Anxiety, Co-Workers, Encouragement, Family, Inspirational, Prayer, Relationships, Spiritual Therapy, Stress, Time Management, Worry

It’s Too Heavy

Left Side: “I need to send that email.” Right side: “I can’t believe he hurt me like that.” On My Back: “What time does the store open I need to stop there before work.”  Left side: “I need to look for apartments for my client.” Right Side: “Lord, I need to say a prayer for my family.” On My Back: “My co- worker asked me to pray for her too.” Flip pillow over: “I have to fill out paperwork for my 2nd job”. Ring Ring Ring: It’s my alarm, but I have been up for hours tossing and turning from one side to another…

I can’t sleep.  Those who know me, know sleeping is one of my favorite things to do.  For some reason, lately no matter how bad I want to or how much I try, I just can’t.  I’m tired, frustrated, irritated, and disgusted.  I used to hear older people say, “Lord, give me peace of mind”, but I did not realize how important it was until I didn’t have it.  My spirit and mind were not at peace.

 “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:5-8 KJV)

Sometimes it is so easy to say let go and let God.  It’s not hard to utter the words. The difficult task comes in actually doing it.  Sometimes the load gets so heavy we just feel like we need to help God out a bit.  But God doesn’t need our assistance; He is God all by Himself.  At times we get so caught up in other people’s stuff, not just our own.  We take on tasks of trying to heal our family’s pain, mend our friends’ heart break, be our children’s personal encourager, and our co-workers’ project manager.  Ever feel like you are busy being everything to everybody, and there’s no one to be anything to you? That’s how I feel.  I pour out and I worry about everyone else and no one cares about ME…but God…

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and be deceitful men shall not live out half their days: but I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 55:22-23 KJV)

Trust in the Lord. Allow Him to have your burdens.  He has defeated all your enemies before the fight even began.  At times it is easy to be overwhelmed and feel that we have more than we can bear and too much on our plates.  You will continue to feel that way if you are unable to cast your cares on the Lord! I still feel this unrest in my spirit, but I have a better understanding of how to conquer it.

“Come onto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30 KJV)

Dear Daddy,

 I come before You seeking peace.  I pray that You will allow me to give You the burdens that I carry for myself as well as everyone else.  Daddy, I thank You for making me the type of person that is concerned with all Your children, but give me the spirit of discernment so that I am not consumed by it. Daddy, I turn ALL the things that I cannot handle over to You.  I know that all things work according to Your will.  I take my hands off of my problems and replace them with Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to know that God will take care of the all the problems you have. Whatever is keeping you up at night, turn it over to Him.  Put your trust in God that He will take care of you as he has always done. I EMPOWER you to encourage others to know God and allow Him to help them lighten their load.

Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

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Attitude, Co-Workers, Gentleness, Growth/Maturity, Kindness, Love

Be a Change Agent

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 NIV

I wrote some time ago about the weird practices that take place at my job because of budgetary constraints.  One of the bizarre things is the trash collection procedure. At my past jobs, thorough office cleaning took place outside of normal business hours. However, here the daily cleaning consists only of emptying the trash in each cubicle and the trash man comes around while everyone is busy working at their desks. This would not irk me so much if he didn’t roll his huge industrial sized trash can INSIDE my cube to collect the trash. This has to be the most disgusting thing ever! I would get so irritated and angry whenever I heard the wheels rolling toward my workspace. You may be thinking that I am overreacting but imagine this germ-ridden trash receptacle brushing up against your coat that is hanging on the wall of your cubicle as the garbage man tries to squeeze it into your tiny space. I had gotten so annoyed that I was beginning to resent him for what he was doing everyday—his job.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

One day I finally figured out that my attitude and annoyance was not changing the situation; in actuality, it was only making it much worse. It was at that moment that I decided to do my part to change. I started setting my trash can outside of my cubicle each morning whenever I heard the wheels coming in my direction. I couldn’t change his habits so I changed mine! That scenario reminds me of the countless situations where we deal with difficult people or things. We become so frustrated by the way that someone is acting and the idiotic things that they are doing. If we are honest, we have even allowed ourselves to react to their senselessness in ways that are embarrassing and unacceptable. But there comes a time when we have to make a declaration to change: God, if You are not going to change this situation, change me! Change what, you ask? Change your thinking, your heart, your attitude and your reactions. Mary Engelbreit said it best: “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

At first the garbage man was a little taken aback by my new approach. He seemed a bit surprised that I was “doing his job” for him. But as time passed, he began thanking me for helping him out. It has even gotten to the point where he gets a little testy if he “pulls up” and my trash can isn’t outside. This is the wonderful thing about changing the way that you act in a difficult and annoying situation; your actions may eventually change the way that the opposition views the situation as well. They may never tell you, but your behavior has the potential to drastically alter their thinking.

