Faith Based Living

How to Find Peace in Life Part 1

How to Find Peace in Life Part 1

Many times in our offices we encounter individuals and couples who have a deep sense of inner turmoil and feelings of dissatisfaction.  Peace seems to be a concept that only certain "lucky" people acquire or maybe even a concept that isn't even attainable at all. 

This week we want to discuss how even in the midst of trial, grief, and crisis, peace can not only be present, but tangibly felt too. The Serenity Prayer

What Drives Your Life? The Need For Approval

As Rick Warren states, "One key to failure is to try to please everyone".  Sound familiar? Many of us grew up in a home where we constantly tried to get the approval from our parents or other important people in our lives, only to feel like we constantly fell short of this.  As adults, we might try to continue this cycle by trying to make everyone like us or think we are "good".

When we allow the expectations of parents, friends, teachers, peers, or other people to control our lives, we aren't fulfilling our true purpose in life.  After all, other's opinions of us don't truly make us "good", even though it's nice to think other people hold us in a favorable light.

When we allow other's opinions of us to run our life and constantly seek the approval of others, we don't follow a path in life that gives us true joy and fulfillment.  Other people may expect things from you that are not only unrealistic, but may not even be on your radar for what makes you happy.  As Rick Warren also states, "Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it".

Does approval seeking drive your life?  If so, stop and ask yourself what YOU need from your life to feel fulfilled and to feel truly connected to your purpose.  If you are listening to the opinions of others over your own, you will miss your purpose and cause yourself unnecessary stress!

Source:  The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Joleen Watson, MS, LMFT, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Characteristics of a Healthy Father- Protection

Characteristics of a Healthy Father- Protection

In honor of Father's Day, this week Imagine Hope is talking about some characteristics of a healthy father.  Do any of the characteristics from this week remind you of your Dad? A healthy father provides protection for his family.

Let's Talk About Love- Agape

Let's Talk About Love- Agape

Agape Love is the rarest and most difficult form of love, but it is the one that symbolizes Christian love and the love from God.  Much like getting to the stage of "self-actualization", it is something we strive to achieve in our relationships with ourselves and others, but it's definitely a journey.  Agape love isn't romantic love or brotherly love...

Our Thanksgiving Memories- Teri

This week Imagine Hope is sharing our thoughts and memories about the Thanksgiving holiday season! Enjoy our stories as you create some of your own! Teri's Memory

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! I like to look at it's meaning by breaking the word apart into "Thanks" and "Giving". I am all about gratitude in life. I think that focusing on what you are thankful for develops a positive attitude that can see hope in even the bleakest situations. But my memory is surrounded by the "Giving" part of this holiday. I was active in student government while in high school. Every year we would sponsor a food drive during the month of November that my high school, made up of about 700 students, would get involved in. During my time there, we really wanted to tap into people's competitive spirits, so we created the "turkey trophy". If I remember correctly my class might have won at least once. The home room who brought in the most won and got some sort of reward, like doughnuts or a pizza party. People went crazy over this. Classes were taking trips to discount stores and filled up their rooms with food. We would generally sponsor close to 20 families and take them each a turkey and 4 or so large boxes of food depending on how many people were in the home.

Being in student government each year of high school, I was given a pass to collect all the food, sort it into food groups, put together the packages for the families, and make the deliveries. This was one of my favorite days of the whole school year. We had a blast all morning organizing things, but the real joy came for me when I saw the look on the people's faces when we knocked on their door. Many families were in utter shock that a group of high schoolers were knocking on their door with food. I went into many homes who had very little and some that I was shocked by what they called home. I left each home with joy in my heart that we could help someone out there have food for the holidays. But I also left with a thankful heart. I would go home to my nice, warm house and look in my full refrigerator. I had so much more than those families. This experience put so much in perspective for me. I saw that even though my life was far from perfect, I should be thankful for my blessings and not take them for granted. These experiences founded my desire to give back and passion to help people in need. I am grateful for all this memory taught me!

We wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday! Keep reading this week for more!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding  areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Forgiveness Tips

Forgiveness is powerful and necessary for the healing process. Lewis Smedes says that "Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free; and to discover that prisoner is you." I've also heard someone describe the process of not forgiving being like "drinking poison and expecting someone else to die." Many feel overwhelmed and confused about what it actually means to forgive someone, so this week Imagine Hope is going to provide you with tips to remember as you embark on the journey of forgiveness.

