• Archives

Author Archives Bo Bryson

Winter Time Blues

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

Colds and the flu escalate dramatically during the winter months; a period spanning from about Thanksgiving to almost Easter – the protracted Holiday Season. Some of the general flu symptoms include fever, chills, nasal symptoms, lack of appetite, increased sleep, malaise, fatigue, and generalized pain. Why do so many people feel these symptoms? Why do people feel less motivated, have less energy and increased ooosss juiceachy-ness during the Winter months? We can call this conglomeration of symptoms the “Winter-Time Blues” and they come from different sources.

First is the decreased activity of many people. During the Spring, Summer and Fall, people want to be outside in the fresh air; playing, laughing and running around. These activities are good for cardiovascular fitness, immunological function and emotional well-being. Also, the increased amount of sunshine is good for Vitamin D production and overall mood enhancement. During the Winter months, people tend to not want to go outside because of the frigid air. They tend to want to bundle up with a blanket, drink a cup of hot cocoa and watch a movie. This inactivity actually leads to de-conditioning which can lead to headaches, low back pain and even sickness. It is a well-known fact that a sedentary lifestyle can cause: (1) decreased muscle tone (2) decreased cardiovascular function (3) disease processes such as obesity and Type-II diabetes.  Ever wonder why so many people are sore in the Spring or injure themselves in the Spring; it could be that “hibernating” in the Winter has set them up for a future problem.

Second is the stress of the holiday season. Ever person handles stress differently and what may stress out one person may not bother another. There are two types of stress: (1) Eustress- which is good stress and (2) Distress – which is bad stress. Now, the holiday season should be a type of “eustress” because families are getting together, people take time off work, etc…but for many, the added stress of the holidays is “distress.” This added stress dramatically changes our body’s ability to fight off infections. The problem is that prolonged distress can lead to many health concerns including chronic fatigue, pain and countless other diseases. Hans Seyle, MD famously stated, “It is not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.

Third, and I think most important, is the increase in our dietary intake of omega-6 fatty acids (decrease in Omega-3 fatty acids) and sugar. From Halloween candy to Santa’s cookies & milk to chocolate Easter bunnies everyone should be aware of the potential harmful effects of an excessive dietary intake of sugar. These include but are not limited to: (1) hyperglycemia (2) diabetes (Type II predominately) (3) “sugar highs & lows” (4) increased production of inflammatory chemicals (i.e cytokines, prostaglandins and interleukins). Omega-6 foods include all grains (breads, pasta, cereal, packaged foods). Omega-3 foods include green vegetables, fish and flax seed. The omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio should be 1:1, no more than 4:1, but this ratio is doubled, tripled or even quadrupled during the holiday season. Why is this important? Because an excessive intake of omega-6 leads to an increase production of inflammatory chemicals which can lead to increased amounts of pain. Conversely, Omega-3 foods are anti-inflammatory in nature.

During this “protracted” holiday season, give yourself a fighting chance. (1) Stay active as much as possible (2) Let the hussle and bussle of the season be “eustress” not “distress” – enjoy family and friends (3) Give yourself a nutritional adjustment by eating minimal amounts of omega-6- and sugar-rich foods, and instead continue to drink water & eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

And here is helpful anti-inflammatory tea. We call it OOOSSS Juice.

OOOSS JUICE (anti-inflammatory tea)
Boil 1/2 gallon of water. Turn off and keep off.

Add 2-4 organic green tea bags.

Add ½ lb of ginger (sliced, not peeled).

Add 1-2 tablespoons of raw, local honey.

Steep for 2-3 hours.  Strain out tea bags and ginger, place juice in jar and cool in fridge.
Serve hot or cold. Both are great!

Habitudes

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

While reading the other day, I ran across the word, Habitudes. The word is a marriage of two powerful forces in our daily lives: habits and attitudes. Depending on how we utilize these forces, our health can be affected positively or negatively.  To learn more about Habitudes,  click here.

