Posts Tagged With: focus

How to Deal: “Rug Rippers” (Repost)

We’ve all been there. We finally feel like we’ve gotten our balance. We are walking on solid ground. Things might not be going absolutely grandiose perfecto, but they are going. We take what we can get and relish the stability. When suddenly…

WHOMP!!!  Someone (or something) rips the rug right out from underneath us.

Yep. We all have ’em in our lives. Those dreaded people/things that knock us completely off-balance and throw things out of whack.

I “fondly” call them the “rug-ripper-outters-from-underneath-us-ow-that-hurts.” That’s kind of a long name to refer back to in a blog post, so for the purposes of this post, I will refer to those people/events/things as “Rug Rippers” aka R-squared for short.

Sometimes we go from keeping our balance-- to falling down the stairs... Or tripping when the rug is ripped right out from under us.

If only we could have as much fun as this guy when we lose our balance…

Depending on the season of life, I seem to have a lot of rug-ripping moments. Sure, I bet some of that can be contributed to the fact that I am incredibly uncoordinated and trip UP the stairs on a regular occasion… but it also comes with the territory of being a Christian, an army wife, a minister, a friend…

Heck, just LIVING and BREATHING sometimes seems to be the ultimate set up for a rug-ripping experience.

It happened to my hubby and I last Friday night at 10pm. We were finishing up an evening of  rare together time at a holiday military function. All in all, it was a decent night and we were treasuring the time we had with one another. Things were going smoothly, we had survived another rough phase in army life over the last month or so. PRAISE. GOD.

Then a few unexpected phone calls and some changed (yet previously un-communicated) schedules later, the rug was ripped right out from underneath us. WHOMP!! 

We were faced with a decision. Do we let this unexpected circumstance derail all of the blessings that we experienced from God in the previous hours? Or do we somehow engineer a way to recover from our frustration?

We silently pondered (ok, steamed would probably be a better word for me) for a few minutes. We arrived home and I found myself in a battle– my flesh was frustrated and ticked, the Enemy was all up in my Kool-aid trying to get me to be upset at my husband even though he had about as much control over the situation as I did. All the while, God was telling me what I should do: Release it to Him.

Barn and I headed to bed shortly thereafter. We have a policy not to go to bed angry so we talked and vented for a while (fortunately, we managed not to get tick at each other– thanks, Jesus.) And then my Beloved suggested the perfect remedy to restore our balance that the R-squared event caused.

“Sharita… I know it’s really hard and we might not feel like it right now. But let’s pray about this.”

Confession: There was not a single bone in my body that desired to pray. I mean, I was MAD. Fortunately, there WAS a spot in my heart that KNEW I had to… So we prayed. Together. Out loud.

As we said amen, our balance was restored. Not even kidding. Immediate. And even with the jacked-up schedule we were facing the next day, our weekend wasn’t “ruined.”

I have continued reflect on this “rug-ripping” experience. And God gave me this vision. We live in a fallen world. Which means we are ALL going to be knocked of balance from all directions.  Picture it:

If the rug is ripped out from behind us… we end up falling forward… On our knees.

If the rug is ripped out from in front of us… We end up flat on our backs, wind knocked out of us… peering towards the heavens.

Both positions are IDEAL to pray, taking the issue or circumstance to God.

It might take a hot minute (or twelve) for us to recover from our fall. But if we go to God– He will help us back to our feet.  He WILL restore us. AND our balance.

No matter how big, unexpected or painful your rug-ripping experience is… God is sovereign over all. Nothing surprises Him. And when we are at our most unbalanced and weakest– that is when we are closest to God.

Restored Daily,
SGK

“He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 3:24 MSG

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Everyday Jesus: A Comfort Zone Emergency…

I love hanging out/talking to/learning from authentic folks who have eyes (and a heart!) for Christ. My dear friend Meghan is one of those awesome folks– and she sure has a great and powerful story to share with you via today’s edition of Everyday Jesus. Hope you are ready for this, because it sure moved me in more ways than one! 

Moved by His Majestic Love, 
SGK

PS: Be sure to share the love with Meghan by leaving your feedback and comments below.

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Have you noticed that God is never really too concerned with leaving us where we feel comfortable? Nope. He’s just not concerned about that at all.

