Archives For Depression and Insecurity

I love hearing Ruth Haley Barton’s voice when I read her books.  I have been on nine retreats led by Ruth over approximately a two year period.  When I go to read her books, I can’t help but hear the inflections in her voice and her deep care for ministry leaders (for me!) as she teaches during retreat and as she types the words of the book.

It’s been too long since I finished my Transforming Community retreats and it’s been too long since I read one of Ruth’s books.  My stated goal (rule of life) at the end of my retreat cohort was to continue in certain rhythms that would allow me to live an unhurried life where I was able to enjoy God.  I have not kept my rhythms, my life continues to feel over-busy, over-stressed, and over-hurried, and as a result, I’m not enjoying God in those deep moments like I did on my TC retreats.  Those deep moments that I still long for, but feel impossible to attain in my regular life and ministry.

Then I picked up Ruth’s newest book, Invitation to RetreatWhat I love most about Ruth’s writing and teaching is it reminds me I’m not crazy to desire rest.  She of course uses more eloquent words than this, but you get my idea.  In the world of life and ministry, you are made to feel out-of-place, lazy, and slacking off if you aren’t cramming your life full of tasks, accomplishments, and striving.  Nor does it helped that I am hard-wired for this sort of achievement-based life. Continue Reading…

You can listen to Noah Filipiak’s “Behind the Curtain” Podcast interview with James Gardin on the Podbean Player below or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes. (Podcast listening tip: use the podcasts app on your smartphone and listen while driving, doing chores, or working out)


Noah Filipiak interviews James Gardin’s about overcoming rejection and persevering in the music industry.  About what it’s like to get a song on ESPN and how to handle the insecurities.  James explains what his message is as a Christian artist, and last but not least freestyles about Noah’s hometown of Oconomowoc!

Connect with James on social media:

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Instagram

Shop James’s music. Continue Reading…

I read Hebrews 2:14-18 yesterday.  Read it slowly, out loud, a few times:

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

I am a person who struggles mightily with depression and anxiety. It comes and goes and is subject to a diverse array of stimulus.  I also have a lot of good ways of coping with it, which are sometimes enough to feel better and sometimes aren’t.

Usually when we think of Jesus’s atonement, we think of him as the substitute for our sins. We deserve a penalty for our sins, hell, and Jesus took that hell upon himself on the cross so we wouldn’t have to take it on ourselves for all eternity.  Then when the Judge looks at us, we are declared innocent (righteous). Not because of what we’ve done, but because of what Jesus did on our behalf.

All of this is true, praise be to God! But something even deeper hit me yesterday. Continue Reading…

One of my uncles died last week. He was 67. My dad is also 67.

I turned 35 today. If you cut my years on this earth in half and went back in time, it would be the summer between my junior and senior year of high school.

Blink.

Now I’m 35.

If you double the years I’ve already spent on this earth, I’ll be 70.

Blink blink.

It’s been a reflective couple of weeks for me. It’s a reflective time when I start realizing my parents and their siblings are the generation of people who are dying. Like when I was in 3rd grade and my grandpa died. I was sad, but also gained a pragmatic understanding: that’s what old people do, they die. Continue Reading…

Too often in Christian circles it’s taught that if you have faith, pray and obey, God will take away your problems.  If you are worried, give those worries to God and he will solve them.  If you’re going through a challenging time, God will fix it.  Things typically don’t work out this cleanly in real life, often leaving people wondering what they did wrong, or why God abandoned them.  Thankfully the Bible tells a different story.  Continue Reading…