What to Do When Love Explodes and You Can’t Restore It

A friend and I got cross ways and our relationship exploded.

We worked together in a nonprofit and shared camaraderie as well friendship.  Yet, in our leadership positions we often collided.  Our friendship fractured and it seemed no matter what we did it grew worse.

 

friendship-tested

 

One of us would feel hurt and sometimes respond in less than exemplary fashion.  That caused hurt in the other who often responded in kind.  So it spiraled out of control leaving us both feeling angry, frustrated and hurt.

On several occasion, when calmed down, I tried to rectify the hurts and apologized.  It seemed like some of those overtures were also misunderstood.  They consistently were met with a lack of any kind of positive response.

 

The relationship simply wouldn’t reconcile and to this day still hasn’t.

 

I had fresh evidence of that again only recently. [Read more…]

How to Live in Boldness When You’re Really Scared: (Part 3) When You Face the Impossible

We’ve talked about the power released in putting on boldness and how to build it.

But what about those times when you face the impossible?

You’ve prayed and worked and nothing has changed.  You’ve tried everything you know yet your mountain remains.

 

mountain-climbing

 

You’re feel scared, hopeless and helpless.  You’re riding shotgun in an out of control car careening down a canyon road with no brakes towards a washed out bridge. [Read more…]

How to Live in Boldness When You’re Really Scared: (Part 2) When Boldness Evaporates

We talked previously about the power of putting on boldness even when you’re scared.

But what do you do when you’re faced with an overwhelming challenge and your boldness simply evaporates?

 

mountain-climbing

 

Every time I’ve launched into a new career adventure I’ve been really scared.  At some point I’ve always faced debilitating worry.

When I launched into pastoring the church, I faced the challenge of trying to resurrect a moribund, ingrown, terminal church.  I look back now and wonder, “What the heck was I thinking?”

We had two small children, heading into a nearly impossible venture, getting paid very little and having just escaped a near bankruptcy with a previous business I owned.

I vividly remember sitting in our living room on the hearth next to the wood stove to stay warm early one winter morning.  It was dark and I faced my first official day as their new pastor.

I felt as alone and scared as I ever have.

I remember thinking, “How will we survive?  How can we possibly build this?”

 

I’d launched in boldness, yet now felt scared to death.

 

And this is typical of every time I’ve launched into something new.  At some point fear sneaks in unexpected and grabs me by the throat choking the enthusiasm and life out of me. [Read more…]

How to Live with Boldness When You’re Really Scared

We were invited by friends to join them and three others in chartering a sailboat and sailing down the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia.  It sounded idyllic so we immediately said yes.

Jennifer and I planned to fly into Zagreb in the north, rent a car and drive through Croatia by ourselves. A few days later we’d meet up with everyone in Split.

Sounded perfect yet the closer we got to the date the more anxious I became.

 

courageous-cat

 

[Read more…]

How to Rediscover Faith when You’re Filled with Doubts

Do you ever struggle with your faith?  I mean overall you believe but sometimes you wrestle with doubts about God and heaven?

I do.  My faith can be very leaky.

 

contemplating-sunset

 

We had dinner with friends a few weeks ago and afterwards sat on the restaurant patio enjoying the mild summer evening.

Our wives sat off to the side chatting.  My friend said, “You know I’ve believed in God for years but sometimes my mind just starts racing trying to analyze it all.  Then I get confused and start feeling doubts.  I really struggle with it.  Do you ever have that happen?”

I replied, “Yep.  I have an analytical mind so I need to put everything together logically.”

 

“Sometimes faith just doesn’t seem to fit very well.”

 

[Read more…]

What to Do When You Get Blindsided by the Unexpected

I got blindsided recently.  It left me frustrated, angry and confused.  I suddenly felt like I was wandering in a dense forest in the fog trying to find my way through.

 

Forest Path

 

In addition to this blog, I write on a multi-author site called “Quora”.  I’ve had some somewhat significant success with over 400,000 views in five months.

One post really trended with over 80,000 views.  It was my most popular by far.  I was feeling pretty good as writing can feel very lonely and unrewarding at times.

I thought.  “Finally, I’ve hit on a post that really is connecting in a way I’ve rarely experienced.”

Suddenly, the editorial committee took it down because they said it didn’t properly disclose an affiliation. [Read more…]

How to Enjoy Fully the Moments of Your Life

We strolled through an ancient graveyard in Saltzburg, Austria as I suddenly spotted an old weathered headstone dated 830.  I looked again in astonishment to be sure that I saw it correctly in the fading light.

The sun dropped low in the sky behind clouds that had just rained giving the area a melancholy feel.  The wet grass, blooming flowers, and crumbling graves surrounding an ancient stone church in the middle of the bustling metropolis felt surreal.

 

Saltzburg Graveyard

 

I wondered about this man whose name was partially eroded by centuries of weather.

Who was he?  What did he do for a living?  Was he married?  Have children?  Grandchildren?

He once, as a little boy, played with his friends.  Perhaps enjoyed his children.  Maybe lived successfully.

 

Then he passed on in time and no one remembers.

 

[Read more…]

How to Experience a Miraculous Healing

I was sitting in my office chatting with a friend when he told me a story of his amazing healing.

He’d dropped by after golf and desperately needed cold water.

 

Child Healing

 

We got to talking about a mutual friend whose daughter is addicted to drugs.  He’s known her since she was a little and said, “She’s a lost soul.”

He went on, “I know what that’s like.  I’m a recovered alcoholic.”

Then he told me his story.

“I’d been sober for about 15 years.  Then I retired and started playing golf a lot.  Every day we’d smoke cigars on the course then come in and my buddies would have a few beers.”

 

“Pretty soon I found myself back smoking cigarettes and drinking.”

 

[Read more…]

How to Find Happiness Every Moment of Every Day

I struggled with depression when I was young.  I probably would’ve been diagnosed as border line manic-depressive if they routinely diagnosed those things back then.

My parents responded pretty much, “Get over it.”  Which actually worked ok in the short term.

I grew worse in college until one event I remember as a turning point.

 

Rainbow Happiness

 

I’d given my life to Jesus a few months before and discovered an underlying peace and joy.  Yet, I still struggled.

One summer morning I was working at my father’s machine shop taking inventory, a job I just adored. He especially saved for me.

I was standing in the shelves mindlessly counting parts.

I’d started the day feeling good when suddenly a wave of depression swept over me.  I felt numb and helpless.

 

I thought, “How can this be happening again?  Can I ever escape it?”

 

I felt powerless to stop these onslaughts and that caused me to feel even more despair.

I stopped and prayed, “God heal me of this.  Take away this pain.”

I struggled through the next hour and then the symptoms subsided. [Read more…]

Learning to Enjoy Life’s Journey Every Day

Sunday morning I sat in our sunroom listening to soft music enjoying the summer colors of our back yard.

I read a book by C.S. Lewis, “A Grief Observed.”  Frankly it’s a tough slog.

He wrote it as a journal through the year following his wife’s death.  He’s transparent, hurting and questioning.  He didn’t write it for publication but to clarify his thoughts.

It’s short so I read it in one sitting to get from the depth of his struggle to his resolution.  Though difficult I found it enlightening.

 

Men laughing

 

Later I glanced at an email from the committee planning our fiftieth high school reunion.  Yeah I know.  When did that happen?  Only a couple of breaths ago we celebrated our 25th.

 

I paused and thought about how life races by.  And how I’ve no time to waste.

 

[Read more…]