Let’s look at habits first. I often get asked: “Doc, why am I having this pain? I have not done anything.” My response, “Maybe that is the problem.” I say it jokingly because I am fully aware that the habitudeperson sitting in front of me wants to know why they are in pain and how to avoid it again. As I explain my answer in further detail; they start to become aware of their own habits that would be causing or preventing their pain. Truth is this; our habits (even when not aware of them) drive our health or lack thereof. Knowing that habits affect patient’s health, one of my jobs as a chiropractor is to make them habit-aware. What is habit-aware? It is taking an inventory of your daily life choices and how your habits (good or bad) affect your health. As Will Durant noted, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Let’s be excellent in our health!

Habit-aware can be broken into 3 categories:

1. Physical Habits: Dietary choices. Movement patterns. Sedentary lifestyle. Postural concerns.

2. Mental/Emotional Habits: Entertainment choices. Social Media addictions. Relational concerns. Traumatic experiences.

3. Spiritual Habits: Identity concerns. Sabbatical rhythms.  Devotional choices. Prayer lifestyle.

A note of interest – if you (or I) are unhealthy in one habit-aware category then it will eventually affect the other area. They cannot and should not be treated as isolated events but rather parts to a whole; that whole being YOU! If you would like more in-depth information about habit-awareness, click here. 

I have learned (ok, I am still learning) that my attitude not only affects me but those around me. It influences family, business, friends and patients. My attitude – the way I choose to respond to my day – affects every area of my life. Charles Swindoll says it so much better than I ever could. He notes, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you, we are in charge of our attitudes.”

To sum this up: How we view ourselves and others matter. Our habits and our attitudes influence our health. Combined they can be called Habitudes. It is that simple. Julie Smith said it this way, “You can’t make yourself feel positive, but you can choose how to act, and if you choose right, it builds your confidence.” Choose the right Habitudes so your confidence grows. As that grows so does your life!

KETO-life

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

Everyone – ok, not everyone – but lots of people (patients mainly) ask me if I am Keto. I smile because most have heard the term but have no idea what it means and what they are really asking is this: “What do you eat and why?” To answer them, I would give a rather lengthy discord about anti-inflammatory nutrition and how low-fat changed our nation. Their eyes would gloss over; I would stop and ask if they had any more questions. Inevitably they would say, “No, I got it.” Which was not true but they just wanted a simple yes or no. So, as of late, my answer is simply: “If I had to characterize Jennifer and myself, I would say we are keto-paleo which means we eat high fat foods and have common sense about everything else.” Then I allow them to ask further questions if they choose. Yes, after 15 years of practice, I am learning how to interact with people.

A couple ofketo  life points and a personal testimony about the keto-paleo lifestyle Jen and I have been trying to lead. First, let me be clear – a lifestyle is more than just the food you put in your mouth. It is the material you put in your mind, what you think about, whom you associate with and how you move. Second, a lifestyle takes time thus the word life that precedes style. I heard a speaker once say: ‘You are not a failure. Your lifestyle is.” The point – your lifestyle drives why and how you live. My story is this: Prior to the keto-paleo thought process, my blood sugar would dramatically fluctuate while exercising. It did not matter the intensity per say but I could literally feel my energy drain and I would get weak, light-headed and fatigued. I would ‘carb (sugar)-up’ and be good to go. That process has been going on since high-school. However, over the past year, I have noticed that I no longer bottom out. My blood sugar does not fluctuate and I am able to exercise vigorously. The test for me was when I ran my last Spartan race without having to ‘carb-up.’ I felt great – fully energized throughout the race. I have been changed internally b/c of the keto-paleo lifestyle. My goal is not to convince you to do what I do but rather take a look at why it may be helpful and healthful for you. Click here for insight into this lifestyle.

Well, that was not even the point of this blog but did give you a little bit of context of how my thought process came about. As I was thinking about keto, the words, ‘KETO-life’ came to mind. If you know me or have read some of my blogs, you know I can turn most anything into an acronym. So here ya go: KETO: Kind-Encourage-Thankful-Optimistic. How does the life part play into it? Simple; those four traits should characterize our life thus giving us a KETO-life!

Let’s briefly explore each one.

