worry

Health and Sanity Check

Well, the COVID-19 pandemic thing has come to the US and lots of us are required to stay at home for at least a few weeks. Yesterday, we had a family meeting with my three teenage kids to discuss what the stay at home requirement means to us.  As you would expect, the extroverts were a little jittery and the introverts were reflective.

As I type this, I’m concerned for each reader of this blog because you are forced to navigate this abrupt change and I suspect it could be difficult for you for various reasons, such as financial struggles, health challenges, social dynamics, future uncertainty and probably more reasons than I could list.  I also think that we might generally be ok with this stay at home requirement on some days and on other days, it might not be so good.  In order to stay healthy in these weeks, here are some key areas to consider:

  • Mental Hygiene – In Proverbs 23:7, it says, “As a man thinks, so is he.”  To this end, we would be very wise to consider not only what we think about (taking an inventory of our thoughts), but to also be careful about what we watch and listen to, since the stuff we give our minds and emotions is what they will absorb and digest.  To upgrade your mental hygiene in this season, consider memorizing Philippians 4:4-8 for some life-giving nutrition.
  • Rental Hygiene – This is a little similar to mental hygiene, but still important because this is a proactive step we can take, to help us come out of this temporary situation with some good results.  What I mean by rental hygiene, is what we allow to rent space in our soul.  It can be tempting to do some Netflix binging, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings Marathons.  But maybe we could make some constructive decisions for this season, like learning a new skill.  What have you always wanted to learn or explore?  Maybe this is the time to drill down into some YouTube lessons for that skill, hobby, or side interest that you’ve wanted to explore.  Let’s also stay physically active with some situps, pushups or some kind of exercise regime because our bodies of the temple of God, so let’s take care of God’s rental property    Additionally, since we’re in Spring, rental hygiene could also include Spring Cleaning (windows, clutter clearing, refrigerator cleaning, culling through the closet, etc).
  • Dental Hygiene – Let’s remember to floss daily, along with brushing our teeth.  In addition, let’s pay attention to our words, what we say and talk about with neighbors, co-workers, friends and family in this season.  What we say is a good indicator of what’s going on in our heart, emotions and thoughts.  Jesus says this in Luke 6:45c, “’. . . . , for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.’”  To this end, let’s fill our hearts with life, genuine love, hope, truth and more than anything, the Lordship of Jesus.

With the unique opportunity that COVID-19 is giving us, let’s make active choices with our daily routines to grow and come out of this with stronger faith and greater confidence in God’s power and love!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, COVID-19, dental hygiene, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, YouTube, 0 comments

That’s Shocking!!

Getting a phone call from my kid’s school can be a shocking experience, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not so good.  It can also be shocking to hear about a friend going through a financial or health crisis, when you may have thought that everything with them was smoothy groovy. I like good shocking news and I dislike bad shocking news, much like you.  So I loved getting the unexpected news earlier this year about Saving Moses receiving some unexpected funding, but I very much disliked the shocking experience of dropping my daughter off for college this Fall and driving away from her in a puddle of tears.

 

When we receive shocking news, go through alarming experiences, or observe something that’s startling, how do we handle that?  How can we do this with grace and poise while seeing God’s sovereignty in the midst of uncertainty?

 

Stepping into experiences and situations that are unexpected can be massively challenging.  For some of us who enjoy adventure, maybe the unexpected goes through the “fun and new” filter.  For those of us who crave routine and stability, shocking news or experiences can be extremely difficult to navigate!  So no matter if you love adventure and new stuff or if you crave predictable and routine, I firmly believe that we can find help with Jesus, regardless of the preferences of our personality.

 

Consider for a moment, the shock that Jesus’ disciples experienced in John 4 from observing Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman.  Jesus’ behavior was totally unexpected because of the social norms of that day, keeping a strict separation between men and women conversing with each other unless they were married or connected in a familial context.  To add more surprise to the disciples’ observation, it was highly unusual for Jews and Samaritans to have casual conversations because of the hostility that existed between these ethnic groups.  The disciples were shocked by Jesus’ behavior!

