Sluggish-ness in Prime Time!

Feeling a bit “sluggish’ today?

Don’t worry, me too. In fact, it seems the last few mornings I’ve been especially challenged by the alarm…digging deep to just get out of my really comfy, really warm bed. But the sluggish stuff I’m talking about today is a bit more nebulous… even cerebral in nature, it seems to come and settle into our hearts and minds and slowly rocks us into a mild hypnotic state. It leaves me feeling disconnected, and apathetic about lots of important things…

According to the FREE DICTIONARY; Sluggishness is…
1. Displaying little movement or activity; slow; inactive: a sluggish stream; sluggish growth.
2. Lacking alertness, vigor, or energy; inert or indolent.
3. Slow to perform or respond to stimulation.
Life seems to come at me so fast and so crazy at times, that my innate mental defense is to simply slow everything down and dull myself into a sense of nearly comatose consciousness. It helps me cope with the anxiety of a hundred problems a day and not enough time to solve them syndrome. ( i made that up) 
Some of the sluggishness can be simply the fatigue of physical exhaustion, but I think this is different. It feels like my psyche is trying to protect my brain from going into redline territory and my body is all too willing to simply cooperate.
I tend to drift away from important relationships and connections with my family and friends, from my community of faith and I start to look for ways to avoid social activities and talking with people. Then I feel like crud and my Christian guilt meter starts to blare a inner warning and I have to start to rationalize why I’m being such an introvert and that really does take too much energy, so I just watch TV or hide in my work… and remain SLUGGISH.
My tried and true treatment of choice is a three mile path at the local city park. Borrowing from my hip son’s iPod playlist – mixed with some of my own classic Switchfoot and Coldplay albums… I’m in my Addidas and out the door, at 43, I’ve learned that stretching before walking, jogging or any exercise is essential and before I know it… I’m starting to loosen up, muscles to my mind. I even enjoy the sweat and the leg cramping  as I breath deep from the fresh air while blowing out my mental cobwebs with some seriously good music! My 3 mile moment to reflect seems to do a functional “reset” of my mind and body…all in about 45 minutes.
It helps reorient my body and mind into a fragile friendship once again and the sluggishness fades away… combining exercise with a podcast or two of the daily audio bible (or equally spiritually nourishing content) and I’m rapidly loosing my spiritual apathy as well as my emotionally “empty” status. Nothing works like scripture to put my mind, body and spirit into balance and…then I’m ready to look at my life”head-on” again.

As parents, we can’t afford to allow ourselves to dive too deep into the distractions of personal reflection and pity, we have to be careful that we don’t picture ourselves as “victims” and mourn daily over our unappreciated sacrifices. We can’t linger on the pain of our 15 hour work days and often thankless kids or spouses.
We are Parents, the protectors of our families and the real – life, making a huge difference mentors to our kids. Our lives will slow down after they move out, but for now… we’re in “Prime time” and we can’t pull back too long or too far to just “recharge”, we have to develop strategies to keep ourselves fresh and focused and spiritually alert to the issues and demands of our lives.
Bottom line, we all need find out what works the best for our own personal “reset“, and then do it regularly to blow out our cobwebs and get ourselves back up,  moving… and out there!
Our families are counting on us !
Love ya,
Pastor B.

Solutions to new years resolutions…

Gotta loose 20 pounds. No more ordering French fries, No more Diet Cokes, No cigars – No cigarettes, No sugar, No nachos, No shopping, No new cars, No new credit cards, No more non-essential commitments. These are ALL past New Years resolutions I’ve made and some I’ve kept.

What about you?

So many things to improve on this year, so many habits to change and behaviors to modify… so many in fact that it can seem overwhelming to just pick “ONE”. I’m tired of that old guilt game… it’s probably more important to take this natural – “first of the year” moment of personal introspection to a different level.

How about my spiritual development, my personal growth as a man or woman of faith?

Do I consider what needs to shift or change in that part of my life? Not immediately, in fact not really until I’m faced with a trial or serious situation beyond my ability to reason out. Then I need God and then I react by starting to “bargain” with Him for some favor in the circumstance. Wouldn’t it better to have His help along the way, to walk with Him and not find myself in a panic every few weeks, rushing around to find my bible and beg Him to make a miraculous appearance…when my life gets out of control ?

This year I’m going to focus on my Faith resolutions, and trust that when my personal spiritual growth occurs…the solution to my other resolutions will suddenly be revealed.

So… 2013 is here and these are my new resolutions;

1- To spend more time with my wife in prayer.

2- To begin and end my day with scripture

3- To focus on “Love” and not “Fear” in my family and life choices.