Throughout the Bible, God is shown stretching His people, calling them out of their places of comfort, calling them to be bold and to walk out into the unknown for His purposes. Our God called Abraham away from his home, asked Moses (a man with a speech impediment) to be a very vocal leader, and had the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years. He called shepherds to be kings, called men to walk on water, and still calls his followers to trust in Him daily.

I don’t know about you, but I really like to be comfortable. Especially when it comes to sharing my faith. Maybe there’s something in the water, but I’ve noticed that even the boldest Christians will often grow timid when it comes to sharing their faith with strangers.

And God is not satisfied with that. He recently helped me to tackle my fear of getting out of my comfort zone in a place where I least expected Him to show up.

emergency entrance

My husband and I were leaning against the wall in the emergency entrance of a local hospital one late and rainy Georgia night, waiting to pick up two friends who were rushed to the ER after their car accident. Honestly, by that point in the evening, I felt pretty burnt out and tired. I found that the only way to keep my mind from going to negative places (I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was actually trying to not linger on thinking about how few people in the ER had insurance and how much that would cost the government…I know, not nice…) was to zone out completely and turn numb to the many people in pain before me.

All of a sudden, my husband asked me if I was praying for Jesus to come into that place. Um… no, far from it!

I was sadly in a place where I didn’t even feel capable (or worthy) of approaching the throne of grace and getting into a spirit of prayer. But his sweet words convicted me, and, at a loss for words, started to pray, “Jesus…Jesus…Jesus” – there truly is power in His name.

Suddenly, I felt convicted to put my prayer into action. This is NOT the kind of thing that I would normally do. Like I said, I’m often quite timid about approaching strangers and sharing my faith, but God called me to be bold for Him, and then He even revealed exactly who He wanted me to pray with. Not for, but with.

I think that I actually started shaking as I realized that I had to go and actually talk with someone!

I noticed a girl who was writhing in pain in the entrance to the ER. Her mother had come inside to beg the receptionist to let her daughter be seen urgently because she was in much pain, but there was nothing that the receptionist could do. I saw both daughters of Christ, one in excruciating pain, the other burdened with anxiety, fear, and frustration.

Oh God, how many times have I been burdened by the enemy? And how many times have you sent people alongside me to lift me up? In this moment, I realized the human neediness for God’s gracious provision. How could I turn down my role in this?

So I made a choice and let God lead me out of the glass sliding doors towards the two. I simply asked the mother if I could pray with them, and to my surprise she reacted with excitement! I asked the girl her name, but she couldn’t look up into my face. As I sat down next to her and wrapped my arms around her, placing my hand where she was feeling pain her mother and I launched into prayer for her, asking God for His healing presence.

I don’t know that God’s intention was to totally heal the girl physically as much as it was to bring His light and warmth into that place where so many were numb from pain or apathy. After we finished, the girl was able to look up, and she was no longer moaning or writhing in pain. I was able to see her face and affirm her beauty to her. Her mother was so full of thanks and joy after our short time together, and I truly believe that God was able to change the trajectory of her night.

But lo and behold, God changed me in that instance, too. He changed my heart and my thoughts and my will. He allowed me to be sensitive to His voice, to follow His commands, and to be a part of what He’s doing in my city, even if it was on a small-scale. God cares not about the quantity of what we do, but with what quality our heart goes forth where He calls.

Praise and glory to our good Father who is able to heal the sick, cover over a multitude of sins, and redirect an independent soul like me towards His Kingdom’s purposes!

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meghan headshotMeghan Stewart is the Young Adults Director at Christ Community Church in Columbus, Ga. She is a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and devoted follower of Christ. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys health-wise cooking and baking, running, reading, and spending precious time with her husband, Mason, and cat, Jake. She is basking in the joy of her salvation and loving every day that God blesses her with!

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Everyday Jesus: An Encounter with the God of All Comfort

Greetings friends! It’s time for another life-changing, heart-moving installment of our “Everyday Jesus” blogging series. Today it is my great privilege to introduce not only a talented writer and dear friend of mine, but also a beautiful woman who has an incredible heart for Christ. Meet Tracy. She’s awesome. She’s sweet. She’s profound. Plus… She’s a K-State Alumni and Military wife (just like me. Thanks, Jesus.) Get ready for a powerful testimony of what it really looks like when we are ALWAYS looking for Jesus– particularly in everyday life.  

