Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roll Away Your Stone

The British band Mumford & Sons has a unique folk rock sound and their album "Sigh No More" has grown in popularity worldwide. The thing that caught my attention is that the majority of their songs are laced with Christian ideas such as grace. I am not sure if the members of the band are Christians but their lyrics seem influenced by Christian thought.

The song Roll Away Your Stone seems to portray someone who is looking into their own heart and mind and evaluating where their priorities lie. If you read the lyrics that follow you will see references to one's soul and heart. In class we have talked about how the immaterial man is made up of a soul, spirit, heart, mind and conscience. I believe this song is an attempt by the artist at evaluating the condition of his own immaterial self. The song describes all that the individual sees as being dominated by darkness. Yet through grace they can receive a restart that will change their heart. Although in the end they still seem apprehensive about the position of their soul.

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don't leave me alone at this time
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside

Cause you told me that I would find a hole
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals

Darkness is a harsh term don't you think?
And yet it dominates the things I see

It seems that all my bridges have been burnt
But you say that's exactly how this grace thing works
It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with the restart

Darkness is a harsh term don't you think?
And yet it dominates the things I see
Darkness is a harsh term don't you think?
And yet it dominates the things I've seen

Stars hide your fires
These here are my desires
And I won't give them up to you this time around
And so I'll be found
With my stake stuck in the ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul

But you, you've gone too far this time
You have neither reason nor rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine

I believe this song illustrates what a lot of us see when we truly evaluate our immaterial being. We end up being overwhelmed by the the darkness that we see in ourselves. Our minds are dominated with selfish and evil desires. However God does offer us grace and gives us the chance to change our hearts and start a new life. Through faith in God we can bring light into our immaterial being and be able to entrust him with our soul. Jesus says in John 8:12 that “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” We do not have to be dominated by darkness. I appreciate how the song refers to a newly impassioned soul. Through Jesus Christ we can have a newly impassioned soul.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Forgiveness and Anxiety

          When considering the field of psychology, it seems that more and more research is being produced that gives a deeper insight into how we as people operate.  Methods of research are improving at an alarming rate, giving us more reliable tests that show what improves us mentally and what actually breaks us down, often with astounding detail.  This being considered, it seems that the hot topic of today in psychology is that of the effects of forgiveness in a person's life.  Though it seems that many would agree that forgiveness is not at all a bad thing, few had actually tested to see what kind of difference it could make.  The results have been rather surprising in how much it actually helps a person find freedom from depression, stress and anger. 
            Recently in our Counseling and Theology class we read the book The Anxiety Cure, detailing the effects of anxiety and stress in one's life.  Stress and anxiety can lead to nervous breakdowns and continually drain a person's energy both emotionally and mentally, among other harmful side effects of stress.  I found it interesting in that research has shown that forgiveness, or rather a lack of forgiveness, has been tied directly to increased levels of stress in the a person's life.  Though many feel that when you forgive the offender you are doing them a service, which is every bit true, many fail to realize that when you choose to forgive someone you are freed from bondage in your life.  People have found freedom from the hurt and anger that they have been holding onto for so long.  In this, it seems that forgiveness is yet another anxiety cure people can rely on.
            When reading articles based on forgiveness, I found myself a bit surprised; not in the results, but people's reactions to the results.  Forgiveness is something constantly outlined throughout the Bible.  We are given so so many examples of people in Scripture that have had horrible things done to them, yet they respond in a way that astounds both the people in the story and the reader today.  The story of Joseph and his brothers immediately comes to mind.   The Bible has shown us long ago that forgiveness is both needed and beneficial in a person's life, research today is merely backing up what the Bible has already shown us to be true.  Forgiveness is not at all easy at times, in fact it can be extremely difficult.  However we must realize that when we choose to not forgive, we are in fact locking ourselves in bondage, constantly held in the moment where we were hurt the most.  I encourage whoever reads this to look for yourselves at how beneficial forgiveness can be in your life, however I recommend all the more that we find it in our hearts to forgive those who have trespassed against us.  

