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Barnabas Center
Barnabas Center

CARPE DIEM (“SEIZE THE DAY”)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASB)

 

We got a brick.  Not just any brick but a special brick.  Some of you may have done the same thing.  It was the Summer Olympics of 1996.  It was a fundraising opportunity for the Olympics and you could inscribe anything you wanted on this brick, as long as it was no more than 10 characters. The brick is still there in Centennial Park.  What do you put on a brick that’s going to have your name and a phrase on it for decades to come?

We thought about “You ‘da man!” but it took too many spaces, besides I think that one’s been used before.  Then we thought of abbreviating.  MGIAAG “My God is an awesome God,” but only my wife Janet and I would’ve known what it meant.  Then, only Janet would’ve known what it meant because, with my great memory, I would have forgotten.

We decided on Carpe Diem; short sweet and to the point.  Isn’t that God’s desire for us, to seize the day?  As I write this, several friends and friends of friends have died quite suddenly.  One friend’s mother died at a restaurant.  Another friend died quite suddenly of cancer leaving behind a wife and child.  My sweet sister recently died in a car accident. You never know.

It’s got me thinking, how am I doing having that abundant life?  Am I seizing the day?  In our counseling situations, we often run into individuals that are paralyzed because of their past or are afraid of failure to the point they don’t move forward.  I must admit, at times I struggle with the same issues.  How many days, weeks, or even years are wasted because we are waiting for the right sequence of events to fall in place, to ensure success and not a failure?  The reference in John says, “I came so that you might have life”.  What does it mean to you to have a life?  How would you define the second half of that verse, “to live it abundantly”?

Sometimes we’re so busy looking for that right sequence of events for that 100% guarantee, that we miss God speaking to us through the body of Christ.  God has a plan for each of us. We are each gifted in unique and special ways.  I believe part of having that abundant life is exercising those gifts He has given us.

What keeps you from seizing the day?  For many of us it’s schedules and routines.  We spend the majority of our time surviving, living from paycheck to paycheck trying to make ends meet.  I believe one of the greatest ways that Satan undermines the family is through our schedules.  It’s like that old story, “How do you boil a frog?”  You put it in cold water and gradually turn the temperature up.  As a result, the frog doesn’t notice the temperature change, but if you drop it in hot water, it’ll hop right out.  I think in some ways, we’re the same.  We’re ready for the frontal attacks of alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc.  But we are not ready for the slow, gradual ways that our family can be undermined through our schedules and being overly committed.

Perhaps you have the same struggle that I do at times.  How can I listen to the voice of God, if I’m not being still? Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  In closing, let me encourage you to examine your schedules and your life.  Are you too busy, are you able to listen to God, are you able to be still?

CARPE DIEM!

 

Keith Niager LCSW

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How Do We Deal With Those Holiday Blues by Keith Niager, LCSW

Although the holidays are supposed to be a time full of joy, good cheer and optimistic hopes for a new year, many people experience seasonal “blues.”

What’s important to know is that there are steps you can take to help beat the blues this holiday season. The “holiday blues” can be caused by many factors: increased stress and fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization and the inability to be with one’s family. The increased demands of shopping, parties, family reunions, and house guests also contribute to these feelings of tension. Even people who do not become depressed can develop other stress reactions during the holidays, such as headaches, excessive drinking, overeating and difficulty sleeping.

Although many people become depressed during the holiday season, even more, respond to the excessive stress and anxiety once the holidays have passed. This post-holiday letdown can be the result of emotional disappointments experienced during the preceding months, as well as the physical reactions caused by excess fatigue and stress.

So how do you minimize and cope with the holiday blues?

  • Have an “escape plan” if you feel trapped. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed it is good to have a “code word”. For example, if the code word is milk and bread: “I’m going to the store to pick up some milk and bread”. What you are really saying to your spouse or loved one is, I’m stressed out, I need a break, I’m going to the store for some downtime and I may take the long route to get there! If you want them to go with you, ask. You may want them along to talk or you may want to be alone.
  • Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable by not trying to make the holiday “the best ever.” Set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the most important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
  • Remember that the holiday season does not automatically banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely. There is room for these feelings to be present, even if you choose not to express them.
  • Don’t overstay your visit. Leave on a high note
  • Do something for someone else. It is an old remedy, but it can help. Try volunteering some time to help others.
  • Enjoy holiday activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations. Go window shopping without buying anything.
  • Don’t drink too much. Excessive drinking will only make you more depressed.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a way you have not done before.
  • Spend time with people who are supportive and who care about you. Reach out to make new friends if you are alone during special times. Contact someone with whom you have lost touch.
  • Find time for yourself. Don’t spend all of your time providing activities for your family and friends.

 I hope these suggestions will help you to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years!

 

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