Kind: Dalai Lama famously stated, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Another way to put it is – we have a choice how we act towards others no matter how they act towards us. Ephesian 4:32 says it about as straight forward as you can: “Be kind to one another…”

Encourage: Oprah Winfrey stated, “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” We all need to hear that encouragement; to be reminded who we are and what we can do! And again, the Bible, gets right to the point: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thess. 5:11)

Thankful: Tecumseh states the obvious: Thankfulness is not about external circumstances but rather internal reality. He writes, “When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” Once we grasp that, our thankfulness becomes contagious! 1 Thess. 5:18 emphasizes the point: “In everything, give thanks…”

Optimistic: How we view our day to day living will absolutely affect how we treat ourselves and others. Lucile Ball noted: “One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” We all need restored faith and renewed hope! How do you get your mindset optimistic? You set it on things above and renew it daily; that is how! (Col. 3:2, Rom. 12:2)

As you think about how to have a KETO-life, let’s remember the words of one of the greatest authors of all time, Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

And, b/c yes I did, if you want an acronym for LIFEclick here.

Cancer Sucks – You Don’t

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

No one likes the ‘C’ word. It often brings a depressive & oppressive overture along to whomever and wherever it lands. What is this ‘C’ word that cause lives to be forever changed? Cancer…it may alter you but it does not have to define you. Let me be clear: Cancer Sucks – You Don’t!

I write this with the full recognition that I have never had cancer. I am thankful for that.

I write this knowing what it feels like to have a brother-in-law (Timmy) diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  Family was forever changed.

I write this knowing how it feels to pray as hard as I have ever prayed for Timmy to be healed. He wasn’t.

I write this knowing how it feels to watch Timmy slowly deteriorate for 2-3 years to nothing and die. It sucked. cancersucks

I write this knowing how it feels to be pissed at God for not doing anything. That could not be farther from the truth; He was very active.

I write this knowing how it feels to wonder if I could pray from someone else’s healing again. I have learned I can.

I write this knowing how it feels to watch Misty’s (my sister) life take a downward spiral because of Timmy’s death. It has been 6 long years.

I write this knowing how it feels to watch my nephew and niece miss their father and question God’s goodness. I had no answers that could soothe the pain.

I write this knowing how it feels to hear the ‘C’ word again; this time Misty. It alters our family even more.

I write this knowing how it feels to pray for Misty as she prepares for a double mastectomy. What ya up to God?

I write this knowing how it feels to rearrange my schedule so I can be there with her. Time spent with family is never wasted.

I write this knowing how it feels to watch my dad and mom struggle with their own emotions. My heart aches for them.

I write this knowing how it feels to have friends pray with and for me. Important point – we are not alone.

I write this knowing how it feels to be unsure and hopeful at the same time. Funny thing; human emotions and truth of God coexisting.

This past weekend a question ‘randomly’ pops into my mind: What am I most fearful of? I had many answers come to my mind but after contemplating, I landed on this statement: I am most fearful of not living. This statement is not about death or dying rather it is just the opposite. It is about living in the moments we have each day presented to us. For me it is being intentional and consistent with my health, family and friends. As I said before I do not do it perfectly but that is never the point. The point is to live as healthy as I can in my mind, body and spirit. It is about the daily choices I make that affect myself and those around me. Will I avoid the ‘C’ word because of a ‘healthier’ lifestyle – maybe but maybe not? Do daily healthy choices help either way – yep! What I do know is this: if I live in fear of the ‘C’ word – cancer not only sucks but I begin sucking as well. And I do not want to suck at life. I want to move and laugh and play and cry and sing and gaze and love and think as much as I can as long as I can. I do not want to waste my life! Each of us have a story. Each of us has a journey. Let us not waste what lies before us and in the midst of it – ‘C’ word and all – let’s give it all we got. Stay the course. Show up. Be present. Live full with eyes and arms and heart wide open.  And most of all, remember: Cancer Sucks – You Don’t!

Below are a few links to help.

