Author Archives: olivebranchfamilycounseling

Purpose in Life: The Importance of Aims & Ideals

What is the meaning of your life?  What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning and gives your life purpose?  Is there an ultimate reason, one that rises high above all the rest and justifies or defends the multitude of things you plunge yourself into each day and gives these other things meaning?

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Depression: What we can learn from St. Paul

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“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair… “  2 Cor. 4:8

Many Americans struggle with depression.  Statistics show that depression affects more than 16 million people in a given year, and almost 10% of doctor office visits are due to depression.  In the US, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death, and The World Health Organization has forecasted that depression will be the number one cause of disease by 2020.   Continue reading

Growing Pains

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“And having no root in themselves they endure but for a time.  But when trouble comes they quickly fall away” Mark 4:17

 

Scripture reminds us repeatedly and sternly that we are not to lose heart due to the troubling events in our lives, as they are not fully what they may seem;  whether the exodus from Egypt, the wanderings in the desert, entering into the promise land, choosing a king, maintaining the stability and integrity of the nation, or the beginning and flourishing of the Church.  There is a tension that runs throughout all of scripture: that of trusting in God to guide and sustain our lives or believing that the events in our world are as they seem, and we are left to our own devices to provide, protect, and care for ourselves. Continue reading

Pillars of Relationships: What our relationships Need to Survive

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          Good relationships can be thought of as a unity of mind and will. There exists a harmony among the members in both the ideas and goals pursued. This harmony is for the benefit of all involved as each gets to feed from the good that the relationship will come to bear. But we all know that relationships can be tricky business, and many of us experience this difficulty on a daily basis. When unity breaks, the relation often turns in on itself and works against the members involved. The purpose here is to outline three pillars necessary for any relationship, whether marriage, family, work, or friendships. Continue reading

Fear – Understanding & Combating

Fear – A Shrinking Back

            Fear can be a constant nagging, agitating, and even crippling feeling that affects many people. Sometimes we experience it as worry, and at other times it manifests as anxiety. It can disguise itself as something that is important to focus on, or a matter that needs immediate attention; or it can be a concern that if you do not address it, it will immediately alter everything in your life. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”.  In life that is commonly true. How many times have we had an enormous fear of something happening; and then it actually does happen, and the thing that we were afraid of happening, when it occurs, is not nearly as bad as what we expected. Sometimes, though, fear is realized when a terrible event does occur, and it was worse than expected. Then that fear can be the fear of something bad happening all over again.  In the Bible, the phrase “Fear Not” is mentioned 365 times. It was so important to God, that he mentioned it enough times to cover every day of an entire year. Why is it so hard for us, though, to give up our fear? Is it because we feel that having that fear is somehow making us feel like we are responsible for the things we can’t control? How much can we really control in our lives anyways? Continue reading

Living Stones: Character Formation and Change

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Water wears on stones – Job 14:19

It is good news indeed that this world is filled with an abundance of demonstrations that the things of life are essentially malleable. Even amidst the testimony of so many objects in nature that give all appearances that things are permanent and fixed, there is a slow current moving in the underbelly of life that churns and presses out new combinations through the various matrixes of existence. Although for many change can be disheartening and provoke anxiety, it none the less will happen, and we can have hope that it will. That is the essential condition of this world, the material world; material items do not remain the same, but are under constant movement from one state to another. Whether it is something coming into existence, or going out; whether something is altered, increased, or decreased, or simply changing locations, everything in this world is changing. Continue reading

Am I my Brother’s Keeper? Making our Relationships Safe

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Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately – Matt. 1:19

            Perhaps the reason why God chose Joseph to be the Husband of Mary, and the father of Jesus, was because he was a just man; for “to do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice” Prov. 21:3, and “the Lord loves justice” Is 61:8.  Joseph gives us a beautiful picture of justice which allows us to see how marvelously justice reflects the goodness of God’s character.  Not only that, but we can see why God also delights when we perform acts of justice ourselves – then we become a sweet smelling aroma. Continue reading