Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Believe! Bieber Fever is All in the Brain

posted by Linda Mintle

“I can be a gentleman, anything you want. If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go.”

Those lyrics can create fan hysteria. “Bielievers” (Justin Bieber fans) are star struck once again. His BELIEVE album has topped the charts and  adds to his 15 million albums already sold since 2009. His hit, “Boyfriend (lyrics above) brings teen girls to tears, fainting and hysteria.

Let’s just say the kid is big! Really big, and has a following of swooners like those of Elvis and the Beatles. So is all this Bieber obsession good for teens?

It is safe to have a crush on a celebrity you will never meet and actually stimulates the brain the same way chocolate or other addictions do. According to researcher Daniel Levitin, musical tastes formed in the teen years become internally hard wired in the brain. This music then stimulates the release of the pleasure neurotransmitter, dopamine, giving the rush feeling that makes teen girls scream and cry over our boy Justin. And because teen girls are awakening to their feelings of romance, the Biebs can be a safe infatuation for budding sexuality.

Songs like, “If I was Your Boyfriend” play into girl’s fantasies of romance and love.

But can Bieber Fever go too far?

Yes, if it gets in the way of doing homework, developing real relationships and is fueled to ridiculous levels. I read that one mom spent huge amounts of money to send her daughter to a Bieber concert. The cost put the family in financial trouble. Definitely not a good choice in helping her daughter put some reality on the infatuation.

Teens need to learn balance in their lives and also understand the impact of commercialism and hype media throw at them. So while Bieber Fever may be in the brain, the obsession needs to be managed.  Parents, be sensible and talk to your teens about balance and infatuation. Some experts agree, at some point, your teen needs to give up the fantasy and operate in the real world. I’m trusting that most teens see the hype and can have a little fun with the infatuation, but move on with the rest of their lives.

So while Beiber Fever may all be in the brain, teen brains can still operate in reality. Infatuation is just a phase and real life romance much more challenging.

 

Prevent Child Depression: Treat Mom or Dad

posted by Linda Mintle

It is a sober statistic–one in eight women can expect to develop depression at some point in her life. One of those risk times is during the childbearing years. And when mom is depressed, it impacts the kids. In fact, when a child has a depressed mother, he or she is three times more likely to develop depression too.

Children who have depressed moms are sad, anxious, irritable and more disruptive than kids with moms who are not depressed.  They may feel responsible for their parents’ moods and have difficulty regulating their own emotions.

We also know that when a mom is depressed during her child’s first year of life, the baby is vulnerable because of the unresponsiveness or withdrawal of mom. Studies show that the baby senses the lower engagement and looks at mom less often (Pediatrics).

But here is the good news. When mom gets treatment for depression, her children get progressively better too. The faster she responds, the faster the kids responds. So early treatment is key! Depression is very treatable and needs to be addressed as soon as possible to help mom, but also her children.

So many people with depression choose not to get treatment. Obviously, this is not a good choice. And moms are not the only ones who impact their kids where depression is concerned. Depressed dads are less likely to read to their kids and  four times more likely to spank their kids.

So moms and dads, if you are struggling with depression get immediate help. Your action may prevent depression in your children.

Wait on the Lord: He Sees the Delay

posted by Linda Mintle

I’m still waiting  for something important to take place in my life. It continues to get delayed and it is trying my patience. My natural response is to get tough on the people who are delaying and push my weight around with threats and talk of justice. I know I could do this but I also know this is not  what God wants me to do. It doesn’t reflect His love in me.

James 1:3 tells me the trying of my faith brings patience. Could it be that God is allowing these circumstances to build patience in me?

At times, our relationship with God the Father is like our parent-child relationship. When you watch your child work at something and see no immediate response to that hard work, you encourage your child to hang in there. The reward is around the corner. I remember doing this my daughter’s senior year of high school. She was tired of studying, tired of pushing herself and wanted to stop working so hard. But the reward of multiple college scholarships was right around the corner. I could see it and knew how patience in her studying would pay off. Because of the encouraging voices of mom and dad, she was motivated to keep going, keep pushing, doing what she knew she had to do and it all paid off. And she developed the study habits she needed for college.

God, our Father, is a good parent. Even though I can’t clearly see the closure of this problem, God is cheering me on–hang in there, let the trying of your faith bring patience, I am working it for your good, your reward is around the corner. You can’t see it but I can. And He continues to build character in me.

Honestly, I don’t like to wait, yet waiting on the Lord is what brings us strength. We live in a culture that promotes immediate gratification and teaches us not to wait but, indulge the moment. Yet waiting builds character and patience.

So today, I wait on the Lord. Renew my strength. In the process, help me to treat those creating delay with kindness. You are God, in control of my days and watchfully keeping your eye on my situation. Perhaps the wait is also another opportunity to trust.

Psalm 130:5-6
I pray to God—my life a prayer— and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.

 

Resist Body Obsession and Live in Acceptance God’s Way

posted by Linda Mintle

How do we live in this culture of body obsession without being conformed to it?

Paul addresses this in the 12th chapter of Romans, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.(The Message 12:1-2).”

Let’s pick this apart. First, we are to place our entire life before God as an offering, or said another way, as an act of worship. This means that our physical bodies are to be holy and pleasing to God. His condition for holy and pleasing has to do with what we do with our bodies in obedience to his Word, not how we physically appear. In fact, no emphasis is placed on physical appearance.

We are to care for our bodies as the temple where God lives. This means we should eat healthy, exercise and take care of our appearance. However, we should resist the imbalance culture places on appearance in determining our worth. God values us because of who we are, not because we lost five pounds or have great legs.

Secondly, we are not to think like the culture thinks unless it lines up with the truth of God’s word. So, when we are constantly told to improve and fix our outward bodies, we are being distracted from the truth of acceptance. Nothing in God’s word says younger looking skin makes you more desirable to God or that big breasts bring success. These are the ideas of fashion gurus, diet experts, the cosmetic industry and plastic surgeons. The intent is simply to get you to buy more product and spend more money.

Paul says fix your attention on God and renew your mind with His thoughts. Don’t be dragged down by the thinking of the culture that pulls you away from the thoughts of God. And that’s exactly what happens when we get caught up in body obsession. Our thoughts are easily pulled away from the way God thinks of us and shifted to the approval of others and some personal standard we have developed from the culture. Our acceptance is all about how thin we are. Our esteem is based on the right nose or fullness of lips. The lie is that the more we do to look like models and celebrities, the more successful we’ll be. But success isn’t being measured by biblical standards. Success means power and money. This type of cultural think is what we must resist.

 

For more help with body image, get a copy of Making Peace With your Thighs by Dr. Linda Mintle

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