The Depth of Anxiety – Applying Grace

Anxiety confronts us all. Circumstances will always arise that cause a fight or flight response from us. Sure, we may manage stress, but it does not make us immune from it. This fact should not discourage us. Rather, we should be encouraged because we are no different than anyone else. Plus, there are effective coping techniques to assist us, if we will use them.

As Christians, our primary coping mechanism should be faith in Jesus. Not just a faith that saves, but a faith that comforts us daily in each circumstance. See, we forget that the grace of Jesus is available to us so we can rest in Him than in ourselves. In fact, I believe God allows anxieties into our lives to serve as constant reminders that we need to rely on Him than ourselves. In other words, if you are a very anxious person, then rejoice because God loves you. He loves you so much that he allows anxiety as a discipline in your life so that we will relate to Him more intimately (Heb 12:5-8).

Personally, this lesson is one where a continue workplace conflict taught me this lesson. Continue reading “The Depth of Anxiety – Applying Grace”

We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives

In high school, my friend Eric Wren told me, “If you’re Bible is in good shape, you’re probably not!” His phrase suggests we should have marked-up Bibles than pristine. Despite this truth, it can be hard to highlight or write in our Bibles; but we need to be messy!

In a previous post, I shared my Bible highlighting system, which I try to follow when possible. However, there are times when a deviation is needed. The exception creates a dilemma because I feel if I’m going to mark Bible I want the marks to be consistent. Having talked with others I know I’m not alone in this struggle. A challenge that can impact our Bible intake, so, what to do? Again: Be messy!

Our faith rests in a relationship with Jesus. It’s not a set of rules; it’s not indulgence in ourselves, it’s a dynamic relationship when led by the Spirit can look different than other Christians. Like other healthy relationships, our faith with Jesus can be messy, not because He is a wreck, but because He is taking our mess and turning it into His message. Jesus creates this message for His glory as we grow in our relationship with Him. Therefore, our Bibles don’t have to be consistent when we mark in them. Again: Be messy! Continue reading “We Need Messy Bibles For Our Lives”

Limited Texting: Final Thoughts

Today is Fat Tuesday, which is also the day that New Orleans and Mobile celebrate Mardi Gras since Mobile is where Mardi Gras originated. As many celebrate Mardi Gras, they will also participate in Fat Tuesday before a season of fasting begins. See the day after Fat Tuesday is Ash Wednesday when many Catholics (and now Protestants) choose at least one thing to fast until Easter. Personally, I have decided to “limit” my texting over the month of February. Therefore, today is the final day of my limited-texting lifestyle and here is my last assessment of my exercise.

1. Calling Is Now Preferred Over Texting. – There are times when texting is needed. For example, when my wife says, “Could you get some milk on the way home?” is better than a call. However, for more serious topics I prefer a phone call.

2. Relationships Matter. – By forcing people to call me, I’ve created deeper and better relationships with others. The best part of this is that it’s happened within my family. So the fact that I can say that I feel more confident in some of my family relationships due to phone calls over texts are a value I’ll cherish forever.

3. FLEXIBILITY & BOUNDARIES!!!!!! – Continue reading “Limited Texting: Final Thoughts”

Sticking Through A Tough Job Is Important!

Life is full of transitions. Perhaps one of the toughest transitions is the change from one job to the next. Not only does one have to determine when it’s time to leave a job, one must search for a new one. Such a search can take weeks, months, even years. The process can be exhausting. Then, finally, once the new job is found one must make the transition between the two employers. Since then the process is so emotional it’s important we know when to make changes.

There is both a lot of good and bad advice on job searches. Perhaps one of the worst is, “You start looking for your next job when you start your current one.” The sentiment of this statement suggests one always remain open to new possibilities and advancement. But, the other side of the phrase promotes an endless dissatisfaction with one’s current employment. By “looking for your next job” you’re always working with your focus beyond your current position. Not only is this stressful, but it will be hard to hide your discontentment as you work. Therefore, to contrast this advice, I suggest my phrase: “Run to another job and never from your current job.”

In a job I recently held I saw a very high turnover with the employees. For example, there were around 40 full-time positions. Within a year, only six other people had a longer tenure than when I left. That’s not a healthy organization! However, the sickness was not just the companies fault; no, other employees had a choice: they could have waited to run to a better place than run from their current employer.

Many of us have been in jobs we hate. It’s not uncommon, but there comes the point in our career maturity where we must choose to stick it out. Not to the point where we accept abuse. Rather, we stick it out until we discover a better place of employment. We need to,

“Run to a place than from a place.” Continue reading “Sticking Through A Tough Job Is Important!”

No Texting: Mid-Month Reflections

My month of no texting in February is just about over. As I last reported, my goal changed from no-texting to limited-texting. Since making the change, a lesson I’ve learned is, the ability to say “no!”

We live in a society that loves to please others, even to a fault. Our texting communication is no different. Think about it, how often do we feel compelled or obligated to respond to someone’s text message? In contrast, how did you feel the last time you put off your reply to someone? How anxious were you? If so, then why do we place so much emphasis on texting? All of these questions beg this question: How can we then eliminate these negative emotions? How about saying, No!?”

Saying “no” is a lost art for our society. Personally, as I still struggle with determining who to say “no.” As I prioritize the text messages, I receive, I too am anxious. Still, I have learned to say “no” in a variety of ways: Continue reading “No Texting: Mid-Month Reflections”

Storms Are God’s Protection

In 2002 I was a Senior at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). Since I felt a call to ministry in my life, I sought a way to merge my call to ministry with my recreation degree. As a result, I did an internship at the United Methodist Wesley Foundation where we were to execute “Operation Flamingo!” However, it never happened because God’s storm protected both me and other lives we never intended to touch.

In the Fall of 2002, my school was impacted by a Hurricane. Let that sink in for a second; a Hurricane affected Kentucky. It doesn’t happen often, but Hurricane Gustav prevented Operation Flamingo from happening.

See, Operation Flamingo was a thematic form of capture the flag where participants were to go all over campus to win. The winner would capture a “flamingo” to win. Due to the event occurring outdoors Hurricane Gustav canceled the event from happening. Knowing I’d not be able to finish my internship I initially disappointed. However, from my discouragement, God would teach me how storms bring His protection in the midst of a disaster. Continue reading “Storms Are God’s Protection”

Celebrities, Their Opinions, & Culture

United States culture has been interesting in the past few years. Just when it seems the cultural landscape can’t get any crazier, it does. As the crazy trends continue, there is no shortage of people who voice their opinion. Be it a layman like myself, a professional in that area, or a politician, there is plenty of noise. However, there is one group of people who often comment and perhaps should not: celebrities.

In recent weeks current events within America has caused many celebrities to voice their opinion. Some have taken to Twitter; some go on talk-shows, some who are not even American citizens have become very vocal. Each time they speak, we should ask one question, “What is their expertise?” Continue reading “Celebrities, Their Opinions, & Culture”