicians are public service workers.  What better person to work for public citizens than someone who has experience working for and with the public.

5.  Voting doesn’t change anything.

Voting is a step in the process of change.  Change takes time and it takes multiple steps.  Unless your goal is only one step away, one step will not get you to your goal.  Contrary to what many people have said, I don’t believe Black people died for the right to vote.  I believe they died for change.  They died for the right to be self-determinant.  They died for the right to have a say in their lives.  Voting was one way they could be self-determinant.  Voting was one way they could change the conditions of their lives.  So they voted – and they protested injustice – and they marched and rallied for civil rights for all people – and they proposed legislation – and slowly but surely, change happened.  Change is a crock-pot process, not a microwave process.  Voting is one step in the process of change.

kevin-gyure-leggo-vote
Courtesy of Kevin Gyure: Lego Vote

6.  I don’t understand the electoral process

Learn about the process.  Click on this link: https://www.usa.gov/election#item-36072

7. I don’t know who to vote for.

List five issues (or more) that are important to you.  Then go to the candidate’s website (president, vice president, senator, congressman, county supervisor – whoever is on the ballot) and read!  Find out whether what’s important to you, is important to them.  The candidate whose beliefs, values and policies are similar or close to your beliefs and values is the candidate you should vote for.

 8. I don’t know what’s on the ballot

Do a Google search using your state’s name and “State Board of Elections” or something similar.  When you get to the website, click Elections.  You should be able to find out who and what is on the ballot in your state.  Knowledge and information is just a click away.

9. I’m not a registered voter, I don’t know if I have the right voter ID, I don’t know where my voting precinct is located.

Find out how to become registered, what ID you need and where your poll is located.  Click on this link and follow the instructions. http://www.canivote.org

10.  I have physical limitations and getting inside the polling precinct is difficult.

The precinct workers will provide car-side service for you.  Just pull up and someone will bring your ballot to you.  How’s that for service!

NO MORE EXCUSES.  VOTE!

*****

No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kanishaladkins

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

WHAT WILL YOU PREACH ON SUNDAY?

20150712_210956_resized-1Sunday’s comin’, gotta preach.

So what will you preach on Sunday?

Bullets flyin’, people dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter, blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So what will you PREACH on Sunday?

 

Will you stick with your script, YOUR message, prepared to SLAY?

Or will you challenge your lips to give voice to what the Spirit has to say?

‘Cause bullets been flyin’ and people been dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter and blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So WHAT will you preach on Sunday?

 

Sunday’s comin’, gotta pray.

So what will you PRAY on Sunday?

Will you pray “The Our Father”, ask for forgiveness of sins,

Petition Jehovah Shalom, “God of peace, we’re waiting for YOU to step in?”

Or will you open the altar and just let the people weep,

Tear their clothes, lay in the aisle and let their broken hearts speak?

 

‘Cause bullets been flyin’ and people been dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter and blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So what will you PRAY on Sunday?

 

Sunday’s comin’, gotta sing.

So what will you SING on Sunday?

Will you sing of a sweet bye and bye,

Golden streets, starry crowns, long white robes, mansions on high?

Will you sing of blessings on earth,

Of prosperity and riches and excessive personal girth?

Or will you sing a dirge,

Or maybe just hum and moan, for the dearly departed who will nevermore this earth roam?

 

‘Cause bullets been flyin’ and people been dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter and blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So what will you SING on Sunday?

 

Sunday’s comin’, gotta give.

So what will you GIVE on Sunday?

Will you give an offering and a tithe,

Then leave the building to continue with your merry life?

Or will you become a gift, a prayer, a song,

The healing for the hurt, the right for a wrong?

For we are LIVING epistles,

“not written in ink, but with the Spirit of the living God,

And not on stone tablets but on human hearts.”

And the wounded are waiting for our sermon to end,

For the song to conclude and the prayer’s “AMEN”.

 

‘Cause bullets been flyin’ and people been dyin’,

Blood in the streets, talk of hoods and sheets,

Black lives DO matter and blue uniforms ARE tattered,

So what we gon’ DO on Sunday?

*****

No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kanishaladkins

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

When A Sin Becomes A Crime

20150712_210956_resized-1The church has long taught that sex outside of marriage is a sin.   People who’ve spent any amount of time in evangelical, apostolic, or fundamentalist churches are familiar with verses like, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.”  (I Thessalonians 4:3 KJV)   Forget hunger, poverty, and unemployment.   Sex outside of marriage is what makes the church cringe on any given Sunday.   For the record, the word “fornication” used in the biblical text is taken from the Greek word porneia, which means selling off or surrendering sexual purity and promiscuity of any and every type’.   Marital status isn’t mentioned in the original Greek definition of fornication.