  • Remember that forgiveness is a process- Forgiving someone is not a one time thing. It is usually something you have to do over and over, especially when you are triggered about the wound. The biggest goal is for you to get the emotions out in a healthy way. Whether it is talking to a professional, journaling, or writing a letter to the person that you don't send.  After time you should be able to wish the person who hurt you well. This will offer you freedom from your pain.
  • Forgiveness isn't something you do for them; it's for you!- The focus should not be about offering them forgiveness. When you forgive someone, it is about freedom from the pain for YOU. If you choose not to forgive than you choose to hold the pain and not feel better.

Keep checking back this week as we share more things to remember when forgiving!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a virtual licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Spring Book Recommendations - Tammy

Tammy's Pick: "What Are You Waiting For? The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex" by Dannah Gresh If you know a young girl in high-school or college, this book would be one of the best gifts a person could give them.

Dannah Gresh is a Christian author and speaker on abstinence and modesty. She uses biblical references to explain why waiting for marriage is in a girl's best interest...and explains why. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

She's able to incorporate her story to share past regrets and how she overcame them to model to girls who may have sexual regrets as well.

Dannah is able to explain the true purpose of a sexual relationship is to have a deeper knowledge and understanding of another person. She uses biblical passages and the original Greek terminology to show the original intent God had in mind when he created men and women. She shows how the sexual relationship between men and women was intended to be for deep emotional connection first, and NOT for mere sexual release and multiple partners.

Here's one of my favorite highlights of the book: "Get this: The ache in your heart to be known by and to truly know one man was placed in you to be a revelation of a much deeper love. When you are in intimate physical and emotional communion with your husband, it will be a mere picture of the passionate love of a God who has been seeking your heart since before you were born."

How BEAUTIFUL is that?!

Many more book recommendations coming your way this week. Thanks for reading!

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

Spring Book Recommendations

We love books here at Imagine Hope! They are such a good tool for clients to dig deeper into their learning which can help the therapy process in many ways. This week each of us will be sharing some books we've found to be helpful in our own journey that we recommend for clients.

Teri's Pick: "Lord, Change my Attitude" by James MacDonald

Do you need an attitude adjustment? If so, what are YOU willing to do about it?

Many times our stubborn hearts say we want our attitudes to change, but we are not willing to swallow our pride enough to get the results we are looking for.

We might think we want an attitude change, but what we are actually seeking is a circumstance change. These things are very different. We all know what it is like to be out of control of a difficult time in our lives. It brings us down and often creates anxiety. Sometimes there are circumstances we just can't change. But we can work to change our attitudes about the negative experience.

James MacDonald uses this book to help you understand what the Bible says about attitudes and how to flip a bad attitude into a good one. There is a study guide in the back that helps readers dig deeper into each chapter.

We often drift into complaining, wishing we had a life like someone else (coveting), being critical, doubting, and flat out rebellion from what we know we "should" do. This book exposes what scripture says each of these attitudes and confronts the heart issues surrounding each one. Then it gives solutions along with a new attitude to replace the old negative one.

Have a complaining attitude? If so, this book helps you see the harm, and guides you down the path to replace it with a thankful attitude.

I always love a great Christian book that uses the Bible to teach us how to live a more Christ-like life.

Remember an attitude change can change your outlook on life.

Check back in tomorrow for another great book to add to your list!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

Fall Book Recommendations- Tammy

If you struggle with shame, have insecurities or doubts, then this book recommendation is for you! Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

This book is powerful, funny, convicting and full of God's truths. Pastor Furtick discusses all the ways the Enemy speaks to us about our insecurities - whether it be our abilities, talents, parenting, etc.

He walks us through how to notice when the "Chatterbox" (aka Satan) is speaking, how to realize that the Chatterbox only spews lies, and how to combat these lies with God's truths.

What I absolutely love about this book is Furtick's ability to share wholeheartedly from his own experiences, admitting his own insecurities in ways that are humble and honest. His sharing allows the reader to realize that no one has it figured out, no matter what the Chatterbox says.