1. Whose Shoulder ya leaning on? – click here

2. We all could use a breakthrough from time to time. -  click here

3. Faithful in it all. – click here

4. Don’t waste your cancer (or life). – click here

Husbands: L-Y-W

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

The words intentional and consistent continue to come to mind often. You can listen here to a thought I had about them. I continue to realize the impact those two words have on my health physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally.

Most recently, I was thinking about those two words in the context of marriage and a verse was brought to my mind. Ephesians 5:25 reads, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Did you catch that? Husbands: L-Y-W (love your wife). This is one of the most challenging and most inspiring verses I have encountered in scripture. hlyw It seems impossible to do but is it? What if I as a husband, I could practically – not perfectly – walk this verse out for the lifetime of my marriage? How would that change: (1) my view of my wife (2) my marriage (3) my kids (4) other men around me and heck (5) the view of my own self.

I will not speak for other husbands but I read that verse and think; “There is no way I can do that. I ain’t Jesus.” And if deeply honest with myself, the reason why is that I wonder what I get in return? Is it really worth the effort put out? That may sound selfish but many times – as much as I try not to – my love can be self-motivated. Here is the deal, I want to love my wife well – not saying perfectly – but well. I heard a quote one time that made consider how well I love my wife. It stated, “You can tell the spiritual depth of a man by the countenance of his wife.” So I must consider; what is Jen’s countenance and how does it reflect on my love or lack thereof.

As I process this verse, I wonder, “Is it possible?  Is it really doable to love my wife as Christ loved the church.” As I considered that question, a verse came to mind. John 14:12-14 reads, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” If this verse is true and I believe it to be true, then I can do ‘even greater things.’ I think we look at this verse and think missions, revivals, church plants, etc…but what if one of the most foundational ‘greater things’ is for husbands to love their wives? Would that not be world changing? Then I look at the verse again and it states, “…ask anything in my name and I will do it…” What am I asking for as a husband that is more important than loving my wife well? Heck, do I even consider asking for such a thing in the first place or am I waiting for her to love me so I can love her in return?

Based on John 14; it seems loving my wife as Christ loved the church may be more possible than I originally thought. And why? Because Christ gave me (husbands) an example of being intentional and consistent with His bride (the church). If He chose to find value in those two words, should not I do the same? As I consider all the ways I see in scripture of how Christ intentionally and consistently loved the church, four words seem to sum it all up.

(1) Sacrificed: Christ sacrificed deity for humanity. He sought us out – sacrificing His time, energy and resources not only to be with us but to see us thrive.

*** Do I sacrifice my time, energy and resources for the sake of my wife? Am I willing to put that hobby, want-list, etc..aside just to seek her out? Do I desire see her thrive in all the gifts and talents God has blessed her with?

(2) Served: Jesus served to win hearts not applause nor approval. He could have set himself up as King yet he chose to wash feet.

***Do I care more about getting her (and others) applause and approval than I do winning and tending to her heart? Am I willing to humble myself and get off my ‘high-horse’ to wash her feet? Do I expect something in return when I think I have served ‘above and beyond?’

(3) Died: He gave all regardless the cost. He was beaten and rejected; He still forgave.

***I may never have to die physically but am I willing to let my personal wants, likes and desires die so hers can come alive? When I feel rejected or beaten down, do I still forgive?

(4) Rose Again: He defeated death so we could live an abundant life.

***Regardless of the previous day or what transpired a week ago – whether fantastic or horrible; do I arise with a heart of gratitude knowing I have the ability to bring a smile to my wife’s face?

Right now, you may be thinking to yourself, you do not know my wife, I have tried – I have reached out – now it is her turn. A verse comes to mind, Romans 12:18 reads, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” I know for myself, I often forget that “all” includes my family, especially my wife.  As far as it depends on me, huh? What does that look like? Betcha’ it has to be intentional and consistent?!?

Another thought about how Christ loved the church. Yes, he sacrificed, served, died and rose again but Christ was never a doormat. Christ knew who He was, who the Father was and what He was called to do. He knew His identity and purpose. Those two things allowed him to have clear and healthy boundaries which propelled Him to love God, others (the church – His bride) and even himself. I think of Ephesians 5:28; “In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Husbands, do you know your identity and purpose? How would that make a difference in not only marriage but daily life? Click here  to read about two foundational questions that speak to this very issue.