You’ll notice that I’ve highlighted the words surrendering and promiscuity.   That’s because some people don’t seem to understand that “promiscuously surrendering” is NOT the same as being forced to engage in sexual activity.   Being forced to engage in sexual activity is sexual assault at the least, and rape at most.

Why am I making this distinction?   Well, in case you haven’t heard, a major Christian organization has come under fire for overlooking reports of rape and sexual assault.   No, the organization isn’t a mega church or a religious denomination’s national or state conference.   The major Christian organization I’m talking about is Baylor University, the nation’s largest Baptist University.Baylor_University_Athletics_(logo).svg

Over the course of the last several years, several female students have come forward and reported being sexually assaulted or raped by members of the Baylor University football team.   The university, however, didn’t appropriately investigate these reports.   In fact, according to one news report, the University didn’t look into the allegations made by at least one young lady until 2 years after she reported the assault!  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/05/26/baylor-reportedly-fires-football-coach-art-briles-amid-teams-sexual-assault-allegations/

A columnist, who is also a member of a prominent family, many of whom are Baylor graduates, recently wrote that for religious schools like Baylor, “the question is how to balance the country’s encouragement of sexual assault victims to come forward with the school’s rules that restrict sexual behavior.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/05/25/the-ken-starr-baylor-story-shows-the-struggle-of-religious-schools-to-deal-with-sex-assault/

According to Baylor’s sexual conduct policy students, faculty and staff are expected to express sexual intimacy in the context of marital fidelity.   http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=39247

Surely, this prominent columnist can’t be suggesting that sexual assault is an act of intimacy.  But it sounds like this is exactly what he is implying: that because the policy prohibits sexual intimacy outside of marriage, persons who are sexually assaulted are reluctant to report these actions to campus leaders because they have engaged in a prohibited sexual intimacy.  No they haven’t engaged in an intimacy!  They’ve been criminally assaulted.  Sexual assault is NOT the sexual behavior that is addressed in Baylor’s policy on sexual conduct.   This is a bunch of double talk.  And quite frankly, it’s a bunch of bull.

I believe (and some might even agree) that Baylor’s leadership failed to appropriately address the reports of these young ladies who alleged to have been sexually assaulted by members of the football team for one reason.  MONEY!  When the football team started winning and finished with a championship win in 2010 under head coach Art Briles, big bucks started rolling in for Baylor!  The leaders of this prominent Christian university didn’t just delay looking into a sexual conduct policy violation between consenting adults. These leaders turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to sexual crimes on their Christian campus!  And an attempt to reframe the issue of a crime in terms of a policy violation is an epic fail.  https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/05/25/baylor-university-prepares-fire-president-over-handling-assaultshandcuffed

Sexual activity outside of marriage may be a sin.  But sexual assault is a crime.  It’s time for Baylor and the many faces of the faith community including colleges, universities, secondary schools, churches, fellowships and religious conferences to put as much attention on crime as they do on sin.

********************************

No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @kanishaladkins

 

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

A Presidential Appointment or A PROVIDENTIAL Appointment

20150712_210956_resized-1Have you ever wondered whether God cares about who wins a Grammy, an Oscar or a Super Bowl? When the winners make their “Thank You” speeches, many times they thank God but does Providence have anything to do with their victories? What about politics? Does Providence care about who wins an election or who receives a political appointment? Does God have a preference for who becomes a mayor, governor, president or a judge? Is God a Democrat or a Republican? Of course, I’m being somewhat silly with that last question. But the events of the last few days really have me wondering about the place of, and maybe even the preference of, Providence in politics.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Just a few days ago, on February 13, 2016, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, unexpectedly and to the shock of everyone who is involved in or keeps up with politics. Immediately and literally within hours of the news of his passing, politicians started speculating about his replacement. But the uproar wasn’t about who would be his replacement. The uproar was about who should do the replacing.

President Obama has appointed two Justices to the SCOTUS: Justice Sonia Sotomayor who replaced Justice David Souter and Justice Elena Kagan who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Sotomayor has been unofficially placed in the “more liberal” category in her court opinions while Justice Kagan has been unofficially placed in the “moderate to liberal” category in her court opinions.

