Anxiety Free Monday

We Can… Even though (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk #11)

Life is hard sometimes. (I think I have mentioned this once or twenty times before.)

Over the last three months or so, we have been on a journey– a journey to calm our anxious hearts and find contentment in Christ.

While the Bible study part of the journey concludes today, our heart journey continues.

Probably for the rest of our lives. And I don’t know about you, but it is a journey that I am STILL so excited to be on!

Many women have been transformed over the last few weeks by the power of Christ through trusting in Him– myself included. And I can’t wait to see where He takes us next.

But as we reflect on these final two chapters (and this whole experience in general) I can’t help but be moved… excited… a little emotional (ok, maybe that’s the pregnancy hormones) and utterly shocked at the power of His love for us.

It doesn’t matter what life throws at us… WE CAN rejoice in the Lord, even though life can be difficult.

One of my favorite Bible verses was introduced to me by our Pastor’s wife Pam last February during staff devotional. Divinely, it was the focus verse of our last chapter in this study.

Even though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
Even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
Even though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, 
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
~Habakkuk  3:17-18

… Even though the olive crop fails… GOD STILL ROCKS. (Those are my paraphrased words, not His.)

It is very cool how God has brought this journey (especially for me!) full circle. See, back on March 14th of this year, we miscarried our first child. It was the most viewed post in the history of this ministry… and it’s title? “EVEN THOUGH.

If you want tangible proof of how God can calm an anxious heart even though it seems like the sun might not rise tomorrow– be sure to check it out. Because now, we are 26 weeks along with our second pregnancy– and most of those heart-stopping anxieties from our first experience have been laid at the foot of the cross. Christ has taken them from us– and our trust in Him is deeper than ever before.

So today, we add to our “Even thoughs” as we continue on our journey to contentment.

WE CAN trust in the Lord with all our hearts… Even though the world says, “Take control and do it yourself.”

WE CAN rejoice in all circumstances… Even though in the moment, our hearts might be breaking.

WE CAN remember His never-ending faithfulness… Even though Satan tries to convince us otherwise.

WE CAN give Him our everything… Even though some days it feels like we have nothing left to give.

WE CAN build a solid foundation of faith-based on His promises… Even though destruction seems to be at our doorstep.

WE CAN embrace the plan He has for us… Even though we *think* we have better ideas.

WE CAN know that He designed us with purpose and beauty… Even though we occasionally don’t feel like it.

WE CAN give generously with the knowledge that He is our provider… Even though society says money equals happiness.

WE CAN continue to walk with Him on our journey to contentment… Even though this Bible study season has ended.

Do you have more “We Can- Even Thoughs” to add? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

Thanks to all of the gals who have walked with us through this journey. I pray that it has opened the eyes of your heart in ways that we never imagined. (Also, congratulations to Sue G. for winning our “Solid Foundation of Faith” Giveaway!)

Remember, sweet friends…

WE CAN choose to calm our anxious hearts and find contentment in Him… NO. MATTER. WHAT!!!

Choosing Contentment,
SGK

“…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…” ~Philippians 4:11 (NIV) 

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A Solid Foundation (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk #10)

Between 8th and 9th grade, my family built a house.

My Dad worked for a low-key home/building construction crew, and it was always a dream of my parents to not just own a home, but to have a home THEY designed and built.

So we went to work. Talk about a family bonding experience. Holy moly.

We were going through a lot during that time. Not only was I a teenager (super precious years of my life, BTW– yikes) but my lil bro was a couple of years old, my sister was also a teenager, and my grandma was living out her last year with us as cancer slowly took her life.

So we built a house in the midst of all this hoopla. I learned a lot.

And no, I didn’t just learn about building T-walls, how to insulate a house, proper methods to stain/sand trim and install sheet rock. (Side note: I was the official “voluntold” sheet rock screw installer. According to my rough calculations, there are over 23,000 sheet rock screws in my parents house. Fun fact.)

We learned a lot about each other. About our family. And about how having a solid foundation is vital.

Our house is built on solid bedrock. I don’t remember all the details, but when we were digging our basement, we only made it about four feet into the ground before hitting bedrock. Very solid. But not deep enough. Enter stage left: Jack hammers.

We knew we couldn’t shirk on the basement or foundation–because if we took any shortcuts, we would be sure to pay the price in a few short years when our house started to fall apart.

Starting from the ground up… building our faith is like building a house!

