Friday, May 6, 2011 do you define it?

I've been struggling recently with failure.  It's a funny thing, failure.  When I step back and take a look at my life and what God is doing around me, I see His success and if I use my intellect, I can see and understand that I am free in Christ and made perfect in Him.

But I still struggle with feeling like a failure at times.  I don't blog as often as I would like, I don't journal enough (at all really), I don't read, run, exercise nearly enough, I don't eat right, I can't lose weight without some silly diet.  I'm not the husband and father that I desire to be.  These are the things that often fester like boils on my mind.

How do I shake these things?  As a follower of Christ, how do I live in freedom the way that Christ's sacrifice has allowed me to?  How do I shake this bleh feeling?

I'm not sure I know entirely how, but I THINK I do, but its often difficult to do.  I don't believe that it takes MORE doing this or more time in that, not necessarily more Bible reading or more journalling or more doing church stuff.

I believe that it's just more BEING with Christ.  Not as a checklist of things that will help me to feel better, but out of desire to BE WITH HIM, living in His promise that His yolk is easy, that He is always with me, that He has paid the price for my shortcomings.

For me, I believe it just started.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting Better

I've been doing some reading lately and am becoming more and more convinced that if I work less, I will be a better AD and leader in my area.

I've thought a lot about 2010 and the difficulties that made it a year to forget.  One thing that I think sums up was my going back to work after breaking my leg.  I was officially cleared to go back to work by the doctor after 6 weeks.  I took 4 days. 4 DAYS.  As I take a gander back, how rediculous was that?

Now, I don't say that to brag.  Quite the contrary.   What kind of fool thinks so highly of themselves that instead of recovering, they keep pushing and working even though its not in their (or their family's) best interest? This kind.  How foolish I was to think that things would not go on without me.  I look back at the things, the damage that I'm having to repair from that time of pushing and not resting, from thinking that I am the only one that could do it, but in reality it probably would have been better off without me.

A good friend told me recently that his goal in his ministry was to make it so it wouldn't matter if he didn't exist.  This was not said out of some evil plot to work less and still get paid, but out of a desire to have our fellow workers in the ministry so in love with Jesus and having so much desire to share His news with our HS friends, that a staff person wouldn't even be needed.  If this is my desire (which it is) how can I draw people closer to Christ, unless I am drawing myself closer to Christ through His rest and time with Him.

Thank you Lord for clarity.

Please help me and pray for me that this would not be a season but a lifestyle.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Root

I've been struggling for some time with the reason that I love food so much.  I don't like that I do, and I'm getting back to my heaviest point again.  I could simply blame it on the fact that I have not been able to run in a year, but don't think that I'd be much different if I was able to run.

Am I filling a void?  Am I finding my identity in the food? Should I be giving more of me to the Lord (pun intended)?  Am I addicted to food?

It frustrates me that as I've really been leaning into and praying about the issue, I'm simply getting fatter.  I find myself tempted by the commercials for this program and that program.  I've lost weight before (40 pounds a few years back) and they are almost all back with me now.

Lord, search my heart.  Find the root and pull the bugger out.  I'm ready for a change, I need to know what it is.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Conflicted on conflict

Growing up, and even through high school and college (and grad school) I was never a reader.  I've gone through spurts of reading and really enjoy taking the appropriate time to read.

I've come to realize that good books are dangerous for me.  When I say good books, I don't mean a good Harry Potter story or a nice romance novel, but books that are Biblical and practical for where I am in life (and for my friend Jeff, don't have a picture of the author on the cover).  Recently, I've gotten back into some reading, picking up some books by some of today's popular "theologians" to get their take on stuff and see what the buzz is about.

I'm also continuing my pursuit of a Master's from Fuller and am on my way to Colorado for a week's intensive class, which has required me to read a book with an interesting title by an author I had not heard of.  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical and it sounded a little hokie to me, but I've quite enjoyed it.  It has some shortfalls I know, but if viewed within the correct context, offers some helpful tips.

Here comes the dangerous part.  Parts of the book talk about allowing God to work through emotion instead of stuffing it back and acting like it's not there. 

For about 7 months, I've had a conflict in my life.  I've done my best to seek wise counsel, pray and be patient through the process.  It's had multiple flare-ups through the time and I've 'known' that more are coming.  Today I received communication from the other person asking to put the incident behind and move forward.

I'm now conflicted by what seems wise advice to proceed with caution, and other wise advice to forgive and forget. 
Part of me would like to just move on, part of me would like to make sure there is accountability.
Part of me wants to trust that this isn't a ploy, part of me can't.
Part of me wants to just ignore it, but I know I can't do that.
All of me desires to be God-honoring in handling this situation.

Thus I am conflicted on conflict.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Do you like stuff? What stuff do you have that you could do without? Is your stuff well used? Organized? Burdensome?

This is a difficult thing to think about, as my society and the environment I grew up in placed a lot of value on stuff.  In my family I am known to be a bit of a gadgeteer, enjoying all things electronic.
As I've matured (especially in the last few years) I've learned how unimportant stuff is.  Moving a few times helped us realize how much stuff we had that we didn't use, and I'm sure that there is plenty of that stuff still sitting around.  Fortunately, I am blessed enough to be married to a non-stuff person, who organizes the stuff that doesn't get tossed.  She has taught me well.

I even alphabetized my books the other day!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Girls' Night IN!

I'm a bit late getting this one out, but going back in time a bit to New Year's Eve....the guys (Daddys and little boys) went out to dinner and a Suns' game so the Mommys and girls enjoyed some fun at home. We brought in Pei Wei for dinner, gave each other pedicures (with our new nail polishes from our stockings), watched the movie Ramona and Beezus while munching on popcorn, dipped bananas and marshmellows in chocolate fondue and sipped sparkling apple cider! Oh, and we can't forget the wild pillow fight that Kate and Makaila finished the night with.

Kate and Makaila were SO excited about the girls' night! They got in pjs before they even ate dinner and posted the title of the movie on a small portable white board. There were tons of giggles throughout the night. The biggest surprise, though, was the smallest little girl, Kara. It was as if she understood that this was a special night just for us girls. She snuggled in the blanket with the girls during the movie (only for a few short minutes at a time, but frequently), ate several bowls of popcorn, quite enjoyed the chocolate dipped bananas and showed off her dance moves while standing on a small piece of furniture! She did NOT want to go to bed, staying in great spirits well past her normal bedtime. I do believe that a girls' night should be a part of every Swank-Baker visit!