worry

Treasure in Jars of… Salsa??

Today, I would like to provide you with a practical, real-life lesson and application:

How to Semi-Effectively Clean Up A Smashed Jar of Salsa

1. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and say a silent prayer for the Lord to forgive you of the very loud and prominent obscenity you just yelled as you watched your new quart jar of homemade salsa crash onto the floor.

2. Shuffle the pup out of doors so he is not inclined to “help” with clean up.

3. Put on shoes as to avoid glass shards in the feet.

4. Clean up the glassy salsa with whatever tools you have available (might I recommend: An old dust pan and empty Diet Dr. Pepper box)

5. Mop and/or vacuum a couple times to ensure any nearly invisible tiny glass shards don’t, in fact, end up in your feet.

6. Continue with your lunch and ask God how or what you can learn from this experience. (Other than don’t let clumsy people with wet hands handle salsa jars when they are in a hurry to eat their nachos for lunch.)

This is what my treasured jar of salsa looked like BEFORE it hit the floor…
Clean up on aisle 3! Anyone? No? Sigh.

True story, folks. As I was moving towards step 6, I stepped into the bathroom to wash my hands. I looked in the mirror and literally laughed– in the few minutes of my salsa-crisis, my cheeks were flushed, my messy ponytail became messier and I somehow ended up with a bird feather in my hair. (I’m not kidding. The only explanation would be when I went outside to get the old dustpan, a tiny little feather made its way to my bird nest of hair.)

As I was trying to gather my nerves and frustration (hey, homemade salsa from back home is a treasured commodity down in these parts!) I literally prayed for God to tell me what I could learn from this…

My brain immediately flashed to 2 Corinthians 4:7~

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”

Huh. Ok, Lord. Cool.

So I sat with that for a while and realized that my little salsa mess was not just a mess– it was a sweet (spicy?) message.

That jar of salsa brought me to scripture that reminded me that when we try to be perfect on the outside, God’s power and goodness can’t be seen. So we either have to be very transparent (think: glass jar of salsa) or allow God to crack open our shell of perfection so that His inner light can shine.

As I marinated on this idea (and continued to mourn the loss of my salsa) my thoughts were drawn to the upcoming bible study that we are hosting here at 7 Days Time. In case you missed our big announcement last week, starting Sept. 9th my friend Kelli and I are going to be teaching Linda Dillow’s study “Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Contentment” in person at Christ Community Church. But for all of my non-local peeps, (which is a vast majority) we are going to do an online version of the study starting September 10th.

And I don’t know about you– but one of the things that sometimes makes me anxious is being vulnerable and letting other people see my brokenness.

Kinda like that messy jar of salsa on my kitchen floor.

So, if your life has ever felt more frustrating than of dropping a jar of salsa (or pickles, or jelly or whatever) on the floor, or you worry about others finding out about your shortcomings, or you struggle to find contentment in your everyday life… we invite you to join our study.

For the online portion, we will meet here each Monday and also interact in  a closed Facebook group. Should you like to join in our journey, be sure to order the book ($10 on Amazon) and leave a comment below so I can be sure to include you as our start date grows closer.

Oh, and even if your time/schedule doesn’t permit you to actually DO the study with us– feel free to leave comments and participate here anyways. We are all in this together!

After all, we all learn in a variety of ways from a variety of sources– even from a broken jar of salsa.

Using my mess for His Message,

SGK

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 4:6 NLT

Categories: God, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

So long, Anxious Heart

I scan my list… Do I have everything? What if I forget something? I swallow the lump that is growing in my throat. My heart starts to beat faster. I glance down at my watch… Should I leave now? Or do I have more time?

If you have been hanging out with me here at 7 Days Time for a while, you have figured out that I am something of a worrywart. Honestly, it is super annoying and exhausting. Fortunately, God has used 2012 (and a majority of my adult life) to slowly but surely start weaning me from worrying. But he’s not done yet.

I’ve always heard that worry is like a rocking chair– it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere. (Can I get an amen?!?!) And let’s not forget to mention that worrying is a sin… Every time we let our mind/heart melt into that puddle of anxiety, it is like we are saying that God isn’t enough and we don’t REALLY trust His plan for us.

Just the other day, I was pouring out my heart to my sweet husband about my current worries that I was battling: Health, family, finances, army life, future etc. And that wonderful man spoke some much-needed (but kinda difficult) truth into my life:

“Sharita… there are ALWAYS going to be things we CAN worry about. But we have a choice… We can choose to worry or choose to simply TRUST GOD.”

