Rhett Smith Podcast

CERTIFIED EXECUTIVE COACH | LICENSED MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST | AUTHOR In this podcast we explore the intersection of relationships, mental health and performance, and how it impacts the systems and organizations we are a part of.
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Aug 26, 2015

I love technology. It has absolutely shaped my life in some amazing ways in the last 12 years especially. Technology can encompass all kinds of things, but the technology I'm primarily speaking about here have to do with computers, cell phones and social media. In fact, there was a season of my life for about 7-8 years where I spoke quite frequently on the role of technology in our lives, specifically the impact it can have not only on us, but in our relationships. Though I don't go out and speak on technology as often these days, it's still something that I talk about everyday in my work with my clients and in my personal relationships.

In this episode I wanted to briefly explore 3 aspects of technology that I think are really important. These three aspects are constant and never changing which is an important distinction in the world of technology which feels like it's always changing. The three aspects are:

  • technology shapes us
  • technology informs our identity
  • technology needs boundaries as we use it

I think that if someone grasps these three components of technology, then they can successfully navigate the world of technology in some healthy ways.

So in this episode I explore:

  • the importance of thinking about technology and the impact is has on us as we use it.
  • the idea that technology is not neutral.
  • the metaphor of a shovel in describing technology as a tool that shapes us.
  • the idea that technology often is a tool that mediates our relationships.
  • the metaphor of a mirror in describing how technology informs our identity.
  • the idea that technology needs boundaries in our use of it.
  • the metaphor of a tray/basket in describing how technology needs boundaries.
  • ways that people can immediately go out and engage in some healthy practices and boundaries in their technology use.

Resources and Links Mentioned in the Episode

The Influence of Technology in our Lives

Maintaining Relational Presence in a Technological World

From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology by John Dyer

The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life by Kenneth Gergen

Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan

Two Technology Tips That Will Transform Your Relationships

Exploring the Way that Technology Shapes Us, Our Relationships, and our Faith -- with Author, Technologist and Theologian, John Dyer

Aug 18, 2015

I know it's a cliche and commonplace to say that you are "busy" when someone asks how you are doing. I find myself saying that a lot, and more recently I've tried to correct that by questioning why am I so busy? And do I like being busy and do I get something from it?

So I get it. I know we all live busy lives, but something that has been a concern for me since day one of my therapy practice (and probably before then in my ministry experience) was the over-scheduling of our kid's lives. I work with kids who play multiple sports and often all year round. They are expected to perform on the field and then get straight A's in the classroom. And on top of that they are expected to be socially well-rounded and involved in all kinds of other activities whether it be youth group, a musical instrument, volunteering, etc. And what this often leads to is just a bunch of burnt out kids. It may not be noticeable at first, but by the time they get to high school and into college you start to see the effects...anxiety, depression, addiction to drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc. I have worked with lots of kids who finally had enough and escaped into unhealthy things, or just quit things all together. While many just want a break and struggle to find motivation again.

I decided to bring Dr. Neil Stafford on because he's a friend, colleague and classmate of mine who has expertise in working with kids and families, and I thought that his position as a psychologist in private practice and on staff of an elementary school made him the right fit to discuss these things.

In this episode we explore:

  • our culture's obsession with busyness.
  • parents who over-schedule their kid's lives.
  • parents who work out their "issues" through their kid's activities rather than working on them on their own.
  • the importance of listening to your kids from a very young age.
  • anxiety, stress, depression, burning out in kids who are over-scheduled.
  • importance of parents sticking to new techniques rather than giving up on them after a few attempts.
  • Meg Meeker's rule of one activity, per kid, per grading period.


Resources and Sites Mentioned in this Episode

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman

1-2-3 Magic Parenting

Dr. Ross Greene

Center for Collaborative Problem Solving

Live in the Balance

Facebook Page

Podcast on iTunes


Aug 11, 2015

About 15 years ago as I was reading through the Bible a specific passage jumped out at me and forever changed my life. I remember the moment 15 years ago...that's how powerful this simple little verse was. The verse read:

"From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded." -- Exodus 17:1

I was captivated by this idea that God journeyed his people...the whole congregation...the whole community that is...out of the desert wilderness. But he didn't do it in one fell swoop, but literally, stage by stage. In fact, we know that the journey which should have taken only about 13 days into the Promised Land, actually took 40 years. Talk about a journey.

What fascinated me as I continued to read about this journey was that you get a real sense of this stage by stage movement in Numbers 33 where over 40 times in the first 48 verses of that chapter that the community "left" a place and "camped" somewhere else.

We are a people faced with constant change and always in transition. Often our desire is to find comfort and security, to just stay put and resist change. But the reality is that when we face our anxieties and move through change and transition we grow in the process. I can't think of one good story where the character resisted change and came out a more compelling figure. It just doesn't happen.

So why is it that we are so resistant to change and transition in our own lives? And how can we navigate it better? In this episode I explore a couple of different ideas:

  • how anxiety is really our cue to keep moving forward and change, rather than hunker down.
  • the difference between change and transition.
  • what the move from orientation, to disorientation, to new orientation looks like

I love this quote by William Bridges from his book Transitions:

Our society confuses them constantly, leading us to imagine that transition is just another word for change. But it isn’t. Change is your move to a new city or your shift to a new job. It is the birth of your new baby or the death of your father. It is the switch from the old health plan at work to a new one, or the replacement of your manager by a new one, or it is the acquisition that your company just made.
In other words, change is situational. Transition on the other hand, is psychological (bold added for emphasis). It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won’t work, because it doesn’t ‘take.’ Whatever word we use, our society talks a lot about change; but it seldom deals with transition. Unfortunately for us, it is the transition that blind-sides us and is often the source of our troubles.