What will this look like practically – again, not perfectly – in our daily lives? As each day presents itself with challenges and opportunities, I know I must be intentional and consistent to love my wife well. In regards to this, I think of a Helen Keller quote. It reads, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” The mundane of life is where I must be intentional and consistent. The mundane of life – the day to day operations of home –  is where I must sacrifice, serve, die and rise again and in doing that over and over and over again – the pursuit of my wife becomes the reality of Ephesians 5:25.  For those who are wondering – what about the wife? Well, there is an Ephesians 5:24 which is not the topic of this blog post but I have to wonder; if I – as a husband – did Ephesians 5:25 well – would Ephesians 5:24 even be an issue? To get a broader context of these two verses, click here.

Lastly, a few helpful links:

(1) Want a ‘Fierce Marriage?’ – click here.

(2) Want a ‘Connected Family?’ – click here.

(3) Men: Fight-Live-Rescue? – click here.

(4) Speak Love: click here.

BAM-KAPOW

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

BAM – KAPOW: did that make you think of the original Batman show. Oh, I hope it did! If not, please go watch an episode so you can appreciate the intro! I recently attended a chiropractic conference that had ‘Posture Expert’ Dr. Stephen Weiniger as a keynote speaker. He authored the book, “Stand Taller-Live Longer.” He spoke about the health implications of good vs poor posture. In his speech he used the acronym B.A.M. It stands for Balance, Alignment and Movement. As I listened, I thought ‘posture speaks’ bamkapowbut what is it saying both physically and spiritually about ourselves and those around us.

In chapter 6 of my book: ‘posture: a snapshot of health,‘ I write, “I am not a shopper but occasionally I will go to the mall with Jennifer.  As she is shopping, I watch people.  There are so many people of different shapes, sizes, and colors.  The array of color and beauty astonishes me.  People are having conversations, kids are crying and all while, their posture is speaking volumes to me.  That person’s head is forward; I wonder if they have headaches.  That person’s shoulders are rounded; I wonder if they have mid-back pain.  That person’s right arm does not swing as far as the left when they walk; I wonder if they have had a shoulder injury.  That person’s right foot is turned outward and their back is arched; I wonder if they have hip or low back pain.  That person will not make eye contact with anyone; I wonder what has happened.  Make no mistake posture speaks but what is it saying?  You just sat up a little straighter, didn’t you?”

Ok, posture speaks but how to we get it to say the correct thing? BAM – KAPOW… that’s how! Let’s take a deeper look at B.A.M.

1. Balance - Physically: We need it to walk, stand up straight and be aware of the world around us. If we do not have balance, the potential for falls and injuries go up exponentially. Spiritually: we need it to walk (in the right way), stand up straight (know who & whose we are) and be aware of the world around us (love others & be kind). If we do not have balance spiritually, the potential to be self-consumed (falls) goes up drastically. We must learn to be balanced both physically and spiritualy to find our way!

2. AlignPhysically: our alignment matters. Central stability helps create & maintain distal mobility. It is our alignment that helps keep our eyes on the horizon so we can move in the correct direction.  Spiritually: our alignment matters. What we put as the central stabilizer of our life can create & maintain spiritual mobility/maturity. This alignment must keep our eyes focused on the prize if we are to become more Christ-like in our thoughts & actions. Mis-alignments often cause pain, distraction and detours. Let’s us stay aligned and focused!

3. Move: Physically: we are way too sedentary. Our lack of movement perpetuates pain, decreases healing and causes a downward spiral of health & vitality. Spiritually: we are way too sedentary. Our lack of prayer (& other spiritual disciplines) perpetuates pain, decreases healing (in our own heart & other relationships) and causes a downward spiral of relational health & vitality. We must move more in order to stop suffering & start liviing!

Remember, your posture is speaking so we must BAM-KAPOW every day! How does the kapow play a part? Hmmm, no idea really; it just seems saying that while throwing my fist in the air is a good start to my morning.

