Spiritual Life Church

 "Having God in Your Life Improves the Quality of Your Life" - Rev Daniel Hodlin


Spiritual Life Church
Rev. Daniel Hodlin  
Ordained Minister

Health & Wellness

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The Disease called Depression
It affects 19 million Americans each year and costs more than $23 billion in lost work days and decreased productivity. It’s the disease called Depression. And it spite of the fact that the new medications to treat it target specific chemicals and pathways in the brain, many people still believe that depression can be overcome by prayer, exercise and positive thinking alone.

Nothing could be further from the truth, especially for people who suffer from something called endogenous ( end odge I nuss ) depression, the kind that comes from within the person, the kind that’s always there, even if the person gets a new lease on life through treatment.

Like diabetes or arthritis, this type of lifelong depression is a disease. But in spite of the research, in spite of the proof to the contrary, most of us, including well-meaning doctors and ministers, hang on to the out-dated and deadly belief that endogenous depression is something that can be overcome by willpower or faith alone.

The advice takes many forms: Exercise, you’ll feel better. Do something for someone else. Cheer up! Go to church. Pray. Or, from those people who believe that depression is a form of malingering or sheer laziness: Pull yourself together.
Get over it.

The trouble is, the person suffering from lifelong depression can’t simply “get over it” anymore than the man with heart disease can recover from a heart attack by willpower and faith alone. Would an ethical doctor tell a woman with uncontrolled diabetes to cure herself? Would an ethical minister advise a teen in the grip of an acute asthma attack to do nothing but pray? Ironically, the depressed person buys into a lot of this nonsense, particularly when it comes from someone the person recognizes as an authority – like a minister or a doctor. When people in these positions are misinformed, or hold obsolete beliefs about so-called “mental” illness, they can, with the best of intentions, do terrible damage.

Too often, the depressed person does try to just “get over it”, because they believe in their heart they ought to be able to. They fail, and they feel more worthless than ever. The depression gets worse. The person may withdraw from life entirely, or try to treat him or herself with alcohol, drugs, or both, adding addiction to depression. Sometimes the person resorts to the greatest tragedy of all, taking his or her own life, a rising trend among the young and the elderly.

The depressed person needs expert help, quickly. This means finding a health care provider who understands that depression is a disease that requires medical treatment. It means finding a doctor who has current, complete knowledge of modern anti-depressant medications. It may mean fighting with an HMO or insurance company that’s stuck in the past.

Finding a doctor, fighting for benefits, affording medication, sticking with therapy—just seeking and staying with treatment can overwhelm the person with severe depression. Add to that the humiliation of being perceived by family, friends, employer – and self -- as someone who’s “crazy”, and the agony can become unbearable. And so, more than anything else, the depressed person needs someone who cares enough to make sure they get the treatment they need.

Untreated, the disease called depression can ruin the life of the depressed person and everyone close to him or her. It breaks up marriages, friendships and families; it costs people their jobs; it can lead to addiction. And it can, and does, kill, when the sheer weight of living through one more hour finally becomes impossible to endure and there is no other means of escape from the pain. And the tragic thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’re suffering from depression, please call someone right now and ask them to help. If you know someone who’s seriously depressed, don’t kid yourself into thinking they’ll snap out of it. Help them get help. Please. Do it now -- before it’s too late.

         A public service message from Spiritual Life Church and the Ad Council

Feeling Good About Yourself
”Being cheerful keeps you healthy.  It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.”  Proverbs 17:22  Good News Bible

Even the so-called scientific experts are coming to understand what most people have always known in their hearts—there are certain activities that just make us feel good about ourselves. Have you tried any of these lately?
*      Prayer, especially prayer that gives thanks, or is meant to relieve another person’s pain   or concern
*      Helping others, no matter how small or seemingly trivial the act may seem, give a little of yourself to someone else every day
*      Walking, or if you are unable to walk, just being outside, or near an open window.  Open your eyes, your ears, your nose.  See the Miracle of Creation in the most ordinary things, the iridescence of a pigeon’s wing; the intricate craftsmanship of a spider’s web; the endless variations of cloud shapes in the sky; the lush fragrance of new-mown grass.
*      Gardening – become part of the natural course of life itself, prepare the soil, even if it’s a single pot – feel the texture and warmth of the soil, smell its rich fragrance; plant the seed or sprout, tamp it into its bed; nourish the new life, give it food and water, encourage its growth with pruning and love; harvest the fruit or flowers or seeds; renew the cycle.
*      Loving an animal. 
*      Driving with no particular destination.  See the familiar with new eyes, go somewhere new.  Find a peaceful spot for a picnic. 
*      Cooking share the experience with someone, a child, a spouse, a life-mate, a parent, a friend.  If you can’t share the experience, share the result.  The Bible is rich with references to food and fellowship, the sharing of food and drink with others.  If there is no one close to you, donate to a church or shelter.
*      Reading  spend quiet time with a book, something inspirational or simply cozy and pleasant,*      Creating—anything!  paint a picture, paint a room, paint a car; build a shelf, sew, knit, craft, upholster, the choices are endless.  Try something new.  Enjoy the act of creating itself, the planning, the steps, the end result, even if it’s not “perfect”.  Have fun!