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I love encountering the majesty of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father, in the darkest of moments.

Image courtesy of healingdream/freedigitalphotos.net"

Image courtesy of healingdream/freedigitalphotos.net”

You gotta love boarding a Southwest airplane. It used to be chaotic, but now order has been restored to the masses due to the ticket number groupings and vertical beams that Southwest installed in the waiting area. However, before the beams were born, I felt like a herded calf being pushed along. On one particular “cattle call,” my life (and carry-on bag) collided with hers.

The people in front of me were whispering. They seemed irritated, and other passengers crammed in beside them were staring at something. Above the commotion, I heard sniffles. Someone was crying. Our line started to move again. The couple in front of me slowed and moved around a woman who was visibly upset. I instinctively touched her shoulder, walked around her, and turned to look into her face. I offered her a Kleenex and asked if she needed anything. She doubted there was anything I could do to help her.

And the God of All Comfort entered the scene.

I took her by the arm and started to help her down the gateway and into the plane. I learned that she was on her way back to meet her family. She didn’t want to give her children the news that her breast cancer had spread. She was scared and devastated. She said I wouldn’t understand. She had no idea who she was talking to.

God did though.

He chose for me to meet this woman at this particular moment of darkness in our lives.

Days before I sat in the Mayo clinic holding my mother’s hand. We were waiting for another batch of test results. By this point, I was used to seeing her in pain, and I loathed her breast cancer with everything in me. Just when my heart seemed to find hope, the Mayo doctor confirmed that a scan found a tumor in her brain. My heart was dashed into a billion pieces once again.

Stunned, my mother and I found the nearest bathroom, and let our tears flow freely.

Why God?

I began to journal and stumbled across 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. With what little strength I had left, I simply wrote: “If my mom must suffer in this way, then please let me use this trial for your glory. Help me to comfort others, with the comfort I believe you are going to give me.”

As I continued to walk down the gateway with a weeping stranger, all I could hear is “I AM the God of All Comfort Tracy, comfort her as I have comforted you.” Talk about a God encounter! I didn’t care if I held up that boarding line all day–this woman was going to hear my story. Through tears, I told her about my mother and about how her courage and faith in God affected me. She got an ear full about the comfort and strength I’d received from Jesus. As she listened, her tears slowed, and she began to smile. As I helped her to sit, she said thank you and embraced me. I told her that I would pray. And pray I did.

I will probably never see this woman again.

God gave me 5 minutes with her. I believe God knew this was enough. The Kleenex, the touch, the listening ear, the tears, and my testimony were enough. It was enough for the God of all Comfort to be experienced through a hurting and imperfect vessel.

In the end, my mother journeyed through breast cancer for 11 years. She won her battle when she passed from our arms into the arms of Jesus on October 8, 2012. I encountered the majesty of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God the Father in the midst of her cancer.

God still hasn’t answered my question of why. I no longer need Him to. He was gracious to answer a prayer from my journal. I hold onto the memory of that stranger’s smile and call it to mind when I miss my mother. It reminds me that one of my darkest moments has glorified God, and this is enough for me.

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” ~2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV 1984

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Tracy Bio Picture

Tracy is proudly married to Chad, a pilot in the United States Air Force.  Whenever they are not being relocated, she loves to drink green tea and watch re-runs of LOST. She also enjoys chasing their two children, Jackson (4) and Katherine (2), throughout their toy-infested home.  Tracy graduated from Phoenix Seminary in 2005, and served as the Director of Student Women at Scottsdale Bible Church from 2005-2007. She is also the author of Images of His Beauty, a newly released Bible Study, for young women who struggle with self-image issues and eating disorders. You can find out more information about the study and follow her blog at One Degree Ministries. You can also connect with her on Facebook or chat with her via Twitter.

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When you Wreck… Rejoice!

Ever have a day that is just awesome and  totally rocks your world?

And then have you ever experienced something at the end of that awesome day that rocks your world in a less positive way?

Yep. It happened to me just a couple of weeks ago.