Created in His Image: A Picture Perfect Understanding

          We are made in the image of God, but what does this mean? This has been a discussion that rises up in counseling. In the article/blog, what is the “image of God,” an explanation is presented referring to Genesis 1:26-27, stating how mankind is made in the image of God, which is expressed as man and woman. The male and female reveal complementary aspects of the Lord’s character, which together helps us, appreciate the width of God’s vision and expression. Humans made in the image of God were designed to bring glory to God as a sinless creation, and we will forever be born to give glory to God, but in a world that humans have now tarnished. The fall of mankind and the evilness within the world we live in does not take away the intrinsic design of both males and females created in the image of God. Once the intended picture of what God desires for a man and woman relationship to look like is understood, the Lord’s vision for mankind is seen. 
          Being made in the image of God ties into the knowledge of the picture God has for our lives to be in community and intimacy with Himself. Humans were created to have the physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy that God designed when He made us in His image. This godly vision lived out in our relationships between a man and woman flows from our intimacy with Christ. The Lord gives humans an example to live our lives by, yet with all that sin has tarnished, our minds become clouded from this vision of how it suppose to be and for many God’s intended picture is never seen or understood. In class, my professor mentioned that the “opposite of community and intimacy which shows acceptance, is shame,” reminding us that the first emotion Adam and Eve felt after sinning was shame. The act of sin not only messed up God’s created order and brought separation with God, but has also created separation between men and women. 
          Another extremely important truth mentioned in my counseling class was that, “The image of God has been defaced, but not erased!” Praise God that His love has made a way for intimacy with Christ to continue to be lived out. The Gospel provides and offers humans this perfect picture marriage the Church of believers has with God. The idea of the Gospel, reflect what we are created to long for. Mankind does not have to be alone and live in constant shame nor do we have to create meaning for our lives to matter.We automatically matter because we as humans are created by the God of the universe, in His image! Life has meaning because Christ provided it, and once we accept and embrace that freedom, how can we help but give God glory as our hearts we made to do! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, all are equal and one, but all do not have the same roles. It is interesting how God mysteriously, yet obviously gave men and women this example starting with Adam and Eve to live out. This is a beautiful topic and a fascinating truth to examine and study! And once God’s intended picture for relationships is lived out, lives are changed.

Here are some book references that go along with this topic

(this is just a video that goes along with the topic of this blog for you, Thank you!)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Have you ever been in a relationship with a "needy" significant other? You may be familiar with the type; they tend to be insecure about themselves, their relationships, and just about everything else. This person may also be very emotional, and feel unworthy of love. Although it may seem cliche to say in the psych-field, it is likely that this person's behavior was learned in childhood. In fact, the first 18 to 24 months of a child's life are critical in developing intimacy with others and can influence their ability to have close relationships later in life. This is known as attachment theory. 

In class, Dr. Corsini explained that an infant's interactions with their caregiver(s) early in life are directly tied to their attachment style and behavior system. This is a result of the neurological development of the brain, which uses internal working models, similar to schemas, to develop patterns. If a caregiver is quick, consistent and effective with the infant, the child will develop a secure attachment. A secure attachment is ideal because this means the person has a positive view of themselves, and that they are worthy of love, and they also have a positive view of others, which they can trust and rely on. If the caregiver is not quick, consistent or effective, the child is likely to develop a secondary attachment style. For example, if a mother is quick and effective, but not consistent with her child, the child is likely to develop an anxious attachment style, resulting in a negative view of self, and a positive view of others. In contrast, if a mother is not quick or effective but is consistent in her behavior, the child is likely to have a positive view of themselves and a negative view of others, resulting in an avoidant attachment style. If a caregiver is not quick, or consistent or effective, the child is likely to have a negative view of themselves and of others, and will identify with fearful/disorganized attachment.

Dr. Corsini went on to explain that our attachment style with others correlates to our attachment style with God and how we relate to God. For example, if we are secure, we may feel the need to maintain a close and consistent proximity to God, and believe that God is our safe haven when things go wrong, and we can develop trust and feel safe venturing out and exploring when God is our tour guide. Yet, if we are anxious, we may worry about God's ability to love us in return, and if we are avoidant, we may associate intimacy with God as a loss of our independence and therefore minimize our closeness with God. When integrating this theory in counseling, it is important to understand the client's attachment style so the counselor can help the client cope with things in the appropriate manner. For example, if a client has a healthy and secure attachment with their parents and close loved ones, they are likely to be strong in their faith and in their relationship with the Lord. If the client understands their identity in Christ and that they are precious and priceless in God’s eyes, they will also understand that they have worth because of the costly sacrifice of Jesus. Counselors can help their clients understand that they are worthy of love, and because of God’s love, the client can trust in God and put their faith in Him. Thankfully, God gives us hope for clients who may not have a healthy and secure attachment, because these styles can change over time.

Want to know your attachment style? Click Here!