Skip to content

counseling isn’t just for the crazies

October 18, 2011

There is a stigma that comes with counseling.  It goes that if you see a therapist you must be really crazy or something in your life is shamefully broken.  I don’t agree with that at all.

Often times therapy can be a great way to gain more insight on your life and direction.  It can be a process that you use to reflect on how you do relationships and ways to make your life  more thoughtful and loving. 

In many ways, counseling is exploring and we do far to little of this in our world of amusement.  And sometimes that exploration dives into vulnerable depths (present within us all) that we don’t always feel secure sharing with our friends or family right off the bat.

Please know that counseling isn’t just for the crazies.  Counseling is also for the intentional, the humble, and those dissatisfied with the status-quo.  We are not meant to dive the depths of life alone.


If You Want To Get Free

September 13, 2011

We want to be free from a lot of stuff in life.  Some of that weight has nothing to do with better time management skills or re-watching, Where There’s A Will, There’s An A.  The band, Waterdeep sang about this struggle a few years back and I thought I would share.  Enjoy.



In the gas station bathroom by the condom machine
I heard the word of the Lord
He said “Take off your shoes,
this is holy ground too
you know I came for the sick and the bored.”
Beneath the selling of beers
And the welling up of tears
Out beyond the beam of the remote control
There’s a whispering voice
That the humble ear ears
that says “I am still waiting
for you to ask just to be made whole.”

And the bush it was burning on the mountain top
and though the leaves never blackened, the fire didn’t stop
That’s the way that it works in this old life of sin
You gotta let the fire burn you just to get clean within

I am so often deterred from my actual intent
by distractions in a cellophane wrap
And the cruel voice that taunts me when I open them up
to find just one more box full of crap
It’s where you’re mocked while you abstain
and then cursed when you give in
It’s all a game that’s impossible to beat
But there’s a peaceful refrain God’ll sing in your brain
when you put the nails to your hands and your feet

And the smell of our sacrifices
still fills up my head
There’s just a few left at the altar, Lord
all the rest of them fled
And we’ve cried and we’ve tried
We’ve sweat and we’ve bled
But we don’t just need atonement
We need to be raised from the dead

When they took down the cross from that dark hillside
The blood on their hands was the blood from his side
That’s the way that it works, That’s the way it must be.
You gotta let His blood stain you of you want to get free
If you want to get free
Don’t you want to get free?
I think you want to be free.

pick a lane

September 5, 2011

pick a lane.  it sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

there are so many life decisions and they all lead to different places and different people.   the “what if’s” kill our liberty.  we can be frozen in front of the fork in the road, just evaluating and picking life to pieces.

yet one facet to this that i believe is worth mentioning is you.  the facet of self.

we are who we are.  or should i say, we should be who we are regardless of what lane we end up picking.  as we settle in with our values and mission in life, our circumstances have less and less to do with how we live.  as our identity becomes well rooted, we stop picking lanes based upon forming our identity but instead on fulfilling it.

we can pick the best lane for us when we give up on the idea that one lane will make us better than another.  value and honor in life doesn’t come from circumstance or location but from how we live within them.  so feel some freedom in picking a lane, it has more to do with moving forward in life than in predicting where each road will take us.




August 25, 2011

I just devoured Seth Godin’s book, Poke the Box.  It is a great book about the topic of starting.  Starting is something we lack in our culture, it is the innovation of an idea and the initiative to ship it to the people.  Whether you are looking to start something big or just wanting to make your situation better, this book is a great read.

The book speaks on fear and failure a great deal.  Seth stated, “If you can’t fail, it doesn’t count.”  That statement sounds a lot like Don Miller’s Volvo comment.  Miller stated that if all we want at the end of the day is a Volvo then we’re probably living a bad  (and boring) story.  More and more I am hearing that a good life, full of good stories, is a life that is filled with anticipation, risk, conflict and resolve.  That for life to really count it has to cost something, it has to have something weighing in the balance.  Ideas like that are hard to swallow for all the co-dependents, the people-pleasers, and the overall nice people who enjoy nice things. We want the ocean without the sharks, friendships without the fallout and projects that are fail proof.

It is difficult to hear that successful people, “have a personal standard that demands failure, not one that guarantees success.”  We look at successful people and forget the endless amount of bad days it took to get them across the finish line.  If we hold back our ideas (due to fear), we end up robbing the world of something good, something to process, something to use.  Godin’s point is that it’s not good enough to be inventive and clever unless you actually put that idea in motion and give it to people.

To actually start something and give it away can create anxiety.  To actually start something and put your work out there is to dive head first into your fears and worries.  He defines anxiety as “experiencing failure in advance.”  Such a cogent way of putting it, isn’t it?  We allow anxiety to hold back some of our strongest and most brilliant ideas. We are terrified of failure.  And because we are so afraid, we need books like this one to motivate and also invite us to start something worth finishing.

If you have ideas that stay in your brain and never see the light of day, please pick up this book.