I had planned several weeks in advance to take a bit of a sabbatical day from ministry, blogging, writing, working etc. I was super excited because it was going to be a filled with Me Time… I started out with Quiet Time with Jesus (of course) then headed out into the world for a day of relaxation and rejoicing. First stop? Starbucks… It was free because I had a gift card left over from Christmas. (And a real treat because I don’t get Starbucks very often. I love it– but it adds up quick financially!)

From there, I got my “hair did” (aka the super long thick unmanageable preggo hair cut off and thinned out– it was like I lost 8 lbs immediately. Can you say FREEDOM!?!) Then I hit up the mall to just wander around and get my rings cleaned and inspected (FREE & SHINY!) Soon it was lunchtime, so I grabbed lunch at the food court. (Chinese, anyone?)

Afterwards, I headed to redeem my free Prenatal massage. (Heaven.) Then I realized that I would be able to make it to the next showing of Les Miserables. (LEGIT!) So after my day of solo-dating myself, my heart was singing. I was praising God all day for the time to just chillax. It. Was. Awesome.

Easily one of the most heart-recharging days I have had in a long, long time.

I had a little time to spend at home before I headed back into town to meet with community group from church. I was still on a Jesus-happy-heart high from the day… Praising God.

But I never made it to community group. It’s a long story– but my rejoicing day ended in a wreck. Literally. A car wreck. (Driving in Georgia in the rain is never a good idea… but I digress.)

As I stood in the rain on the side of the road, calling 911 and my husband and watching the drivers of the two other vehicles involved, my heart was heavy. I looked at our poor car Ladybug and felt sick to my stomach. I had never even gotten a traffic ticket… And up until that point, had a great day. Now I was standing in the rain, 8+ months pregnant, wondering what the heck just happened .

ladybug wreck 2

I realized in that moment, I had a choice. I could flip out, become hysterical and curse  the other drivers (or God) for “ruining” my awesome day. Or… I could praise God that I had a great day up until that point, that I was able to get out of my car, walk and stand in the rain– and not be carted away in an ambulance… Or worse.

While I did end up in the ER and Labor and Delivery later that evening (per baby doc’s orders just to be safe,) I laid there staring at the ceiling, trying to gather my nerves. All the while– I was rejoicing that while Ladybug the Vibe was likely totaled, our little baby and I were ok. It was a hard perspective to hold onto… But really, it HAD been a great day.

In life, we are all going to wreck– whether it’s being involved in a car wreck, a relationship wreck, a career wreck, whatever. Wrecks are going to happen. (Yay for living in a fallen world. SIGH.) But it is so important not to let a bad moment (aka a wreck) turn into a bad day. Or month. Or year.

In what ways can you (or have you) rejoice in the wrecks of life? It’s not easy– but with Christ, all things are possible. Feel free to comment below.

Here’s to living in His presence– and accepting the challenge that when we wreck– we can rejoice.

Praising Him for Protection and Provision,
SGK

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” ~Psalm 5:11

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Christ-mas, Christ-More (Just in case you forgot)

We hear it all the time– we need to celebrate the real reason for the season. It’s true, but really, I think we hear it so much that it  doesn’t quite have the meaning that is used to… (Sad, I know… but alas…)

So this year, I want to share with you a little reminder and share with you what we did for our families this year for Christmas. Its edited and updated from a similar post this time last year… Hope it makes you think– and I would love your feedback. Comment below.

Ready? Let’s do this…

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It’s 5:45 am… I throw back the covers and my eyes pop open. It’s go time.

I swing my feet over the side of the bed. Oh, that floor is cold! I creep out of bed, down the hall, and take a deep breath. The moment of truth…

There, in the gentle glow of Christmas lights are piles of presents. Santa showed up and he did not disappoint. I grab the nearest gift with my name on it and violently shake it. Nothing. Dang. It’s probably clothes. Socks. Maybe even underwear. Sigh.

Apparently Grandma Helen is more thrilled with the boxes that don't rattle than I ever was...

Apparently Grandma Helen is more thrilled with the boxes that don’t rattle than I ever was…

Admittedly, I have grown up and matured over the lasts couple of decades. I still love receiving the gifts, but now I love the family time even more… Especially since I am married to a soldier and our family is in a different time zone a thousand miles away. Yeah, we no longer take “family time” for granted!

God designed my heart to give. I love giving presents and showering people with love, sometimes in the form of “stuff.” In the past at Christmas, I would go all out thinking, marinating, pondering strategerizing, and planning what I deemed were “perfect gifts.” And would typically make it happen- no matter how it impacted my Visa card.

Two years ago for Christmas, my beloved suggested that we do something different and forego the hoopla of dropping wads of cash and buying presents. He suggested we give something perhaps more thoughtful like donating our money to a good cause.

I flat-out told him NO. Absolutely not. Negative. Nada. So we went with the “traditional” gift giving. It was ok.

Then last year, things changed. Apparently God wanted to do a little bit of work on my heart… We put my hubby’s suggestion into action and gave gifts to our family in the form of a donation to a charity/cause that would mean something special to them with an accompanying letter explaining what we did.

This year, things are even tighter, with me now working full-time for Jesus dollars and a new baby on the way. (Yay-yikes!) So we changed things up again this year… We spent some time praying for our family and listening to God– then gave them a framed message of what God spoke to us during that time.

In one word? Awesome.

Today I want to encourage you that just because Christmas has passed for another year, doesn’t mean our Jesus heart of giving has to stop… God gave His son on the cross and that never runs out or expires. So as we approach 2013, how can you make it a year more about Christ through giving, prayer, love or small acts of kindness? Dear friends,  Christmas is one day… But we can celebrate Christ-more all year long.

Never stop giving,
SGK

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7

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How to Deal: “Rug Rippers”

We’ve all been there. We finally feel like we’ve gotten our balance. We are walking on solid ground. Things might not be going absolutely grandiose perfecto, but they are going. We take what we can get and relish the stability. When suddenly…

WHOMP!!!  Someone (or something) rips the rug right out from underneath us.

Yep. We all have ’em in our lives. Those dreaded people/things that knock us completely off-balance and throw things out of whack.

I “fondly” call them the “rug-ripper-outters-from-underneath-us-ow-that-hurts.” That’s kind of a long name to refer back to in a blog post, so for the purposes of this post, I will refer to those people/events/things as “Rug Rippers” aka R-squared for short.

Sometimes we go from keeping our balance-- to falling down the stairs... Or tripping when the rug is ripped right out from under us.

If only we could have as much fun as this guy when we lose our balance… 

Depending on the season of life, I seem to have a lot of rug-ripping moments. Sure, I bet some of that can be contributed to the fact that I am incredibly uncoordinated and trip UP the stairs on a regular occasion… but it also comes with the territory of being a Christian, an army wife, a minister, a friend…

Heck, just LIVING and BREATHING sometimes seems to be the ultimate set up for a rug-ripping experience.

It happened to my hubby and I last Friday night at 10pm. We were finishing up an evening of  rare together time at a holiday military function. All in all, it was a decent night and we were treasuring the time we had with one another. Things were going smoothly, we had survived another rough phase in army life over the last month or so. PRAISE. GOD.

Then a few unexpected phone calls and some changed (yet previously un-communicated) schedules later, the rug was ripped right out from underneath us. WHOMP!! 

We were faced with a decision. Do we let this unexpected circumstance derail all of the blessings that we experienced from God in the previous hours? Or do we somehow engineer a way to recover from our frustration?

We silently pondered (ok, steamed would probably be a better word for me) for a few minutes. We arrived home and I found myself in a battle– my flesh was frustrated and ticked, the Enemy was all up in my Kool-aid trying to get me to be upset at my husband even though he had about as much control over the situation as I did. All the while, God was telling me what I should do: Release it to Him.

Barn and I headed to bed shortly thereafter. We have a policy not to go to bed angry so we talked and vented for a while (fortunately, we managed not to get tick at each other– thanks, Jesus.) And then my Beloved suggested the perfect remedy to restore our balance that the R-squared event caused.

“Sharita… I know it’s really hard and we might not feel like it right now. But let’s pray about this.”

Confession: There was not a single bone in my body that desired to pray. I mean, I was MAD. Fortunately, there WAS a spot in my heart that KNEW I had to… So we prayed. Together. Out loud.

