Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and the Gift of Limitations

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Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and the Gift of Limitations

By Russ Ramsey

“At the crucial moments of choice, most of the business of choosing is already over.” – Iris Murdoch

We live in a world of limits. We all run up against them. We all have them. If you’re like me, you wish this weren’t the case. But limits are a fact of life, part of God’s design. Even our first parent, Adam, looked around and said, “I need help. I need another.”

Eve didn’t solve the problem of Adam’s limitations. God didn’t put the man to sleep and then put into him what he lacked. Instead, God took something out of the man and made a partner to come alongside him—helpful but distinct. The gift of Eve confirmed that this was how things were going to be moving forward—how they were meant to be. We wouldn’t merely help ourselves. We’d be given help—and we would be given to help.

Sometimes the help we’re given requires us to adapt to a new course, especially when a person has a personality that changes the rhythm of how we might work on our own. Perhaps they’re faster than us, or more contemplative. Perhaps they think in concrete terms while we favor the abstract. They bring nuance into our otherwise rigid plans, structure to our hazy vision, or economics to our dream. Sometimes, we inherit the work of others, and it falls to us to carry it across the finish line. Sometimes others inherit our work.

Whatever the situation, our limits and need for others often end up producing results—beautiful, helpful, and unexpected results that none of us would’ve expected on our own. The story behind how Michelangelo’s David came to be helps us see this point.

Michelangelo Wasn’t First

Michelangelo’s David is confounding. He’s simultaneously vulnerable in his nakedness and imposing in his size, standing more than 13 feet tall. One hand grips a sling, ready for action; the other is relaxed, cradling a stone. The warrior is alert but calm, equipped but patient, daring but confident. His posture conveys motion, as though he’s just shifted his weight or taken a step. The sling and stone signal to us that David is looking at Goliath, who is about to die. The look in David’s eye tells us he has no doubt.

The shepherd’s hands, his torso, his battle-ready stare, his posture all seem to animate Michelangelo’s block of marble. David is a living stone. He’s a masterpiece.

Yet Michelangelo wasn’t the first sculptor to take hammer and chisel to this marble. Nor was he the second. In 1464, the city of Florence commissioned Agostino de Duccio to sculpt a statue of David as part of a series of 12 Old Testament figures begun in 1410 by Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi—better known as Donatello. After the city brought in a block of marble masoned from the Alps in northern Tuscany, Duccio began his work. But he only got as far as roughing out the legs before he died in 1466.

Ten years later, another sculptor named Antonio Rossellino was brought in to pick up where Duccio left off, but for reasons unknown he was soon removed from the project, and the work-in-progress sat unfinished for the next 25 years.

Finally, in 1501, a 26-year-old Michelangelo convinced city officials that he should be hired to finish the sculpture Duccio started 11 years before Michelangelo was born. He had to accommodate the work of others whose creative choices determined, at least to a degree, how David stood, which affected everything about the end result.

How different would Michelangelo’s David have been if he began with a virgin stone? What artistic choices would he have made differently? Would that sculpture be as beloved as the one we’ve been given? We’ll never know, because Michelangelo was given a block of stone others had a hand in shaping.

No Untouched Foundations

Isn’t this a metaphor for life? None of us builds on an untouched foundation. Many people and their many decisions—for better or worse—have played a role in determining where our feet are planted. Consequently, we ourselves are in the process of shaping future foundations on which others will one day stand. Lord, have mercy.

We work with what we’re given. We live in a world of limits. Michelangelo chipped away at the stone set before him, improving on the vision of other sculptors. But even before that, he had to accommodate the dimensions handed down by the stonemasons who first hewed the marble from the Tuscan Alps. Further still, he had to accommodate the written word of Scripture.

These limits played a role in the creative decisions Michelangelo had to make in order to sculpt the shepherd he’d read about and imagined. Some of those choices had already been made for him—and had they not been, we wouldn’t have Michelangelo’s David. We’d have something else.

I can’t think of a single thing in my life that doesn’t bear the touch of others. I bet you can’t either. Of course we wish some of those chisel marks never happened—the ones that draw from us pleas for mercy and for the renewal of all things. But if we’re honest, many of the marks have been necessary to give us eyes to behold God’s glory, glory we wouldn’t have otherwise known.