Sigh. I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go…

But here’s the awesome and encouraging news: We don’t have to go alone. God has given us tools and community to combat this issue in our life.

Which leads to my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT for today. Ready? I hope you are sitting down…

If you are a worrier, know a worrier, have been a worrier, worry that you might become a worrier (ha!) or anything of the sort, I invite you to come on a journey– a journey to calm our anxious hearts.

Eternal Youth

I don’t know about you… but I could definitely use a makeover.
(Source: Jan Tik @ Flickr)

Starting September 9, my friend/boss/mentor Kelli Wommack and I will be offering a bible study called “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow on Sunday nights from 5 – 6:30 pm at Christ Community Church in Columbus, GA for those of you who are local and can attend.

For those of you who aren’t local (which I know is a majority of my audience,) beginning September 10, we will be offering this study via online right here at 7 Days Time and on Facebook! WHOOT! Cool, huh? So whether you are local or in South America, you can participate! We are super excited about this and will be giving more details very soon. So if you are interested in either the Sunday night study or the online study, please let me know by leaving a comment below. Oh, and please share this with your friends if you think they might be interested!

I have a sneaky suspicion that this could change ALL of our lives. I’m not even kidding. I’m stoked. And hope you are too!

I feel incredibly blessed that God has placed this opportunity for us to trade our anxiety for trust– together, as a community, both online and in person. Please, if this study sounds like something God has brought across your path for a reason, don’t be shy– jump aboard and let’s prepare to let God transform our hearts and minds. Again, leave a comment below so I can get you signed up 🙂

It’s time my friends… Time to say “So long, anxious heart.”  Who’s with me?

Goodbye worries, Hello Trust,
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) 

Categories: God, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Joy in the Mourning

It’s the day after Easter, folks… This means that in addition to Easter candy going on sale today (YAY!) and most church workers being tired after working like crazy yesterday, lent has ended for another year.

What did your 40 days bring? Mine were… um… profound.

For Lent, I “gave up” worrying. (Read “Removal of the Worrywart” for the whole story.) Long story short, God told me to stop trying to control things and not to worry so dang much about stuff. So during Lent, whenever I worried about something, I wrote it down, crinkled it up and literally laid it at the foot of a cross in my living room. Then I would write a “Faith” statement to counteract whatever worry I had. I kept the faith statements in a jar and would give myself a “refresher” when the worries started to resurface.

Well, 40 days have come and gone… God has done a number on my worrywart of a heart.

But that isn’t the “profound” part of the story.

God grew my trust in Him immensely. Here’s the profound part: My two biggest worries actually happened in the last 40 days… and God carried me through it.

Not only did He carry me through it, but I am able to write about it. And find joy… in the mourning of it all.

My first fear was miscarriage and losing our baby. I kept writing it down, laying at the foot of the cross… and it kept coming back. When that fear became a reality 27 days ago, I felt as if God had answered my prayer to prepare my heart for this baby, whatever was to happen.  Now, don’t get me wrong– if Jesus Himself came down from Heaven and asked me if I wanted things to turn out differently, I probably wouldn’t hesitate to scream “YES!” before He finished His sentence. However…

With that biggest fear of losing that baby came tiny blessings… I now understand Matthew 5:4– “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I lost something I held very dear– but Jesus never left me. Not for a moment. Yes, my heart broke… but our Father’s heart also broke as He watched His son die on the cross. In mourning, I became closer to my husband than ever. In mourning, I became closer and more dependent on Our Father than I have been in my entire life. In mourning… I found joy that only comes from Jesus.

My second fear was my beloved husband recycling Ranger School– mainly because I didn’t want him to miss any more of the pregnancy than required. God has a plan with that as well… because Brandon did end up as a Darby phase recycle, which would be a 7 week extra wait due to Best Ranger Competition coming up. But once I told Brandon about the loss of our little one, he decided to come home to me immediately. He told me that it wouldn’t have mattered if he was going to recycle or not– he was going to come home to deal with what we were facing.

The worries with Ranger school were also realized, but under the circumstances were a blessing as God brought us through it. Oh, and did I tell you that God also planned out that Brandon would make the promotion list way sooner than expected, the day after the miscarriage and the day prior to Brandon withdrawing from Ranger school. To me, it was affirmation that God has Brandon’s career in His hand.  I guess God knows what He is doing after all, huh?

I can’t help but feel a little bit like Mary  when she discovered that Christ was gone from the grave. When she saw that empty tomb, her mourning turned to confusion… then to joy as she discovered Christ’s incredible plan. Praise the Lord, for He is Risen! His promises hold true and we can fully depend on Him– no worrying necessary!

