How To Stop Worrying So Much

A Little Trick To Experiencing More Peace

(photo by Tim Gouw)

I’m really good at worrying. And I was even better at it when I was a kid. I used to imagine the worst about everything.

If my parents left the house, I knew they weren’t coming back. Either because they would die in a horrible car vs. bus vs. airplane accident. Or they’d simply change their mind about being my parents and head down to Mexico for a few decades.

I was convinced the most awful things lived right outside my door, or under my bed, or in my body. So I worried.

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The Secret Power Of Selfies

How To Make Them Matter

I recently preached at my favorite church. The topic? Selfies.

To illustrate the topic, I borrowed a friend’s selfie stick. Because I obviously don’t own a selfie stick.

Anymore.

Since mine broke from overuse.

I held my phone close to my face – you know, one of those phones that you can also use to call people, if that’s something you still do. I said, from this distance, all you can really see in the frame is me.

And to be honest, it doesn’t make for a very interesting picture.

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From Anxiety To Freedom

The Importance Of Listening To The Right Voices

“Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God…” 1 John 3: 21, 22

I don’t live boldly. I live hesitantly. I live in fits and starts. I live holding back. I live in self-protection, always moving, dreaming, and feeling like I have to watch out for myself, that no one else is going to protect me, no one else is going to have my back – not REALLY. Not when it all comes down to it.

I spend most of it living hesitantly, holding back, focused on self-protection. You’d think I was beaten as a child and made to live under the stairs. I wasn’t.

Actually, I did live under the stairs in my early teens. But just for a short season and just because our house was so small. To be honest though, I thought it was cool at the time, like a fort without blankets.

I wasn’t very mature for my age. Or maybe that’s my condemning heart talking.

Either way, the beating part – that never happened. In fact, people seemed, in general, to like me – at school, at church, in all the parts of my off-stage life.

So how did I end up walking around with my fists at the ready, eyes all squinty with suspicion, neck all tweaked from the constant swivel?

I think it’s because I’ve listened to the part of my heart that condemn me. The part that’s  afraid and underdeveloped. The part that’s so thoroughly “tween” – you know, gossipy and bitchy and know-it-all-y.

But that is not the whole of my heart. In fact, it’s probably just a very small part. It’s probably just one little room under some stairs in a tiny little house.

My real heart is a 6000-square-foot modern Craftsman. On a lake. It’s got spacious, Pottery Barn-style rooms full of joyous friends telling the best stories while sipping amazing drinks. Chip and Jo-Jo have done all the decorating, of course, so there is at least one giant clock in every room.

There’s also lush green lawns full of party-goers jumping into pools, jumping in bounce houses, jumping just because there’s so much room to jump and jumping’s so fun.

And we’re all there to celebrate God and how great and fun and creative he is.

And everyone’s welcome in that kind of heart. The differently-believing. The differently-lifestyled. The different-looking and different-seeing. There’s plenty of room for everyone in that heart. My true heart. My Heart of hearts.

And I want to live from that heart. The heart that does not condemn me – couldn’t possibly condemn me. The heart that is naturally bold and other-focused, Jesus-centered, and free, free, free.

So be it.

Now excuse me, while I take a turn in the bounce house. Or, even better, come with me.

How To Survive Holy Week With Your Faith Intact

A Busy Christian's Guide To Not Missing The Point

This is Holy Week, a time where we Jesus-followers go to church even more than usual (for some of us, we’re finally getting back in the door since LAST Easter, which, apparently, is OK with Jesus).

And if you’re part of a church staff as I was for most of my career, Holy Week can also be Holy **** Week.

There are SO many details to prepare for all those extra services and the many returning church-goers (in hopes of getting them to stick around).

And if you happen to also be part of the music team, like I was – Lord, have mercy. You can pretty much forget about sleeping well or making healthy food choices or not getting in massive fights with your spouse and/or children and/or contracted flautist.

I used to rail against the fact that for us church-staffers, Holy Week seemed to be such a frenzied scramble, but then I learned two things:

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