Recognizing both our limits and also our need for others is one of the ways we experience beauty we wouldn’t have seen, good work we wouldn’t have chosen, and relationships we wouldn’t have treasured. It’s one of the ways we’re shaped to fit together as living stones into the body of Christ (1 Pet. 2:4–5Eph. 2:22). As much as our strengths are a gift to the church, so are our limitations.

If you would like to talk with someone please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

The Power of Community

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The Power of Community

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

We were designed by God to love and be loved, know and be known, serve and be served. These are some of the greatest gifts we can ever give and receive. Simply put, we are created to live in community with one another. It is in this context that we are propelled to flourish in our relationships and every other area of our lives.

Building a strong, supportive community is arguably never more important than when navigating our marriages. It’s not only a matter of surrounding ourselves with people, but choosing the right people. Here are three ways you can seek out and build healthy community around you.


The best place to find like-minded people is in your local church. If you’re not a part of a church, and frustrated by the lack of quality people in your life, that is the very best place to start. If you’re willing to embrace the process wholeheartedly, it is your best bet to building lasting relationships in your life.

As well as forming great relationships with like-minded people, many Church communities like to take part in fun activities as a form of support for their place of worship. Taking part in church fundraisers, volunteering for charities, and supporting each other in times of need really implements the sense of community and solidifies your friendships.

Each Sunday, churches all around the world open their doors. Everybody is welcome, and the possibilities are endless. Most churches make it easy to narrow your options, finding places you can serve and smaller groups you can join. As programmed as it may sound, it is most often a place where getting plugged in can lead to growing relationships organically within the safe framework of the church.


Wisdom doesn’t always come with experience, but when it does, it is an invaluable resource. Finding people who have been married longer than you, who are godly, and who are open to sharing their successes and failures is worth its weight in gold for your marriage. Look for people whose marriages you would like to model. Ask them if they would be willing to mentor you, or simply spend some time together.

Being married comes with a unique set of challenges. Parts of us are revealed that we never knew existed, and it can be so easy to think we are the only people facing certain challenges. One powerful thing we have realized is that you’re never alone in your challenges. Finding people with more experience will often reveal that. They have worked through the things you are going through, are stronger for it, and may even be able to laugh about it now. They can provide powerful perspective and help you feel less alone. They may just be the most valuable form of community you can find.


The thought of seeking counseling can be a source of shame in our culture. For a minute though, shift your mind from counseling as being a negative, to it being a source of building healthy community around you.

It’s simply never wise to face our problems alone. And if you’re feeling isolated in any area of your life, a good Christian counselor may be the saving grace you have been looking for. There is nothing to be ashamed of in seeking counseling. In fact, your marriage may be going better than it ever has. It could be argued that even in the best of times, counseling is wise. Wouldn’t you rather do damage control than disaster clean-up?

Counselors are trained professionals who have spent time and energy into helping people through the common life issue that we all face. A good counselor can provide a safe, objective view on your unique situation. They are trained to get you to the source of your feelings and equip you to better deal with your relationships. Some of the strongest marriages around have sought or keep regular counseling. It’s a powerful way to build and sustain your marriage and the community around you.

We simply weren’t meant to do this life alone. Building a strong community around you may take time, but is well worth the investment into your relationships, and especially your marriage. There is strength in numbers, and power in community! Seek it today if you don’t have it, and work to keep it if you do! It’s the only way to do life the way we were created to.


If you would like help in developing healthy community or working through the hurts of an unhealthy community, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with one of our counselors or coaches.


An Honest Look at the Past Couple Years

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An Honest Look at the Past Couple Years

By Sighsharmonize (post adapted from the original)

The first week of being 25 was great with a few minor hiccups. It’s been weird. Things have gone wrong but it leads to me being thankful for other things. Maybe I’m just an optimist but I don’t regret anything, even things that caused the bad events.

Example: On Saturday night, my car was towed. It was 100% my fault because I didn’t check the time that the lot was going to close but Saturday was so fun! It was awesome hanging out with people and such a wonderful day overall that nothing was going to drag me down. When I found out and didn’t have a car, no one so much as hesitated to help me out. Everyone I am surrounded by is always willing to be there for me in every capacity.

I feel as though it’s unfair for me to be anything but happy. With people who are always there for me, it doesn’t matter what happens. I am surrounded by great people. The Lord has provided such an amazing support system for me.