What did you learn during Lent? Did you grow closer to God? I would love to hear your feedback. Comment here. 

I have laid my fears at the foot of the cross… and I will continue to do so. That cross will stay in my living room as a constant reminder of God’s promise, plan and purpose for our lives. God removed the worrywart in me… and helped me to find exceptional and unexpected joy in the mourning.

Rejoicing for He is Risen,
SGK

“Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well.  I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” –Jeremiah 31:13

As promised, I set fire to my worries at the conclusion of lent. I've given them over to God... For good.

Categories: blessings, Christ, cross, dependence, faith, glory, God, joy, lent, promises, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Removal of the Worrywart

I’ve always been something of a worrywart.

Yep, I was that kid in middle and high school that would always bring “extra” books to class “just in case.” I was terrified that my world would crumble to pieces should I forget to bring my ruler to math class.

For most of my life, I have lived in a bubbles of “what ifs.” As I have gotten older and my relationship with Christ has grown so much deeper, those constant worries have diminished.

Sort of. Honestly, I still have a long way to go.

Our pastor Keith challenged us last week to consider either giving up or taking up something for lent. I had been thinking about it, but couldn’t come up with anything that spoke to my heart.

Chocolate? Naw… while it is something I enjoy, it really isn’t something that I am addicted to or is in the way of my relationship with Christ. Caffeine? Also, not super important to me, since I drink less than one caffeinated beverage per day. TV? Already cut my cable. Social media doesn’t consume my life and is more of a marketing platform for ministry, so that wouldn’t work either.

As I sat in our Ash Wednesday CRAVE prayer service last week, I asked God what He wanted me to do for the next 40 days (which would hopefully carry over into my entire life.) This is what He said:

“Give up your worries. Trust Me. Depend on Me.”

Great. This was going to be more difficult than caffeine, chocolate, and Facebook combined.

I continued to meditate… I knew that me “giving up” being a worrywart wasn’t as easy as me resolving to quit it. I needed something tangible… something to remind me how to remove this “wart” in my life…

So right after CRAVE, I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a cross. For the last 6 days, I have literally being laying my fears at the foot of the cross. Afterwards, I write down the “Faith Factors” of God amazing attributes and put them in a jar to remind myself that God’s power easily outnumbers my fears.

Now, I have never had a wart before, so I have never had to have one removed. Rumor has it that it can be temporarily painful. But if you leave it there, sometimes warts can be pretty unsightly, which is exactly the case with my ugly worrywart on my heart. Not only is my worrying a blemish, but it is a sin about doubting God’s goodness, plans, faithfulness and love.

So yes, removing this “worrywart” on my heart has already been a challenge… But I can already feel myself healing and growing stronger into a new, refreshed, more Jesus-trusting person.  I am honestly excited for the entire duration of lent because at the end of this process, I am plan to literally “burn off” this wart by taking a match to my worrywart papers. (And honestly, who doesn’t like a little pyromaniac action?)

I’m so thankful that I can go to THE Professional Healer for removal of my worrywart.

Fear to faith at the foot of the Cross,

SGK

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

Categories: chocolates, fear, God, lent, worry | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

LET IT GOD

Apparently it’s “Sharita-needs-to-confess-random-things-on-her-blog” week.

That being said, guess what? I have (another) confession. I like to have control. There. I said it. Be in charge, drive the boat, run the show, whatever you wanna call it, I like it. Rephrase: I thrive on it. I might even admit I-gotta-have-it. (Now that just reminds me of Cold Stone’s ice cream size choices. Random.)

This discovery was brought to a very profound point a week ago at CCC Women’s retreat (have you noticed it was apparently kind of a big deal in my life?) Last Saturday night, Mama Carol spoke about “Totally Surrender” when it comes to God. Naively, I thought I was… but as I examined my heart, it was clear that I thought wrong.

My husband always asks me why I “worry” so much. His favorite line with me is from Matthew 6:27– “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” I denied that I was a worrier– It had to be something else. Why would I “worry” about things I couldn’t control like the army, family, location, babies etc… Well, God revealed to me during the retreat (through all of the speakers, but especially Mama Carol) that yes, I was a worrier.

That “worry” was rooted in lack of complete and total trust in the Lord.  And I didn’t fully trust Him because I wanted to rely on myself and my own strength, which I know as well as anyone else fails on a regular basis. Carol said it best when she said “If you don’t think something is strong enough, you aren’t going to lean on it.” Gulp. Could that really be me? I worry because I don’t trust because I like having “control?” 