And in this episode I want to address all of you who are facing change, and help encourage you to think through the actual transitional aspects of that change.

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes by William Bridges

The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? by Rhett Smith

The Message of the Psalms by Walter Brueggemann

Aug 4, 2015

About 5 years ago I was introduced to a therapy model that changed my life. And that's not an exaggeration. It literally changed my life, beginning with me, then my marriage, then my parenting, then my therapy work, then friendships, and eventually in the work I do with organizations, churches and corporations. I was introduced to a model of therapy developed by Terry Hargrave called Restoration Therapy. Actually, at the time I didn't know it as Restoration Therapy, but rather as the 5 Days to a New Marriage model that was developed for The Hideaway Experience by Terry and Shawn Stoever. Essentially, from what I know, Terry and Shawn created a model for the marriage intensives based on Terry's Restoration Therapy work that he was developing, and which was eventually written by Terry and Franz Pfitzer under the title Restoration Therapy: Understanding and Guiding Healing in Marriage and Family Therapy.


In October 2010 I attended my first marriage intensive and sat "3rd chair", which essentially means I was not one of the co-therapists, but was rather there to observe...and speak/share if I felt compelled. I was so intimidated by that first experience I remember saying very little, but I also remember being blown away by the transformation I witnessed taking place with the 4 couples who were there that weekend. It was an unbelievable team effort between the founders/operators Steve and Rajan Trafton, the two therapists, the cook (who provided all the meals)...and of course the 4 couples who ended up really being some of the biggest encouragers of transformation for the other couples. If you are curious about what this experience is like, I blogged about it early on. I ended up staying on staff of The Hideaway Experience for about four years and it continues to be one of the most amazing experiences I have had in working with clients, especially couples, as well as being an amazing experience for me. Eventually it was difficult for me in my stage of life (young family, growing practice, etc.) to continue to travel to Palo Duro to do an intensive, so I eventually resigned, but continue to be in collaboration with them, as well as referring clients to them and working with couples after they do an intensive.


But all of these experiences led me to really want to dive more in depth into Restoration Therapy so I could better understand the change I was seeing in individuals and couples I worked with, as well become a better practitioner of the model. So in December of 2014 I started Level I training with Terry, and then completed Level II training with Terry in May and June of this year. Now I'm a certified Restoration Therapy has helped me better understand a model I had already been practicing for about the last 4+ years.


As I have stated above, this is a model that has changed my life, so I use it with all my clients to varying degrees, whether individual, couples or families. And what I have learned from it I implement in my relationships, whether it be my wife, kids, parents, friends or colleagues. That being said, I decided it was time to do a podcast about Restoration Therapy. There is so much I could talk about, but I thought I could start with just a general overview of some of its features, as well as how the Pain and Peace Cycles work. There is definitely more to be said on this topic, and I will continue to write some posts on it, as well as record some podcasts on the topic, and eventually have Terry Hargrave on the podcast, as well as Steve and Rajan Trafton, and my good friend Todd Sandel who was the first to train me at The Hideaway Experience.


So in this podcast I do my best to talk through some of the features of Restoration Therapy and how it can be applied to your life and relationships.

In the podcast I discuss:

  • my experience at The Hideaway Experience early on and eventually as a co-therapist.
  • my experience in learning the 5 Days to a New Marriage (i.e. Restoration Therapy) and how I began to apply it to my practice.
  • how Restoration Therapy changed people's lives.
  • my desire to learn more about Restoration Therapy, and eventually go train with Terry Hargrave
  • the 4 elements of Restoration Therapy: a) helping people identify and understand their pain (fostering awareness in the client of their destructive pattern); b) promote emotional regulation through helping the client identify their truth (teaching the client to take responsibility for themselves); c) provide cognitive map for understanding new behavior (helping client make choices); d) practice of these steps (mindfulness/experiential).
  • Restoration Therapy's focus on attachment, emotional regulation, and mindfulness.
  • the Pain Cycle
  • the Peace Cycle
  • Restoration Therapy's 4 steps: a) say what you feel; b) say what you normally do; c) say your truth; d) say what action you will do differently.
  • how I've used the Restoration Therapy model for individuals, couples, families, churches, organizations and corporations.

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



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Resources Discussed in This Episode

The Hideaway Experience

Steve and Rajan Trafton

5 Days to a New Marriage

Terry Hargrave

Restoration Therapy and Restoration Therapy Training

Restoration Therapy: Understanding and Guiding Healing in Marriage and Family Therapy

Shawn Stoever


Todd Sandel

LifeGate Counseling

Jul 28, 2015

As a kid I loved to run. Whether it was chasing or racing friends, running was something that I grew up loving to do. And I continued to run in high school, competing in the 110 meter high hurdles, 300 meter intermediate hurdles and the 4 x 400. But somewhere over the years I noticed I stopped running as much. Sure, I still ran a couple of nights a week, but that was more of an ad on to my weight lifting routine, and just another avenue that I thought would help me stay fit.