Looking at this post, it’s so strange to type this. I’m really happy that I’m able to type this but these past two years have been rough. Back at that point of my life, It was almost like I was too tired to have this attitude. I was tired, unmotivated, and pretty consistently down in the dumps. I’m so happy I can be back to my old temperament; my carefree, sing in the car, laughing at nearly anything, constantly smiling, finding the silver lining attitude.

Although looking back, I can’t believe it took so much to get me to see a therapist. Even after I lost my a little bit of my uppity attitude, I had to sink so low to the point where I didn’t even have motivation to hang out with my friends (and I’m 90% extroverted) or work on anything that would lead to future goals. I don’t even know if I had goals at that point. I felt like everything was hopeless and at one point, I was so sure I would rather be in a coma than have to deal with life. It started becoming so bad that I would literally pray to get into a car crash (I didn’t explicitly try to though, I was too scared for that). At one point, I was I was skipping so many meals a day that sometimes I would go to bed light headed and wondering if I would even wake up in the morning. Other days, I would just drink until I didn’t feel guilty about my actions or laziness.

I don’t think people knew how bad it was because whenever people would ask about how I was doing, there was the automatic response of “fine”. I was perfectly okay with putting on a front when I was with people for a long time. But at one point it was just too tiring. It made me dread going out with people and I would actually choose laying on the floor rather than being with friends. Now I finally have found a counselor and something to help my depression and anxiety but why did it take me so long? I was scared because I couldn’t find the positives anymore. I didn’t know what was wrong with me.

I don’t think I should’ve tried to hide it for so long. I know I can confide in my friends, there’s something about weakness though. It’s scary to show people your weakness and I guess that’s why I’m finally typing this out. A lot of times, people try to come off as if they have the perfect life but no one’s life is perfect. You can be optimistic but you shouldn’t live in denial. People should be honest and feel like they can turn to one another with their problems, especially their family (church included). That’s one thing that stressed me out, no one went through things like this. I couldn’t tell people how I felt because who would understand? But I’m starting to see that I have so many friends who I know will stand behind me. Everyone has weaknesses. It’s just about using your surrounding to overcome them and for me that was feeling comfortable to talk to my friends about things weighing me down.

Wowzers this is scary to post. It’s so scary to even think about being at that low of a point.  I’m just so thankful that the Lord kept me, was faithful, and that I’m back to me.

Well, here it is, a real look into my weakest point.

If you or someone you know is struggling like the author of this article, we encourage you to take the same courageous step to seek out the help of a professional counselor to help walk with you as you take an honest look at life and to rediscover hope and joy. Please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment.

Managing Anxiety and Making Friends

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Managing Anxiety and Making Friends

By Anne Marie Miller

With mental illness, community becomes more challenging… and more essential.

I was a high school freshman when I had my first panic attack. Heart palpitating and lightheaded from heavy breathing, I laid down and tried to take deep breaths, but my lungs didn’t want to cooperate.

What was happening? Was I having a heart attack? My heart kept pounding and my head kept spinning, and I wondered what they’d say the next day at school if I died. I could see the memorial page in the yearbook. Why couldn’t I take a decent school picture? I’d forever be remembered as the girl with a spiral perm and uncooperative ‘90s bangs. This fact only worsened my condition.

My dad comforted me by telling me my “irrational fear” would go away, and it did-for a little while. But then it came back and stayed, 20 years of constant panic. If only I could have searched cherry berry mt pleasant mi in order to find an array of soothing cannabis products. Sadly, it was a very different time.

Some days here and there, I’ll find mild relief, but I’m almost certain it’s here to stay. Most of the time, I’m functional and happy, and my anxiety lays dormant in the chemicals and synapses in my mind, hushed by medication that knows when it starts getting too loud. Anxiety can be a constant battle for so many people and we all have our own ways of managing it. I manage mine through my medication and some people may decide to use marijuana by visiting a Best online dispensary canada such as this one to help them and that’s ok. I think that you have to do what’s best and what works for you.

There are other natural remedies that people can use to combat anxiety too. For example, a friend of mine likes to use products containing CBD that she purchases from the getcherry website. Products containing CBD are thought to have a mood-boosting impact and so an increasing number of people turn to CBD as an alternative approach to managing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Ultimately, it is important to note that CBD products are widely available nowadays. So, whether you want to buy CBD in Missouri dispensaries or prefer to shop for natural products online, there are plenty of options open to you.