As we said amen, our balance was restored. Not even kidding. Immediate. And even with the jacked-up schedule we were facing the next day, our weekend wasn’t “ruined.”

I have continued reflect on this “rug-ripping” experience. And God gave me this vision. We live in a fallen world. Which means we are ALL going to be knocked of balance from all directions.  Picture it:

If the rug is ripped out from behind us… we end up falling forward… On our knees.

If the rug is ripped out from in front of us… We end up flat on our backs, wind knocked out of us… peering towards the heavens.

Both positions are IDEAL to pray, taking the issue or circumstance to God.

It might take a hot minute (or twelve) for us to recover from our fall. But if we go to God– He will help us back to our feet.  He WILL restore us. AND our balance.

No matter how big, unexpected or painful your rug-ripping experience is… God is sovereign over all. Nothing surprises Him. And when we are at our most unbalanced and weakest– that is when we are closest to God.

Restored Daily,
SGK

“He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 3:24 MSG

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Oh Look– Something Shiny! (Five Minute Friday)

Greetings all! It is Friday (whoot!) and if you have been hanging ’round these parts for a hot minute, you know that Fridays can only mean one thing…

Five Minute FridayProductivity is optional.

(Just kidding. If you are at work, you better get busy before your boss reads this over your shoulder and you end up having a “Come to Jesus” chat with him.)

But seriously. Fridays mean it is time for Five Minute Friday.

Each week, I link up with my friend Lisa-Jo Baker. She gives us a prompt and we free-write for five minutes flat. No over-thinking, no OCD perfectionistic editing.

Just go with it. Which I do believe is a perfect attitude for a Friday.

So my fingers are itching… Let’s do this.

Today’s prompt: FOCUS

Ready? GO!

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Books, pens and supplies are scattered around my work station. I am deep in thought, brow crinkling, eyes focused on the task at hand. Just a few more final…

OH LOOK! SOMETHING SHINY!!!!!!!

Sigh. Does this ever happen to you? I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one. (Although I kind of doubt it… No offense, just saying based on how my friends and I function, I don’t think I am alone in this.)

Keeping focus can be a full time job. Sure, when I am by myself and motivated, its pretty easy for me to work on a project or remain zeroed in on the task at hand until it is completed. But if I am around other people or I’m having “one of those days…” I find myself distracted by something shiny.

Those distractions can stem from procrastination (Oh, look, the kitchen floor is FILTHY! Better clean it before I sit down to work on my latest project.) Or perhaps just the buzzing culture that we have become accustomed to (I really need to check Facebook. Like, now. I mean, somebody could have gotten engaged or had a baby in the last 17 minutes.) 

But sometimes the distractions that take away our focus are a little more intense. They can come from The Enemy as he tries to take our focus off of The One who is our everything in life.

Satan doesn’t just use inconveniences or “bad” things to rob our focus from following Christ. He oftentimes will use something good to distract us from God’s best. (But that’s another blog post.)

Focusing on what is TRULY important can be difficult. But let’s remember– if we are easily distracted by “something shiny,” God is the light of the world– and nothing gets “shinier” than that.

STOP!

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Do you sometimes struggle with focusing on the important things in life (namely: God)? What “shiny” thing typically distracts you? How do you think we can stay on track and keep our focus clear? I always adore hearing your feedback. Leave a comment below.

Moving forward with focus,
SGK

“The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus.” ~Mark 8:25 (MSG) 

Categories: Five Minute Friday | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Tuning Out: Media

“Sweetheart… HEELLLLLLOOOOOOOO!!!! Ahem. Can you please mute the TV so  I can talk to you?” 

We live in a society that is consumed with media. Everywhere we look– there’s a TV, computer, phone, iPad, radio waiting to grab our attention.

Don’t get me wrong. Media can be REALLY productive. I mean seriously, this entire ministry is essentially media based.

However, media can also become a time-sucking, heart-focusing idol.

“Wait, wait, wait. An idol? Seriously, Sharita? My TV/phone/computer/iPad?? “

Yes, my friend. Seriously. According to dictionary.com, an idol is “any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.” 

Um yeah… This reason alone is why my sweet husband and I are currently in the middle of a media fast.