Justice Scalia was one of the most conservative Justices on the court. President Obama’s next appointment has the potential to tip the court to the “moderate to liberal” side. And this is why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and those who think like him want to block President Obama from doing his job to appoint the next Justice to SCOTUS. But the Republicans aren’t the only ones who have been looking for strategies about SCOTUS judicial appointments. Even politicians on the Democratic side have tried, in the not too distant past, to stack the deck in their favor.

U. S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the “most” liberal Justices on SCOTUS.  At 82 years old, (83 on March 15, 2016), she is also the oldest, active member of SCOTUS and, not that it’s related to her age, she has had some health challenges. In 1999, Justice Ginsburg was diagnosed and successfully treated for colon cancer. In 2009, she was diagnosed and successfully treated for pancreatic cancer. And in 2014, she underwent a cardiac procedure. For all of these reasons (age and health), many people hinted at the possibility, and some have just outright declared, that Justice Ginsburg might be on the verge of retiring or perhaps that she needed to retire. Her health issues aside, some Democrats even advocated and urged that she should retire while President Obama is still in office so that he can appoint another liberal-minded Justice. Justice Ginsburg, however, has emphatically said that she has no plans to retire.

Seal of the Supreme Court of the United States

Proverbs 21:1 says: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” And the psalmist wrote (in Psalms 31:15), “My times are in your hands…”  While politicians on both the Democratic and Republican side are busy plotting strategies and scheming on who should retire and who should and shouldn’t appoint the next Justice, the hand of Providence has been busy moving and proving, in the words of the old Sunday School song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”  With all of her health challenges, Justice Ginsburg is still here! And Justice Scalia, who appeared to be relatively healthy, is no more!

When a person who has no apparent health issues passes, the spiritual side of us prompts us to say, “It was his time.” And when a person who has challenge after challenge, rises up from each challenge, the spiritual side of us is prompted to say, “It’s not her time yet.” But when the one who passes and the one who lives will have such a tremendous impact on who will be the next one to sit on the SCOTUS bench, it leaves me with a few questions:

No disrespect or offense intended but could Justice Scalia’s passing be considered an “act of God”? And for that matter, can Justice Ginsburg’s life beyond her health challenges be considered an “act of God”? Is this the permissive will or the perfect will of Providence? Does the fact that Justice Scalia has passed away and the fact that Justice Ginsburg is still alive, active and productive mean that Providence has a preference how the scales of justice are tipped and about the laws that humanity is to abide by? Last question: If God is active in ALL aspects of life, does that mean that the next appointment to SCOTUS isn’t necessarily a presidential appointment but a PROVIDENTIAL appointment?

************************************

No written portion of this article may be used without obtaining written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2016 by Kanisha L. Adkins

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

DO WE WANT SYMBOLS OR DO WE WANT A SAVIOR?

20150712_210956_resized-1In late October 2015, Starbucks rolled out its annual “holiday” cup…a vibrant red cup to hold all of the short, tall, grande and venti hot beverages our hearts desire, our pockets can afford and our bellies can hold. Who would have thought a simple red cup would set off such a fire storm? But that’s exactly what happened when former television and radio evangelist, Joshua Feuerstein of Arizona, criticized Starbucks for removing “Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.” Feuerstein’s complaint is that there is no design on the cup to indicate that it is a “Christmas” cup AND that the lack of a “Christmas” design means that the Starbuck’s corporation hates Jesus.  A Starbuck’s spokesperson responded to Feuerstein’s complaint, saying that Starbucks tries “to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity” and that the blank red cup “is to allow and encourage customers to tell their Christmas stories in their own way.”

It’s interesting that Feuerstein and those who support his cause object to a blank red cup as a sign of hatred of Jesus. But when it comes to the images Starbucks has used over the last several years on its cups during this season, not a peep was heard from Feuerstein and his supporters, alleging that those symbols were signs that Starbucks hated Jesus.

In 2014, Starbucks’ cups were all red but they used different shades of red to illustrate snowflakes and trees. In 2013, the cups were red and gold with a hint of white and included Christmas tree ornaments, snowflakes and stars. In 2012, “a winking snowman” was Starbucks’ choice for its holiday cup. In 2011, characters playing winter sports graced the cups. In 2010, the cups had characters singing carols with messages written on them, like “stories are gifts.” In 2009, the images on the cups were Christmas tree ornaments that contained messages like, “I wish every day was a holiday.” And in 2008, snowflakes and turtledoves decorated the cups.

Starbucks 2015 Holiday Cup
Starbucks 2015 Holiday Cup

Joshua Feuerstein and his supporters, object to a blank red cup as being “anti-Jesus” but no one said a mumbling word about snowmen, ornamented trees, caroling and snowflakes! What do snowflakes and winking snowmen have to do with Jesus?! What do any of the symbols that have come to be associated with this season have to do with Jesus?! Not a blessed thing!!