But in the Spring of 2006 my brother Wyatt called me to see if I wanted to run the Chicago Marathon with him. I don't remember the details of our conversation, but I remember agreeing to do do with very little hesitancy. Sure, I had never run more than 3 miles at one time in my life, but that didn't seem to bother me. I guess I figured I would....figure it out. So I trained for 16 weeks and ended up running the marathon in about 4:13. And at that moment I became addicted to running. I entered another marathon, ran a few 5K's, half-marathons, and eventually a 50k in February of 2014. And at the time of this writing I am training for the Palo Duro 50 Mile race in October.

And over the years, especially this last year, I have really found that not only has running continued to transform my life, but it has brought me great joy. I look forward to getting out and running because I never come back from a run with any regrets.

In this podcast I explore several things:

  • my own personal journey with running and how it has transformed my life.
  • 10 benefits (and more) that running brings to your life.
  • 7 tips to get you started in running, or to help renew your interest in running.
  • 5 books that have inspired my running and that will inspire you.


Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Most Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself by Rich Roll

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen by Christopher McDougall

Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey and Eric Hagerman

Jul 21, 2015

I love interviewing guests on this podcast, but summer has been a bit difficult on the podcast schedule with so many people on vacation and needing to reschedule. But I have some great guests lined up for the future and we will cover some interesting topics. So for this week I decided I wanted to cover two questions that I seem to inevitably get when I'm out speaking on marriage and parenting. The questions come in a variety of forms, but they essentially boil down this this:

  • When is a good time to go see a marriage therapist?
  • How many activities can my kid participate in?

Those are the questions in essence, but often what isn't being explicitly asked is really what the question is about. For example, in that first question, what is often being asked but not said is, "We have issues in our marriage, but I don't know if we should get help." Or, "I want to go in and see a counselor, but my spouse doesn't want to." Or, "Is it too late to go and get help." I get the question a lot because marriages suffer from all kinds of issues, but people are often fearful to reach out for help. And the second question is less about how many it seems, but more about what's happening in the family in my experience. What's not being said is, "My child is overwhelmed from sports and school, but I'm afraid if I pull them out of things they will fall behind and not be able to compete." Or something like, "Please validate the number of activities that my kid is in so I don't feel like a bad parent." You get the point...the questions are always about other things as well. So in this podcast I address those two questions, but dive in a little deeper and discuss:

  • marital drift
  • the kid centered marriage
  • what are some of the indicators that let you know it's a good time to see a counselor?
  • how do you identify the right marriage therapist?
  • what is marriage therapy like?
  • how I work as a therapist in the context of marriage counseling.
  • the importance of a vision statement for a family.
  • creating "white space" in the family calendar.
  • anxiety, stress and depression in kids when overscheduled.
  • how parents can model decision making skills by limiting activities.
  • Meg Meeker's after-school activity, per kid, per grading period.

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



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Resources/Topics Mentioned in the Episode

My colleague Corey over at Simple Marriage has a good article on Marital Drift

Meg Meeker's one after-school activity per kid, per grading period rule

Last week's podcast on creating a family vision/mission statement

Jul 13, 2015

About 4-5 years ago my wife and I's life was in a pretty hectic place. Like many of you, we were a double-income family, trying to both balance out time for our work, our family life, and our marriage. And like many of you, we sort of felt like life was just sort of happening to us. We felt like we were more passive observants of our own life, rather than intentionally participating in it. And at about that same time, my good friend and colleague Todd Sandel had started talking to me about a book that had really helped his family's life. Todd is married with four kids, and I really admire what he and his wife Beverly have created in their family. So I was eager to learn the trick.

Todd mentioned that he had read and implemented the book The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life by Patrick Lencioni. So I went home and read that book as quickly as I could. And over the course of the next year my wife and I sat down to read through the book together and create our own family vision/mission statement. This exercise has become one of the best things we have done for our marriage and family life, as it helps us be more intentional about who we want to be, and what we spend our time doing. Rather than life just happening to us, we feel like we have a more focused trajectory to aim for. (Check out the blog posts I wrote below about this process). In this podcast you will:

  • learn about the impetus that motivated Heather and I to create our own vision/mission statement.
  • learn what the 3 big questions are, and how to go about answering and implementing them.
  • learn to identify what makes you/relationship/family unique.
  • learn to identify your "rallying cry"
  • learn how to hold weekly meetings
  • hear what our family vision/mission statement is
  • see the piece of art Heather created to remind us of our statement (see below)

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



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Links and Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life by Patrick Lencioni

Short and Simple: Why Your Family Should Use the 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family

How Do You Answer the 3 Big Questions for Your Frantic Family

Frantic Family - Question #1

Frantic Family - Question #2

Frantic Family - Question #3

Jun 24, 2015

I enjoy interviewing all the guests on my podcast. It's a huge privilege to be able to talk with such amazing people. And this one was really special as I got to interview one of the former students in my college ministry. Between 2001-2008 I was on staff at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, CA, serving as the college pastor from 2002-2008. And in that time I was really blessed to serve alongside some amazing students from UCLA, USC, LMU and a scattering of other schools. There was also a huge contingent of college-age kids in the ministry who weren't in school, but came out to pursue music, film, fashion and more. It was a really unique group that taught me a lot.


And in about 2004 I met a then sophomore at UCLA, Melissa Ponce, who is now Dr. Melissa Esguerra. I remember Melissa as someone who was really passionate about her faith, compassionate towards others, and who always seemed to have a smile on her face. And it was great having her as a part of that ministry at that time. It's been about 11 years since I first met Melissa, and probably about 8-9 years since I last saw her (except at a mutual wedding perhaps). And even though we don't see each other in person, it's been fun to watch her journey online. And over the last year or so I've really been inspired by the work that Melissa is up to, and a lot of her messages resonate with my own journey. I appreciate Melissa sharing her own story of being sick in college and going on a journey to heal through various means such as food, sleep, exercise, etc. It's very much the journey I have found myself on these last couple of years...trying to optimize how I feel through taking care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.


