Psychology and mental health · Schema Series · The way we are

SCHEMA 2: Why abuse leads to mistrust

How’s your mental health? I’m interested to know how each of us can make our lives better by understanding the thought patterns that influence our behaviours and feelings about ourselves. This is Part Two in a series of blog entries on schemas: a term from psychology and cognitive science which describes an organised pattern of thought or behaviour. You can… Continue reading SCHEMA 2: Why abuse leads to mistrust

Life and other catastrophes · Movies I love · Psychology and mental health · Spiritual growth and healing · The way we are · Uncategorized

Life ‘on the outside’ is scary

In the 1994 movie The Shawshank Redemption, a character named Red (played by Morgan Freeman) speaks to new inmate Heywood (William Sadler) about a prisoner who’s been serving there a long time… “The man’s been in here fifty years, Heywood. Fifty years! This is all he knows. In here, he’s an important man. He’s an… Continue reading Life ‘on the outside’ is scary

Life and other catastrophes · Relating to God · Spiritual growth and healing

Freedom – really?

Freedom. When this word comes to mind I think of running – almost flying – through wide, open spaces of green, skirts twirling,  laughing voices ringing through the crisp air. I think of Mel Gibson’s heroic scene in Braveheart, and what a riveting thing it is to see a man fight wildly, passionately… Freedom is always fought for. It can be a battle… Continue reading Freedom – really?

Life and other catastrophes · Parenthood · Relating to God · Spiritual growth and healing

The ultimate safety net

Last year our family invested in a trampoline, and it’s provided a wonderful way to bond with the kids. It’s a form of exercise for us all, and when I’m tired or struggling, some ‘trampoline time’ always makes things better.

Today I was having a jump in the sunshine, and kind of flipped over near the edge. The beauty of most trampolines you buy these days is that they’re each sold with a safety net circling the perimeter, as was ours. There was no way I was going to fall off. But my reflexes kind of kicked into gear when I headed in that direction, and I stopped myself. It reminded me of my childhood, when I really did have to protect myself from jumping off the bouncy mat.

No such thing as a risky jump these days!
* taken from http://www.clotheslines.net.au

This made me think about the difference between perceived risk and actual risk. On the trampoline, I had a real-life safety net ensuring that no matter how hard and fast I jumped in the direction of the perimeter, I would not fall off. But in that moment, I still experienced an irrational fear that I would.

I wonder how many times we avoid doing things because of perceived danger? Because if there really was a safety net ensuring we’d be OK, wouldn’t that change the way we approached things?

We certainly can’t control everything that happens to us from one day to the next. But what if risking it all is really not that big a risk? What if, when we say we’re throwing caution to the wind, that ‘wind’ is a God that deeply loves us?

Because if we’re truly wrapped up in the love of Christ, in a living, eternal relationship with him… is there anything that’s truly too risky?

Now I’m not talking about being unwise, or not thinking things through. But I think it’s worth pondering whether it’s simply fear holding us back from making those big – and little – decisions in life… and whether our reasons for not taking the chances God might be asking us to are simply reflex responses to past pain or hurt or heartbreak. Perhaps you’ve fallen off a particular horse just one too many times, and the thought of getting back on is just too much…

I know that when people have let me down in a big way it’s been that much harder to trust the ‘safety’ of others. Disappointment, or trauma from abuse, can cause us to be deeply self-protective.

One thing I do know from experience is that Jesus’ relationship style is perfectly healthy. He won’t let me down, and my relationship with him is eternal. I firmly trust that he’ll lead me on the path he wants me to take throughout my life, though it certainly won’t always make sense in the here-and-now.

And ultimately, at the end of it all, he’ll bring me home to him.

On this earth, HE is my safety net. My rock. My firm foundation. My refuge in the storm, and my ultimate life guide. I have continual, around-the-clock access to his love, grace, and leading, and no matter how many times I try and do things my way, HE remains. Yes, I’ll probably continue to freak out on the occasions he asks me to do something big, or trust someone that might just let me down…

But if he’s always with me, through it all – and has a plan better than any I can imagine… then really, what have I got to lose?