In the header scripture, Paul writes to the Romans advising them to live at peace with everyone as much as it depends on them. Can you honestly say that you are doing YOUR part to fulfill this nugget of scripture? We are called to a higher standard of living and we must uphold the integrity of the Gospel, even when we are dealing with difficult people and situations.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I reacted to difficult situations and people in a way that was contrary to Your word. Going forward, please help me act in a way that is pleasing to You and glorying to Your kingdom. Lord, if You are not ready to change _________, please help me to change the way I think and act about them/it. I know that Your will is what’s best for me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, you are “perfect”, now CHANGE! 🙂 Today, I EMPOWER you to change your thinking, change your attitude, change your heart and change the way that you respond. Those difficult situations and people will not have so much negative influence and power in your life if you allow the change agent to have His way in your life! When the situation doesn’t change, you must decide to change!

Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Attitude, Co-Workers, Gentleness, Growth/Maturity, Kindness, Love, Relationships, Self-Control, Speech

Lord, Help Me Watch My Mouth!

Lately, I have been in rare form!  I used to be very concerned about what I would say and how I would say it because I didn’t want to offend or hurt peoples’ feelings, but over the last couple of months all of that care and concern has gone out of the window!  It came to a head this week at work.  Monday, I told one of the engineers, “I don’t care if you’re not cold, the kids are; turn the heat on!”  Tuesday, I told the programmer, “I am not going to go back and change my attendance. You detained these students; YOU go to the office and have their attendance fixed!”  Then Wednesday, I said in a meeting, “The reading workshop should not be run by our English department given that the data shows that whatever you all are doing is not helping our students read better!”  Of course one of the English teachers was extremely offended which changed the whole tone of the meeting.  After the meeting, another teacher and my principal both had conversations with me about my tactless comment.  My defense was, “Well it’s true!”  I immediately felt convicted!  My mother’s words instantly came back to me saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it!”

My behavior over the last couple of months has been unacceptable!  The more I have thought and prayed over it this week, God has revealed to me JUST HOW destructive my behavior has been.  He reminded me of why He had placed me in this building– to be a light in darkness. “Ye are the light of the world…” (Matthew 5:14a KJV) My school is plagued by so many negative things: teen pregnancy, drug use, dysfunctional families, and not to mention our students’ academic struggles.   My assignment is not only to teach but also to show God’s love and power to save, heal, and deliver.  I had truly lost sight of that.  My tactless comments and interactions with my colleagues were doing three things in particular:

1) Causing Hostility – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger…” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)

I was creating a hostile environment to the point that every time I got up to present, make an announcement or anything else, eyes rolled, lips smacked and what I was saying was tuned out because of the hostility and resentment I had caused.

2) Stunting improvement – “A brother offended is harder to be won over than a strong city…” (Proverbs 18:19 AMP)

Because I have offended some of my colleagues in the past, they fight against anything that they know has come from me.  For example, last year my students got very high scores on the ACT writing test.  Many of the kids attributed their success to how I taught them to write essays in history.  Our principal implemented that strategy school-wide at the beginning of the year and it has been a non-stop fight.  No one has said it is a bad strategy; the only reason has been, “We don’t want to do it like that!”  I have inadvertently hurt the students’ by offending some of their other teachers. 

3) Hurting my witness – “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV)

How can I profess to be a Christian and be so tactless and non-compassionate to other peoples’ feelings? God is never like that with me. Even when He is checking me, I know that it comes from a place of love and desire for me to be better.  I’m sure the recipients of my comments do not feel the same way, and that I could not go to them and talk about Christ afterwards. 

Paul explains how we are to interact with people in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all men to that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.” (NIV)  I must humble myself and watch how I say things in order to complete the assignment that God has for me.

Everyone always quotes Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (KJV); however, v.20 really impacted me when I sought the Lord about this issue. “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.” NIV   What kind of fruit is my mouth producing?  How does it taste?  Is it bitter?  Is it sour or just plain rotten?  What kind of harvest am I expecting in my life and what harvest am I going to get if I continue on the way I have been.   In the future, I am definitely going to strive to keep these questions in mind and CHECK MY MOUTH!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for conviction!  I also thank You for allowing me to see who I really am and take steps to change for the better.  I pray that You continue to help me to talk to people as You would and temper my words with compassion and love.  I ask that You move upon the hearts of those I have offended with my words so that they can forgive me and those relationships can be restored. Lord, please help me to watch my mouth! In Jesus Name’, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to show the love of Christ in everything, especially in how you speak to and interact with others.  One way to do this is to EVALUATE, EVALUATE, EVALUATE!

  1. Evaluate the urgency of the comment! Does what you want to say really need to be said?  If the answer is no, don’t say it!
  2. If the answer is yes, evaluate how it can be said in a Godly, tactful way that will actually facilitate a positive response.
  3. Once you have thought about how you’re going to say it, then evaluate what is the best timing.  Pray and ask God to give you wisdom to know when to say it.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1.9 billion since inception in 1982. Because of generous donations from supporters like us, Susan G. Komen for the Cure  has become the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. Please consider making a donation to continue the fight:  http://ww5.komen.org/donate/donate.html

Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”