 

Additionally, the townspeople were shocked to see the raving lunatic, who lived naked in the graveyard and was untamable, sitting fully sane and clothed talking with Jesus in Mark 5.  The townspeople were so stunned from seeing the crazy man made sane, that they asked Jesus to go away from their town (maybe also because the herd of pigs jumped off a nearby cliff and drown in the Sea of Galilee).

 

In both of these scenarios, Jesus is the common denominator for the disciples’ shock.  And in both of these scenarios, two people are drastically changed because of their encounters with Jesus, regardless of the spectators and bystanders who might have disapproved of Jesus’ choices.

 

As we think about stuff that can be shocking in our lives, let’s do a couple of things that could make such surprises constructive.  Here are some helpful suggestions:

  1. Keep Jesus in the middle of your thoughts and feelings when shocking things happen. It helps me when I remember that nothing surprises Jesus.
  2. In the middle of anything that’s shocking, be sure to talk with Jesus, letting Him know of your surprise, feelings, uncertainty, etc.
  3. Decide to trust that Jesus can make seemingly bad or difficult things into fertilizer and something beneficial and/or beautiful

 

As you finish reading this blog, I pray that you keep your focus on Jesus regardless of whatever may be surprising to you.  And I pray that Jesus’ peace will guard your heart in mind, so that fear, worry, panic and stress don’t hijack your soul.  Remember, nothing catches Jesus by surprise J

 

 

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, listen, living, prayer, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Let’s Pray

With the beginning of a new year comes lots of opportunities, quandries, questions and things to be resolved or addressed. For me, these things look like managing kids with changing schedules, planning international trips, navigating limited resources, strategizing for growth, resolving some conflicts and working through some unexpected hiccups.

I could easily get screwed into the ceiling with stress, worry, frustration, fear & anxiety. But a more helpful option is to pray. There’s a really old song about taking to the Lord, our worries, problems, etc . . . ” . . . . ,take it to the Lord in prayer.” Let’s make prayer our first reaction rather than our last resort!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, fasting, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

What Stresses You?

Each person has unique things that cause stress.  Some folk get stressed with job interviews while others get stressed with traveling to new places.  Mostly, I don’t get stressed about much, except when I’m meeting heaps of new people.  I appreciate that this shouldn’t be something stressful for me, but shouldn’t doesn’t change reality.

No matter what causes you to be stressed, here are some helpful pointers:

  • peace on the inside can help to mitigate external pressure:  Jesus is our Prince of Peace, so it helps me to remember that His leadership in my heart brings peace
  • perspective:  things change, time passes and you grow;  rarely is stress a permanent state of being
  • past inventory:  count up some things from the past that have been stressful and consider how God has helped you to overcome & resolve those challenges.  God is the same today 🙂
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Posted by Sarah in busy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, 0 comments

Stormy Seasons

Life seems to have seasons that are stormy, despite our best efforts for stability, serenity & certainty.  Stormy seasons can include:  getting laid off from a job, a marital crisis, a literal tornado, health accident or diagnosis and LOADS more.  If we’ve invited Jesus into our lives as storm prevention insurance, there’s a good chance that we’ll be disappointed.  I say this because Jesus never promises us that walking with Him will prevent all storms.  Indeed, walking with Jesus can make for some stormy times in life, both in our interior and exterior.

The exterior stormy seasons happen for lots of reasons, but thankfully Jesus gives us peace on the inside that can be greater than the external storm.  Sometimes we have seasons in our lives where our guts feel stormy:  when we’re unsettled, hurt, disappointed with God, wrestling with temptation, feeling discouraged, depleted or depressed, etc.

I’m thankful that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and that there is no storm, internal or external, that Jesus cannot calm.  Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, no matter the season of life in which we find ourselves!

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Posted by Sarah in Angola, busy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, Pentecost, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Flounder or Focus

When things seem uncertain or murky, this can be very disturbing.  And if you’re like me, when I get unsettled, I can start to flounder and I find myself trying to find stability, certainty and comfort.  My focus can get really jumpy and I struggle to be settled in my soul.