This idea was inspired via three different directions. First, by Jen Hatmaker’s book “7: The Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” (remember when we did the 7 foods fast a couple months ago?). Second, our pastor at church. And third?

Jesus. Let’s not forget Jesus.

A couple of weeks ago, media (TV specifically) suddenly became a source of contention in our marriage. It was dictating our time together, and between that and media in general, we started looking upon it with blind adoration and devotion.

Yeah, not OK.

So after some prayer, we decided to tune out– for a month.

Oh, and turning off the  TV isn’t the only piece of this puzzle… I have been limiting my time on Facebook to “business only” (as in, doing ministry and responding to important messages, but no browsing of other people’s business just to browse) as well as limiting time on Twitter. It is also my new policy not to check any source of media after my husband walks in the door from work. (Since he works as a drill sergeant, our time is so limited that it is dumb for me to be spending it on the computer and iPad when he is actually around.)

No TVs

Source: Mykl Roventine via Flickr Creative Commons

We are over halfway done with our media fast– and here’s where we stand:

On the issue of TV: I am LOVING it. I jokingly(ish) said I would be ok with selling the TV. My sweet husband vetoed that in a hurry. Giving up TV (we only do DVD movies and Netflix anyways) is pretty easy for me. I’m not a TV watcher. Hardly ever. The hubby, on the other hand, is a pretty huge fan of it. So it has been probably more challenging for him than me.

On the issue of Facebook/Twitter/media in general: This one has been harder for me– it’s my time filler and primary news source. It has taken some serious self-control not to burn my time just messing on Facebook because I can.

However, it has been AWESOME for our relationship. We have had more legit conversations, spend more time with the Lord and read more books than ever before. It’s really great.

(Anyone want to buy a TV? Just kidding, Brandon.)

God spoke to me last week about what this could look like after the our minimal media fast ends… I won’t go into all the details (He was pretty specific) but here is the general idea…

* On Brandon’s work days: 1 hr of TV per day after he comes home, his choice of show OR if we agree on 1 movie together, that’s ok.
*NO Facebook/Twitter/Email checking for me when Brandon finishes his hour of TV time
*On days off: No more than 3 hrs of TV per day… and shows have to be dual choice of program/compromise so we can watch together
*When we aren’t together– use media only as necessary, ensuring that we have had adequate Jesus time beforehand.

I’ve loved our non-TV and minimal media time so far and am very excited to see how God continues to use this literal quiet time to shape our marriage and relationship with Him.

Are there any areas in your life that  distract or consume you or are on the verge of being an idol in your life? Is media an issue in your household? Or has it been before? How did you deal with it? What do you think of our experiment? I always love receiving your feedback– leave a comment below!

I am so thankful that God keeps us on track– tuned out to the “stuff” in life and tuned into Him.

I don’t needa-so-much-media,
SGK

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” ~1 John 5:21

Categories: God, idol | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What Really Matters (5 Minute Friday, Modified)

Good morning, sweet readers. So, fun fact. Summers get crazy for us in the blogging world. Between conferences, family time and vacations where places have no reception, our blogging sched gets a wee bit jacked up.

Today, our typical Five Minute Friday is a little different. The leader of this weekly link-up, Lisa-Jo is disconnected for vacay. (Interesting how I wrote about being “Unplugged” yesterday and I myself was away from all things technology a few days ago.)  She left us a former blog post, and since I had nothing prepared to share this morning (can you say post-vacation-brain-mush) as I was planning for Five Minute Friday… I have decided create my own Five Minute writing fiasco.

I’m picking my own prompt based on her blog article today. Little different, but welcome to the world of blog improvisation and brain-mush syndrome 🙂

So today’s self-prompt: What Really Matters 

Ready? GO! 

***

Does it really matter?

The little tuffs of dog hair on the kitchen floor. The dishes in the sink. Technical glitches with the blog post. The hilarious oxymoronic concept of army-logic.

Does it really matter?

Sometimes, I let myself think it does. Yeah, the little every day life stuff sure exists– but sometimes, my perspective gets so jacked up, I think it’s the end of the world if there is one unfolded sock in the living room floor.

Seriously… Does it really matter?

