Your Feelings Lie

Standard

My pastor said something that has stuck with me:

“Your feelings lie.”

Photo by Ryan Pernofski on Unsplash

Work has been a swirling vortex of condescension, anger, and stress. A tidal wave of not accepting where we are on a project. We’ve been behind for months. Months. And yet at no point has acceptance of this fact been had. No moment of admitting:

  • Hey, we messed up.
  • Yeah, we are behind… BUT let’s move forward, as a team, and do our best.

My feelings have been lying to me; my body absorbing the workplace maelstrom of emotions.

I’m done with feeling stressed towards this project.

I’m done being lied to by my feelings.

If anything, I’m beginning to find the current situation at work humorous.

People have got to chill.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

– Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)

Called Beyond Circumstantial Joy

Standard

The closer we get to Christmas, the closer we get to people taking vacation time, the crazier my office is becoming. With stress levels rising to the point where someone is going to have a heart attack, I was happy for this reminder: God’s people are called to a joy that isn’t based on circumstances. No, instead we are called to a joy that chooses to trust that God will fulfill His promises.

Jesus is our peace

Standard

Just a few days into December and work is exploding. The environment is tense as a major project must go out soon after the beginning of the year. In other words, a typical stressful December here in my office. Knowing that things will get harder before they relax, I find my anxiety kicking in, causing my chest to tighten up. Feels like an elephant has taken up permanent residence on top of my heart. In the midst of fight or flight, God has reminded me of a snippet from Micah I read yesterday.

Micah 5:5A

I want His peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding.

Revenge of The Christmas Monster

Standard

Taught my first Advent lesson for Sunday School yesterday. We talked about how Jesus is our hope, light, and peace. I shared how this holiday season can be one of darkness for myself. How Advent helps me focus on the light of the season, Jesus. Got me thinking about the things we bring into the holidays. I was telling Tab that we battled The Christmas Monster, even as a married couple, for a long, long, time. We’ve worked hard though to create our own traditions (which I love) and refocus what Christmas is all about for our family. Below is a post I wrote about the Christmas monster in 2015. Enjoy!

The holidays are a battle. A war filled with presents.

The Christmas list is a list that must be structured to maximize gifts received. I’m not sure what year I learned how much family members spent on me for Christmas, but I did. Strategic planning ensued. I would organize my list so that the most expensive items were at the top of the page. As one would read down the list, the items became cheaper. I would even take this a step further by listing the items retail price. I was a monster, used to three family Christmas events. One with my dad’s parents, one with my mom’s parents, and one with my immediate family.

Sometimes monsters look cute. I mean, handsome.

My Aunt Jody has no children. She loves giving; she loves Christmas time. On the other side of the Christmas campfire, my mom felt the need to compete with my aunt and grandparents. Growing up, she co-owned a craft business with a friend. My mom would spend hours out in the garage, cutting out craft pieces with her scroll saw. She would then paint these items, piece them together, and then go to a weekend craft show to sell. Generating money for Christmas that we did not have. I remember my Grandma and Grandpa Ayers coming out to help her paint and get items ready to sell. The holidays were stressful for my mom. I’m sure she wouldn’t tell you that. I’m sure as a kid I couldn’t have told you that my mom was stressed over having to compete. But she was.

The gift overload distorted my view of Christmas. The season became all about what I could get. I didn’t see the stress it was causing those around me.

My mom has since learned to let go and not compete. But I’m still learning, shaping, what Christmas looks like for my family. I don’t want Wyatt growing up thinking that Christmas is about maximizing what he can get. Sure, maybe kids do that to a point. But I do not want to raise a Christmas monster.

What does Christmas look like for you and your family? How do you go beyond presents?

A Christmas Note To Myself

Standard

On the day before December begins,

I’d like to remind myself.

That no matter how stressful work gets,

Nor how much I miss family,

Swirling down into the depression pit isn’t worth it.