The same goes for our journey to contentment. We have to start with a solid foundation. And that foundation is faith.

This week’s bible study from “Calm My Anxious Heart” really drives this point home. Before we can take our what ifs, our worries, our whys, our if onlys, our everythings to the Lord– we have to have a solid foundation of faith and trust in Him.

There were some super powerful quotes from both chapters 9 and 10 this week. Some really awesome ones include:

  • “Faith is not something to be reasoned from afar, but something we throw ourselves into– heart, mind and soul.” (Pg142)
  • “It’s one thing to believe God can do something. It’s quite another to put yourself in a position of reliant trust. This is the distinction between intellectual belief and wholehearted faith.” (Pg 143)
  • “We tend to make trust a gray area, but with God the issue is often black and white. We either trust Him or we don’t.” (Pg 143)
  • “Faith looks to God, but feelings look to what is going on around us. Faith hopes in who god is and in what He has promised. (Pg 150)

Good stuff, huh? Really makes you think…

What does your foundation look like? Is it solid, built on the bedrock that is Christ, or has it shifted and cracked? What can you do to repair it? How can we keep our foundation strong when the what ifs, if onlys and whys are knocking on our door? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Oh. And speaking of comments– today, we are doing a GIVEAWAY!! If you comment below, you will be entered into a drawing to win our “Foundation of Faith” prize package… A sweet looking journal (to record your Jesus thoughts), a Starbucks gift card (because I always feel closer to God with a warm drink in my hand) AND… THREE (yes, THREE) free spiritual leadership coaching sessions (these can be done  in person, phone or Skype depending on your locale.)

You can enter more than once… AKA if you retweet something from 7 Days Time, share on FB or email it to a group of friends, just leave a comment below letting me know what all you did and for each action you get your name in the drawing. I will announce the winner right here next Monday.

Why the giveaway? Because I am super passionate about having a solid foundation. And we are nearing the end of our journey to contentment. PLUS– In the 15 months I have been blogging, this is my 300th original blog post!  (YAY!) Oh and because Jesus rocks. (Of course!)

Take a good look at your foundation today on this journey– and don’t forget to leave a comment and enter to win our “Foundation of Faith” prize pack! We all need a solid foundation– and that foundation is CHRIST!

On the Solid Rock,
SGK

“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” ~Matthew 7:25-27 (NIV)

If you are “officially” participating in our online Bible Study, here is our *last* week of homework. (Sniff, tear!) What a journey it has been!

Homework Chapter 11 “Trusting God with the If Onlys

Day 1: Study Guide– Question 1, Memorize and meditate on Psalm 77: 11 – 14.; Questions 2, 3 a; b; and 4

Day 2: Study Guide– Questions 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Homework Chapter 12  “Trusting God with the Whys

Day 3: Study Guide– Question 1, memorize and meditate on Habakkuk 3: 17 – 19.; Questions 2, 3

Day 4: Study Guide– Question 4 a; b; c; d; e

Day 5: Study Guide– Question 5

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War on Worry (Anxiety-Free Monday, Week #9)

Soooo… What are YOU worried about?

Seriously. What was your first thought? Finances? Family? Job? Relationships? Or *perhaps* you were one of the few folks who’s first thought was “Nothing.” (If that is you, congrats. Feel free to skip today’s post. Just kidding. You are already here. Might as well read on right?)

But if you are like the rest of us in the world, you had some initial heart-thudding answer to the “worry” question. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been a worrier. However… God has called us to fight it.

We are at war… At war with worry.

If you have been around 7 Days Time for a while, you remember that for lent this year, God actually called me to give up worrying. (Check out the full post “Removal of the Worrywart” here.) At the time I thought it was a little bizarre (and not to mention extremely challenging!) but it was cool to see how God worked through that when all was said and done. (See “Joy in the Mourning” lent conclusion post here.)

See, God had me act tangibly on my worries… Each time one sprung up in my heart, I would write it down and put it in a bowl at the foot of a small cross in my living room. Then I would write a “Faith Statement” to counteract that worry. When lent concluded, I took the bowl of worries and set them on fire. (Oh, burn baby BURN!!)

Over the last several months, God has continued to do work in this area in my life– especially through our online bible study “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow. This week’s chapter was one of my favs: “Worry is like a rocking chair.”

Perhaps you have heard the quote: “Worry is like a rocking chair– it gives us something to do but gets us nowhere.”

Story. Of. My. Life. BOOM.

Worry is the opposite of faith. It’s true. And so many times we try to disguise “worry” as “being prepared.” Whenever my husband asks me (lovingly) but bluntly, “Wife, what are you worried about?!?” my answer usually sounds like this…

“Uh… Nothing, sweetheart… I’m just… thinking.”

Ha. What a load of bologna! When we worry, we are saying “God can’t.” We all know that God CAN do anything, so obviously worry isn’t a legit step in our walk with Christ. Plus, most of our “worries” deal with things we have NO control over.

Worry or Prayer

Source: Len Matthews via Flickr

God is calling us to wage war on worry. One of the exercises in this chapter was to determine What we are worried about, create an Action statement and then Relinquish it to God. (Get it? W-A-R?)

So… Let’s revisit our question. What are you worried about? What action can you take against it? How can you relinquish it God?

This week, let’s take the challenge to do something tangible to banish worries in our life… Perhaps it is writing them down and laying them at the cross. Or burning them. Or wearing a piece of jewelry that reminds you GOD CAN. Or praying about it in a new fresh way. Anything Gods as long as we are going after Jesus!

Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and any prayer requests below in the comment section.

Pray on it. Bring it to God and remember that worry is the opposite of Faith. We are going to war… So who’s side are you on?

Worries Be Gone,
SGK

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”  ~Matthew 6:27

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If you are “officially” participating in our Bible study, here is this week’s homework. (Note: We are doing TWO chapters this week, chapters 9 AND 10.)  Happy transforming!

Chapter 9: 
Day 1- Study Guide: Question 1, memorize and meditate on Hebrews 11:1., Questions 2, 3.

Day 2- Study Guide: Questions 4,a. b., Question 5

Day 3- Study Guide: Questions 6, 7

Day 4- Study Guide: Questions 8, 9

Day 5- Study Guide: Questions 10, 11

***Extra***

Word Study:  Hebrews 11: 1
Faith; Substance or sure of what; Hope; Evidence or certain of what; Seen

Chapter 10:
Day 1~Study Guide: Question 1, memorize and meditate on Jeremiah 17: 7 – 8.  Don’t miss this one! Question 2

Day 2~Study Guide:Questions 3, 4

Day 3~Study Guide: Questions 5, 6

Day 4~Study Guide: Questions 7. a, b., Question 8

Day 5~Study Guide: Questions 9, 10

***Extra***

Word Study:  Jeremiah 17: 7 – 8
Blessed; trusts; confidence; fear ; heat; has no worries; drought; bear; fruit

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Planned with Purpose (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk #8)

I am not a huge fan of cleaning.

I mean, I try to keep our house in decent-ish order, as in keeping the dishes contained to their sink/cabinet areas and preventing any accidental science experiments from growing in the back of the fridge.

However, as much as I loathe the day-to-day cleaning experiences, I do occasionally get in a mood to sort, organize and purge. In those moments, nothing can stop me from tearing apart the nearest coat closet or office desk drawer.

As an army family, we move a lot– and when we move, that is the ideal time to clean. And purge.

It’s funny because each time we go through this, I ALWAYS find several items that are just lying around which make me think: “Now WHY do we even OWN that?!?” (Fact of the matter is, we have probably held onto to said item and actually moved it from a previous house, yet never used it.)

It is then that the non-purposeful item makes a trip to our local Christian thrift store or Goodwill to fulfill its purpose somewhere else instead of sitting idly on a shelf or in the bottom of my closet.

As I was reflecting on the latest chapter of our bible study in “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow, I couldn’t help but think… How many people in this world are living their lives like those “why-do-we-even-have-this” items?

We are all designed with a purpose. God has a purpose for YOU. He planned you with a purpose. Are you fulfilling it? Or simply drifting through life, waiting for the next steps to happen?

I don’t know about you, but I really want to be USEFUL to God, to be fulfilled by Him while fulfilling the purpose He has for me… I desire to be His good and faithful servant– not just watch life drift by as I figuratively collect dust and grow old.

When we float through life without a focus, contentment is impossible.

Over the last several years, God has continued to define His purpose in tangible ways. This week, we are challenged to write a purpose statement… It can be a word or a phrase or bible verse. Here are some examples taken from the chapter…

Johnathan Edwards wrote his as a list of resolutions. Better Scott Stam created her life-purpose statement in the form of a prayer. Others live by a Bible verse. Some people have a few sentences with key words in them. One of the purpose statements that really spoke to my heart was as follows: “Lord Jesus, I offer You all that I am, all that I have, all that I do, all that I suffer now and forever.”

After praying through this, I came up with a “rough draft” of my life purpose statement. (It’s still being refined and developed.)

“Father, my life is not own. I am bought with a price. I belong to you. Every day, I will love. I will grow. I will pray. I will encourage. All for You. My deepest desire is to please you and hear these words upon my arrival at heaven’s gate: ‘Well done my good and faithful servant.’  I vow to live Soli Deo Gloria– to the Glory of YOU alone.”

The Knoblochs and our life purpose statements… as permanent reminders.

Do you have a life purpose or mission statement? What is it?  Let’s encourage each other on this journey– leave your comments below!

Our lives are not meant to simply drift. When we have something to live for (Christ,) contentment comes much more easily. In life, we are not to collect dust or drift aimlessly or be shoved in the bottom of a hypothetical closet. We are ALL planned with purpose. What’s yours?

Praising Him for our Purpose,
SGK

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” ~Proverbs 19:21

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If you are “Officially” participating in our weekly bible study, here is chapter 8’s homework in Calm My Anxious Heart! Enjoy!! 

Day 1: Study Guide~Question 1,  Memorize and meditate on 1 Peter 5: 6 -7., Question 2

Day 2: Question  3. a., b., c.

Day 3: Questions 4,5

Day 4: Questions 6, 7

Day 5: Questions 8, 9

 ***Extra***

Word Study:  1 Peter 5: 6 – 7
Exalt or lift up; Due time; Cast; Cares (He cares for you)

Word Study:  Philippians 1: 9 – 11
Love; Abound; Knowledge; Depth of insight (Judgement); Discern (approve); Best (excellent); Pure (Sincere); Blameless (without offense); Filled; Fruit of righteousness

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Enough (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk #7)

“Is that enough?”

UG! Talk about a loaded question!! It doesn’t matter if we are talking about a delectable piece of dessert, our end-of-month cash flow amount, the groceries in our shopping cart or our worth/value as a person.

More often than not, even if our mouths answer yes, our heads answer no.

It’s a hard (and yucky) truth, but as consumers, Americans and HUMANS we are a greedy, selfish bunch of folks.

Sigh. Why can’t we be satisfied?

Notice I said WE. Yeah, WE, as in ME, have this problem too– We always want more, bigger, better. But WHY??

Too often, we  are trying to find life and contentment in STUFF. Overspending is the norm in our culture. The more you have, the happier you will be, right?

Uh, yeah. Negative.

In this week’s chapter of “Calm My Anxious Heart,” Linda Dillow makes a lot of profound (and difficult) points on this topic of never being satisfied or trying to find our worth or value in things of this world, specifically money.

She says that “Happiness is getting what we want; contentment is wanting what we get.”

Touche, sister!

Also, did you know that Scripture contains more references to money than to salvation? And 16 of Jesus’ 39 parables deal with the issue of wealth!

Apparently this has been an issue for a hot minute or so. And it is something we STILL battle.

I know, I know, this whole “not living for the world but finding our contentment in Christ” is great in theory, but seriously, how can we make it happen?

Here are some practical tips that we (as in, my husband and I) have started the slow process of embrace the FACT (yes, FACT) that Jesus is enough for us. (Don’t get me wrong– we still have a looonnngggg way to go. God sure knows it!)

1. Last Christmas, instead of purchasing gifts for our family, we made a donation to a cause or fund that would speak to their heart in the name of Jesus.

2. This summer, we ate only 7 foods for 30 days. (Longest 30 days of our life… but honey, you better believe it changed our hearts!)

3. In addition to our tithe, we have answered the call of doing Factor of 7, a random act of kindness/generosity movement as a part of this ministry.

Finding your ENOUGH is probably going to look  a little different. Is it hard? Uh, yeah– kind of a lot. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

Here’s some “heart” Scriptures that we can chew on today as we seek our ENOUGH in Christ:

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” ~Mark 8:36

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” ~Hebrews 13:5 

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” ~1 John 2:17

Do you struggle with your “enough?” What parts are most challenging for you? What would living a life of ENOUGH in Christ look like? I would love your feedback (um, and encouragement– because I struggle with this too!! Iron sharpens iron, my friends…) Comment below.

Before we can deal with the money-in-our-pocket (or lack thereof) issue or the abundance of stuff in our house, we must first embrace this as a heart issue. God has already promised us abundant life in Christ Jesus. And that life is more valuable than any car or house or amount that we can charge on our Visa card.

As we continue to seek contentment in Christ, perhaps someday we will confidently be able to respond to that loaded question of “Is that enough?” with “Yep. I’ve got Jesus. That’s all I need… And He’s ENOUGH!”

Content in Christ,
SGK

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19

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If you are “officially” doing the online Bible study with us, here is the homework for the upcoming week:

Day 1: Question 1, Memorize and meditate on Ephesians 5:  15 – 17, Question 2

Day 2: Questions 3, 4

Day 3: Question 5

Day 4: Question 6, 7

 ***Extra***

Word Study:  Ephesians 5: 15 – 17

Live

“Making the most of every opportunity” or “redeeming the time”

understand

will

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VLOG: A Sweet, Pure Life (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk #6)

Hi readers… Today we are gonna shake things up a bit… It’s VLOG time (that’s video + blog for those of you that are new to this kind of thing. Check it out…

So where do you stand right now? Are you a salt-vinegar combo? Or living a life of sweetness and purity? What challenges you with letting go of bitterness and unforgiveness? What does that look like for you? I would love to hear your thoughts– leave a comment below!

Here’s to living a sweet, pure life in the name of Jesus!

New kind of sweetness,
SGK

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” ~Colossians 3:13 (NIV) 

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For those of you “officially” doing Linda Dillow’s bible study “Calm My Anxious Heart,” here is this weeks homework– may it be purifying and sweet for your hearts!

Day 1~ Study Guide: Question 1, Memorize and meditate on Hebrews 13:5 and Psalm 119:14., Questions 2, 3

Day 2~ Study Guide: Questions 4, 5

Day 3 ~ Study Guide: Questions 6, 7

Day 4~Study Guide: Question 8a, b, c

Day 5~Study Guide: Questions 9, 10

***Extra***

Word Study:  Hebrews 13:5– Content

Word Study:  Psalm 119:14–Rejoice; Statutes; Great riches

Word Study:  Philippians 4: 19– All; Needs; Glorious riches

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Stale Bread or Cinnamon “Roles” (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk #5)

Have you thought lately about your roles in life?

I’m not talking about those fresh cinnamon rolls in the oven (although if that is the case, I would appreciate an invite over to your house… or you can mail them to me.) I also don’t mean the little rolls of “fluff” that might accumulate around your waistline after too many of the aforementioned pastry snacks.

Today’s post is all about the roles in life that God has called us to fill.

Take just a moment to spiritstorm your roles… Got ‘em? Here’s some of mine:

Army wife. Mama-in-progress. Minister. Writer. Speaker. Puppy mama. Friend. Sister. Daughter. Encourager. Leader. Cinnamon-roll eater.

(Ok, just kidding on that last one.)

But seriously—the roles in our life can be a primary source of contentment—or discontentment, depending on how we choose to fill them.

I personally am a huge fan of being married. Well, not just being married, but specifically my role to be the wife of my beloved Brandon. We have been married two years, and I am <still> crazy about him.

However, my role is not just to be his wife—I am an ARMY wife. That adds a whole new dimension to the role that I have been called to by God. I could choose to dwell on the army part of that role and wish for other circumstances, or I can rejoice in the wife part– loving my husband with everything I have, second to Jesus.

It doesn’t matter if you are married, single, widowed, divorced, whatever… we all have the opportunity to choose if we will embrace the role God has given us… or not.

When it comes to calming our anxious heart and finding contentment, rejoicing in the here and now is key. We can anticipate tomorrow and all the great things to come, but when we spend too much time dreaming about  the moment when our role will change from “mama of preschooler”  to “empty nester” or for “single” to change to “married,” we miss the joy and contentment that God has provided in the moment.

Linda Dillow, author of the book “Calm my Anxious Heart,” shares some powerful truths when it comes to being content in our roles.  She says that we must see our life and roles from God’s perspective. We should THANK God for the role He has given us and embrace it as an overflowing cup instead of a cross to bear.

Fulfilling our roles in life with a content heart is not going to be easy. We will all struggle. But we can trust that God knew what He was doing when He gave us our particular roles.

What roles have you been called to fill in life? Do you struggle with them, sometimes wishing they were different? Are you rejoicing in the here and now with your role or spending your time thinking about tomorrow?  Discussion and feedback brings such a new dimension to this blog—leave your comments below.

Sometimes our “roles” might taste like stale bread as in, kind of hard to swallow at the moment. Other times our roles are going to be pretty sweet, like those warm, fresh cinnamon rolls right out of the oven…

Either way, we can cling to the fact that Jesus is the bread of life—He is the one who walks with us to fulfill our roles on a daily basis on our journey to contentment.

Let’s be content with our “roles,” cinnamon or otherwise. When we embrace them from God’s perspective, all our roles have the potential of being sweet.

Hungry for Christ,
SGK

“Stolen bread tastes sweet, but soon your mouth is full of gravel.” ~Proverbs 20:17 MSG

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If you are “officially” participating in the online Bible Study “Calm My Anxious Heart,” here is the homework for the upcoming week, chapter 5.

Day 1–Study Guide: Question 1, Memorize Colossians 3: 12 – 14.  Questions 2, 3, 4

Day 2–Study Guide: Questions 5,6,7

Day 3–Study Guide: Questions 8, 9

Day 4–Study Guide: Question 10

Day 5–Study Guide: Questions 11, 12

***Extra***

Word Study:  Colossians 3: 12 – 14

Chosen; Holy; Beloved; Kindness; Humility; Patience; Bear (forbear); Forgive; Love; Perfect unity

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If Only… (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk 4)

If only… My hair was longer.
If only… My thighs were smaller.
If only… I was four inches taller.
If only… I was more talented.
If only… I was 20 pounds lighter.
If only… My teeth were straighter.
If only… I was gifted like SHE is.
If only……………………….

How many times have you started a thought with the phrase “If only?” I know I have done it and occasionally still fall back into that trap, especially in the categories of physical attributes and “why-can’t-I-be-more-like-her?”

Let’s be honest—we women are exceptionally hard on ourselves. Some of us probably play the “if only” game on a daily basis.  We set such high standards of needing to do it all, be it all for everybody, all the while “looking good.”

Bah. It’s exhausting. (If I ever find out who started this trend, we are going to have words.)

But seriously. Being a woman, specifically a woman of Christ, can be a lot of work—especially when we are focused on the “what we are not” as opposed to the “who we are in Christ.”

This issue of not being content with ourselves, whether it is our physical appearance, skills, abilities, or giftedness is a complicated one. Our discontentment with ourselves can create anxiety. Additionally, every time we start a thought with “if only” it’s like we are saying to God “Hey man—you didn’t know what you were doing when you made me. You aren’t as smart as you think you are.”

AHHH!! That is a terrifying way to look at it—but being ungrateful is a sin, straight up. When we wallow in our “what we aren’ts” as opposed to how God made us, we are saying God didn’t know what He was doing. That makes my stomach flop just thinking about it!

You, my friend, are a work of art. And like all original art pieces—you are unique. There is no one exactly like you and God put A LOT of planning and thought into how He created you.

You have a purpose that no one else can fill- no matter what size of feet you have or what color your hair is. You are loved. Unique. And purposeful.

Just that concept alone should be a primary root for contentment.  Rejoice in the fact that God’s loving hand shaped you. It’s pretty incredible that a God who has an entire world to deal with spent time thinking about the shape of your nose and how you would be gifted.

I say that is top ten Coolest. Thoughts. Ever.  (Makes my heart all warm and fuzzy!)

In order to get us away from the “If only” game of doom, we are changing it up today—our topic for discussion is the “Glad I have” game… Here’s how to play…

Think of AT LEAST five characteristics, talents, skills that you are glad God gave you. (Please include a minimum of at least one physical attribute.) Or you can just brainstorm and list as many as you can in two minutes. Then comment below with your “Glad I have” lists (or at least part of them.)

To be fair, I will get us started…  (in no particular order…)

“I, Sharita Gwen Knobloch am glad I have… strong fingernails, a cute nose, the gift to write, laugh, teach, speak, super thick hair, small hands, sweet curves, a sense of humor, organizing ability, uniquely colored eyes and a legit badonkadonk (aka keister.)”

What does your list look like? I can’t wait to see it and rejoice in it with you—share below!! 🙂

Let’s switch from the “if onlys” to the “glad I have.” Be content with YOU!!

Created in Christ,
SGK

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” ~Psalm 139:14

If you are “officially” participating in our online bible study “Calm my Anxious Heart,” here is your homework for this upcoming week! Be blessed!

Day 1: Study Guide– Question 1, Memorize Matthew 20:28

Day 2: Study Guide– Question 2, a; b;c;d.

Day 3: Study Guide–Question 2, e;f;g;h.

Day 4: Study Guide– Questions 3, 4

Day 5: Study Guide– Questions 5, 6, 7

***Extra***

Word Study:  Matthew 20:28
Serve; Give; Ransom

Word Study:  Phil. 2: 3-4
Selfish ambition; Vain; conceit; Humility

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The Choice (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk 3)

Hmmm… Coke or Pepsi? Tennis shoes or boots? Salad or Big Mac?

We make thousands of choices a day. I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but seriously– just think about it. From the moment we wake up, our brain is buzzing, making decisions before our feet even hit the floor. (Even the action of getting out of bed is a choice!)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with all the choices that whack me in the face each day. Sure, I love having control (which is an entirely separate issue) but some days I halfway wish someone would just make the choice for me.

Especially the difficult ones.

That’s right– not all of our choices are as easy as what we will wear or if we will go to the gym after work or not. There’s some tough choices out there… like what career to pursue, where to live, who to marry (or to get married at all), or who/what will be the center of our lives.

Questions

Source: Oberazzi via Flickr

With freedom can come choice… and with choice can come anxiety.

But did you know that we can make a choice NOT to be anxious and instead be content? I know, I know, we gotta chalk that one up in the “easier said than done” category. But it IS possible.

Paul says in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Um, yeah… Great idea, Paul. But HOW in the name of Jesus do we make that happen?

We do just that– simply whispering Jesus’ name is a great place to start.

We must CHOOSE to pray instead of worry. It’s a choice we can make with each thought, no matter how big or small our challenge or circumstance might be.

In Linda Dillow’s book “Calm My Anxious Heart,” she addresses this very question with four of Paul’s basic practice principles to CHOOSING God over our worrisome inclinations:

*Choosing to give our anxieties to God
*Choosing to pray specifically
*Choosing to be thankful
*Choosing to dwell on the positive

It’s a choice. Daily. Hourly. Minute-by-minute. It’s not going to happen over night, (darn!) but as with all things that God calls us to do, He doesn’t expect us to do it alone.

Ultimately, we have to CHOOSE God over ourselves. See, our flesh loves to have control and when things don’t go OUR way, we tend to worry or get upset. Instead, we can make the choice to trust God with EVERYTHING in our lives. When we do, He will help us to calm our anxious hearts and find contentment in Him alone.

So I have a couple of questions for you today:
1. What is the biggest barrier to choosing to pray instead of defaulting to being anxious?
2. What practical things can you do to choose prayer over worry?

I always love hearing your thoughts– leave a comment below! 🙂

They say it takes (at least) 21 days to change a habit. What if, for the next 21 days, each time our heart flops and a worry bubbles up, we mentally STOP… And pray it away? After awhile, we wouldn’t just have a new habit– But God would have transformed our heart.

Choosing prayer over worry can be one of the best choices we will ever make. So what will you choose?

Choosing Him First,
SGK

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG) 

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If you are “officially” participating in our online bible study for Calm My Anxious Heart, here is Chapter 3’s “homework” for the upcoming week. Enjoy! 

Day 1: Study Guide– Question 1, Memorize Psalm 139:14

Day 2: Study Guide– Question 2, 3, 4, 5

Day 3: Study Guide– Question 6, 7, 8 a.,b.

Day 4: Study Guide–Question 9a,b, 10

Day 5: Study Guide– Question 12

***Extra (as in, you don’t have to do it– but if you are into it, go for it!***

Word Study:  Psalm 139:14 (Remember Old Testament is written in Hebrew)
Fearfully; Wonderfully; Made; Works; Wonderful; Know

Word Study:  Phil. 1:6
Confident; Began; Work; Completion

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Our Cup Filled Up (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk 2)

Few things in life make me happier than a smooth, warm beverage.

From peppermint tea to hot chocolate to my favorite doctored-up cup of coffee, drinking a warm beverage out of one of my favorite mugs makes my heart sing with joy.

It’s not just a taste thing for me– it’s a total body experience. On those cool fall mornings or perhaps right before bed as I wind down from a long day, my whole being is just moved by my cup filled with liquid awesome.

