Recovery

Shut-Down“Today I spent Christmas completely alone…”
(from my journal, December 25, 1995)

Quick quiz: What do Bluebell Ice Cream, Tylenol, Rolaids, SMU Football, and ancient Judah (Israel) all have in common?

Answer: They all experienced a drastic, though temporary shutdown.

Shutdown. The word was hardly used prior to 1950. Now it’s a common part of our lexicon. It’s typically used of the government when Congress can’t seem to get together on a budget or debt ceiling limit (which in government terms is about the same as “budget”). A government shutdown, of course, is commonly believed to be a horrible thing.

Other than that, you often hear the term used to describe some sort of drastic action taken by a company. The whole state of Texas declared a state of emergency on April 4 when Blue Bell started closing its creameries – all of them – because of an incident of listeria contamination.

(If you aren’t from Texas or have never observed that state’s love affair with Blue Bell, picture shutting down football in Tuscaloosa, guns in Wyoming, or lobster rolls in Maine.)

I’ve been thinking about shutdowns lately for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was the heartburn I felt last night and the Rolaids I was gratefully chewing on (sorry Tums, you’ll have to go back to being Plan B). I have also been remembering a personal shutdown period I went through myself exactly 20 years ago. I don’t talk about it much anymore, but it still shapes a large part of who I am today. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Stand at Sunset

God grant me serenity to call the impossible, possible with You,

Vision to see the achievable in obviously-hopeless situations,

And wisdom to discern the difference.

Give me faith to boldly ask You for the unthinkable, [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Until Lambs Become Lions

by Andy Wood on August 12, 2014

in Conversations, Insight, Life Currency

Lion Lamb

(A Conversation)

I watched the Robin Hood movie again last night.

Kevin Costner?

No, seriously?  Russell Crowe.

OK.

I love the quote from there…

About rising and rising again?

Yeah… “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.”  That really resonates with me.

I can see why.  So are you rising and rising again?

Hardly.  More like “fall and fall again.”

Why is that? [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

IMG_7524I love photography for two reasons. First, I love capturing light and images and special moments that I can share and re-live. The one to the left is a recent sample.

Second, taking pictures puts me on the right side of the camera.  As long as I can stay away from that nosy lens, I can imagine that I actually look the way I do when I look at myself in the mirror.  No awkward angles. No unflattering poses. No ruthless inventory of how I really look.

The same kind of thing happens in the spiritual realm. There are plenty of ways to pose so that we get a flattering, but dishonest look at ourselves.  That’s unhealthy for two reasons. First, it can put us in denial of something that can really hurt us in the long run. Second, it can produce shame that blinds us to our great, great value to God and to the world.

How would you like a strategy for taking an honest inventory of your heart and soul?

Wait.

Maybe I should phrase that a different way…

Do you need a strategy for taking an honest inventory of your heart and soul? I don’t really care whether you want it or not.

Here are eight questions that can turn the lights on in your spiritual life.  They can be used alone or together. You can go through them in 15 minutes, or an hour, or an entire day. The questions are based on Paul’s energetic series of charges to the Thessalonians:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22).

Take a few minutes or however long you can. Get alone with a journal, legal pad, or an electronic tablet and write down some notes based on your first response to these questions: [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

“I feel like a man with three dollars in my pocket. Maybe a quart in my tank. And what astounds me is how quickly I think about spending what little I have. I get a little bit back in my soul and I start thinking about advancing the Kingdom. People that need my help. I get a little bit of God back in my tank and I start thinking about who I need to pray for.  Lord have mercy” (John Eldridge)

+++++++

Hi, I’m Andy, and I’m a fumaholic.

(All:  “Hi Andy!”)

I’m really glad to be here tonight to share my experience, strength and hope with you. The First Step says that “we admitted we were powerless over our fumaholism, and that our lives had become unmanageable.”  So tonight I thought I would share how my life got to that place.

I’d like to start with a couple of confessions… that is okay in a place like this, isn’t it?

(Room erupts with raucous laughter) [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Took a trip past Oprah a couple of years ago.  She was interviewing Russian figure skater Tatiana Totmianina and her partner, Maxim Marinin.  Oprah showed a tape of the world-renowned skating champions in which Maxim, as he lifted Tatiana into the air, lost his grip. Tatiana crashed face-first on the ice.  It was horrific – all three times I saw it.

In case you missed it, here’s a video montage of her career, including the face plant in Pittsburgh:

Tatiana suffered a concussion but amazingly was back on the ice 12 days later.

“How hard was it for you to get back on the ice just 12 days after that?” Oprah asked her.

“Well, it was very hard,” Tatiana replied. “In the hospital when I woke up, I just realized how serious it was because all my life and career could be over… I wanted to get back on the ice right away because I have been skating since 4 years old. It’s my life.”

Amazing story, but when I heard that last statement, I must confess, I kicked into “preacher mode.” [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }