Roller Coasters of Life

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9, ESV)

Several years ago, my wife (Melissa) and I took our son (Michael) and a friend of his to an amusement park. I do not remember their exact age, but they were probably around ten. We were all smiles until we decided to board one of the roller coasters. The three of us had ridden rides like that before, but Michael’s friend had not. He immediately showed signs of concern. After some discussion, he agreed to give it a try. Continue reading “Roller Coasters of Life”

Opposites Attract

My wife and I have quite a bit in common. We both enjoy good food. We don’t care much for cold weather and would rather every day be a beach day. We like to kick back and watch one of our favorite TV shows or a movie. We are both introverts. We love people, but we need time to ourselves to recharge. We tend to be task-oriented. We are often pretty content with accomplishing our to-do lists. Continue reading “Opposites Attract”

Short Video: “Empathy”

We were recently asked to do a short video on the subject of “empathy”. Please click below to watch. Thank you to Hood Memorial Christian Church and Pastor Jason Williams for asking us to be a part of your current series on “Healthy Relationships”. Continue reading “Short Video: “Empathy””

There is an End

I do not like “unknowns”. One of the most challenging parts of this COVID-19 pandemic for me is not having clear answers to the many questions rushing through my mind. One of the most pervasive questions is this: “when will this end?”. It’s like I am craving a light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to. However, there is no clear indication of when it will be over. We just don’t know when our lives will resume without the present threat looming over us. Continue reading “There is an End”

A Painful Reminder

A few Monday nights ago, it happened again. For those of you who know my story, you will recall my past struggle with fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. Well, these old acquaintances have paid me a visit over the past two weeks or so. On that Monday night, the granddaddy of them all (a massive panic attack) snuck up on me about midnight. Continue reading “A Painful Reminder”

A Neverending Cycle

Years ago, Derek Webb penned these lyrics to the Caedmon’s Call song “Thankful”:

I ran across an old box of letters
While I was bagging up
Some clothes for Goodwill
You know I had to laugh
That the same old struggles
That plagued me then
Are plaguing me still

It can be massively discouraging when we come to the realization that we continue to wrestle with the same things over and over in life. We wonder if we will ever be free of those things we despise about ourselves and/or our behavior. Is there any hope for us when we discover we are stuck in a cycle we’ve tried so hard to break? Continue reading “A Neverending Cycle”

Letting Our Guard Down

Last night I came home from work (my day job, not counseling) in a pretty good mood. I went about doing several little things I wanted to do, including warming up some delicious supper that my wife had made on Sunday and turning on some TV to watch (by the way, Wu-Tang: An American Saga is pretty cool for those like me who enjoyed Wu-Tang’s music back in the day). Continue reading “Letting Our Guard Down”

The Perfect Temperature

In the mornings I typically take a few minutes to turn on the news to catch the weather. Personally, I prefer warmer weather. I would rather be hot than cold, so what I want to hear from the meteorologist is that the day is going to be sunny, warm, and dry. Now, I know everyone has their preference. Some love the winter and want some snow on the ground. Others, like those who farm for a living, want to see the right amount of rain in the forecast. There seems to be an abundance of opinions on what the perfect temperature, humidity, and cloud cover would be for today. Continue reading “The Perfect Temperature”

What Matters More?

What we do matters less than who we are. How we do things matters less than for whom we do them. (From the book Ascent of a Leader by Thrall, McNicol, and McElrath)

Living in God’s grace means living our lives out of who God created us to be. We can only reach our human potential outside of allowing Him to guide us to our true destiny. This path requires humility, which is not self-deprecation but rather choosing to trust God and others with ourselves by being vulnerable and truly allowing them a voice in our lives. Faith takes action as we choose to act on conviction rather than opportunity. This grace-based, relationship-oriented lifestyle leads us to be less focused on selfish ambition and more experienced in being loved and loving others.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV)

-Neil