Guidelines for Spiritual Well-Being
I believe that good physical health and spiritual, emotional and mental well-being are all part of the whole. Although the world stresses physical fitness, there is evidence all around us that spiritual well-being can be more important to good health and a fulfilling life than absence of disease or disability.

”A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17.22 NRSV

I have been privileged to know some of these people: a nurse with MS ( multiple sclerosis ) who is training to be a Nurse Practitioner; a doctor with a muscle disease who has been a pioneer in modern respiratory therapy, medical ethics and rural medical care; a young woman with debilitating migraine headache who poured her love into the children at a day care center every day; a doctor who overcame an addiction that almost cost him his medical license to become an inspiration to all those who came in contact with him.

What is their secret?  They are all Christians with a close daily connection to God and to Jesus Christ.

Like them, you can restore and expand your sense of well-being with these simple guidelines:
*      Treat all persons well – make eye contact, smile, say a few friendly words, wish them, a good day, too
*      Love others as God loves you – even if you don’t like everything they do. 
*      Only God is perfect.  When you stumble, ask God to forgive and to help you do better next time.  Forgive yourself-- and move on.  Don’t wallow in self-condemnation and self-pity.  Learn to love yourself in a healthy way.  Don’t forget, you are the work of God – how can you condemn that which God loves? 
*      Most important of all -- get yourself off your mind!  Each morning, ask yourself how you can be a blessing to one person that day.  Watch for opportunities.  Your heart will swell, you’ll smile more, you’ll like yourself more, be more content, more confident. 

In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus tells us to: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself."

In God’s Image – Taking Care of Yourself
In this second millennium, humankind is both blessed and cursed by an abundance of information about health and wellness such as never before been available. Making sense of it all can be a full-time job. Although it’s not practical to repeat information about specific conditions or their treatments here, I can share some pointers with those of you who want to take charge of your health.

*      Accept responsibility for yourself and your actions. Seek strength and guidance from God, and from His Son, Jesus Christ. Ask others to support you with prayer and understanding. But only you can say no to the offer of a cigarette. Only you can turn down that box of greasy fries. Only you can go for a walk. Only you can keep that appointment for a physical, examine your breasts or testicles for lumps, have your blood pressure taken. Only you can take the medications you’re supposed to take. Only you can buckle that seat belt, put on a bike helmet. It’s your body and your life. Take charge.
*      Educate yourself about staying well. Stay informed about any condition you might have. Be sure your sources are good, recognized, legitimate sources of health information. Too many people rely on the advice of well-meaning friends, neighbors and co-workers. Your hairdresser may be a wonderful source of support, but he or she is not a doctor. The co-worker who sells supplements on the side is ( usually ) not a pharmacist. Find a doctor ( MD or DO ), nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant who is caring, confident, knowledgeable and a good fit for your personality and beliefs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take notes if you need to.
*      Do what your doctor tells you to do. Otherwise you’ve wasted his or her time and your time and money. If the doctor and the pharmacist tell you to take a pill everyday or finish a prescription, do it, even if you feel better. If the advice is to go to physical therapy three days a week, go three days a week. All of us at one time or another have chosen not to follow our doctor’s orders and then complained when we didn’t get better. On the other hand, if you’ve done everything you’re supposed to, and you’re getting worse or nothing’s happening, tell your doctor! He or she can’t read minds.
”Honor physicians for their services, for the Lord created them; for their gift of healing comes from the Most High.” – Sirach 38:1-2 NRSV
*      Everything in moderation. Old advice and so dull, especially in this revved up age we live in. But, oh so true! Have one helping, not two or three. Have one glass of wine, not four. Do one thing at a time. Drive less urgently. Don’t fill your calendar. Slow down. You don’t need to run ten miles every day or pump iron to be fit, you just need to get that body moving, in whatever way that’s best for you. You don’t need to be everything to everyone. Enjoy fellowship with others, give of yourself, but don’t forget to save some time just for you.
*      Calm down. It’s been proved time and again that anger kills the person who’s angry. The person you’re angry at probably doesn’t even know you’re angry at them. They go their on their way, while your blood pressure and heart rate goes up and the arteries around your heart close up and your stomach and gut churn. Who have you hurt with your anger? You, most of all.
”Make no friends with those give to anger, and do not associate with hotheads or you may learn their ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” -- Proverbs 22:24-25 NRSV
*      Don’t worry so much. Things never happen the way you think they’re going to anyway. Live one moment or at least one day at a time. Enjoy the now, be in it with every fibre of your attention. Only God knows what’s going to happen next. Think about it – how many of today’s “disasters” have turned out to be tomorrow’s blessing?
”Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.” – Matthew 4:34 NRSV
*      Lighten up! Smile more. Laugh more. See the humor in life. Few things are as deadly serious as we make them out to be

Spend quiet time with God every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Pray while you’re in the bathroom if that’s the only place you can be alone with Him— He doesn’t care where you are, as long as you’re with Him.

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