So how did these symbols become intertwined and mixed in with the birth of Jesus? Well, the story goes something like this:

*Roman pagans introduced the holiday of Saturnalia to the Christian church. Saturnalia, an ancient Roman festival in honor of the Roman god Saturn, was a week long period of lawlessness and depravity celebrated from December 17th through 25th. During this time the poorest and most despised citizens were forced to give gifts to the emperor. The story goes on to say that in the 4th century, leaders in the church succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of these Roman pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate Saturnalia as Christians. There was nothing about Saturnalia that was even remotely related to Christianity before the church designated the end of the festival, December 25th, as the birth of Jesus. The “pagan” Christians were allowed to continue their pagan practices and partying and giving gifts to one another was incorporated into the celebration of Jesus’s birth.

The Christmas tree became a part of the celebration of Jesus’ birth when the church was trying to recruit and convert pagans from the Asheira cult. The Ahseira cult worshiped trees in the forest and also brought them into their homes for worship. In order to persuade the Asheira cult to become part of the church, they were allowed to continue worshiping trees.*

Christians are supposed to be celebrating the birth of the Savior of the world. But instead, too many of us have forgotten about Jesus and instead, we have chosen to focus on a season of symbols… ornamented trees, decorated snowmen, colorful, flashing lights and gifts to everyone except the “birthday boy” – Jesus. None of these symbols has any connection to Jesus or his birth.

Do we need to get rid of these symbols? I think the answer is a personal one. Like many people, I love the colors of red, green, and gold during this season. I think it’s pretty! I enjoy the “old school” music of the season, like the Temptations’ “Give Love On Christmas Day”, The Jackson Five’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and Karen Carpenter’s “Merry Christmas Darling”.  Putting up a tree and decorations have not been a priority for me in recent years but that has more to do with the task of taking them down and putting them away. The “little ones” in my family have grown up and we are waiting for the next generation of children. So exchanging gifts is not a big priority for us. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do it.Christmas tree

Like most people and most Christians, I do a lot of symbolic things during this season out of habit. But now that I know the origins of many of these symbols, I am not sure that I can or want to continue to use them. As much as I enjoy receiving and giving gifts, I have to remind myself that this is the time of year that the Christian church has adopted to recognize the birth of the Savior.  I have to remind myself that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Could it be that Starbucks is pointing us, (Christians, that is,) in the right direction, by getting rid of the symbols of this season with a simple red cup? Could it be that removing the symbols from the cup serves as a reminder to Christians to get personally and intimately involved in the “holiness” of this day that we are supposed to be celebrating? What would our celebration look like if we didn’t have the symbols of this season to distract us from the Savior of the Season?

The symbols of this season – snowmen, decorations, lights and jingle bells — make us smile for a moment. But after the season is over and the symbols have been put in the attic, many people are drained — mind, body, soul and pocketbook. Thirty-something years after his birth, Jesus reminded his disciples and through the biblical text he reminds us today, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, New International Version).

Do we want empty pockets or a full life? Do we want social gatherings or meaningful relationships? One last question, for Feuerstein and all of us– Do we want symbols or do we want a Savior?

 

**********************************************

*Multiple internet sources were used for information on the origins of Christmas symbols.

No written portion of any article may be shared without giving credit to the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Depression During The Holidays Part Two: Learn the Language of Depression and Use Your Words

20150712_210956_resized-1The Advent/Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year. I love Christmas music, feel-good Christmas T.V. movies, decorations, especially the Tacky Lights Tours where I live and spending time with family and friends. It would be great to think that everyone looks forward to celebrating Christmas, Advent, Hanukkah, the Holiday Season, or whatever season you celebrate during the months of December and January. It would be great to think this, but this isn’t the case. Many people are experiencing hard financial times, some people are grieving the loss of loved ones, and some people are just overwhelmed by how commercial the season has become. Whatever the reason is that people find themselves dreading this time of year, the truth is that a lot of people are just not “feeling” the holidays and they are having a hard time finding just the right words to express those feelings.

Often, when we’re asked how we feel, our vocabulary is limited to a handful of words and expressions: fine, good, happy, upset, sad, angry, so-so, fair to middlin’. But sometimes these words aren’t enough to express what we’re really experiencing on the inside of our minds and our hearts. Finding the right words and using the rights words is important when it comes to being healthy. When we have a physical ailment, medical doctors ask us to describe what we’re feeling. Where does it hurt? What kind of pain is it? Is it a sharp, stabbing pain? Is it a dull ache? Is the pain isolated to one spot? Does the pain radiate into different parts of your body? Being able to name the pain is important. Mental pain is no less real than physical pain. Mental pain is no less significant than physical pain. And being able to describe that mental pain is an important part in the process of getting better.