Melissa wears a lot of different hats and is passionate about a lot of things, but primarily she is a Doctor of Functional Medicine who is interested in the whole person. She is holistic in her approach and in this episode we cover several different topics from women's health, to feeling tired, sleep, food, and faith. This is a pretty fast episode and there was so much more I would have loved to talk with her about, but our schedules prevented it. Next time I have Melissa back on I want to dive in deep with her on a couple of topics, and I want to hear more about her online program that she is launching. To find out more about that, just go here to sign up and receive more information. Some of the topics we cover are:

  • women's health issues (what are some of the common issues Melissa sees)
  • the always "feeling tired" feeling that many people struggle with.
  • sleep: what does healthy sleep look like?
  • food and diet
  • faith

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



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Resources and Links Discussed in the Episode

Website:. Dr. Melissa Esguerra

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss

The New Feminine Brain: How Women Can Develop Their Inner Strengths, Genius, and Intuition by Mona Lisa Schulz and Christianne Northrup

Jun 21, 2015

Anxiety is a struggle that everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. Anxiety is part of the human condition whether we like it or not. But while some people seem to experience little anxiety, others feel their life is consumed with it. I've shared in countless contexts how I struggled for a good part of my life with anxiety until I finally began to face it and use it as an opportunity for growth in my life. In episode 13 of this podcast I explored the topic of anxiety and one can begin to identify anxiety in their own life story, as well as learning to begin to reframe it as a catalyst for growth, rather than an enemy waiting to crush you. In that podcast I mentioned how I would follow up with an episode exploring the various tools and techniques one can use to manage and reframe anxiety. So in this episode I talk about:

  • the tool of reframing anxiety
  • how self-care (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) helps manage anxiety
  • breathing techniques to help with anxiety
  • meditation techniques and tools to help navigate anxiety
  • connecting our spiritual life to our breathing and meditation techniques
  • how listening to your anxiety can help you grow from it
  • why journaling is a powerful tool in helping one depersonalize it
  • how you can use 3 x 5 cards to navigate through anxiety
  • books on anxiety that will help you grow from it
  • the role of the "Pain and Peace Cycle" in understanding the roots of your anxiety
  • and how medications can help, but why it's the last option I explore

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



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Resources/Links Discussed in the Show
Mindfulness -- Taking Time to Breathe
Don't Panic with Andrew Johnson -- iPhone app
Public Speaking with Andrew Johnson -- iPhone app
Relax Lite with Andrew Johnson -- iPhone app
Mindfulness -- Connecting Breathe to our Prayer
Baby Steps to Self-Care
The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? by Rhett Smith
Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong: A Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety by Kelly G. Wilson and Troy Dufrene
Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
Be Not Anxious: Pastoral Care of Disquieted Souls by Allan Hugh Cole Jr.
The Meaning of Anxiety by Rollo May
Jun 16, 2015

About 5 weeks ago I was perusing through Instagram and I came across the feed of lvtrailrunner. I have been following lvtrailrunner (aka Benji Zimmerman) online for quite a while, and I have really been inspired by what he posts, especially his amazing trail running photos. But something different caught my eye this was what he had to say on that post that really captured me. Benji wrote:

"Some days life isn't in color. For many of us anxiety, depression and many other mental health issues loom in the shadows of our lives, but some days those shadows overtake our colorful world. Today was one of those days for me. Days like today are hard to explain to those who don't share the same struggle. If you are someone who struggles like I do with depression; stay the course, talk to your counselor, eat right, workout, take your medications if necessary but above all cling to hope. The color will return. The storm will pass. Breathe in. Breathe out."

Such beautiful, and powerful, and vulnerable, and inspiring words. And though I had already planned on contacting him for my podcast, that was the catalyst to reach out to him immediately. Benji has an inspiring story (and we only get a glimpse of it in the podcast) of both dark and light, intermingling to bring forth hope, faith and redemption out of his pain. His story is full of examples of this: survivor of suicide, recovering addict, father, husband, missions pastor and social media director, trailrunner, Christ follower..and those are just a few of the labels that I use to describe someone in which labels don't fit or do he or his story justice. In this episode we cover a lot of territory, but really focus on the intersection of running, mental health and faith. Those are three topics that I'm passionate about and I could have talked to Benji about them all day. In this podcast I talk with Benji about:

  • his attempted suicide as a teenager.
  • his finding hope in missions/service.
  • his struggle with depression.
  • his journey into a runner (and from road to trail).
  • his faith formation in the "desert".
  • what running on the trails, and without headphones has taught him about being present.
  • what he does to achieve balance.
  • how he takes care of himself.
  • inner noticing.
  • his struggle with addiction and depression and how diet, running/exercise and his faith helped transform that.
  • Etc.

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



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Resources/Links Discussed in the Show

Benji's Instagram

Benji's Twitter

Benji's Website

Running and Being: The Total Experience by George Sheehan

Carlos Whitaker: What Does Your Depression Feel Like? Mine Feels Like This...

