The Shiny Side Up from Rev. Susan Sparks
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars—you must let go to move forward.”               -Unknown

Hi y'all, welcome to the Shiny Side Up! A weekly journal of infectious inspiration that will lift you up, make you smile and leave you stronger. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

We've been talking about three easy steps to face down fear and worry.

1-Name what’s NOT worrying you;
2-Name what IS worrying you;
3-Hand it over and look beyond.

Here's steps 1 and 2 in a nutshell:

First, start from a place of power and name what you are not worried about (step 1). When we focus on what is working, then we empower ourselves to face all the things we are worried about (step 2). Now we are ready for step three: hand it over and look beyond.

A few years ago I tried mountain biking in Moab, Utah. The terrain was unlike any I had experienced with slick red rocks, gullies and dry riverbeds. One thing my instructor kept repeating: “Look beyond the obstacles!” Unfortunately, I kept looking down at the scary gullies and rocks. And as we all know in biking, if you look down, you go down.  

It’s the same in life. At some point we have to find the strength to let go of the fear and look up, beyond the worry to the horizon of opportunities right in front of us. It’s like the old saying, “Worry looks around. Faith looks up.”    

In any place of fear, we have two choices: worry or believe. You can't do both. Either you believe in a greater power and have faith, or you don’t. If you don't, then you keep the burden on yourself. This is the ultimate act of ego because (and lets be honest here) we aren't always strong enough to handle it. It’s no wonder that they put hip straps on backpacks—so you can rest the heaviest load on the strongest part. We should take a little wisdom from The North Face and rest our heaviest worries on our strongest part—our sense of faith, hope, and a power greater than us.

Below you will find additional inspiration via photos, videos and blogs. Until next week when we start a new series on calling, keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down! –Susan
An article out this week in Baptist News Global about my work with humor and preaching! 
This week's full sermon live stream:
"Math and Mirrors" by Christine Peele, former White House staff, now at Riverside Church in NYC.
God striking people with hemorrhoids? Check out my preaching clip featuring my favorite outrageous bible verse.
Our church sign this week.

Laugh Your Way to Grace
Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor

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