So it helps me to remember to keep my focus on Jesus.  Indeed, there’s a great song by Darlene Zschech called, Jesus At the Center and listening to this helps me to keep Jesus as my central focus.  We don’t have to know all the answers, be all-sufficient, have a perfect plan or fix everything.  Jesus rightfully owns that space, so that we can keep our focus & worship centered on Him!

I like what Jehoshaphat says in 2Chron 20:12, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You!”

Let’s stay focused on Jesus instead of any worry, anxiety or uncertainty!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Bad News

I hate bad news. I don’t like bad reports from the doctor, I don’t like getting bad report cards from my kids & I don’t like hearing discouraging stuff. But it happens, no matter how much we plug our ears, distract ourselves or attempt to deny what we hear. So what to do?

Here are some helpful suggestions for when you get bad news:

  • Face it – denial of bad news only makes it worse. Romans 4:19 says that Abraham faced the reality of his aged body, but didn’t weaken in his faith
  • Get wisdom – life improves with wisdom but deteriorates with the absence of wisdom. So ask God for wisdom on how to handle the bad news – James 1:5
  • Faith focus – bad news can become debilitating if we don’t keep our focus on God & His ability to do the impossible – Luke 1:37
  • Pray more – when I get bad news, it’s easy for me to worry. Let’s encourage each other to pray more than we worry – Ps 55:22

Feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who’s struggling with bad news!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

Stay Focused

What you focus on is where you go. I learned this with great intensity when I took a lesson for downhill mountain bike riding. In a particularly harrowing part of the trail, our instructor kept yelling, “LOOK PAST THE CURVE!!!” A few of my classmates didn’t listen to the instructor & they hardcore crashed, flipping over the handlebars. What the instructor was yelling didn’t make sense to me, but I decided to do what he said, nonetheless. When I followed the instructions, my bike followed my focus.
Lots of times, it’s easy to focus on emergencies, crises, worries, etc. When we obsess with struggles & uncertainties, it’s easy to crash in the curve because our focus gets off of Jesus. Let’s be sure that we keep our focus & thoughts on Jesus, the author & perfectos of our faith – Hebrews 12:2!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 2 comments

Hot Topic: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, et al.

Clearly, this year’s presidential race has generated heaps of attention, angst, journalism opportunities and raised eyebrows.  The tumultuous run-offs between Ted Cruz versus Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders have encouraged me to pray more than I ever have for this year’s election.

Regardless of your political persuasions, let’s be sure that we keep our prayer level higher than our worry level.  Let’s remember that God is in control more than any man or woman.  Let’s be certain that we do three things that mark us as followers of Jesus, based on John 13:35:

  • love God
  • love people
  • love ourselves

Loving well is letting the Holy Spirit pour God’s love into our hearts, moment by moment & day by day 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, hot topic, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

Waiting in the Flood

Noah waited in the ark 150 days during the flood cataclysm. When I read that recently, it caught my attention & I began to imagine what that was like for him, surrounded with his family & the animal hordes traveling with him in the ark. I would suspect there was heaps of panic initially, probably fear, anxiety, uncertainty & likely some worry to boot. Being “trapped” in the ark while the earth was deluged from above & below, water thundering on the ark with animals & humans pitching back & forth – this doesn’t sound very appealing. But the other option, drowning in the deluge, wasn’t such a whippy alternative. So the people in the ark could chose, initially between living or dying. Clearly, they chose to stay alive. From that decision, then they needed to manage their fear, uncertainty & anxiety, pausing 150 days in the ark. 
Sometimes we find ourselves in “pause” mode & maybe see / hear disasters happening all around us. In these situations, I find my salvation alone in keeping my focus on Jesus & my mind set on the Holy Spirit – Rom 8:5. Listening to & watching the circumstances around us can be debilitating. Make the long term decision to keep your thoughts & focus on Jesus, no matter what 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, saving moses, travel, values, watch, 0 comments