3 Ingredients of a Safe Church for your Mental Health

Three Mental Health Mind Shifts Needed for a Safe Church

‘Am I doing ok?’ was the question I was most frequently asked when I was a pastor/chaplain. ‘Is this Church safe’ was another. Keeping pace were other limping souls …

  • ‘Am I welcome here’
  • ‘Does God really love me?’
  • ‘I can’t seem to get it right’
  • ‘… keeps telling me that I need to do … if I am going to be ok and be part of this church’
  • ‘I keep going back to my addiction, I feel so guilty, God is angry’

At this point nice gentle Pastor Barry feels like getting a whip, going to certain churches and people, overturning pews, casting out tithing bags and shouting…

‘Stop laying heavy burdens on broken backs’

Continue reading “3 Ingredients of a Safe Church for your Mental Health”

Black Moods of Depression Lose Their Power When YOU Turn The Light On

Black Moods of Depression Lose Their Power When YOU Turn The Light On

It was only a small little torch but when I flicked the switch and pointed the beam of light at the ceiling the whole room filled with light. It doesn’t take much light to chase the darkness away. Moods can change when we flick the switch.

 The brain takes the shape of whatever the mind rests upon. Dr. Rick Hanson 

When depressed, a dark mood can become like a swamp holding you in its grip.  You want to break free of the suction but you are held firm.

You need to get up. You’ve got things to do, commitments, relationships that rely on you but the gloom of a dark shadow grips you.

Then someone says Continue reading “Black Moods of Depression Lose Their Power When YOU Turn The Light On”

Does God use a Mental Illness to Slow Us Down?

Does God use a Mental Illness to Slow You Down?

Do you think mental illness is God’s way of forcing us to slow down and change our behaviour or is it the Devil messing with our minds?

I recently received this question from one of the readers via the anonymous question survey.

It’s an interesting question and one that I think has many questions under the question. It also demonstrates a type of belief about God and Gods relationship with us.

So here is my answer. Leave a comment below to let me know what you think about this question.  Continue reading “Does God use a Mental Illness to Slow Us Down?”

14 Proven Bible Verses to Help Your Mental Health

14 Proven Bible Verses to Help Your Mental Health

If you were to open my mothers Bible the first thing you would notice would be the handwritten verses and quotes that helped her mental health.

Dig a little further and you would come across underlined verses, cut out sections from the church newsletter and notes from sermons. I’ve just realised I do much the same in writing this blog.

Mum had her favourite verses that kept her secure in God.

I recently asked the Turning the Page facebook group what their favorite verses were for their mental health.

14 Verses to help your Mental Health

Continue reading “14 Proven Bible Verses to Help Your Mental Health”

The Day I Picked Up An Escaped Convict That Helped me Find my True Self

When I was on a 6-hour road trip back to university I picked up a hitchhiker.

It was cold and wintery as I turned a corner on the Desert road and I saw a young man with his thumb stuck out. Thin, short hair and poorly clothed for the winter, I felt concern for him.

I pulled my little Mini over and offered him a ride.

I asked where he was going off we went. He didn’t say much but eventually, we arrived at my student flat.

After dinner, I then offered him a bed for the night which was gratefully received. In the morning he was off and I let him have my jersey.

I thought nothing of it, then things started to fall into place, Continue reading “The Day I Picked Up An Escaped Convict That Helped me Find my True Self”

When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help: Toxic Faith pt. 5

When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help.

At the school where I grow vegetables, it can be very noisy. I have a group of children that love to help and to get my attention they will often speak louder, and wave hands like windmills. It can all be a bit overwhelming.

The other day the noise was particularly loud. I happened to look to my left and here was this young boy quietly getting on and picking up some old leaves that we had discarded. Quietly without anyone noticing he did the work.

We think that if we do more we will get more. If we turn up the volume, literally and figuratively, of the worship God’s ears will be pleased. Continue reading “When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help: Toxic Faith pt. 5”

To Heal You Just Need to ‘Forget What Lies Behind’: Toxic Faith pt. 4

To Heal You Just Need to 'Forget What Lies Behind'

Life has a tragic way of repeating itself. It seems at times that we just go round an endless loop of repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Then someone says ‘forget what lies behind’.

One of my favourite classic movies is Groundhog day with a very young Bill Murray.

Weatherman Phil Connors is sent to cover the first day of spring in a small town called  Punxsutawney.  At night he goes to bed and then wakes to the alarm going off at 6 am.

It’s not 6 am the next day, but weirdly 6 am of the same day. He gets the opportunity to live the same day over and over and over again until he gets it right.  Continue reading “To Heal You Just Need to ‘Forget What Lies Behind’: Toxic Faith pt. 4”

The Danger of Turning a Sinner into a ‘Saviour’: Toxic Faith Pt. 3

THE DANGER OF TURNING A SINNER INTO A ‘SAVIOUR’: TOXIC FAITH PT. 3

It’s always dangerous when we subconsciously create a ‘saviour’ out of a sinner. If you stand too close to the pedestal, of a venerated statue, you’ll get damaged by the cracks.

I always cringed when someone would call me ‘Pastor Barry’. If possible I would always ask them to never do this again. I would say ‘My name is Barry, and part of who I am, is I am a pastor’.

I don’t want to be considered as more special, pastoral or have a certain status than anyone else. We are all priests. Sure I may specific gifts and training that helped me to pastor, but in the end, Christ won’t welcome ‘Pastor Barry’ home, instead, it will simply be ‘Welcome Barry, good and faithful servant’.

I also know that this small step of veneration is a little step towards a slippery slope of them making me into a sub-conscious ‘saviour’. It can also fuel pride in myself, and who needs that.

We see it politics, sports, entertainment, business and the church. The extolling of someone to the heights of a type of worship.

It’s kind of like a teenage crush.

Continue reading “The Danger of Turning a Sinner into a ‘Saviour’: Toxic Faith Pt. 3”

Just waiting for an ‘Anointing’ to wash my problems away: Toxic Faith pt 2

Just waiting for an 'Anointing' to wash my problems away

We are all like druggies, wanting that quick fix to kill the pain.

Be it a drug, some porn, a sale, a comfort food, an altar call, a dose of the ghost (Holy Spirit), or a faith formula to get what we want. Anything, just anything to avoid going deep, facing our sinfulness, repenting and making the change.

Maybe they had seen too many telly Evangelists. They told me they had been to multiple healing services and now they had come to me and wanted me to ‘pray the demons out of them’. When I said that I would like to know more about them, they stormed out of the room and asked the passing caretaker to pray for them. He looked kind of shocked and puzzled. Continue reading “Just waiting for an ‘Anointing’ to wash my problems away: Toxic Faith pt 2”

Want to Forgive? You’ll Unlock it with Compassion

Want to Forgive-compassion-mental-health

You think you have forgiven, but now and then anger bubbles up. You try and stuff it back in its box, but you know that its whisper is still fuming around your heart. Perhaps you need to discover compassion.

A step that is unusual and not what you naturally want to offer, but contains a promise of release that I’ve experienced and you can too if you pray a dangerous prayer.

Meet Smudge.
Continue reading “Want to Forgive? You’ll Unlock it with Compassion”