M is for Meaning

This post is a continuation of the DBT IMPROVE skill. Parts one and two have been previously posted.

IMPROVE is an acronym as follows:

Imagery- Imagine a happy time, hurtful emotions draining from you, very relaxing scenes, etc.
Meaning– Find purpose in a painful situation
Prayer- open your heart and/or turn things over to God
Relaxing- Breathe deeply, yoga, drink hot milk, take a bath, etc.
One thing in the moment– Do one thing and focus on it
Vacation- No phone, go to a park or beach, get a magazine, eat candy…
Self-Encouragement- “This too shall pass.” Cheerlead yourself! “I can do this!”

M is for MEANING
My son’s death is not about me, but about him. He is with Jesus in Heaven. That happened. It was a catalyst for a turn pin curve in my life.

I don’t know why he died so young, when his life was just starting to come together, but I have found purpose in the experience of this grief. God is teaching me how to stay close to Him. He is taking my hamster wheel mind and slowing it down. That is how I started looking deeper into the Spiritual side of DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy). I would read my Bible and be amazed at how clearly God’s Word partnered with the coping skills I was learning in my DBT class.

I’ve always known there are countless scriptures that express that God is our strength and our shield; that we only need to open the door to Jesus and He will renew our hearts and souls. I have always believed this but have never really felt confident about God being next to me everywhere and every day. I just don’t think I’ve ever taken this literally before now, and I realize that I have missed out by not acting on His promises of always being by my side, no matter what.

So often, I find myself trying everything I can think of to solve my problems, that it’s almost as if I can only accept help from God if and until I have exhausted my powers, my skills, my talents, my brains.

Improving the Moment with Meaning in DBT is to find purpose in a painful situation and focus on whatever positive aspects can be found. The hugely positive thing now is that I have a better relationship with Jesus.

I have found purpose in writing this book. God tells us in 2 Corinthians that as we are comforted in our dark hour we get the Lord’s mercies, so we can comfort others in a similar situation. Right now, God is helping me learn that nothing can separate me from Him and the more I read scripture and pray throughout each day’s trials, I am learning to cope. He wants me to share my experiences, to help others who are suffering with mental illness or have lost their way due to a series of bad breaks or trauma; to witness to those who are held hostage by their past, their emotions, their negativity.

I know from his Word that we are meant to go through struggles, not sit in them and ruminate. Go through the tough emotions so you can get to the good emotions! I can’t ever remember using a term like “the beauty of my life is astonishing.” Maybe that’s because I have walked too many paths alone without my Lord.

I have my purpose which gives meaning to the struggle. This relationship with God is deeper than any other time in my life. I want to be close to the Lord, and I feel Him leading me to what He wants me to become. I want to pray and spend time reading the Bible. I want to go to the bookstore and peruse the different versions of the Word. I want to keep meaning in my life.

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