Shiny Cities

August 6, 2011

Dan Allender speaks of a terrain in our lives that we won’t allow others to tread.

We have places within ourselves that are so very sensitive in nature.  It is our most vulnerable space that we build walls around.  Big walls of stone that ensure no one can climb.

We then plant trees around the walls which hide and disguise our reality and shame.  Then we build a shiny city 20 miles away to show off our skills and earn admiration of others.  We invite everyone to our city and we distract them with our big buildings and nice restaurants.  They compliment us on our shiny city and we say thank you.

Meanwhile, there are times when the explorer types wander off without a map and stumble through the forests and happen upon our walls.  We see them and become anxious.  Who knows, it could be friendly faces carrying supplies but it feels like an army ready to attack.   We try and run them off, whether by force or by some other measure.

Our anxiety lets us know when the wanderers are close.  The anxiety feels like death itself but it’s really not.   True death comes in the distraction.

The thing is, what we are protecting is what we genuinely want people to see and accept.  Its what we chain up and lock down which gives us the best material for substantial change.  There isn’t much in our shiny cities that will change us.  Our shiny cities are lifeless perceptions of who we want others to see we are.  There are too many cities, too many hollowed out versions of ourselves floating around.

The only way we can truly progress in life and faith is by allowing trusted souls into our gates.  They need to see the dirt, weeds and fungus growing in our courtyards.   We need to give people the chance to accept us.

curious minds want to know

July 24, 2011

my wife is creative and so is her dad. they both have macgyver-esque minds.  when something breaks they find a pile of randomness and start collecting assorted pieces that somehow, some way work together.  they bring chaos into order.  i am drawn to that because fixing things and putting things together frustrates me the most.  it only takes a few minutes before i launch a wrench into my face and become foul and a quitter.  I have taken note that when i start getting nasty, my wife is calm and deep in thought.

i have this deep desire to create/re-create and i am learning something has to change within myself if i am going to author any type of creation.  i need to be more like my wife when she fixes things.

maybe the easy answer is i need more patience.  but as i dig deeper i notice i’m not a very curious person.  sure, i get curious when it comes to relationships and counseling but not for most other things.  i don’t really care what is wrong with my car, i just want it fixed.  i don’t want to actually learn how to play the guitar, i just want to jam out to The Decemberists.  i prefer results so i can get on with my life.

i see curiosity being connected to creativity.  in fact, i believe curiosity births creativity.  it’s really difficult to create without inquisitiveness, a pursuit for process, not solely results.

its not just in the creation and care of things where we find curiosity key but also in how we love others.

love also demands curiosity.  to truly love we have to engage and pursue one another with a genuine curiosity.  relationships are ever-changing and call for meaningful engagement, a moving towards.  i think that is one reason people like therapy so much, they have a set aside time for someone to pursue them in a very tangible way that doesn’t look to control or judge.

no matter what we create, we need a genuine interest outside ourselves to be the driving force.


July 7, 2011

My wife and I once got stuck in Hawaii for 4 days and had to buy some cheap clothes at an ABC store.   I bought a cheesy shirt that had Hawaiian proverbs on the back and one of them read, “There are two ways of getting rich, make more or desire less.”

The second aspect of that phrase (desiring less) was foreign to me.  When we think about getting ahead in life our brains typically fixate on making more or doing more not about doing or desiring less.  It is called the rat race.  People rarely get a pay raise without bumping up in lifestyle too.  It doesn’t really matter if you are a mechanic at Jiffy Lube or a doctor at Cedar-Sinai, a good chunk of people are in debt, have too many bills, and get divorced and see their assets drop by half.  The rat race is a cycle that never stops because our eyes are bigger than our pocketbooks.

I had a professor at the University of Missouri who was a quirky guy.  His name was Mel and he owned pretty much all of east campus housing and also wrote our textbook for his class on consumerism.  I remember it so vividly, he stood in front of our class and in a daring sort of way told us he didn’t think any of us had the guts to live below our means, even for a season.

Obviously he was banking on reverse psychology but his taunt still does its work on me today. Issues of identity, vanity, practicality, and plain social acceptability stand in the way of people living lives where their answer to happiness and success doesn’t end with the word more.  Sure, there are tons of people who struggle and need to make more money or have more space in their cars or apartments but what about the middle and upper classes?  Is more still the thing to go after? What if we pursued meaning instead of more?  What about pursuing assets that help people instead of liabilities that make us feel good.

Just for a moment think about what it would look like if you were to live below your means.  Think about what you would give up and also what ways you would get ahead?  I am not talking about cutting cable to save $29.99/mo.  Think and dream bigger.  Who would you serve better if you weren’t saddled by a mortgage?  How would your relationships change if you didn’t work the extra 10 hours each week at work?

Allow your mind to wander through different possibilities and ask yourself at the end,

Is the key to my happiness still more?

Do I have the guts to live below my means?