What to Remember When Your “Not-Best” Self Shows Up

I am not my best self in the morning. Sadly, this “not-best” version of myself must still carpool during morning rush hour traffic—a setup for the perfect storm.

Carpool
(Image from Pixabay)

I lugged my “not-best” self into the car and noticed my son Jon’s anxiety was high. Anxiety is one of his most difficult challenges. He is rarely free of feeling worried or scared.

Before leaving the driveway, his questions started. Now, I’ve heard all these questions before and have answered them many times.

However, when a change comes or an upcoming event looms, the questions reflect Jon’s heightened anxiety, not an “Oh, that’s right; I forgot” response.

I tried to answer his questions with kindness, knowing my tone was vitally important to prevent his anxiety escalating. I tried to maintain my loving, understanding tone and employed coping skills to reduce his anxiety.

Change: The Road to Healing with Hope

Today I chose to take another route home after taking my son to school. Typically, I race straight home or to the office, directly to my desk and dive in to work.

Change
(Image by Samuel Foster on Unsplash)

Today was different. I needed space—which is getting harder to come by in our town. I realized this as I navigated my way home, deciding to visit a few places that carry significant meaning for me.

I stopped by the place I first met my now-husband after vowing to never remarry. (Never say never!)

I drove under a canopy of trees shading the lake and fountain I used to sit by to clear my head, and I glanced up at the windows of Insight for Living Ministries’ former office building.

I finally turned the corner and saw where my daughter and son went to high school. She’s now married; he’s about to finish college.

Then, I drove by the neighborhood elementary school my son went to when he was 9; he’s now 20.

Ch- Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes

We moved to Frisco, Texas, ten years ago. In my neighborhood, there was . . .

From Survival to Spectacular—Your Story Isn’t Finished

Based on the unpredictable and seemingly impossible commands the Lord has given His people, I don’t think He would have won any ancient popularity contests.

Survival
(Image from Unsplash)

The first book of our Bible, Genesis, contains accounts that, if we didn’t have the whole story, could make God seem more like a sinister bully than a sovereign Savior.

The people whose stories of faith are recorded in the Word had no idea what the whole story would be, yet they exhibited otherworldly trust.

Noah’s Nautical Carpentry

For example, only a couple chapters after the creation and fall accounts, we learn that humanity continued to make a mess of things. Yet God saw Noah,

Relational Guts: Plunging into Life and Love with Courage

The text read . . . “Hey, please give me a call back when you can. Love you!” My daughter isn’t a big texter. Something was up. I called immediately.

Daughter
(Image from Pixabay)

Her voice sounded fragile—not the typical healthy, “busy-about-life” one I’m used to. I listened as she began with a truth I’ve taught my kids over the years:

I’m not a mind reader, so if you need my help, you have to talk to me about it. I promise to listen, learn, and love no matter what.

Openness

Sometimes it’s been tough to keep this promise, but our children (whether tiny or adult) are free to be honest and open when they are given a safe place, knowing they won’t be condemned or immediately corrected.

In fact, the foundation of any healthy relationship is safety and trust; knowing that no matter what we share, we will still be loved, cared for, and safe—even if the topic is tough, disagreeable, or all knotted up.

My daughter and her husband had just visited. Some issues had surfaced that were confusing, frustrating, and difficult for them. She bravely shared more with me:

How to Solve Sleepless Nights and Unexpected Sorrows

So what’s been keeping you up at night? Sleepless nights . . . we’ve all been there: lying awake for hours, tossing and turning, tangled in our sheets as our thoughts and emotions twist up into tight knots.

Sleepless Nights
(Image from Pixabay)

We try to self-medicate, but . . .

  • Drinking
  • Eating
  • Smoking
  • Whatever-ing

Doesn’t keep us from restless worry.

When God’s Ways Don’t Make Sense

During our worry-induced insomnia, the talking-to-God thing can leave us far more irritated than inspired; after all, He could have stopped this thing that’s plaguing us. Why didn’t He stop . . .

Fresh Hope for YOU and the Church

When you hear the word church, what comes to mind? Do words like comfort, connection, authenticity, excitement, joy, acceptance, or support surface?

Brad Hoefs

Or do words like . . .

  • Condemnation
  • Judgment
  • Rejection
  • Fear
  • Chastisement
  • Anger

Bubble up? Our world today is desperate for hope. The church is the community God ordained to offer the hope found only in Jesus. Sadly, oftentimes, those looking for hope have found rejection, judgment, and hurt—not from Jesus but from those who profess to be Christians.

Brad Hoefs knows this all too well. While pastoring one of the nation’s fastest-growing churches, Brad’s life fell apart due to a mental-health challenge.

The Joy of Painful Growth

This article is by my dad, Chuck Swindoll.

In our backyard in California, Cynthia and I had a couple of fruit trees that supplied our table with luscious, homegrown grapefruits and oranges. Some years, the trees bore more fruit than others.

Fruit Tree
(Image from Pixabay)

And every year, the growth of those trees reminded me about what it means to become more like Christ.

The secret to growing Christlike is found in the tiny word abide. Like branches that cling to the tree for life, we attach ourselves to Him when we abide. When we are attached to Him, we grow whatever He grows.

I would guess that you already know what that fruit looks like. Galatians 5:22–23 gives us a wonderful list:

A Checklist for Living Well

There’s a great NPR podcast titled How I Built This. I love it! It’s about people who have created, invented, or started movements that have become highly successful.

Grateful
(Image from Unsplash)

I’ve listened to interviews with the founders of Whole Foods, Spanx (Every woman say AMEN!), Lyft, Crate and Barrel, and Kate Spade, to name a few.

Every interview seems to involve shared themes:

How to Stop Your World from Spinning out of Control

Sabbatical. It sounded so holy . . . but it was beyond essential. This past winter, more than a few folks “strongly suggested” I take some time off work to rest, refresh . . . and breathe.

Rest
(Image from Pixabay)

I have been at my current job for 10 years but can count on one hand the number of vacations I’ve taken. On top of that, a series of life-changing events had dried up my creative juices. So, I agreed to take some time off.

Sabbatical sounds far more worthy than just “downtime.” The concept comes straight from Scripture: at the time of creation, God’s creative juices were full throttle.

Yet at the height of all His creative goodness, God chose a day (literal or figurative) to sit back and savor His finished work. Genesis 2:2–3 tells us: