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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!

change 2 vowels

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Which vowels would you choose? w__rri__r. Simple concept. Difficult application. Change 2 vowels and go from being a wOrriEr to a wArriOr. And who doesn’t want that?!?

I was going to highlight a few personal stories to illustrate my point but let’s be honest; every one of us (yes, including me) allow our minds to take one negative thought, comment or reaction and 2vowelsthen that one thought grows with “I am nots’ or ‘I can nots’ or ‘what ifs’ or ‘should haves’ and then before we know it, we are on the worry bus to anxiety-ville. And once we are on that bus, it seems we have a hard time getting off. Heck, sometimes it does not even have to be negative encounter that puts me on that bus. Crazy how that bus seems to be always ready to pick me up but I still have a choice to climb aboard. I have a choice which vowels I use!

So, what do we do?  Olin Miller made this observation, “We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.” In other words, we should not think to highly or lowly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3). We should just be us – our uniquely, wonderfully created selves.  Here is a thought I just had. What if someone sees me as a warrior but I am so worried about what they think or how they will respond, I am actually a worrier masquerading as a warrior. Hmmm? Yep, I have been that guy and still can be at times. Yikes! Sherilyn Finn paints with a broader stroke, “There is something at work that’s bigger than us. It’s about having a trust in life and being at peace that things are happening the way they should. You do what you do as well as you can do it, and then you don’t worry or agonize about the outcome.” Essentially, she is saying:  ‘change 2 vowels.’

Change the O to an A:  Change the “Oh-woe-is-me attitude to an “Always pray & give thanks in all circumstances” attitude (1 Thesl. 5:16-18)

Change the E to an O. Change the ‘Everyone-does-not-like-me-every-thing-sucks’ attitude to an “O‘ God, you are my strength, my help & my shield…’ attitude (Ps. 28:7)

To become a warrior we must tear off the grave cloths of worry and put on life-sustaining armor (Eph. 6).  It will not be easy at times but we are not called to the easy; we are called to the necessary! And for ourselves & our families, ‘change 2 vowels’ is not only needed; it is of the upmost necessity.

And just in case you need a song to remind you: click here.

Let’s LMFL

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As I walk in the treatment room, a patient is already lying on their back. They say, “All ready for ya doc.” I smile – say thanks and then I notice their shirt. It reads, ‘Love More Fear Less.’ I say: “Nice shirt. It seems we do quite the opposite at times.” lmfl2That comment led to a few minute discussion which was good for both the patient and I. And if you are wondering, I had no fear to show the patient some love with a chiropractic hug :)

Later that day, I thought about those words, “Love More Fear Less” and then this came to mind: Let’s LMFL! With so many acronyms out there, I figured this one was sure to pop up on Google but it did not. Maybe I should trademark it right now or at least make a tshirt?!? Or not…

Here’s the deal: we can buy the shirt…we can wear the shirt…but do we do the shirt? For myself, I still have plenty of times I love less than I would like and fear much more than I dare admit. But I will not let that deter me from LMFL’ing. I was reminded that day in the office; we are all imperfect and sincere in our efforts and most desire to LMFL but are unsure what to do. Below I have given a few helpful links and verses.

Click here for connection questions (i.e. helpful conversation starters)

Click here for ‘Love Does’

Click here for ‘Crazy Love’

Click here for ‘Fear Not’

Love More: (1) ‘…and the greatest of these is love…” 1 Cor. 13:13 (2) ‘…love God, love others…’ Matt. 22:37-39 (3) ‘…perfect love drives out fear…’ 1 John 4:18

Fear Less: (1) ‘…fear not for I am with you…’ Is. 41:10 (2) ‘…fear not for the Lord is my strength & song…” Is. 12:2 (3) ‘…fear less, take courage; I have overcome…’ John 16:33

I will leave you with this quote: “The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be.” (Dalai Lama)

4 P’s

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Most days, the staff and I start off the day with prayer. It helps set the tone of office but also helps us focus on what is most important. One morning, a prayer went something like this: ‘God, we thank you that you are our provision. We thank you for your providence in our lives. And Father, we thank you for your constant and consistent presence.” peaceAs we finished praying, three ‘P-words’ lingered in my mind: Provision. Providence. Presence. Let’s take a small glimpse at each.

1. Provision: it is defined as the ‘act of providing or supplying something for use.’ Philippians 4:19 declares, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” 

2. Providence: It is defined as “the foreseeing care and guidance of God over the earth.’ Nehemiah 9:6 reads, “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.  You give life to all of them…” 

3. Presence: It is defined as, “the fact or condition of being present.’ Zephaniah 3:17 states, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior; He will sing over you with joy and He will be quiet in His love.”

Personally, as I continue to learn to trust in His provision; as I begin to understand His providence and as I start to enjoy His presence – the 4th P-word begins to emerge in my life. That P-word is Peace. For me, peace on a daily basis just does not happen. It can easily fade in and out. With the many demands that come at me each day, it is easy to lose focus and start to be anxious – to not trust in His provision, to doubt His providence, to not stop and recognize His presence. My daily goal is to have the ‘peace of God that not only passes understanding but also guards my heart and mind.’ If that is my desire, to obtain the 4th P-word, then I must decide to be disciplined. From that, as the other three P-words take root in my life, that initial desire will be turned into delight. And is not peace delightful?

To read about the 4-D’s (desire-decision-discipline-delight), click here.

Looking Ahead & Down

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I recently went running with a friend. As we turned to go up 27th street, I made this comment. “This hill is such a mental game for me. I look ahead and see it and think, will I prov425make it?” We keep running up the hill. At some point, he says, “I am not sure why but I tend to keep my head down and eyes focused only a few feet in front of me while I run. Maybe it is bad posture but it seems to help.”

As we kept running, we discussed the issue of looking into the distance or looking at what is right in front of you. Which is better? Do both have a place in our journey? When to do which and so on. The conversation sure made the last mile easier. Maybe that’s the point – the journey is not meant to be done alone; hmmmmm?!?

During that last mile, my friend said something to this affect: “Maybe we are to set our eyes on Christ & what He has called us to do and then put our eyes down and go for it.” I said, “Yeah, you are right, it is not either/or but both/and.” We must look ahead and we must look down. We must look at the hill to see where we are going but if we do not look down, we could trip, fall or get discouraged at the hill that seems so long & steep. And if we only look down and never ahead, how will we know where we are going? It is no different spiritually: we must look at Christ to set a trajectory of where we are to go and then we are to look at each day, each moment with eyes down (if you will) and go for it. However, if our eyes are never focused ahead at Christ and we just get going head down, we could miss where He is calling us to go. The point: We must not only set our eyes ahead – on the distant goal –  but we must look down to do the daily work it takes to get to there.

Prov. 4:25-26 gives us counsel on this topic as well. “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight ahead of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.

Look ahead. Look down. Be established. You can do this!

3-letter scramble

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My wife and I was recently talking about a few things going on in our lives and she made a comment to this affect: ‘We have to remember ‘who’ when we don’t know ‘how.’ Yes, she is that awesome most of the time! After she said that, why-howI said, ‘That’s the same 3 letters, just scrambled.’ She said, ‘What?” Who & How: It is the same 3 letters just rearranged. I know not as profound as her statement but I thought it rather clever :)

As I thought more about our conversation, I realized that ‘Why & Ywh’ are the same rearranged also. Ywh is an abbreviation for Yahweh. So I will take the liberty to re-word Jen’s statement: “We have to remember Ywh when we don’t know why.”

“How did _____ (fill in the blank) happen?’ In the midst of asking how; do not forget to remember the ‘who’ that thinks about you more than the grains of sand on the beach. (Ps. 139:17-8)

“Why did  _____ (fill in the blank)? In the midst of asking why; remember Ywh – the one who says to you, ‘I have a plan for you – a plan to prosper you and give you hope & a future’ (Jer. 29:11).

You know what else shifts as we scramble those 3 letters: our perspective – our outlook on our day, week and life. And who could not use a fresh perspective at times. Ever notice that constantly asking how & why tends to increase anxiety & worry; stressful activity in our spirits.  What if changing – ‘how into who & why in ywh’ – would help us experience the truth of Ps. 46:10 (Be still & know that I am God).  Let’s try and see what happens!

The point: as humans, we don’t fully understand all that happens around us or to us (Is. 55:8-9) and we may always wonder ‘how & why’ – that is normal & that is ok; we are supposed to seek, knock and find but let us not be so distracted or dismayed by the ‘hows & whys’ that we neglect or forget to focus on the ‘who: Ywh.’

50 de Mayo

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The THRIVE challenge for May is about reenergizing yourself but more than that, it is 50 de mayoabout blessing others: specifically a local business/ministry. Have you heard of Trinity Fitness? Their mission is to be a positive catalyst in the life of Lincolnites: both physically & spiritually. Click here  to learn how to join their mission.

THRIVE challenge: 50 de Mayo

(1) REENERGIZE YOURSELF. The challenge: Walk/Jog/Run 50 miles  in May (approx. 1.5miles per day).  Get outside and move!

(2) BLESS OTHERS. The challenge: Raise $500 for Trinity Fitness. How? Give 50 google reviews to Trinity Chiropractic.  For every 10 reviews posted, Dr. Bo will donate $100 to Trinity Fitness (maximum of $500). If you have been treated at Trinity & have not shared your experience, please do so. Let others know how Dr. Bo & his staff reenergized you. Even if you have not actually been treated by Dr. Bo but have been impacted by his challenges, blog or other social media posts, let others know. Help Trinity bless another Trinity! To leave a review, click here.

Note: Only one unique review per person. If you try to do more, Google may not recognize it or delete it. And we do not want that.

Reenrgize & Bless: You can do it. You want to do it. You will do it. And by doing ’50 de Mayo’  you are not only helping yourself but countless others!

Who & Where

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Who are you…

Where are you…

Let me explain why I am asking. I am currently reading a 3 books series by James Bryan Smith. I am in the 2nd book called, ‘The Good and Beautiful Life.’ In the very first pages of the book Smith asks, “What was Jesus’s main teaching?’ Many thoughts come to my mind but Smith goes on to explain, “Jesus’s primary message was the availability, presence and power of the kingdom of God…” Was that your answer? It is any wonder, when the disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray..” He responded, “…thy kingdom come…” (Luke 11:1-2)

whoami2Ok, that is great but how does this apply to our daily lives? Well, “the kingdom of God is a present reality that will be fully consummated in the future.” Many people focus on the future aspect of the kingdom; however, without the present reality; where is the presence and power? We are meant to live in the kingdom in the present moment – the here and now – the moments we found ourselves. Are we to remember the past? Yes, it has helped shape our present but it does not have to define us or limit us. Are we to plan for the future? Yes, that is beneficial and even fruitful but let us not think so far ahead that we neglect what is right in front of us. Here is the deal: kingdom reality operates in the present moments and kingdom pace is one day at a time. Let’s have that reality and that pace!

Back to the questions:  Smith writes, “I have two questions for people… Who are you and where are you? I repeat these often because the key to learning is repetition. The answers I am looking for is, ‘I am a child of God, one if who Christ dwells and I am living in an unshakable kingdom of God.”  Is that your answer?

So…Who are you? Where are you? I would even add a third question: Who is God?  Be honest with yourself – the answers to these questions affect the moment to moment reality of your life.

A few resources as you consider the questions:

1. Who are you? click here to find out.

2.  Two questions? click here to learn more.

3. Think vertical? click here to see why.  

Discipline Yourself

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Jon Wooden said, “Discipline yourself so no one else has to.” I read that quote a few months back and it has stuck with me for many reasons. I find for myself I can be rather disciplined in one area of my life but in another area a vastly different story emerges. Why? I think it is because I can be quite selfish and lack the self-control at times to be disciplined. I want what I want and I want it now! That mentality prevails in our culture and in me and I desire for it not to control me. So how do I do that? Could the key lie with what Roosevelt stated, “With self-discipline most anything is possible.’ self disciplineMost anything, huh? Furthermore, for me, a formula I use for self-discipline to look like this: Self-discipline = Intentionality + Consistency + Encouragement. If I am to discipline myself, I have to be intentional & consistent with my thoughts, actions and efforts. But I also need encouragement from others; this journey is not meant to be journeyed alone. Three verses that come to mind:

(1) 2 Timothy 1:7,For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” We are not to shrink back, we are to be bold, courageous knowing who God is and who we are. He gives power to live a full life. He gives love to share freely with those we encounter. He gives the ability to be self-disciplined so we can be healthy.

(2) Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  Notice the last fruit: self-control. I think that could be literally translated to ‘disciplined self.’ I find it no coincidence that love is the first fruit and self-control is the last. Nice books ends don’t ya think?

(3) Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” The great cloud of witnesses are those who encourage us to stay the course – to discipline ourselves to run the race. We need those witnesses more than we often know! And by all means, do not be afraid to ask for encouragement (aka: give people permission to hold you accountable).

Thinking of self-discipline, I need to consider not only my physical health but also my spiritual health. But I have a question for us: why do we see physical disciplines as necessary but spiritual disciplines as legalistic? Here is what I mean. Tell a person they must be disciplined to drink water, stretch, exercise or rest; they don’t blink an eye or raise an eyebrow. They may complain about it but they understand the importance of it. Tell a person they need to read their bible, fast, be still or pray and they question your motives and say you are being legalistic. Here is the truth: having self-discipline is not legalistic; it is healthy and dare I say vital to our health and well-being. Did you know that God often compares our physical health to our spiritual health? I see the practical application of this every day in my practice. Patient’s physical and spiritual health are often tied very closely together. Also, there are numerous verses that highlight this fact; I will note a few: (1) “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20 (2) “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31 (3) “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Tim. 4:8.