Honestly, the answer is no. Now this post is not justification to let your house fall to shambles and be the next star of the show “Hoarders. But in the big picture, what really matters?

The few extra moments with Jesus before I face my day. Changing my schedule to see my sweet husband and hug his neck when his job as a drill sergeant keeps him away from home. Playing with the pup in the living room floor when he drops a toy on my stomach as I roll around trying to do my crunches. Stopping to watch it rain. Calling an old friend because you want to, not because you have to.

Fixing our eyes on Christ, knowing that in the big picture, HE is what really matters.

He doesn’t need our dishes to always be done and vacation bags unpacked and supper on the table every night. He simply wants us. To love Him. Seek Him. Follow Him.

That my friends, is what really matters.

STOP! 

Good morning, Lord. Thanks for reminding me that I matter to you!!

***

Well that was cool. (Thanks for turning my early morning-brain mush into real words and sentences, God. I guess ALL things ARE possible with You, huh??)

And thanks, dear readers, for bearing with me and being flexible. The world of Jesus writing can be a bit unpredictable sometimes… But rumor has it that variety is the spice of life. (Or was it that variety makes me break out in hives? Whatever.)

I best stop writing before my brain-mush returns and I start to embarrass myself. I would love to hear your feedback. What REALLY matters to you? Leave a comment below.

OH, and I almost forgot… Just wanted to let you know– that YOU matter to me. Yep, every single on of you. Thanks for being SUCH a blessing in my life!!

In Christ,
SGK

“What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.” Acts 20:24 (MSG) 

Categories: Five Minute Friday | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Spinning INto Control

I’ve been to my fair share of retreats and camps.

Back in my younger days, my retreat/camping experiences revolved around organizations like FFA (National Blue and Corn Gold, baby!) Alpha of Clovia Scholarship house, Blue Key and Agricultural Ambassadors. But it didn’t matter what organization I went “retreating” with, “recreation” was always on the schedule.

Recreation could mean a variety of things. Of course, it wasn’t a legit campout unless there was a bonfire big enough to make  Smokey the Bear instigate a new public service announcement.  Other “recreation” included the classic hide-n-seek in the dark, singing songs around the aforementioned scorch-your-eyebrows-off campfire, and telling “scary” (code for ridiculously predictable) stories.

At one retreat, I was introduced to a new game. Here’s how we played. After dark on a clear night, we would go out to a grassy, open area. Everyone would get in a big circle, then one person would be it. They would go to the center of the circle, pick a star directly above them, point at it with their finger and focus on it as they spun in a circle. Once they spun a certain number of times or for a certain length of time, they would take their focus back to their earthly surroundings and immediately try to walk back to their spot in the circle.

Goal: Don’t fall down.

Few every achieved the goal of making it back to their spot without taking a tumble. Those of us watching in the circle got a great laugh watching how hard they fell or when someone got a mouthful of grass.

Don’t judge us. We were in college. In Kansas. And desperate for entertainment.

#38 - Starry Sky

Source: Cliff_R (Flickr)

This game is a lot like our relationship with God. We start out strong, focusing our eyes upward towards heaven. We have a great time as we move and spin in our daily lives. Then suddenly, we get distracted. Someone or something takes our focus off   God and we look away. Once we shift our focus back to our earthy surroundings… Yep, we spin out of control, face plant and get a mouthful of grass.

We have a choice. We are all “playing” this game. When it’s our turn to be “it,” will we keep our eyes focused upwards at all time? Or will we repeatedly turn our focus to earthly things, causing us to fall?

Here’s the best news of all: When we DO get distracted (since we are on this side of heaven, it WILL happen on occasion) God picks us up and puts us back on our feet. He doesn’t laugh when we spin out of control. He gently calls us back to Him, inviting us to get back in the game.

What things in life distract you from focusing your life toward our Heavenly Father? How do you recover when you fall? What steps can you take to reduce the “mouthful of grass” incidents that occur in your life? I always L-O-V-E hearing from you. Leave a comment below.

The sun is going down, folks. The stars are coming out and the game is about to start. Let’s focus on our One Star and allow Him to help us spin INto His Control.

A little dizzy but still upright,
SGK

“We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts.” ~2 Peter 1:19-20

Categories: focus, God | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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