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Ryan Black
Ryan Black (John) has been blessed by Jesus Christ!
Ryan Black (John) has been blessed by Jesus Christ!
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Good afternoon everyone. This is my third long post I’ve made depicting my current thoughts, challenges, and prayer requests. Some of you may remember my previous long posts on Facebook sharing my testimony and my struggle with depression vs trust a couple years ago in August. Today, I find myself right back where I started facing the same issues (no surprise why wouldn’t I be repeatedly tempted in an area I struggle with). 

Today once again the issue is depression but I’m going to try to focus more of the aspect of stress. Currently I have been somewhat depressed. I’ve been constantly stressed, bored, tired, excessive headaches, lack of working out, worrying about every little detail of my life, and the list goes on. So I finally did what I should always do...I prayed. I realize not all of my friends on Facebook are Christian like myself or even believe in a God. However, I encourage you to read this post and I hope these thoughts will benefit you. After I prayed for guidance and release from my current state of mind I realized I’ve been here before. So I got online and read through the last long post I shared. Recapping the key point regarding depression is that commonly we focus too much on finding satisfaction from any pleasure source we can find here on earth (hedonism basically). Instead focusing on being thankful can bring release and a freedom from depression. A reference was made to Psalm 100:4-5 and the challenge to stop focusing on the “good” that you don’t have or the “trouble” you do have and live to praise. 

However, I’d like to switch over to concentrate more on stress at the moment. I encourage you to review my last post but read this one first. So what is stress? Well Ryan it’s the crappy feeling we all get daily due to life pressuring us from every side, other people looking out for themselves instead of others, and life stabbing us in the back at every given opportunity. Okay fair enough that’s stress, however I will give it the definition of “A mental or emotional strain accompanied or caused by pressure or being upset.” This definition (while perhaps incomplete) gives rise to two types of stress both of which myself and most of you suffer from. The first is pressure related. This can be work, school, expectations, responsibilities, and also exhaustion if talking about the physical side. The other is related to being upset. Perhaps it is best to say this type of stress is due to not expectations in general but specifically failed expectations. While stress is caused by pressure stress is also caused by the agony of dwelling on or trying to fix what has already come to pass. Example: You feel pressure stress of exams approaching,...and then you fail the exams (don’t worry mom) and you are told to just suck it up. Sucking it up and moving on isn’t always easy. It is rather easy to instead focus on where we went wrong, poor decisions that were made, and then fall right back in to pressure stress in trying to make up for our “mistakes” or “failures”. This is the stress that leads to depression.

Wait, isn’t that how we should live? Learn from failures, take responsibility, and better our tomorrow? Yes, but here is my point: Anger, shame, guilt, and anxiety can creep in when we dwell on past disappointments. These feelings are dangerous. The cure is then to live in the moment. There should be consideration to the past and future as well but we have to be careful because as I know and I’m sure many of you feel right now, focus elsewhere can destroy ourselves and those around us. The focus on the past can cause the anger, shame, and guilt, while anxiety is caused from dwelling on the future. Both bring about stress and sometimes even depression. My anger or disappointment at my past has brought me to a state of emotional turmoil and physical suffering. In addition my anxiety has been wrecking my fellowship with those around me. Anxiety steals and/or poisons our appreciation for our current relationships. I pray this will not be the case for those reading this. My hope is for all of you to be free from the devastation of stress. So what does living in the moment mean? Well it doesn’t mean living for the moment (I do not support that). Living for the moment is just another way to say hedonism in which case you will find yourself empty and discontent. Living for the moment is refusing to let our joys, our purposes, and our potential to be robbed, thwarted, or destroyed by the past or the future. As a Christian I find support for this in the scripture. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Answers. Okay here are the solutions to stress. First, accept what has come to past and replace anger and shame with forgiveness and grace (towards yourself, others, or circumstances). This will bring instant improvement. Unforgiveness is a poison in your own cup. Secondly, hold the future with an open hand (and be happy to do so!). Guess what? If we plan out our entire life we will be severely disappointed. Personally, I believe true contentment is letting God plan our future and trusting Him every at every turn. Of course make future plans, pray about them, but hold them with an open hand and don’t let an unfulfilled desire for the future disappoint you. This leads to to the final point about living in the moment and where to find joy. Here is where the world might disagree me. I will give you both answers and let you make the decision. Hopefully one will benefit you. Most say something like this:  “Find contentment in yourself not in others. We can’t find security in the chaotic world around us so don’t rely on it. Stop hoping for something better outside who you are and love yourself and be content. This will bring you happiness. Relax in the now.” There are a lot of good things in this idea/philosophy. Personally, I find it’s best to find security in God rather than ourselves. Of course not others, but not ourselves either. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” As I wrote in my last post peace and joy comes from TRUST. I pray that we will keep our minds focused on God instead of being depressed about “our” life of having the things we want. God bless you all I pray these words will help you all and I pray you will be set free from stress and depression. 
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Wow so I thought Google plus was gone haha

So update: I'm still at Appalachian, pursuing a communication degree, going to Alliance Bible Fellowship, I pray I'm still being a light to some people here at college....and yea. Well greetings everyone I've missed out on :)
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Hilarious! Must watch ;)

http://www.juliansmith.tv/2014/07/wifi/

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Hallelujah!

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Ok last one...
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:O
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I think you all will enjoy this :)
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