Below I have listed a few helpful links:

1. Balance – A song to help find your Way.

2. Align – A song to help keep your eyes and mind focused.

3. Move - A song to remind you that nothing can stop you.

4. Kapow - A blog post to help you remain flexible in body & spirit.

CHAMPS

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

I recently attended a CBMC event & heard a talk from Dave Rowe. He is a past superbowl champion & NBC sports broadcaster (click here to read more of his story). He has been around some of the biggest names in the NFL but he said the two people that impacted him more than any other were two men that we had never heard of: his high school football and track coaches. He said they taught him much more than football; they taught him to respect himself & others. They were CHAMPS champseven though they never got a ring, trophy or great recognition. As I listened to his story; I had to wonder for myself: will my life be characterized by CHAMPS regardless of the accolades, applause or awards?

What is CHAMPS? It is an acronym Dave mentioned in his speech. He said it hung above the locker room door. Dave said seeing that everyday helped him not only succeed in football but in life and that my friends is the point! Below I have copied the acronym & added a few thoughts with it.

CCourage. We are not called to the easy. We are called to the necessary. It takes courage to stand for something & do the necessary work. Take courage b/c No plans of the enemy shall prosper! (Is. 54:17)

H - Heart. Love what you do. Put your whole heart into the arena you find yourself. Guard your heart b/c from the heart all the issues of life flow. (Prov. 4:23)

AAttitude. Positive or negative – that determines much of how our day will unfold. Have the same attitude of Christ Jesus…(Philip. 2:5-11)

M - Mind. The real battleground. Set your mind on things above! (Col. 3:2)

P - Pride. Not arrogance but doing the very best each day – being intentional –  knowing you gave it all you had. Run the race with endurance. (Heb. 12:1-3)

SSacrifice. We do what it takes as long as it takes. That means living a life of intentionality & consistency: two words which I believe impact every relationship we will ever have. There is no greater love than to lay your life down…(Jn. 15:13)

CHAMPS – I’ve got my eye on it! Do you? click here for a song to get you motivated.

Thanks Dave for being & living CHAMPS and helping others see they can do the same in every area of life!

PB & no J

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ PB&J on white soft bread? It has to be on white bread, right?!? Betcha’ can taste the goodness now and recall a memory that makes it even better. As much as we love PB&J, I had a thought this weekend that may change your mind. Let me explain.

After a family event, we were sitting around chatting about…what else, family. In the midst of the conversation, family member A (fma) said something to this affect: “She has gone wild. She’s a wild child.” Family member B (fmb) member spoke up, “I will not talk about that. Let’s not be judgmental. PBnoJWe all have a story.” FMA said, “I was not judging, I was just making a comment.” FMB replies, ‘Really? Your comment was not judgmental?’ FMA says, ‘No, it was a comment and it is not a judgement; it is the truth as far as what I see.’ FMB replies, ‘Ok then instead of judging with a comment that may or may not be truth, pray for her.’ The conversation continued but FMB’s comment made me think: How often do I cast judgement (a casual comment or not) without stopping to pray and believe in what I am praying for and who I am praying to? (Thanks FMB for making me think – love you!)

Then this came to me: As much as I like PB&J, maybe I should try a PB & no J. Pray…Believe…no Judgement. I am not saying we should not be discerning and walk in wisdom but what I do think is that I (if not careful) can mask judgement with some clever words that sound “very discerning and loving” but, for sure, I have left out the ‘P’ & ‘B’ but have plenty of the ‘J.’  And truthfully, too much ‘J’ messes up the sandwich! Mark 11:24 reads, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”  Pray and believe…that is my job. I am to pray (and keep praying) and believe in the character of God that I know to be true. Does that mean I will see the answer right away – nope! Does that mean I can trust a God who loves the person way more than I do – yep! You see, ‘J’ – judging is easy. It takes very little effort. It is the sugary sweet stuff that tastes good and goes down easy. ‘P’ & ‘B’ – prayer and belief is more difficult. It takes time and effort. It is the thick stuff that holds the sandwich together. Hmmmmm? that is food for thought at a latter time :)

Let me give a general example: I see a person that is different (behavior, race, gender, political and theological ideas, etc..) than me – truly doesn’t matter the difference, here is what often happens: b/c of fear that I cannot control the situation or change the person’s behavior that makes me uncomfortable; I judge them for a host of reasons – and the main one is that I then do not have to include them in my sphere based on my judgement thus I do not have to have relationship with them on any level. Sound familiar? Ok, maybe that is just me.  Maybe this scenario fits better: I am having one of my best days  – I see or hear of someone different than me and instead of judging I start praying for them. Sounds good, right? I am not saying it isn’t but the question I am learning to ask myself is this: What am I praying for? For the other person’s appearance, actions, behaviors, thoughts to change so I feel more comfortable around them or am I praying for my heart to change so I can see more rightly? Does the other person need to change? Possibly. Does my heart need to be changed? Absolutely. Stanley Hauerwas states it this way, “The love that is characteristic of God’s kingdom is possible only for a forgiven people – a people who have learned not to fear one another…Only when my self – my character – has been formed by God’s love, do I know I have no reason to fear the other.”

Can we allow love to drive out fear (1 Peter 4:18) – and in doing so, can we learn to enjoy a PB & no J as much as we do a real PB&J?  Ya know what…I think we can!

Kill the (f)Lie

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

This morning as I sat down to be still for 15 minutes, I heard the most annoying sound: bzzzzzzzzzzzz. It would stop for a moment only to start again: bzzzzzzzzzzz. As I sat there and listened, these words came to my mind: kill the fly. A small pesky thing that can cause a great distraction.

So, how do you kill the fly? A handy little tool called a fly swatter. If you have ever tried to kill a fly with a dish towel or  some other item, it can be a little more tricky. flieA fly swatter has one job – to kill the fly. But ever notice when you need the fly swatter, you have no idea where it is at or better yet, decide not to get it. I have actually left the room where the bzzzzzz-ing was going on so I would not be annoyed. Did the fly die, nope. Did it fix the problem, nope.  Did it make me feel better momentarily, yep. When I went back to the room again, guess what, the bzzzzzzz-ing was still there?!?

Then this word came: lies do the same thing as that pesky fly. They bzzzzzzzzz around, making noise, distracting – annoying us and periodically they will be silent only to resurface. I wrote in my journal: Kill the (f)Lie.

The next question that came to my mind was: what (f)lies are bzzzzzzz-ing around? Then I listed a few that I hear bzzzzzz-ing from time to time: (1) you are not good enough (2) you are a failure (3) you are not successful (4) you could do more. I bet you have your own (f)lies that bzzzzzzzzzz around. And wow….it is annoying…it is distracting!

What kills the (f)lies? The truth – the truth of who He is and who we are. The (f)lie swatter is the very word of God. Do we know where it is at? Have we grabbed it in a while or do we grab other items – dish towel of comparison, spray bottle of accusation – trying to do the job that only the (f)lie swatter can do. Eph. 6:17 reads, “…take the sword of the spirit, which is the very word of God.” What does the sword do? It kills the (f)lie. Dead. Done. No more bzzzzzzzzz-ing.

Let’s look at the four (f)lies I gave as examples above and how the (f)lie swatter kills them.

(1) (f)lie – you are not good enough. (f)lie swatter – Gen. 1 27-31, 1 John. 4:10 & Ps. 100;5, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…and the Lord looked upon what He had made and called it good. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. For the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever…”

(2) (f)lie – you are a failure. (f)lie swatter –  Rom. 8:37 & Is. 54:17, “…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us… No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants…”

(3) (f)lie – you are not successful. (f)lie swatter – Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

(4) (f)lie – you could do more. (f)lie swatter – Prov. 19:21 & Jer. 29:11, “Many are the plan in a man’s heart but it is the purpose of the Lord that prevails. I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you; to give you a hope and a future.”

Kill the (f)Lie: it has nothing to do with my or your goodness. It has everything to do with His. You and I are created in His image to do good works. We are conquerors. No (f)lie (weapon) that comes against you or I shall prosper. He has plans for our future. Our heritage is success; not as the world may see it but nonetheless, it is filled with hope and the fullness of life itself!