Sarah Stanley

The Crossing Church

People of the Second Chance (POTSC)

Freeway Curriculum (POTSC)

Jun 8, 2015

I first met Aubrey McGowan approximately in the summer of 2010. And like some other stories you have previously heard on this podcast, we met at the ECHO Conference in Dallas. At that time Aubrey was leading worship (as well as doing all kinds of other things...mentoring, vision casting, etc.) at Hope Fellowship in Frisco, TX. Since our first meeting a deep friendship has formed and I have really come to admire a lot of things about him. Two things in particular that have stood out to me over the last five years is Aubrey's generous spirit and his ability to solve problems and build just about anything.


Over the course of the last couple of years I noticed our conversations had shifted in some ways as Aubrey began to wrestle with new questions. There was a restlessness in him that God was calling him to step out and do some different things, but there was also a very patient steadfastness as he prayed, made plans, and listened to God's direction in his life.


I've really enjoyed watching Aubrey and his wife Jen's journey over this last year as they have ventured off into a new adventure. And their journey has been inspiring. Aubrey has many talents and gifts. He a worship artist. He's a writer. And he and his wife (and kids) are super crafty. Check out their Etsy store as well as Song and Story.


But in this podcast we really focus on this new transition in the life of he and his family (and I will have him back on another time to talk about all these creative endeavors). So in this podcast episode you will learn how Aubrey and his family

  • simplified their life (finances, food, etc.)
  • emphasized the importance of family togetherness
  • created margin for exploration

I love these three themes that we discuss in the podcast. I really think they are essential elements for families wanting to create change in their lives and head into a new transition. You may not have a family at this point in your life, but we can all learn how to simplify our lives and create more margin for exploration.

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



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Resources Discussed in the Show Aubrey's Website Aubrey's Twitter Aubrey's Instagram Song and Story Millworks on Instagram Song and Story Etsy Store Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown Financial Peace University Vintage Remedies
Jun 2, 2015

I have struggled with anxiety most of my life. The story of anxiety in my life begins probably somewhere between 1981 and 1986. Those were the years my mother battled breast cancer, eventually dying in 1986 when I was 11 years old. As best as I can remember, the onset of anxiety for me began two weeks after her death when I returned to school and was no longer capable of reading out loud in class...only stuttering. That was the day that I began to live in fear as anxiety gripped my life, but more than likely it had already begun it's work in those previous years with the ups and downs of my mom's struggle with breast cancer.

My anxiety has its roots in those early experiences, and like me, you probably have recollections of when anxiety began in your life. Often it can begin in childhood, especially if we have a parent who is highly anxious, or we encounter some experience to provoke anxiety. Whatever your story, anxiety may be a part of yours. Most of the research I come across these days is that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States and about 18% of the U.S. population, 18 and over, suffers from some type of anxiety disorder. And more than likely the numbers are much higher than this, as that 18% probably only represents those who have gotten help.

But what I have discovered in my own journey with anxiety is that anxiety has actually become the greatest opportunity for growth for me. Rather than view it as an enemy trying to crush me, I have come to see it as a faithful friend who informs me of what is going on in the deepest recesses of my heart, soul and mind. Anxiety cues me in to when things have gone wrong and need to be corrected; anxiety often leads me to face my fears and take risks; and it often informs me of what should be of ultimate concerns in my life. In my book The Anxious Christian I explore this idea, and how God led me to see that anxiety was something he used to help me grow, to keep me moving forward and taking risks, rather than settle for a life of comfort or numbed out from what I was feeling.

In this episode:

  • I share my story of anxiety and where it began for me.
  • I explore the idea that anxiety can be used as a catalyst for growth in your life.
  • I help you think through your own story of anxiety.
  • I talk about how you can listen to your own anxiety, and how that can lead you.
Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



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May 27, 2015

This episode was definitely a Rhett Smith Podcast first. My brother-in-law Drew Sams and I went for a long 10 mile trail run earlier in the day, and spent our recovery time hanging outside in his backyard jacuzzi. And so we decided to just record the conversation there. So you are going to hear some helicopters and sirens in the background...and we are a bit delirious by the end of the podcast (I guess two hours in a jacuzzi isn't that smart when you are tired).


But this is a great episode and we explore a lot of interesting things. I first met Drew back in 2001 when he was a USC senior and I had just taken the position of college ministry intern at Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Drew and I became really good friends that senior year of his, eventually leading my wife and I (then girlfriend) to set her sister and him up on a blind date. That blind date turned into marriage in 2006. And throughout the years our paths have crossed in other ways as well, whether at Fuller Theological Seminary, or both being on staff at the same time at Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Drew completed his Master of Divinity at Fuller, and then studied under Len Sweet at George Fox University, receiving a Doctorate of Ministry in Semiotics and Future Studies.


Drew is a fascinating guy (and I'm not just saying that since we are related now) with a lot of interests. He loves being outdoors and is an avid surfer and snowboarder. He also loves to try new hobbies, usually with a passion that leads to him turning that hobby into quite the craft. As we talk about in the podcast, Drew has become quite the coffee connoisseur, which has helped lead him in some really interesting directions of hospitality. He also has become quite the beer maker over the last 5 years as well, winning several first places in the Los Angeles County Fair in 2012 and 2013. as well as an invite to the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, where he helped create a beer (Sleight of Hand) that sold in stores nationally. He created a great entry video called My Grandfather's Stopwatch. You can check it out here and then scroll to the class of 2012. In this podcast we explore:

  • Albert Borgmann's device paradigm
  • the importance of being engaged in process and not just final outcome.
  • how Drew's love of coffee and beer making helped him create space for hospitality.
  • ways that people can engage in process and make space for hospitality in their lives.

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



Player FM


Resources Discussed in the Show

Albert Borgmann's device paradigm Closer to the Ground by Dylan Tomine Sierra Nevada Beer Camp (look at Drew's video in 2012 group)
May 17, 2015

We all live in a very busy, very fast paced culture. And in our constant hurry it is often our self-care that goes by the wayside. We stop taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, often finding ourselves in a worse predicament than when we began. In this episode I really wanted to explore some spiritual practices that can help us foster our faith in the busyness of our day-to-day stress. And so in order to do that, I brought on my father Timothy Smith. If you listened to Episode 3 on transitions, liminal space and discovering your passion, then you know my dad has been a guest on my podcast before.

My dad wears many hats: father, husband, pastor, chaplain, spiritual director, writer, professor, retreat director...and on and on the list goes. But when we recorded this episode he was out visiting and wearing I think one of his most favorite hats...grandpa. So while he was out here we sat down and explored 7 Spiritual Practices for Busy People:

  1. Daily God Hunt (aka The Greatest Priority)
  2. Palms Down, Palms Up
  3. Praying Scripture
  4. Prayer Walking
  5. Unplugging
  6. Imaginative Prayer
  7. Abba Prayer

These 7 practices are simple practices that anyone can begin using. Whether you are struggling spiritually, or are just looking for some news practices to foster your faith, I recommend you explore these 7 practices. In this episode:

  • we discuss why Tim decided to write about these 7 spiritual practices and put them into a devotional guide.
  • we discuss why/how these spiritual practices can beneficial to one's spiritual life.
  • we explore in depth each of the 7 spiritual practices.
  • we make recommendations for how to begin the practice of these spiritual exercises.

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



Player FM


Resources Discussed in the Show

Seven Spiritual Practices for Busy People

Water from Rock (Website)

Water from Rock (Twitter)

Water from Rock (Facebook)

The Living Room (Podcast/Radio Show)

Dear Abba by Brennan Manning

Abba's Child by Brennan Manning

Ignatius of Loyola

Daily Examen

Lectio Divina

May 11, 2015

In the Summer of 2008 I was sitting in my inlaw's home office working on their computer. My wife, 1 year old daughter and I had just moved from Los Angeles to Dallas to live a more compelling story, but we knew very few people except for some family we had in the DFW area. So there I was online looking for some way to connect with people in Dallas. At the time I was pretty involved in the online intersection of faith and technology, and so it was with great interest that I saw that a brand new conference was taking place in Dallas a couple of weeks after our move. The conference was the ECHO Conference, and it was there that I met so many great people...many who have come to be some of my closest friends today. One of those great people was Scott McClellan, who at the time was a part of the organization who was putting on the conference. To this day, I look back at that conference as really helping me get connected in a new city.

The ECHO Conference may no longer exist, but my relationships from them exist. And Scott has been one of my close friends who I have learned a great deal from. Scott is currently the Communications Pastor at Irving Bible Church in Irving, TX. Scott and his wife Annie have been a part of this church community for about 14 years, and have been instrumental in the leadership of the Tapestry Adoption and Foster Care Ministry at the church. Over the last 9 to 10 years I have been really interested in the concept of story as a framework for living a compelling life, and Scott is someone who has taught me a lot about this concept. I have not only learned from him through our many conversations, but he and his wife have modeled this concept in their personal lives through their adoption process and the participation in the lives of those around them who seek out their wisdom in the area of adoption. Scott chronicles much of this journey in his book, Tell Me a Story: Finding God (and Ourselves) Through Narrative.

In this episode we explore:

  • the concept of story and how it can be a framework for your life.
  • the influence of Donald Miller's work in our lives.
  • what makes for a compelling life story.
  • the struggle to live a compelling story and how comfort, anxiety, and the American dream can often keep us stuck.
  • how discontent and anxiety can be a great catalyst for growth in our lives.
  • Scott and Annie's story of adoption.
  • etcetra
Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



Player FM



Resources and Links Mentioned in the Episode



Donald Miller

Donald Miller's sermon Story at Mars Hill in Michigan

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Blood Water Mission and Jena Lee Nardella


Tell Me a Story: Finding God (and Ourselves) Through Narrative

May 4, 2015

I first met John Dyer online somewhere in the summer of 2008. I was engaged online quite a bit at the intersection of faith and technology. I am definitely not an expert in technology, but there was a period of about 4-5 years where I spent a lot of time at social media and technology conferences, workshops, meetups, etc. And during that time I spoke quite a bit on how technology shapes our relationships. But it was when I met John in person in the Fall of 2008 and we started hanging out, that I really began to understand truly how technology shapes us.

Some of John's work that really shaped me early on you can find in his presentation Technology is not Neutral: How Bible Technology Shapes our Faith. This presentation is a good introduction into John's thoughts on technology. And these thoughts powerfully shaped how I understood the role of technology in my life, especially understanding that it is not neutral, but is always shaping us in some way. The question is, how is the technology we are using shape us? If this is a question that you are curious about, I recommend you read John's book, From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology.

I have had the privilege over the last 6 years to have a friendship with John, and I've also really enjoyed our time together team teaching/presenting at some church workshops and conferences on the role of technology in our relationships. John is a very thoughtful, intelligent, and humble guy, and as you listen to the podcast you will begin to understand what I mean. In this podcast we talk about:

  • John's journey in understanding the role of technology in our lives and how it shapes us.
  • what technology is and how it is defined (it's not just social media and our computers)
  • how technology shapes us
  • how we can use technology without it using us
  • the implications of technology in our faith journey
  • what are some of the exciting things on the horizon when it comes to innovation in technology
  • what are some of the things in the innovation of technology that we might have caution about
  • ideas about how we can more effectively use technology in a way that isn't harmful to our relationships
Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



Player FM


Resources and Links Mentioned in the Episode

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life by Albert Borgmann

The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects by Marshall McLuhan

Wendell Berry

Best Commentaries


From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology


Other Links

Website:. John Dyer

Twitter:. John Dyer

Using Technology Without Technology Using You: Technology in the Kingdom, Society, and Your Life

Thinking Theologically About Technology and Culture

Apr 25, 2015

I first got to connect with Adam McLane when we were driving through the Dominican Republic, and across the border into Haiti. It was only about a month after the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, and we were part of a youth ministry team that went down there (though as Adam points out, it was more like a bunch of youth pastors and me -- a therapist). Over the course of those last five years I have had the opportunity to really connect and get to know Adam better, as well as speaking at his initial Youth Cartel in 2012, on the topic of, The Anxiety of Teenagers.

But in the last 5 years Adam has become one of the leading experts on youth and technology. In August of 2013, Adam's expertise really gained attention when his blog post, "Why You Should Delete SnapChat" went viral, eventually taking shutting down his blog with all the traffic. But don't mistake Adam for some kind of anti-tech Luddite, rather he is a very thoughtful, thinker on technology and how it shapes our lives. And one of the things I really like about Adam when talking to him about technology, is that he's not one to just lay down rules and put tech tools into action, rather he really encourages the consumer of tech to think about how they use their technology, and how they can create "sacred spaces" and practice sabbaths in their lives.

In this episode Adam and I dive deep into the work of Danah Boyd, and more specifically her latest book, It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. It's a great book, and Adam recommends that all parents buy the book, if only to read the first chapter. We also explore bullying and cyberbullying and how what takes place online is most often modeled offline.

We also explore the issue of trust between parents and kids, and talk about why Adam doesn't recommend filtering or monitoring devices on computers. One of Adam's concerns that he addresses is that too often parent's turn over their parenting responsibilities to devices, rather than to help their kids think critically about how they engage technology.

This was a fun conversation, and ultimately, I think both Adam and I mourned a little bit the loss of a lot of the freedoms that we had as kids (taking off on our bikes and being gone all day; cruising; loitering, etc.), but that kids today don't/can't experience (Danah Boyd's work explores this cultural shift).

This episode is for any of you who use technology (which is you if you are reading this). So whether you are a parent, or not, I highly recommend listening and discovering how you can more thoughtfully consume technology in your own life.

Apr 17, 2015

One of the issues that almost always comes up in my work with clients is the issue of forgiveness. It is the issue that often is not addressed, but the one that is most needed. So a few months ago when a pastor friend of mine asked me to come speak at his church's marriage conference he gave me the freedom to choose what I wanted to talk about. The obvious stuff came to mind instantly,

So I thought about what I wanted to talk about for a few days and finally settled on the topic of forgiveness.

Why did I settle on this topic?

Because not only is it the one issue that I see in every counseling session (whether forgiveness is taking place or being withheld), but it's something I need to work on more in my own life. So it's not surprising I chose a topic that I most need to grow in.

I ended up giving this talk 2x in the course of 8 days. One time at the church marriage conference mentioned above, which took place at Preston Trail church in Frisco, TX. But I also gave the talk to the young adult/young married's group at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX.

It's a topic I loved researching, talking about...and learning more about how much it's needed as an essential discipline in my own life.

I ended up doing this podcast by myself (which I plan to do every 4-6 podcasts that I record with guests). So I hope you enjoy.

Apr 10, 2015

As I say in the introduction of this podcast, Wess Daniels is one of the smartest guys that I know. I first met Wess about ten years ago or more when I was a student at Fuller Theological Seminary and pastoring at Bel Air Presbyterian Church. I started hanging out with Wess when he was teaching me some tech hacks in creating my Apple HTML email signature (I know, sounds pretty exciting). But over the years as my friendship with Wess has deepened, I've always been impressed with not only his intellect, and the topics is spans, but his sense of humility.

Wess received his Ph.D from Fuller Seminary's School of Intercultural Studies. Wess is especially interested in Quaker renewal and participatory culture. At the time of this interview he was a Quaker pastor at Camas Friends church in Washington....but last week he was named the Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College.

Wess is also the author of A Convergent Model of Renewal: Remixing the Quaker Tradition in a Participatory Culture. Besides publishing this theological work, Wess has also contributed to the Sketchnote Workbook and written about "learning the art of sketchnote preaching."

In this podcast we discuss a lot of different things such as:

--leadership in the Quaker tradition (flattened leadership)

--what participatory culture looks like

--developing weekly rhythms of self-care

--harnessing creativity in our work (i.e. sketchnotes)

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.



--Player FM


Apr 8, 2015

 This was a really fun podcast episode to record. I drove down to Dallas a couple of weeks ago to spend a couple of hours with Innovation 360's Executive Director Kevin Gilliland, and Director of Marketing Lauren Barnett. I first came across the work of Innovation 360 when I met up with Lauren and another colleague over coffee one morning. And in the last 3 years I have been continually impressed not only with Lauren and Kevin, but the whole team at Innovation 360. I love their all encompassing approach to mental health, which involves caring for the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives of those they come alongside of.

