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My crazy life

Something is broken in me, and it looks equal parts American, Barnes family DNA, and my first-born status. It is decidedly not French. I take a perverse kind of pride in my busy life. It’s 4:45 in the morning, and we’re just back from a World Race debrief in Hong Kong last night. Having battled…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Something is broken in me, and it looks equal parts American, Barnes family DNA, and my first-born status. It is decidedly not French.

I take a perverse kind of pride in my busy life. It’s 4:45 in the morning, and we’re just back from a World Race debrief in Hong Kong last night.

Having battled jet lag all night (I sleep a bit, roll over to look at the clock, do a calculation – “let’s see, in bed at 10:40; it’s 3 a.m., so I’ve kind of slept 4 hours 20 minutes, nah, keep sleeping”).

In the back of my mind is this kind of sub-atomic clock that makes micro-calculations concerning how I should feel about myself at any given moment. I think most of us do it and are unaware of the process. Here’s what it looks like for me:

Seth’s Activity Self-image Tote Board

  • Gone from home for 9 days, done 3 World Race debriefs – Good
  • Leah is doing well upon our return – Good
  • Karen & I are happy – Good
  • Whipped thru 340 emails – Good
  • Looked in the mirror; I’m going bald fast – Bad
  • Redskins lost yesterday; I root for a bad team – Bad
  • A myriad of office issues that need handling – Good & Bad
  • Had a blast seeing Talia, the Racers, Shearman & BlackGood
  • The World Race site rewrite is done; I love Mike, Jerry, & Jeff! – Good
  • I only ran once in Asia and feel like a lard-butt – Bad
  • I ate too much and am three pounds overweight – Bad
  • Etc., etc.

The list is much longer than that, and my subconscious mind is constantly checking it and re-sorting it. If the balance of “Bad” items starts tipping, then my mood may sour and I withdraw. I don’t even have to do anything for this to occur – it happens automatically. And if I’ve knocked a bunch of things off my “To-Do” list, I may feel inexplicably lighter.

Of course, there are a thousand Bible verses telling me that I’m broken (adding more “Bads” to my tote board). “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” etc. I know, because I sometimes quote them to people who tell me about their own tote board (let’s see – I quote verses at people when I shouldn’t – Bad!).

As I’ve grown older, I’ve sought to modulate my extreme behavior and get off the merry-go-round. That’s why people like Jerry, Mark, Clint, Joe, and Deryck are good for me (I probably left somebody off the list – Bad). They pull me back to sanity and call a halt to the incessant chewing thru of the “To-Do” list.

In fact, for me, that is church – doing what I can’t do for myself. It’s the Hebrews 10:23-25 practice of encouragement. I take solace in the fact that everyone I know is broken – we’re all addicts of one sort or another. We don’t need another Sunday service, but we do need the Church.

Comments (7)

  • That was good – thanks for sharing so openly. It’s nice the moments when we can get off the roller coaster and bask in the fact that we are adored and God delights in who we are and what we bring to the table. You are a blessing to many.

  • Wow, I do that calculating of sleep to figure if I should be tired or not too.

    Yup, I think this constant incessant stream of activity that Americans think they have to be involved in is rooted in something that is not the shalom of God, even if it’s ‘good stuff’ we’re ‘doing’ for God.

    And okay, how long did it take to whip through 340 emails? I could use that secret technique.

    Enjoy Thanksgiving with your fam…and savor those long slow moments that you can replay into your spirit when the need arises later.

  • Melinda,

    I cheated – I did the emails in the better part of an hour – I’d previewed them on my Blackberry.

    hope your Thanksgiving is great too. hey – check with me about this TV show about the WR we’re doing.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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