Here is the point: self-discipline is needed to be healthy both in our physical bodies as well as our spiritual bodies. And yes, it takes intentionality, consistency and encouragement to stay the course. Whether I am speaking of physical or spiritual disciplines, I try to keep it simple but I also know the simplest things are sometimes the hardest to do. Why is that? Because it takes effort to be healthy. Un-health comes too easily. R. Nakayama stated, “Health is not a gift but something each person is responsible for through his or her own daily effort.” Daily effort = disciplining yourself! Plato put it this way, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” Be victorious! Will you fail at times and not put forth the effort? Yep. Does that mean you stop and give up? Nope.

Below, I have listed 4 basic disciplines for both the physical and spiritual life. These disciplines are not legalistic goals to check off a list but if you need a list to do them then do it until you don’t need the checklist anymore. And by doing them, they do not elevate you above others or make God love you more. It doesn’t work that way. On the contrary, disciplining yourself in these basic areas makes you healthier in mind, body and spirit. And when you are healthier, you are typically happier. And does not everyone want to be healthier and happier? D. Prager stated, “Happiness is dependent on self-discipline. We are the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. It is much easier to do battle with society and with others than to fight our own nature.” To put it simply, let’s be people who: fight the good fight…who discipline ourselves…who win the race that is set before us!

Physical

Spiritual

Nutrition (water & healthier food)

Read bible (included is devotionals)

Stretch

Fast

Move (exercise)

Pray

Rest

Be still

Remember my formula: Self-discipline = intentionality + consistency + encouragement. Apply it to your life and let it affect not only your own health but the health of your relationships, both vertically and horizontally.  You can learn more about ‘thinking vertical…living horizontal’ here.  And lastly, ‘I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.’ (3 John 2)

What then?

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When we opened Trinity almost 15 years ago, my consistent prayer was a version of this: ‘Lord, let us see 30 patients today.” I would pray that as I entered the office but never really telling anyone. At some point (can’t remember when), I told Jennifer my prayer. She prayed it for a while then one day she asked it: “What then?” I said, “what do you mean, what then?’ She said, “Well, if you see 30, you gonna pray for 40, 50? When does it stop?’ I did not have a great answer what-thenfor her but I know that conversation was just the start of a shift in my prayer life toward Trinity and the patients we serve.
I had forgotten about the above conversation until a patient told me she was giving a talk about goal setting and was going to call it, ‘Then Where…What Now?’ We talked about this for a bit but to sum up her thoughts: We all make goals (which is not a bad idea) however the goal (whatever it is) can become something we so focus on that we miss the present moments of the journey along the way to the goal. For instance, she said, ‘If your goal is to go to Australia on vacation and you actually get to go, can you be satisfied in the moment or is your heart and mind already asking, Then where? Or if you goal is to be able to do 10 pull-ups, once you are able do it, can you enjoy the moment or are you already asking, What now?’ You see, her point and Jennifer’s point is the same: We are so focused on a goal that we miss out on what is going on in the present moments of the journey and can actually miss out on life. But again, let me remind you, goals are not bad – they can actually be healthy and purposeful. As you consider your goals, just take into account the journey of getting to your goal and not just the end-point because what happens if you never are able to get to the end-point…what then?
The ‘what then’ question has not changed my prayer life but it also changed the way I set and desire to meet goas. Do not get me wrong, I am wired to set goals, achieve them, mark them off my list and move on to the next goal. When I ran my 40 miles, the goal was not just to finish the 40 miles but to run the entire time no matter how slow. I achieved my goal but if that was my only goal, I would have missed so much. During the training process, I learned so much about myself and the support of others. But this same process works in other areas beside the physical – goal setting and enjoying the journey works mentally, spiritually, financially as well. We are saving to go to Disney this year. Our end goal is Disney, period! But to get there, we have to save money. So, we have incorporated the kids by making a Disney poster, giving them money making opportunities, etc…Instead of just focusing on the goal, we are trying to focus on thee daily, weekly, monthly journey that will get us to our goal.
How do we set goals and enjoy the journey? I think it involves having a: settled and inspired heart. Can you be settled and inspired at the same time? Yes, I think you can! We must have a settled heart that is content in the moment of life we find ourselves no matter what stage of the journey but our heart must also be inspired to go after the goal set before us. To be only settled, we may never achieve our goals. To be only inspired, we may never be content no matter what we achieve. To be settled and to be inspired is nothing short of living a full adventurous life. Two verses I think about: (1) Philippians 4:11-13, “… I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (2) John 10:10, “…I have come to give life and life to the fullest.”
What then? Settle your heart in all circumstances. Be inspired to go after the full life. Do that and Then where? & What now? will be much easier to answer. Oh and do not forget, YOU CAN do all things!