I challenge and encourage you to write down the (f)lies that bzzzzzzz about and know what (f)lie swatter you need. And when that pesky bzzzzzz-ing happens, do what you know to do: kill the (f)Lie!

One last thought: As I was finishing up my 15 minutes, this question entered my mind: How did the (f)lie get into the house? The answer: a door was left open. The application for us: What, if any, doors are we leaving open that may be allowing (f)lies to bzzzzzzzz around?

Click here for a (f)Lie swatting song!

Pool Reflections

by Bo Bryson | No Comments

Ya know? You could if you be still. This month we are doing a THRIVE challenge called “Be Still.” The premise is to Be still for 15 minutes a day. No music, no devices – just you and a journal. Then see what happens – see what you know or better yet, what you don’t know.

During one of my 15 minutes, I was given a ‘pool reflection.’ poolreflLet me give you a brief background first. We have owed an above ground pool for 4 years. At first I did not want it, not because I would not enjoy it but rather I knew the work it would take to keep it clear and clean. Nonetheless, we got one. The first year I could not keep it clear no matter what I did. Come to find out, I was not adding enough or the right proportions of chemicals to it. Who knew chlorine was so important?!? Each year has gotten progressively better. Here is the truth about having the pool: it is a blessing  to us & others on hot summer days – it is lots of work to keep it clear and clean – I have come to enjoy cleaning it.

Ok, back to my 15 minutes. As I sat down to be still that day, I felt in my spirit these words, “your pool and how you take care of it reflects your life.’ With that I wrote the below italicized words in my journal.  I will not add to it but rather just share what ‘being still’ allowed me to know that day.

Cleaning Pool Analogy.

1. Shell of pool: environment of our daily life

2. Water: us (you and I)

3. Chemicals: what we put in our water

            a. chlorine: spending time with God; prayer/devotionals/reading

            b. stabilizer: foundational identity – knowing who He is and who I am but also knowing where I am.

            c. pH balancer: healthy also in the mind and body; challenging ourselves

            d. natural clarifier: serving others – not about me

            e. algae killer: honestly in our lives; accountability; close friend group

If we keep our water clean; it is refreshing. If it is cloudy and green, no one wants to swim. Is it any different with us? Even if all the right chemicals are added debris can still get in the water. Gotta take the time to vacuum and clean out. Lots easier to do daily.

‘Pool Reflections’

  1. Our environments and our stories are all different but we matter to God. He is the living water that is clear – that is constant – that is refreshing.
  2. Just like adding chlorine to the pool to help keep it clear – our time spent with God will directly correlate to the clarity of & in our life.
  3. The stabilizer helps to reduce the amount of chlorine that is pulled out of the water from the stress of sunlight and pool use. Knowing the answers to the identity questions will help stabilize us when stress comes in our life. You can learn more about those questions here.
  4. The pH balancer helps the pool not get too acidic (unhealthy if you will). For us to be balanced is to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. We are the very temple of God and how dare us allow our temples to get acidic. With that in mind, we must, at times, challenge ourselves to achieve better health not just for a moment but for a lifestyle. I think of a quote, “Health is not a gift but something each person is responsible for through his or her own daily effort.” (R. Nakayama)
  5. I have come to know about myself this truth: when I am focused on myself – my worries, my woes, my what-evers – my mind becomes clouded with doubts. However, as I turn my attention to serving and encouraging others; my emotions are stabilized and I can allow grace and joy to abound.
  6. Algae starts slow; grows on the edges then before you know it, the whole pool is green. Untruth in our lives does the same thing. Lies start small, on the edges (white-lies) and then before you know it; our whole life is affected. It is only with honesty and accountability that we can kill the fungus of lies.

It may not be easy at times – it might require daily effort – but as I have said before; we are not called to the easy, we are called to the necessary. And make no mistake, it is absolutely necessary to keep our water clear if we are to be healthy for ourselves/family and a blessing to others. There is no other way. And yes, even in the midst of the daily effort, joy can be found – grace and love can abound…your water can be clear!