Here’s the submission I made to the relevant committee of the Senate of the Australian Parliament regarding Senator Richard Di Natale’s private member’s Exposure draft of the Medical Services (Dying with Dignity) Bill 2014. (more…)
Life is pretty good at the moment. I have three great kids. My marriage is going well. We planted a church a few years ago, and we are starting to get some traction. The problems we have are because of growth. All in all, this is one of those seasons people dream about. Life is good. (more…)
None of us wants to be the cause of another person’s sanctification – at least, not unintentionally – and yet, so often, that is what we are.
Is this one of the reasons that God allows us to become weak, dependent and forgetful as we grow older? Is it so we can place a necessary burden on those who were once dependent on us: a burden of forbearance and loving care? (more…)
If we have read our Bibles, we know that suffering is not surprising. It is part of life in this world. Yet, for some reason, we still find it shocking. If we are going to suffer well, we need to explore again the biblical promises about suffering. (more…)
I’m about to use Yoda as a model for Christian love. If you haven’t seen the Star Wars movies, you’ll probably be mystified by what I’m about to say. This is not the article you’re looking for. (more…)
I was talking to a friend lately who struggles with eating issues, and she told me that one of the techniques she is using to combat her anxiety is something called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). If I’ve understood her correctly, ACT is when you try to keep your thoughts focused on the present instead of allowing them to drift off in all sorts of unhelpful directions. So, for example, when she gets a craving for a cookie and starts to think that she couldn’t possibly get through the afternoon without one, she acknowledges that she’s had that thought, points out to herself that what her brain is telling her is a lie (i.e. that she can get through the afternoon without a cookie, and she knows that because she’s done it before), and then moves on with the rest of her day. (more…)
Sleep is one of God’s good gifts. Most of us chug though life without thinking much about it, which is usually a sign that we’re getting enough. But for some of us, that blissful enjoyment of the half-regarded treasure we know as a ‘good night’s sleep’ is shattered for some reason.
Grief, like joy, is full of surprises. Unlike joy, most of grief’s surprises are unwelcome, and make the whole experience worse. One of these surprises, I have discovered, is that grief addles the mind with lies and tricks—for example,
- Am I a Christian?
- I will never pray again.
- What possible thing did I do to deserve this?
- God has stopped speaking to me through his word.
- Does God even exist?
They trip through the mind like so many bedraggled beggar children, creating confusion and clatter, and refusing to exit the premises.
I have been talking with a long-term friend of mine in recent weeks. He’s a believer, who has had a harder-than-average road to walk. That, combined with some bad Christian teaching and an inherent susceptibility, has finally created a perfect storm of mental ill health.
The thing that surprised me when talking to him recently is that as he begins the process of recovering from a depressive/anxiety breakdown, he has had to avoid his Christian friends and family. The reason? They care. And in their care, they inevitably call on him to trust God, to look to God, to place himself in God’s hands or the like. They can’t avoid exhorting him to stir up his faith, however “softly, softly” they venture it.
The problem? His world is little more than darkness without any reasonable possibility of improvement. He is overwhelmed with burdens that seem silly to anyone not him, but to him, they are the fixed compass of his universe. He is barely standing up under the weight of just being himself.
But add an exhortation to do something to that load—especially one like “trust God”—and you have far more than a single straw to break the camel’s back. You have essentially made brick from that straw and hurled it onto the load. You have given him one more thing—and it’s a critical thing at that—to whip himself with as he judges himself to not be trusting God.
“Oh Alison, if I thought I could just go and play golf, I would.”
You Can Change: God’s transforming power for our sinful behaviour and negative emotions
IVP, Leicester, 2008. 192pp.
Picking up Tim Chester’s You Can Change, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a self-help book. It has all the trappings—a title promising transformation, testimonies of change, an invitation to choose a personal “change project”, ten chapters with titles like ‘What would you like to change?’ and questions for self-reflection. You Can Change is designed to communicate to a society obsessed with personal change, but it turns the self-help genre on its head. (more…)
Ever since my early 20s, I’ve struggled on and off with anxiety and depression. In the last few years, the struggle has become particularly acute. I often wake at 4:30 am and pretend that it’s just the call of my bladder, but I know it isn’t. I know that as soon as I wake, I won’t go to sleep again. My body feels tired—like I’ve been running in my sleep—and my brain whirs away like the hard drive on my computer. I wake up with a thousand questions in my head—none of which seem solvable—and, at times, I’ve been so exhausted, I’ve just curled up in a ball on the floor and cried, wondering if the emptiness will go away soon. I have suffered mainly from anxiety, with periods of very low mood thrown in for good measure. (more…)
Spiritual Depression: Its causes and its cure
D Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1965, 300pp.
Available from Moore Books
02 9577 9966 (more…)
I’d like to share with you something of how God has been teaching me through my personal circumstances. Your circumstances will be different, and they may include many things you would like to change, but we all have to follow Christ where we are. For me, this has meant following Christ in very different circumstances than I envisaged when I was a student over 20 years ago.