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The life balance chart – Adding spiritual was harder than I thought

I don't like to talk about religion or politics in my posts in general I'm still not going to in this post, this is more about over coming fear. But, my coach and mentor had me fill out a life balance chart and he said something was missing. I had family, I had work, I had me time, but what I didn't have was the spiritual section. As he put it "My life was out of balance"

My coach told me that I needed to get back in to spiritual balance in order for my career to soar to the next level and this is where chills went down my spine. You see my wife and I have been married 15 years now and she goes to church every Sunday, but me, I had been maybe 15 times in those 15 years. I only went when my kids were singing, I don't miss any of my kids events no matter what or where.

I've always lived my life by treating people that way I would like to be treated. I've had two wine coolers in my life and have never even drunk a beer or smoked a cigarette in my life. Now this wasn't because of religious reasons, it was just because I was a running in Jr. High and High School and thought putting chemicals in my body was just stupid and a waste of my money. But, even after I stopped doing sports, I didn't start drinking, just didn't like the taste.

So, now if I was going to do what my coach wanted me to, I needed to get over my fears. I know I'm a guy, no fear, just do it! But, I had a fear of church and I wasn't about to force myself in to the situation of going every week, heck I was a Realtor®, I have to hold open houses on Sunday, it is the law isn't it? This gave me the perfect excuse not to have to go to church on Sunday. "Sorry honey, I have to get ready for the open house" or "I have to be at the open house in 15 minutes, maybe next week"

Clearly she knew this wasn't going to change and my kids even knew it wasn't going to either. But, they would still ask every Sunday if dad is going to church with them, since he is dressed up in church like cloths. But, my answer was always "No, gotta go make money to pay the bills. Sorry kids"

But eight weeks ago, I told myself that I had to go, I had to get my life in balance if I wanted to take my career to the next level. I know, how could anyone have a fear of church?

Like I told you before I was a good kid and even the people I chose to be around were good people. Well, while in college, I had a good friend that I met who I had met through a friend of a friend and we hit it off immediately. Well, his dad was a pastor or minister or something, I honestly can't remember it was 20 years ago and I really wanted to forget it.

You see 19 years ago while I was going to college in a new city, I only really now knew these two people that had something in common with me, they didn't drink and they enjoyed bowling and just hanging out. So, when my new friend invited me to his church to meet others like myself I of course jumped at the chance and said yes! Of course he also showed me pictures of the youth group leader (She was gorgeous and single) and that was even a better reason to go.

So after weeks of going to this church, there was a new kid that showed up, don't know why or where he came from, but he was different, to be honest I disliked him very much. He did everything he could to start arguments and I was always one to walk away from a fight if I could and that is what I chose to do this time also. But, this time the fight followed me! This kid asked if I wanted to fight and I said "No, I am just going to leave" That is when he pulled a gun on me and if you have never looked down the barrel of a gun, let me tell you it changes your life forever!

I proceeded to walk backwards very slowly to my car and get in all the time with a gun pointed at me and just saying "All I want to do is leave." So, I got in my car and left, still shaking and not knowing this city good enough to know what street this church was on, just how to drive there. I drove to a busy street a few streets over and got my car to about 80 in a 40 hoping to get a cops attention. (Which it did) I told them what had happened and why I was speeding to get their attention and to follow me back to the church, I don't know the address, but I can get you there. (By the way I didn't get a ticket)

Once we got back to the church, I actually had time to reflect on what had happened in the last 15 minutes and I broke down. I was shaking, crying and had feelings I had never felt before. But, I knew at that moment in time, I wasn't going to be going back to church, this wasn't for me. I couldn't even go back in the church to identify the kid, they had to bring him out to the police car and I identified him there.

That was 19 years ago and I still get a lump in my throat and sweat a little when I go to church with my family. But, if this is what I have to do to make a better life for me and my family and get even closer to my family than I can do this. I have to admit, I have had to leave church a couple times just because of feelings of uneasiness. But, I catch my breath, walk back in and sit down next to my family.

I think the most special thing for me was last week when my daughter asked "Is dad going to church with us again?" My wife said "Yep" and my daughter yelled "Yeah and gave me a hug" I think at that moment in time, I realized why my coach wanted me to do what he wanted me to do. I was still missing out on family time, I just didn't realize it.

By the way, I think this is the first time I've really talked
about that day since it happened and I didn't realize how
hard overcoming that fear would be.


Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)


At Respect Realty, LLC our agents believe in 100% dedication to client satisfaction.  We specialize in property and land acquisition around the Portland Metro and Vancouver, WA area. We delight in working with first time home buyers and sellers to guide them from start to finish. Our doors are always open and we are always happy to assist you with your real estate questions.


Reach out today, we look forward to talking with you!