The following is a list of descriptive words designed to help you better express how you feel on any given day. The words are divided into categories. Each category is headed by one of the usual words we often use to describe our feelings. Following the usual word are more descriptive, precise words that can be used, in addition to the usual word, to pinpoint exactly what you feel.

GOOD: Calm, peaceful, at ease, comfortable, please, encouraged, clever, surprised, content, quiet, certain, relaxed, serene, free and easy, bright, blessed, reassured.

HAPPY: Great, blessed, gay, joyous, lucky, fortunate, delighted, overjoyed, gleeful, thankful, important, festive, ecstatic, satisfied, glad cheerful, sunny, merry, elated, jubilant.

ALIVE: playful, courageous, energetic, liberated, optimistic, provocative, impulsive, free, frisky, animated, spirited, thrilled, wonderful.

OPEN: understanding, confident, reliable, easy, amazed, free sympathetic, interested, satisfied, receptive, accepting, kind.

LOVE: loving, considerate, affectionate, sensitive, tender, devoted, attracted, passionate, admiration, warm, touched, sympathy, close, loved, comforted, drawn toward.

INTERESTED: concerned, affected, fascinated, intrigued, absorbed, inquisitive, nosy, snoopy, engrossed, curious.

POSITIVE: eager, keen, earnest, intent, anxious, inspired, determined, excited, enthusiastic, bold, brave, daring, challenged, optimistic, re-enforced, confident, hopeful.

STRONG: impulsive, free, sure, certain, rebellious, unique, dynamic, tenacious, hardy, secure.

DEPRESSION During The Holidays pictureANGRY: irritated, enraged, hostile, insulting, sore, annoyed, upset, hateful, unpleasant, offensive, bitter, aggressive, resentful, inflamed, provoked, incensed, infuriated, cross, worked up, boiling, fuming, indignant.

DEPRESSED: lousy, disappointed, discouraged, ashamed, powerless, diminished, guilty, dissatisfied, miserable, detestable, repugnant, despicable, disgusting, abominable, terrible, in despair, sulky, bad, a sense of loss.

CONFUSED: upset doubtful, uncertain, indecisive, perplexed, embarrassed, hesitant, shy, stupefied, disillusioned, unbelieving, skeptical, distrustful, misgiving, lost, unsure, uneasy, pessimistic, tense.

HELPLESS: incapable, alone, paralyzed, fatigued, useless, inferior, vulnerable, empty, forced, hesitant, despair, frustrated, distressed, woeful, pathetic, tragic, in a stew, dominated.

INDIFFERENT: insensitive, dull, nonchalant, neutral, reserved, weary, bored, preoccupied, cold, disinterested, lifeless.

AFRAID: fearful, terrified, suspicious, anxious, alarmed, panic, nervous, scared, worried, frightened, timid, shaky, restless, doubtful, threatened, cowardly, quaking, menaced, wary.

HURT: crushed, tormented, deprived, pained, tortured, dejected, rejected, injured, offended, afflicted, aching, victimized, heartbroken, agonized, appalled, humiliated, wronged, alienated.

SAD: tearful, sorrowful, pained, grief, anguish, desolate, desperate, pessimistic, unhappy, lonely, grieved, mournful, dismayed.

Luke 6:45 says, “…out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Some people, particularly Christians, may think that it’s wrong to “confess” negative feelings. They believe that they are speaking negative things into existence. But the psalmist knew the value of expressing what he felt, even if it was perceived as negative. He said, “I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. I gave an account of my ways and you answered me.” The psalmist confessed that he was feeling low, as low as dirt! And after he confessed just how low he was feeling, he made a wonderful discovery. God heard him and God answered him!

Consider this: if you’re already experiencing negative feelings, perhaps saying these feelings and getting them out in the open is necessary so that you can replace those negative feelings with positive feelings. Saying what you feel is not a sin. Confession is good for the soul. So go ahead, if you’re really not feeling the holiday season because you’re going through a hard time, say what you feel. Use your words.

******************************

No written portion of any article may be shared without giving credit to the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Kanisha L. Adkins.

P.O. Box 28483 Henrico, VA 23228 – phone 202-854-1963 – email: info@kanishaladkins.com

Follow me on twitter @kanishaladkins

 

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail