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What Not to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…

-Isaiah 43:2

 

I took a hard look at my bad reactions to overwhelming circumstances when my friend Rachel Wojo gave me a copy of her new book, One More Step.

Rachel and I have similar ministry messages in a lot of ways. In One More Step, she takes the reader on journey through the different feelings we face in the midst of struggle and gives solid, faith-based ideas for how to handle those feelings. In my favorite chapter, Rachel talks about weeding out negative thoughts much like I talk about clearing out spiritual clutter! In another chapter, she had wonderful suggestions about steps to take and things to avoid when life becomes overwhelming.

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I hate running (my apologies to the Apostle Paul)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?

Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I Corinthians 9:24

 

I can’t tell you much I hate running. Hence the reason this has never been my favorite Christian metaphor.

Back when I was Shannon Kelley the College Student, I had to take a gym class in order to get my math education degree. (Even after all these years, my heart cries, why?) I soon discovered that it was basically a running class led by a Drill Sergeant-type professor. During “class,” he ran and talked with the cool athletes up at the front of the pack, occasionally shouting mean things toward those of us at the back. I loathed every minute.

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Now or Later? When to Reach For Your Goals

Time management is by far my favorite kind of organization.  Nothing clears the clutter out of your spirit like the knowledge that you’re using your time wisely—doing what you want to do and living how you want to live!  If I could spend time with each of you individually, the first thing I’d do is challenge you to write your life goals and assess your priorities.  How do you want to spend your time?

It’s a wonderful exercise, but when we really sit down and think about everything we want to do—personal goals, relationship goals, family goals, activities, ministries, passions, and callings—we’re easily overwhelmed.  We start to hear voices in our heads, pieces of advice from loved ones combined with pop-culture snippets:

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Should Christians Watch R-Rated Movies?

I love movies almost as much as I love books. When my husband and I were dating, our go-to date was a fast-food dinner and a dollar movie. Now that we’re parents, we plan date nights that involve more conversation—but we do watch a lot of movies at home and see every Disney/Pixar movie at the theater with our kids!

 

For Father’s Day, I made over our finished basement into a little movie theater,

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How to Throw Down a Toy Challenge

I have a love/hate relationship with toys.  You know the feeling.  Of course we want our kids to have toys, but they can clutter our spirits just as much our family rooms.  Every once in a while it hits us: some of these toys have got to go!  But how should we decide which toys to keep and which to give away?

It can be so hard to let go of toys!  Over there’s a perfectly good toy they never even played with.  Here’s a toy they haven’t touched in months, but claim to absolutely love.  And here’s a toy you love and wish they were still playing with (they’re growing up too quickly!).

We all struggle with this! When you’re on the fence about getting rid of a toy, or when your kids are giving you the I’m bored-and-I-have-nothing-to-play-with moan,

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When Our Efforts to Serve God Don’t Pan Out

Read it!: II Samuel 7

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and he said:

Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family,

that you have brought me this far?

(vs 18)

Think it through:

David had a great idea. He wanted to build a beautiful, permanent temple for the Ark of the Covenant, which had been housed in a series of temporary dwellings. This idea seemed so right, so true, that he couldn’t wait to get started! But then Nathan, a prophet of God, told David that God said the job needed to wait. Building the temple wasn’t work for David, but for one of his sons.

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How Amos Is Straightening Me Out

Read it: This is a look back at the Straight Talk with Amos Bible Study Series.

You may want to review any notes you’ve made, actions you’ve taken, or prayers you’ve written.

 

Think it through:

This was a heavy series—but how I’ve loved it!

Amos is no joke. The people of God were in huge trouble and his heart was burning for them. I’ve read Amos’s words and realized how very in trouble I am, and how God’s heart is burning for me.

Here are some of the things I’ve done as a result of this study:

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Are You Ripe for the Picking?

Read it! Amos 8

“What do you see, Amos?” he asked.

“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.

Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel;

I will spare them no longer.”

(vs 1&2)

 

Think it through

I was disappointed by my pears this week. Two days ago I cut one open and it was hard as a rock, like eating an apple. Today, I picked one up and could tell by the feel that it was overripe. Obviously, the day to eat my pear was yesterday, and I missed it.

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When We Hate the Truth

Read it!: Amos 5

You hate the one who reproves in court

And despise him who tells truth.

(vs 10)

Think it through:

Amos had so many terrible things to point out to the Israelites about their behavior and lifestyle. In Chapter 5, he talks about how Israel’s legal system was in trouble. Bribes and injustices were common. “One who reproves in court” is a person who is trying to be honest and seek justice. Apparently they were in the minority.

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