Todd Clark and Seraina Aguayo (Owners of Respect Realty)

Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)



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Comment balloon 30 commentsRespect Realty LLC • August 26 2008 11:04AM


Todd - That is a terrifying experience that you had.  I can understand why you would have fear from something like that.  Kudos to you for overcoming this fear for yourself and for your family.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 10 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story.  Who can blame you for not wanting to go back to church after an experience like that!! :)

I have been a realtor for less than a year, but I will never forget what one of the TOP producers in the Chicago area said in a video I watched.  She said, I NEVER work a Sunday.  That is my day to be with family and to relax.  In 20 years, I have only worked ONE  Sunday, and it was a disaster.  This agent makes well over 40 million a year it hasn't hurt her business one iota.

I decided to let my Sundays be the Lord's day and the day to be with my family.  Otherwise, we realtors could easily work 7 days a week...and that's not healthy for us or for our families.  I am SURE your wife appreciates your coming with her, so YEA YOU!!

Posted by Sonja Patterson over 10 years ago

Todd - this is one of the most powerful posts that I have read here.  Congratulations on going those first weeks and most importantly for walking back in when it was tough. I hope that it gets easier during the upcoming weeks and that, with time, you find peace.  

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) over 10 years ago

What a touching story. Thanks for sharing. I am sure that your coach's encouragement to balance the whole life will pay off.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Wow Todd. This is an incredible story. Thanks for sharing this. I'm sure writing this and bringing back these memories wasn't easy. I have to say that you going to Church with your family is a very good thing. It also sounds like you need to go for yourself as well. It will help you to overcome this fear and this memory. Thanks Todd.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 10 years ago

Wow Todd,  It will surely amaze you, later, when you look back on the incident witht he kid and the gun...and you realize how "hamstrung" you were for such a long time.  God is simply amazing and heals all our hurts when we bring them to Him.  Your whole family will benefit and you will find some amazing growth in yourself too!   I can't wait to read how your spiritual life progresses!  Thank You Lord for liberating our brother!

Posted by Kim Martinez, Santa Barbara Real Estate Specialist (Advantage Homes) over 10 years ago

Todd, that is truly wonderful that you overcame your fears and look at the blessing you've gained....your children's excited. Very special indeed. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Lori Franks, Brookings, Oregon (Real Estate Consultant) over 10 years ago

Todd, that must have been hard to share!!! I understand the "not going to church" bit. For the longest time I didn't want to go because I felt uncomfortable around others Christians... I felt I had to perform for them, that they would judge me, etc. Now I go, and I realize that  some people are going to judge anyways (size others up, speculate about them, etc), but I don't go for them. I go for me.

The truth is, judging others, sizing them up, analyzing what they do right or wrong... that's living under the "law" and not under grace... so if people are doing that, they're not living according to the gospel message or in God's grace. The purpose of the Old Testament law was to show us that we could never please God on our own or be good enough with out his grace. That's why he sent Jesus. Of course the "law" is going to judge others... we could pick people apart with it. Now i don't worry about people judging me any more, and go to church with a heart to minister to others and to be an extension of God's grace if I can... If someone has a problem with me feeling good about myself, they can take it up with God. ;) He's the one who bought my freedom...

You are very brave. It is hard to do a new thing. Yey!!! I'm cheering for you!!!


Posted by S W over 10 years ago


Posted by Jane Page Thompson (Aiken Properties) over 10 years ago

Todd, I am glad you are working on the spiritual side of your life. It will make you a more balanced person for yourself and family. Good luck to you.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago


As far as the barrel of the gun, you were having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.  PTSD counselors would tell you that your feelings were (and still are) normal. Just having gotten it out will help. Call me if you want to talk.

Nice to hear you finally heard what God was saying to you through your family and your coach. Change your mindset to "enjoy church" and you will be opened up to hearing what you need.    Nice post.

List and Sell (all clients (blessings) come from God)    Gary @ RentonHomeFinder


Posted by Gary McNinch, Broker, Renton WA Real Estate (Better Properties Real Estate) over 10 years ago

This is one of the hugest blessings ever.  The smartest ingredient is the spiritual.  Once that's injected into your wheel...the wheel of life moves perfectly. 

Posted by Larry Bettag, Vice-President of National Production (Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001) over 10 years ago

Jason - I'm not sure I've completely overcome the fear, but I've began to try.

Sonja - I could deal with 40 million a year and not work Sundays. You are right, I know my wife appreciates me going to church also.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Todd, you and I must have the same coach!  But you know, it isn't about going to church.  I mean, that might really work for you so do it.  I was raised by parents who were devout Catholics, and I never really understood any of it until a favorite old boyfriend gave me a copy of Conversations With God.  It's a series of four books (there might be more by now) and I freaked out over some of what it said.  But at the end of the day, I loved these books.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Erik - Thank you, that means a lot and I hope it becomes easier also. I really do enjoy spending time with my family.

