Keaton Smith – Glendale Family Pastor
A while back I found myself sitting alone at my kitchen table late into the night. There was much on my mind, and my heart was heavy with stress. Anxiety had a hold on me both physically and spiritually.
In moments like this, its as if our brain and our body are in an epic battle. My body is screaming with exhaustion, yet my brain is running a mile a minute and neither is tapping out.
As I sat at the table, my attempt to capture my thoughts felt more like herding cats. Perhaps you’ve been there before. A short bit later, I felt a small voice inside my spirit stir up and say,
“Give it to me.”
For some reason, I immediately stopped, ripped out a few pieces of paper from my notebook, and with a big fat Sharpie wrote down each and every thing that was holding me hostage. Each individual item got its very own piece of paper. Fumbling under the kitchen counter I grabbed a large steel Pot and marched out to the front porch. My mind had never been as clear as in this moment.
If I am to survive, something must die.
I sat in my front porch rocking chair and called out to God to ease my heart. I boldly asked Him to capture the thoughts I could not capture on my own. I then grabbed one of the pieces of paper, and prayed for Christ to remove that specific stress from my mind and my family, and then I lit it on fire. One by one, I prayed over each thing and then burned it.
I am reminded that our sacrifices are a fragrant offering to our God. When we think of sacrifice, we often think of tangible things — money, materials, jobs, home, food. As believers, our idea of sacrifice is usually associated with giving up something of value. I realized while sitting on my porch that night, that I was giving up something I valued deeply.
I value control over my life.
I value myself over the God who created me.
I value the easy way out over the results of hard work and effort.
Stress is the byproduct of unbelief. It is the battle between spirit and flesh that desires control because we don’t believe and trust that Jesus will handle our situations. Jesus knows something about sacrifice, and the peace that comes with complete dependence on God. When we die to ourselves, and walk in the reality that there is more to life than me, we experience peace and love as its meant to be.
“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV).
I placed my burnt offering into a glass jar and wrote “Given to Jesus” as a reminder of the selfish thoughts I had to put to death. I wish I could remember what I wrote down… but that’s the beauty of the process. I don’t have to remember. Those things are dead to me. And because of that…
Christ is alive in me.
What stress do you have to sacrifice in this season of your life?