That’s it. My big 3. If by December, I’ve successfully improved on all three of these…I’m almost sure that the other resolutions will all be past history for me. Something tells me that if I’m all about being centered in the word of God and intentional to stay in unity with my wife, then most of my own personal stuff will soon follow.

rawrebecca.wordpress.com

rawrebecca.wordpress.com

The bible says it this way… I Timothy 4:6-10 (Message – from Biblegateway.com)

6-10 You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.

So, before you buy “another” gym membership or $200.00 exercise outfit… maybe consider investing in a one – year bible or subscribing to a online aid like “The Daily Audio Bible” for free!  This would be something your whole family might appreciate in the long run… and provide us all with some peaceful and profound changes in our lives in the weeks and months ahead.

Happy New Year RTP!

Pastor Brad.

The middle age bulge… a confession of sorts

SO I’m having lunch with a group of long time Christian radio industry dudes, at a questionably healthy mexican joint named “Nacho’s” in Franklin TN. These men will need to remain anonymous as it’s not within the general policy of the universal “man-code” to nark on your bro’s to the women…. but here goes.

Note the migration of the buttocks to the belly button

All of us are well over thirty… how much so will remain a mystery. All of us have varying degrees of manly decline, some of us are softer than others, rounder than others and generally less than we may have once been in the gym. Suffice it to say, we’re middle-age dad’s… and the discussion migrated to the summer heat and  unusual level of humidity this year. I made the innocent comment that I recently found myself avoiding the beach and visits to the pool these days.. in a serious effort to keep my shirt on in public at all costs. This was met with a hail of manly solidarity from my fellow chip dipping salsa bro’s.

A discussion ensued in which each of us shared various stories of our own issues with finding modified bathing attire and our newly discovered modesty in middle age. It seems that we all had noticed a certain movement of our muscles from the chest to our guts and our butts to our belly buttons … something we’re not terribly proud of, but nonetheless true. Now given the weather had turned to HOT, our uni-sex pull over fleece one piece – hide all our fat-  draping attire wasn’t going to work much longer and the need for tighter fitting polo’s and tee’s were suddenly a concern.

The hip- slick tuck in the front of your shirt behind your large belt buckle look… no longer had much fashion appeal to us and it seemed the darkest – deepest despair was always right before we had to make a belly bulge reveal, usually occurring around swimming or public water recreation… the dull dread of a chance meeting with someone you knew well from church or the neighborhood. The shame of them seeing you hanging out by the side of the pool in three foot deep area that lamely covered your white stick legs while your superbly inflated life raft of a belly bobbed at the water line for all to see and admire… SHUDDER

We discussed the variety of ways to cover one’s growing mid-riff when one of the brothers, shared he had worn a tee-shirt to bed for six months after he first got married (NO WAY !!!) , to save his wife the grief of seeing his over-developed table muscle. Which after he said it, the supportive man club… roundly applauded this poor man for his transparency and honesty, then snickering to ourselves.. we all quietly decided it was time to move this conversation along. What’s my point?

We change, we age, we decline… but at a pace that we can largely determine.

Marriage, fatherhood and middle age are potent mixes of all kinds of pressure for men. We find ourselves often caught with the mind of a 20-year-old and the knees of a 50-year-old and the aches and pains and Advil bottle in our car to prove it. What happened to us? When did our studly vigor start to go south…and why? 

Middle Age Hipster

The answer is not just a medical one, low hormones, reduced metabolism, increased dietary intake and reduced activity all make up the answers. Throw in heredity and environment, self-esteem and job stability and you’ve got a hundred reasons in a heartbeat. The reality is this… we take great pains to try to stay the same, when in reality we’re not going to succeed. We’re going to change, the body is going to fail us eventually and we are going to have to adapt our actions accordingly.

1- We can stoically accept it and continue to passively eat, drink and sleep our way to an early grave, with lots of extra long t-shirts and elastic waist band pants, or..

2- We can step back and look closely at the life we have and modify it for the better. Choose to eat less, walk more and go to the pool with our kids, if for no other reason than to share that day with them without too much shame and distraction. No we are not going to be 20 something again, but we can be a healthy 40…something 🙂

Guys, don’t forget to take care of yourselves, life is precious. It’s fleeting and it’s ours for the living… but passivity and avoidance are choices too. Skip the second helping… sweet potatoes are your friend, fried is a “four” letter word for your wardrobe and diabetes’ is a real thing.  Our wives, our kids and our communities of faith are counting on us to love ourselves as much as we try to love them… they need us to be here when it really counts. Let’s do our best to push back from the table and walk with our ladies around the block at night, you might just find you feel a whole lot better and your bride might just think you look a heck of lot more… uhmm- “Nice” 🙂

No great spiritual insight here, just a lighthearted reminder to myself and my Nacho eating compadre’s to work a bit harder this summer to return to our shirtless days and parent on with a bit less under the hood !

Peace out, RTP.

brad.