Moreover, even on the quiet days, my anxiety can put a wall up around me, whispering (or shouting) how it’s not safe to go outside, how I’m better off alone. But I know God desires more for me. He wants me to have community, real friends. People I can lean on and people who can lean on me.

No matter who you are, cultivating friendships is a difficult process. As our developed societies have become more independent, we’ve felt the effects of disconnectedness on such a deep level, we’re afraid to admit it at times. Even though we have screens and pixels to connect us to anyone, anywhere, any time, we’ve never felt more lonely or unhappy in any decade in modern history. We’re surrounded by people everywhere we go-both physically and virtually-yet the need to feel that we belong somewhere is undeniably palpable.

As if the symptoms of an anxiety disorder aren’t damaging enough, coping with any mental illness (to name just a handful: depression, bipolar, ADD, and obsessive-compulsive disorders) can add to the challenge of finding community. Realcommunity. Friends you can be vulnerable with. People you let into those places in your life that seem unbearable.

The National Institute of Mental Health tells us 18.6 percent of American adults have a diagnosable mental illness. That’s almost one fifth of our population. Although we may feel alone, we’re not. And we’re not a burden to each other, either.

Over the years, I’ve experienced various seasons in my approach to finding community in the midst of mental illness:

There’s the “I’m fine, everyone!” season. This season is the one where you shove every fear and idea of brokenness you have deep inside you. You numb out any uncomfortable feeling using whatever means necessary. You plaster on a smile when people ask how you are. “I am fine,” you say. You know you’re not being honest or open. When nobody’s looking, you allow yourself the freedom to be not okay. As time goes by you realize living two lives is exhausting.

Next, there’s the “I’m by myself and I like it!” phase.For me, this phase usually follows a period of “I’m fine, everyone!” You are exhausted from pretending you’re fine, and you tell yourself you’re better off alone. You cancel activities with friends, you skip out on work, and you duck in and out of church before anyone can talk to you. Sometimes we need our alone time, but this phase is about isolation. Isolation eventually leads to despair.

Finally, you reach the “I’m broken and I need help”chapter. Although it sounds like this new chapter is emerging from a place of defeat, it’s actually the birth of acceptance, healing, and freedom. When you can share your struggle with another person, safely and vulnerably, the burden is lifted off you and somebody else is there to help you carry it (see James 5:16, Gal. 6:2-3). It is not an easy place to be. Much courage is needed to realize this and to act on it.

Having genuine community takes intentionality. I used to believe the only relationships worth keeping were the ones that flourished organically, without much effort. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While some relationships will grow naturally, most have to be nurtured from the beginning. When you’re wrestling with mental illness, it feels like you don’t have the strength to reach out. Let others know. Pray, asking God to meet your need for strength and for people.

If you’re a friend or family member of someone struggling with mental illness, it can be difficult to understand what to do. Although each unique situation calls for discernment and prayerful guidance (even sometimes, outside counsel), my friend Lon, an emotional health researcher whose wife and daughters suffer from depression, offers this helpful advice from 1 Corinthians 13.

Community gives us a place to be vulnerable, even about our mental health issues. We liken being vulnerable with being honest, but it also means being open to being wounded, defenseless. Too often we assume we must wait until we feel safe to be vulnerable with other people. They must earn our trust and show us they will not take our wounds and cause them to bleed more. We misconstrue the wisdom of guarding our hearts, our life’s wellspring, as a command for us to form a fortress around it. Piece by piece, we can let the bricks of our walls down and allow others into the most sheltered, secret parts of our lives. And we can let them in consistently.

When you’re intentional and vulnerable in community, the only way growth happens is through surrender and consistency–by committing to one another. Our relationships are more nomadic and sporadic than ever. We tend to see relationship as something that has to be convenient for us in order for it to work. Instead, relationships should actually require us to step beyond convenience into being uncomfortable. If we aren’t feeling growing pains as we move into more committed relationships, that’s an indicator those relationships aren’t becoming stronger. Commitment causes discomfort, and it also causes growth.

Mental illnesses can steal our energy and motivation. But sincere, God-given, life-giving friendships can help us through the times when we struggle the most. Where we are weak, he is strong. Anxiety is my weakness that can either break relationships and isolate my spirit or it can boast Christ’s strength and join me with other believers.

In the midst of our struggles, he is with us. He knows every malfunctioning neurotransmitter in our brains. And his desire for us to have relationships – to be united one to another, to carry each other’s burdens – doesn’t change.