One of my favorite lines from the book is from Chapter 2 which states: "One of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity is because we're comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else's highlight reel." Oh how true this is! I find myself constantly comparing how I feel internally with how others look on the outside, or what someone lets me see on their outside.

This book will deepen your faith and dependence on God and allow you to hear more of God's truths as you listen for His promptings.

 

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

Fall Book Recommendations- Teri

Imagine Hope loves a good book! This week each of us are sharing some favorites with the hopes that they will help you on your journey. Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst

Last week we covered the topic of emotional eating, so I found it fitting to recommend my favorite book on this topic!

I love this book! As a therapist who has a passion for food addiction, I knew I needed to check it out.

Humans are hungry for a lot…hungry for attention, love, acceptance, not to mention food. It is our human nature to crave. This faith based book reminds us that we are made to not only crave food and earthly desires, but also most importantly more of God.

Lysa helps us see that sometimes we misplace our cravings for emotional needs and God with food. When our emotional cravings aren’t met, some people will turn to destructive things to cope instead of the spiritual connection and personal relationship with God.

This isn’t a “hot new diet fad”. It is a book to give clarity to the importance of relying on God as you battle food and body image issues. It helps you learn about what the Bible says about food, and ways to stop beating up on yourself for what the numbers are on the scale.

The focus on a healthy physical body along with a growing relationship with God will refocus your energies on being loved by God and treating your body as the special creation He made you to be. There's also a Bible study workbook to go along with it.

Check out more great recommendations tomorrow!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.  Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Serenity Prayer- Serenity

The Serenity Prayer is commonly linked to 12 step programs and is used by many as a coping tool. It says:“God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.” When we truly internalize these words, it can remind us that we do have power over some things in our lives, but not all things. When we can accept this in our lives, we are able to shift our expectations and be more at peace about what is going on in our lives.

Over this week Imagine Hope is going to help you see how using the Serenity Prayer in your daily life can help anyone- even those who don’t struggle with addictions! This week we are going to break down the Serenity Prayer phrase by phrase to help you have a better understanding of it’s meaning and how YOU can use it in your life!

God Grant Me The Serenity… Even if you don’t believe in God or a higher power, this prayer used as a mantra can be helpful. When we look at the word serenity, it helps us understand the intent and the tone of this prayer.

The word serenity is defined as: “Peace; the absence of mental stress or anxiety; quiet; peace of mind; tranquility; a disposition free from stress or emotion.” This prayer’s intention is about looking for peace and calm in the midst of emotional trouble. As you use this prayer in your own life, be in tune with what you are asking to be “granted”. You are asking for a calmer spirit.

Keep reading all week as we break down the rest of the Serenity Prayer! We hope you start praying for peace in your own lives!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

Advice to My Younger Self- Teri

Here at Imagine Hope we often ask our clients to look back at their "little boy" or "little girl" that still lives inside and needs some healing. It's common for us to ask a client to write a letter to their younger self or offer advice to the little kid inside who needs some TLC. So this week we are each going to share a personal version of this from lessons we've have learned in life. We hope these are helpful for you as you walk life's crazy hard journey!

You Are Loved

Dear Younger Teri-

I know there are times you fear that love isn't real. You feel it is conditional and you have to earn it through how perfect you try to be.

There are people who operate that way in this world. But I promise you that there are people who will love you just for you.

Some people won't be in a healthy give and take relationship with you. Others you will never please.... Stop wasting the mental energy trying so you can spend time on things that really matter.

Focus on being real and genuine. Know who you are so you can be her all the time. Don't morph yourself into what others want you to be.

The first step to loving yourself is to stop believing all those critical lies in your head...they are LIES! Learn from your mistakes and the consequences you face. Don't spiral, wallow and condemn yourself for them. You are human and will make mistakes. But that doesn't mean you aren't loveable.

And at the end of the day remember, you are loved by the most important person- Jesus. There is nothing you can do to make Him stop loving you. He loves you and you can't do ANYTHING to change it!

That's where your comfort is...God's love. Not human love. You are made to please God, not humans.

Younger Teri, if only you could see the peace you would feel from seeing yourself the way Jesus sees you. It is such a freeing peace to sit in this love.

Someday you will know and believe me. Until then know that you are loved because I love you.

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.