There’s really only one warm beverage that not only fails to bring me joy, but it is something I avoid at all costs… Theraflu.

When I was younger, I would, as most kids do, tend to get sick on occasion. My loving Mama would doctor me up. I would be snuggled down on the couch, kleenexes within reach, Vicks Vapor rub smeared on my chest… then suddenly, it happened.

The microwave beeped. I knew what was coming.

Theraflu. I tell you what– I just couldn’t do it. If upset stomach wasn’t one of my symptoms when I started, it sure was by the time I finished choking it down.

Psalm 16:5 says Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup…”

And lets be honest. Sometimes the portion in our cup is glorious peppermint tea… and other times it’s closer to the likes of  Theraflu (or whatever beverage you aren’t such a big fan of.)

But God expects us to drink it. He gave it to us– and He knows what is good for us.

Even if it makes us gag. (Or cry. Or rebel. Or whatever your choice reaction/emotion happens to be.)

This concept of gratefully drinking the portion God dumps in my cup was really brought to light as I worked through our current Bible Study “Calm My Anxious Heart.” I was really moved by the thought of being grateful and content no matter what.

And then I was convicted. Kind of a lot.

Because I have to admit– there are some days that God gives me a Theraflu-like portion, and instead of saying thanks and choking it down because I trust Him, I throw a tantrum.

Enter stage left: The ungrateful, discontented heifer. (SIGH.)

When something that I don’t want to drink what is put in front of me by God, I cop an attitude. My heiferish self slaps the cup away, I cross my arms and start back talking. “God, I don’t WANT this! It is too hard to swallow! Why can I have something better?!” 

Linda Dillow reminded me that “Contentment is a state of the heart, not a state of affairs.”

Touche.

So I have been literally visualizing my current “cup” that God has given me: I see a big sturdy mug with the words “Army, Georgia, Ministry, Drill Sergeant, Pregnancy” written on it. Then my portion depends on what God gives me each day.

One way that I have really been focusing on this journey to contentment is taking to heart, memorizing and living “Ella’s Prescription for Contentment” in our study. It says:

*Never allow yourself to complain about anything – not even the weather
*Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else
*Never compare your lot with another’s
*Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise
*Never dwell on tomorrow –remember that [tomorrow] is God’s, not ours

Profound, huh?

Here’s a couple of questions to ponder (and perhaps answer/leave a comment below!):
1. Which one of Ella’s Prescription steps do you struggle with the most?
2. What does your “cup” and “portion” look like right now? Is it like peppermint tea? Or more like Theraflu (or whatever other beverage you aren’t a huge fan of?) How can you drink it more gratefully?

Sweet friends… I’m so thankful to be sharing this journey with you. For my heart today, the bottom line is that GOD GIVES US OUR PORTION… As in, it’s FROM HIM.  Our cup has been filled up. So we need to drink up.

Bottoms Up,
SGK

“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” ~Matthew 26:27-28

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For those of you doing the online bible study “Calm My Anxious Heart,” here is the homework for week #2. Happy learning!!

Day 1: Read Chapter Two of “Calm My Anxious Heart”
Write Philippians 4: 6 -8 on a card and go over it every day.  Pray it.  Praise God with it!  Memorize it.  You can do it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Day 2: Study Guide (back of book)
Questions 2, 3

Day 3: Study Guide
Questions 4, 5, 6

Day 4: Study Guide
Questions 7, 8a and 8b

Day 5: Study Guide
Question 9

Write in your journal what you learned about God this week, what you learned about yourself this week.  Write a prayer to remember what God has taught you.

The following stuff is “extra.” As in, if you have time and like this kinda thing, great. Otherwise, don’t worry bout it!

Word Study:  Phil. 4: 6
Prayer
Supplication (Petition)
Thanksgiving
Requests

 Word Study:  Phil. 4:7
Peace
Understanding

Word Study:  Phil. 4: 8
True
Noble (Honest)
Right (Just)
Pure
Lovely
Admirable (Good Report)
Excellent (Virtue)
Think

Helpful Study Tools:
Strong Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Zondervan.  (around $20.00)
The  Complete Word Study New Testament, edited by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., AMG Publishers. (around $40.00)
A Good Study Bible – NIV has a great study bible
Crosswalk.com  search engine

Categories: Anxiety Free Monday | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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