Strengthening Our Grip

Do you ever feel like sometimes you are (to borrow a great line from a Paul Simon song) slip slidin’ away?

  • The media bombards us with the latest screaming headlines regarding the latest horrific news…
  • You find yourself in deep into the “same old argument” with your boss, your spouse, your child, the neighbor next door…
  • You wake up, try and shake off the fatigue and start moving, so you can make it on time to the job you can barely tolerate because, after all, the bills have to be paid…
  • You find yourself wondering, for the 999th time, “is this all there is?”

If so, you are not alone.  Many, too many, live lives of “quiet desperation” when God has intended for us all to live with “the peace that passeth all understanding.”

How do we get a handle on it?

Years ago, Chuck Swindoll offered a great answer.  He said it comes down to “strengthening our grip.”  Our grip on what?  Our faith, our priorities, our life challenges, our family relationships, our work, our play, in short – ourselves in relationship to others and to the Other – the holy and loving God found in the Bible.

In the coming weeks leading up to the Advent/Christmas season (yes, Virginia, it IS coming) I want to walk down this path with you.  I want us to explore together how to strengthen our grip and stop slip slidin’ away.  My sermons at Elpis Christian Church, and these blog posts will be focusing on all the various ways we can, literally, “get a grip.”

More than that, how we can live joyfully, fully, and faithfully.

I hope you find the journey worthwhile.





By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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