At all.

I need to focus on my family around me,

My friends,

The anticipation of the Advent season.

Spending the entire month of December, in a funk, sucks.

You know it, and your wife knows it. 

So stop it!

Break the cycle this year.

Tell depression to get off your mental lawn.

You’re welcome, by the way.

– A note from November Bryan to December Bryan.

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

Not sure about you, but December is traditionally a tough month for me. All through November, I’ve been watching depression circle around outside the fire light. Beckoning me to step away from the comforts of clarity and embrace the dark/warm fuzzy jacket of depression. Wanted to write a quick note to remind myself not to go down that path this year. I want to encourage you also to stay near the fire and pay attention to the words you are speaking to yourself. We can do this.

Surf Report: A Recap of the Week of September 23

Standard

Welcome to the Surf Report for the Week of September 23.

.: God:

God has been teaching me quite a bit when it comes to the Bible study I’ve been leading on Wednesday nights. He has been teaching me to remember:

  • Not everyone is a Christian AND not all Christians are at the same place in their walk with God.
  • To not take personally the people who choose to come and go. Attendance has been inconsistent/up and down.
  • To lead. That it doesn’t matter how much older the rest of the guys are, I’m there to facilitate discussion and lead the group.

I wrote a bit about some of our discussion this week in “How do you de-stress?” Also had a friend send me a link to a video that I found helpful in studying 1 John (which we’ve been going over on Wednesday nights).

.: Life:

This week I found out that there are Josh Groban fans. I learned that I should never talk bad about a character Josh Groban plays (especially on Twitter). Ah, the Internet. You can read my thoughts on Josh Groban’s new project in “Things to Avoid – The Good Cop“.

Also spent some time in a clinic last week, wrote about that experience in “Missing the Firetwuck“.

.: Gaming:

My week has been completely devoid of video games. But I did re-post a Tim Challies article from awhile back (“From Across the Net – ‘Christian Men and Their Video Games’“). His article reminded me of the Christian tension of being in the world but not of the world. Got me thinking of debates I’ve been a part of over the years. Debates on Christian liberty, discernment, and the almost Christian desire to have everything spelled out in black and white.

There are definitely games fellow believers shouldn’t touch. The Bible, the Holy Spirit, family and friends help us navigate what we should and should not consume.

Question of the Week: Do you think Fortnite’s timed cosmetic purchases are predatory towards young kids?

That’s it for this week. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to post them in the comments below. Have a great weekend!

How do you de-stress?

Standard

Last night at Bible study, we got talking about how we individually de-stress. One of the guys shared that playing golf as well as retirement helps him to keep stress away. Another one of the guys shared that working with his hands through metal working projects works for him. I was then asked what I do to unwind. I froze up and found myself babbling something like this:

My wife has been trying to get me to exercise in order to de-stress. We’ve been walking. I also play video games. I used to play them a lot when we were first married. Probably played them too much. I now only play a few times a week, maybe one day a week. I like how they allow me to turn off my brain for awhile. I also like working in the yard.

One of the guys quickly piped up and said that exercise isn’t enough to de-stress for him. He went on to talk about that feeling of satisfaction that not only comes from working with your hands but completing a project. I could 100% relate to what he was saying. In my day job, finishing up a project is elusive. Oftentimes we are quickly shifting from one project to another within moments. The biggest thing I hear from my co-workers is that they just want to finish something, anything. I’ve learned to celebrate the small things I’m able to finish. But I’m steering us away from the topic at hand–my wife says I’m good at that–.

The art of letting off stress has always proven to be elusive to me. Sure, I’m getting better at handling stress, but I’m not all the way there. I’ve learned that being mindful that the stress is there and then DOING SOMETHING to help it seems to be key. DOING SOMETHING. Even if that is settling into a solid gameplay loop or taking a walk with your wife. I find that exercise and good conversation can often do wonders.

How do you de-stress?