Not only our Kevin and Lauren involved in mental health, but they are avid triathletes. And when I say avid, I mean Lauren is professionally sponsored, and not only won first place in her first , but she has been on the podium ever since. And Kevin competes regularly in triathlons, completing two races. These two are people who strive to take care of themselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and because of that, not only do they thrive as a person, but their relationships and work thrive as well.

In this podcast we had a great time talking about a lot of things, but some of the main conversations center around:

--turning insight into change
--striving for balance in our lives
--the importance of relationships to help us grow
--their personal stories of how they got involved in triathlons and how it has helped challenge them to grow
--what to do if you find yourself "stuck" in life

Mar 31, 2015

About two years ago I came across Sarah Stanley online which led to a few email exchanges about running and health. And over the course of the last two years I have been both continually impressed and encouraged as I have watched her explore the outer limits of her abilities (physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually) through her ulta-running, all the while being fueled on a plant based diet.  And her running resume is impressive: 26 marathons, Boston qualifying, 7 50 mile races, and 4 100 mile races...and on and on and on. The intersection of running and food has been resonating with me the last couple of years and is the reason why I wanted to sit down with Sarah and interview her on my podcast.

As you will be able to tell from this interview, Sarah is full of life, and is passionate about so many things. I love that excitement and I love the message she brings at the intersection of our fitness, food and faith.



In this podcast we will explore:

  • being born and growing up on one of the first certified organic farms in the country
  • her journey into running from her first 8k to qualifying for Boston to her first 50 and hundred mile races.
  • the importance of not only food, but what kind of food we put into our bodies.
  • the issues that she is passionate about such as food advocacy and justice issues.
  • the intersection of food and our faith and how they can't be separated from one another.
  • her passion to empower church leaders to lead the way in promoting a healthier message around food, fitness and social justice issues.
  • her Live Freely curriculum


Mar 11, 2015

My dad is an amazing guy. Besides being my father he has taken on many roles over the course of his life such as church planter, pastor, professor, prison chaplain, hospice chaplain, writer, teacher, speaker, spiritual director, radio show host...and co-founder of Water from Rock which is a non-profit ministry based in Scottsdale, AZ, and which provides weekly classes, workshops, retreats, Lenten and Advent devotionals and much, much more. So all that to say, my dad is incredibly wise and has a lot of important insight into some of the issues that we all at times find ourselves struggling with.

In this episode, my dad sits down with a couple of weeks after my 40th birthday as we explore the importance of how we navigate significant life transitions; what it means to discover our passion and how we can go about exploring that; as well as looking at the role of "letting go" in our journey through life so that we may more fully embrace the work of God in our lives.

We talk about and cover all kinds of topics in this episode, but a few of the key themes are:

--some of the keys to transitioning through various stages of life

--ways in which we can discover what we are passionate about

--different spiritual exercises to help you connect with God

--what it looks like to let go so you can open yourself up to embrace God's work in your life

Check out the blog post for this podcast

Mar 11, 2015

What can I say about Marc Payan? He is someone who is hard to sum up in just a few words. I first came across Marc in the online marriage and relationship space. Though we first met online I began to occasionally see Marc in person and I have really been inspired by him.

Marc is probably best known now as the founder of Payan X which began with him helping a few people get in shape in his garage, and which now is a "movement" of thousands of people. Though it primarily involves fitness, it is more than that. It's about life transformation in many areas such as leadership, relationships and community....and fitness is just one aspect of that.

But all of this began with Marc's own personal transformation of losing close to 110lbs, becoming physically fit, and then leading a "tribe" of "warriors" that began with a few in his garage...and who are now helping transform the communities around them.

Marc has some great insight into about the importance of "working it out", rather than working out. And about "what's eating you", rather than what you eat. And not about losing your weight, but about gaining health.

This interview is full of all kinds of great insight on how your health and fitness can transform not only you, but also your relationships. Marc has a great story of transformation that will inspire you.

--change driven by guilt and shame versus sustainable transformation

--looking at how some family of origin issues fuel our unhealthy behaviors around food

--the importance of leadership and how to share that vision with others ("dreams are birthed in relationships with others)

--creating space to allow others to collaborate and lead with you

--the importance of the 3 R's in transformation (relate, repeat, reframe)

--essential keys to help  you  get unstuck

--"fat dad vs. fit dad"

Check out the blog post for this podcast 

Mar 11, 2015

I have been dreaming and thinking about starting a podcast for about two years, but just never got around to it. As much as I wanted to start it, life just got in the way. Work has been busy in my private practice, as well as speaking and writing. And then there is family life and all the things that come with that as well. Trying to balance out work, family life, as well as my own personal stuff has become a huge challenge over the years...and so the podcast just took a backseat.

So that's why I thought it so important to start my podcast journey off talking about the intersection of self-care and relationships. What I have learned over the years is that when I'm not taking care of myself, I'm just not any good to the relationships around me. My ability to take care of myself directly impacts the relationships that I'm in.

My desire is to be someone who is life-giving, and to breathe life into the relationships around me, rather than suck the life out of them.

So in this episode I explore:

--what self-care is

--the four core areas of self-care (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual)

--ways to implement self-care into your life in a sustainable way

--some baby steps to take towards self-care

--the impact of self-care on our relationships

So I hope you enjoy this first ever Rhett Smith podcast, and that you tune in for more.

Check out the blog post for this podcast 

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