Vickie - I think I am already seeing signs of it paying off as in the past 4 weeks, I've been able to include a date night every Tuesday with my wife. Something we really never had since having kids.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Bryant - I think I had a harder time knowing that I was going for myself rather than to see my kids. Before I had something to focus on other than where I was. But, yes recalling the story was difficult.

Kim -  It doesn't feel liberating yet as I still hold my breath walking through the doors every Sunday. But, I hope you are right and it does bring change for me and my family.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Lori - Thanks for being my friend!

Sara - The main reason I wrote this is because it made me more accountable for continuing to go. I started my accountability group knowing that if I wrote something down I would be more likely to do it. So I knew if I posted this, I would be less likely to stop going.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Its great to see that you have overcome your fear and are going back to church...especially for your children.  It seems like they enjoy church, and all the more so if you are there with them.  God answered your fear with acceptance, and you took the call...Great job.

Posted by Jon Michael (DeGeorge Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Todd........... I am featuring this post in, "Christianity and Real Estate" because it looks like you need more prayer about those feelings you have when you are in church.

I am ALSO featuring this because of the GREAT example you are showing to your kids and to your wife in the face of those feelings you are having!!

May your relationship with the Lord strengthen as you work through this situation...... and may HE bless you in your efforts to overcome in it!!


Posted by Alexander Harb, Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing (Knights Investing) over 10 years ago

Jane - Thank you.

Gary - I hear that wheels go around a lot better when they are not flat.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Thanks Todd for the humble and honest post -- I'm blown away.  I was thinking about how I've neglected by Bible study and thought this blog was about setting our priorities or something like that -- wow -- what a reflection!  I'm praying you are truly blessed as you attend church with your family and that your spiritual journey is fulfilling.  I believe its the only journey that really matters!  Blessings to you from Salem.  (You must have a very happy wife!)

Posted by Margaret Oscilia, Home Stager, Salem Oregon (Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon) over 10 years ago

Gary - Thanks for the offer! Thank you for your kind words and I really am trying, I promise.

Larry - That is what my coach says, but it is really hard to get that wheel moving right now.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Patricia - I may have to check out those books!

Jon - I wish I was over the fear completely, but that would be lying to myself.

Alexander - Thank you, that means a lot to me and I hope this does change my life as well as my families.

Margaret - Thank you Margaret, no, no preaching here, just something I felt I should try to get off my chest and hoping taking it public would make me more accountable and keep me from trying to skip out even when I really want to.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Hi Todd -- awesome job with a tough subject: our own vulnerabilities.  God has told us we are overcomers, and you are providing more proof of it.  I have looked down the barrels of a few guns in my life.  I was once a trained cop (a gaming control agent).  The memories are rich, as was/is yours.  God bless you and your family!

Posted by Terry Rasner-Yacenda, "Dreams Realty" (Broker,Owner - Dreams Realty) over 10 years ago

what a beautiful little girl!



Posted by Chris Brown- Florida Home Loan Specialist | Certified Mortgage Planner, Chris Brown 407.367.2974 (Chris Brown | Certified Mortgage Planners) over 10 years ago

Wow - you were young and impressionable when this GOD-less person did that to you and the

association of linking bad with church is certainly understandable.

But How GOD loved you so and never gave up on you Todd pursuing you over many years to have a relationship with him by

sending wonderful people to surrond you - your faithful wife, your hopeful children, your wise counselor!

My Mom ( bless her soul), made us go even when we didn't want to!  She said the one hour a week was NOT about US !

It was about thanking and praising Him for the gifts and blessings of the entire 7 days prior:)

how could you argue with that wisdom LOL

God Bless you & Your Family

and I'm sure God said on Sunday:

WELCOME HOME TODD - I've missed you!




Posted by Jeff&Grace Safrin, SpousesSellingHousesTM (F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Terry - One was enough for me, I don't know how you did it more than once! I don't think I could have gone out again.

Chris - Thanks, that is why I do what I do!

Grace - Thank you for you kind words, I just wish it was easier than it has been.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Todd, You may not realize it now, but you have taken a huge step toward healing that memory.  God will use it and you to help others.  It's not always easy.  Continue to focus on Him.  Blessings to you and your family. 

Posted by Doreen McPherson, Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~ (Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe) over 10 years ago

Doreen - Yesterday was week nine and actually stayed the full hour without leaving to take a walk. Did a lot of hand rubbing and leg bouncing, but I stayed.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Todd- What an amazing story and how you are overcoming the fear and the feelings that you have deep within you from this experience. Just keep going to church and pray for God's help to let it go. The spiritual part of your balance chart is very important. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 10 years ago

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