Enter stage left: Ton of bricks. OUCH! Needless to say, many tears were in order at that point (don’t worry– they were good Holy Spirit tears… He was working on my heart in such a sweet way!) I went outside for evening solo processing quiet time… As I was sobbing in the dark by the lake, I used my cell phone as a flashlight to write furiously and desperately in the last few pages of my journal (It was no coincidence that my journal was finished the final day of retreat and I was able to start a new one last Monday as I moved forward with a transformed heart.)

I went back inside for our group processing time and decided to read from my journal what I just scribbled down. Throughout my self-plea/prayer combination, I had written LET IT GO!!! multiple times in all capital letters. I continued to read my plea/prayer out loud to my table– suddenly I reached the middle of my entry and noticed a “typo.”

But it wasn’t just an accidental “Ok-I-am-crying-and-writing-this-in-the-dark” typo. It was directly from God. Of this I have NO doubt.

I had attempted to write “LET IT GO!” but instead my “typo” came out “LET IT GOD!” Yeah, that was no accident.

God didn’t want 95% of myself. He wanted it ALL. Complete, total, utter, drop-to-your-knees-turn-every-thought-trust-Him-fully SURRENDER. I was still clinging to my own power. But at that moment, I gave it up. It was time to LET IT GOD.

I have since been praying for God to allow me to completely surrender to Him. In His endless love for me, He made me a strong-willed person, so I knew he wasn’t going to just wave a magic wand and say “TA-DA! There ya go, Sharita. Complete surrender. Wish granted.”

Instead, He has already presented many opportunities to surrender to His will and let go of my desperate need to control. Every time one of those worrisome thoughts mentioned earlier (health, army, babies) would creep into my head, He gave me the power to give it back to Him. “It’s all you, man. Take this God. You got this. I gotta LET IT GOD.”

He worked a surrendering miracle on Thursday night in my living room during a “discussion” that my husband and I were having. We decided to pray, holding each other and asking God to help us from being selfish and stubborn, to surrender to Him. It was absolutely amazing. The moment that my heart sincerely uttered those words, the feeling of hurt, selfishness and frustration was LIFTED off of my heart IMMEDIATELY. I just had to LET IT GOD.

Are there things in your life today that you are clinging to? Do you desire control? Trust in the Lord– for He is STRONG enough, WORTHY enough and ALL-KNOWING enough to deal with your worries, troubles and struggles. He knows more about them and cares even more about them than you do. Think about it my friend– is it time that you gave 100% away and LET IT GOD?

Surrendering it All,

SGK

“In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise— in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” –Psalm 56:10-11

 

 

Categories: God, release, retreat, trust, worry | Leave a comment

No More Cornflakes

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I feel like my faith is flakier than a box of Kellogg’s  Corn Flakes.

I would love to say that I am strong pillar of faith, unshakable, undoubting at all times. But then that would be a lie. And last I checked, lying is a sin. True, I never lose faith that God exists, but sometimes I forget (doubt? worry about?) HIS faithfulness and sovereignty. Just last week during my morning quiet time at the kitchen table, I was studying Romans 4 where it was discussing Abraham’s faith and salvation through righteousness, not works. Before I could stop myself, I was praying for God to give me faith like Abraham.

Then, midway through the prayer, I panicked. Literally. I remembered all of the things that God commanded Abraham to do, including the near-sacrifice of his son Issac. I freaked out!! I tried to take back my prayer. God, I can’t handle anything that big. Developing faith involves potentially scary stuff. I was just kidding. Please cancel my request. 

THEN I realized the ridiculousness of my “please disregard my previous prayer.” Why shouldn’t I want faith like Abraham? Sure he was challenged and much was asked of him, but seriously, MUCH was given in return.  Where was my faith?

It turns out that as a woman, my natural flesh allows the enemy to sneak in doubt, fear and worry when it comes to our faith in God. Amidst homework, blogging, devotional writing this week, I felt very (surprisingly) calm with my busy schedule– then actually caught myself starting to worry that I wasn’t worried! Seriously, Satan? BACK OFF.

We have to lean on our Father at all times, because he gives us the weapons needed to combat the enemy. We can come away with Him daily and know that He is, was, and will forever be faithful to us. He can and will leave us without worry, and their will be no more “cornflakes” for breakfast (or any other time of day for that matter)

Do you have the courage to pray for faith like Abraham? What worries or doubts are keeping you from it? Ask  for His strength and glory to shine down on you… He will take away your fear,  and replace it with faith.

Say no to the “cornflakes” in our faith. Let’s chow down on God’s Promises for breakfast instead.

SGK

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Categories: abraham, faith, prayer, worry | 4 Comments

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