A Time for Everything: This is Season to Shed

What a journey the last six months has been. Well, maybe the last year and a half. But this is a post and not a memoir.

In the last six months, a few important things shattered.

The shatter became a landslide in which new days were born.

Over the next few weeks, I am sharing with you what I have learned when life stops. Consider the job of a door stopper. Or, the contraption that shreds your tires if you pull in or out of the parking lot through the wrong entrance. Both cause you to stop or to slow way down. This is what God did in my life. He stopped me in such a way that stillness and surrender were the only avenue to grace.

Of course, there was an alternative. I could have kicked against the series of events. Jesus says to Saul before he’s Paul, why are you kicking against the goads? I could have chosen that.

As you read this, it would mean a lot to me if you considered whether you’re a kicker. I didn’t find awe and stillness because I have the gift of humility. I didn’t kick because I was so desperate with nowhere to run that I just gave in to awe of the starry, moonlit night sky where he met me. It’s hard to know if you’re a kicker. Kickers usually don’t think they’re kicking. But, you my dear sister, I know you will seek him vulnerably to check your kicker rating.

The Beginning

SHED

My word for the year.

My annual journey began with a few phrases.

In early 2021, I began to think closely about these three phrases.

Shed the Overwhelm.

Shed the Need for Stuff.

Quit the Things.

Do any resonate with you? Are you tired from overwhelm? Have you had enough of stuff? Are you sure the things you are doing – the things you are currently committed to – are the things you are supposed to be doing? Are you burnt out by the rules you are living by that don’t equate to freedom?

Shed the Overwhelm

You and me, soul sister, we have a great desire to live a God honoring life full of love and service. We are passionate, thoughtful, present sisters. We don’t want to miss a moment of time here so that we can truly look in his eyes with peace and transparency there. This is a good motivation and a holy pursuit. We are blessed beyond measure to run the race and also to have a place prepared for us once that race has been won.

In my holy pursuit, I filled and filled up my life with good things. One good thing toppled upon another. I became tired from the overwhelm that was my life. I made the mistake of seeing my life as a race without a finish line. The pace of my life wasn’t a pace that my soul could thrive in. I had simply forgotten that seasons come to an end. I missed the loving writing on the wall of my wise brother Jesus.

There is a time for everything . . . a time to scatter stones and a time to collect them.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 5

Obedience?

The stillness of the first few months of the pandemic brought this revelation to me. But I wasn’t obedient to the kind directives he spoke to me at that time. I liked what he said, but my pace was so entrenched in my routine and my worth that I didn’t have the skill or the courage to regroup and change. God asks less of us than we think he does. He is pleased with small, silent slow growth within us. Think about that.

In pursing his calling over our lives, many well meaning voices will catch our attention. What voices are influencing you? Are the voices louder than the simple, life giving words Jesus is speaking to you?

Overwhelm takes root in our lives when expand or add to the simple directives Jesus has given us.

Ask Yourself

Have you taken a few wrong turns in your holy pursuit to live a well done, good and faithful, servant life? Of course you have. So have I. That’s what shed has meant to me. Consider your life. Is there anything that you are putting energy into that may not have an eternally valuable end for the life God has given you to live? Not someone else’s life. Your life. If you are committed to something that appears good on the outside, but it’s not part of God’s long term plan for your life, it may be time to shed it.

Shed the Need for Stuff

Consumerism is way of life in America. I no longer want to live out a mentality of constantly adding things to our life. I have a desire to reduce our family’s carbon footprint, be kinder with my purchases and pursue a mentality of more than enough is what we already have.


What if Jesus was actually right? What if more stuff really just means more anxiety and stress and distraction and discontentment and global oppression and slavery? And what if less stuff actually equals more happiness? What if “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions”? (Luke 12v15)

– John Mark Comer, The True Cost

Click the button below for a list of how our family has been shedding the need for stuff.

Quit the Things

I hold tightly to the pursuits God sends me on. My nature has a tinge of obsessiveness and my past points to the unpleasantries of perfectionism. When it’s time to close up shop, I light a candle and keep going. This has proved useful in many ways in my life. But this season is for shedding. Not press on. Lord knows I don’t know how to quit. It’s awkward and intense for me. Potentially letting God down and/or others down is the thorn in my side.

My wise therapist and friend Dan recently gave me an eleventh commandment. This is the one that cures burning the candle from both ends.

Thou shall not do anything unless it’s holy spirit motivated.

– Dan Houmes

Do you need to live by the 11th commandment? It may lead to quitting some things. I have done that recently. I quit books that I don’t really like even though it’s against my nature not to finish. I quit working when the night comes even when my work is not done. I quit or defer roles if they don’t fit the season. I quit trying to figure out stuff that God isn’t answering or delivering at the moment. My life is not becoming boring, empty or worthless. Instead, I feel his creativity and service in me more than I have in a long time.

Ask yourself, what can you quit?

SHED

I was fully prepared to follow his lead and shed. With the Lord, however, we rarely know how he is going to work out his will in our lives. But we can count on his love. As the last six months unfolded, I felt the shatter. One piece at a time. Until the stillness ran so deep and the eye of the needle so small that everything in me stopped in the silence of who he is.

That silence has found its was to joy and even to freedom. A younger me would have felt abandoned by my father. But the daughter I am slowly becoming is learning to defer to the landslide. When it’s time for the landscape to change, only he has the wisdom to know what to scatter and what to build. I thank him for that.

Shed Challenge

  • Are you a kicker? Score yourself and meditate on Hebrews 3:7-12 & Deuteronomy 10:12-16
  • Do you feel overwhelmed? Is there anything you know needs to come off your plate? Start to pray about your next step in obedience.
  • View the Top 10 List of shedding things and pick something to try yourself.
  • Do you need to live by the 11th commandment? What will you quit?

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Let’s Do it: Choose Real With Two Questions

Hey my sweet friends, it’s Tuesday. The day I can’t resist reaching out to you.

It’s an odd thing writing in the evening. I had all my words planned.

And then life.

My true friend lost a loved one last night. I found out mid-morning.

As God would so well plan, I got to sit in my car with her to hear her story of the last few weeks. Her life was entangled in love and frustration with her loved one. This is how relationships often go.

There is no such thing as squeaky clean when it comes to true love and care for one another.

Coincidentally, I am finishing up the book that my friend gave me awhile back. She doesn’t have time to read but she knew I would. She had connected with the author online and the book was mailed directly to her as a gift. I had it in my purse as we sat in the car together.

After reading the book, this author is the kind of girl that would have been sitting in the car with me and my friend. Listening and hearing. Putting time aside for a while.

In this way, the air becomes sacred. The holy spirit is present. We listen and hear one another.

We bear the weight and then let it go over breaths of air, soft smiles and with promises sewn into the heart.

My original plan was to share some words from Turning Outward, Chapter 12 of Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue, with you. My plan stands, but perhaps with more meaning.

The crux of the chapter are these questions. [I am paraphrasing.]

Will you shut yourself in and paralyze your soul? Or will you choose to turn your loss outward and use your story for a redemptive purpose?

Will you succumb to your circumstances or turn your feelings outward to be available to how God wants to use your imperfect situation?

There is a crossroad some days, if not every day.

You can choose roads of bitterness or self-absorption, or self-pity. Or, you can reach out to connect and serve another soul – just as broken and in need of a friend as you.

In this process of turning outwards, we find ourselves. We find the things that we were made for. We may find, like the author, that we are good at the ministry of chocolate chip cookies.  We may find that we minister by writing words. We find that, among thousands of gifts, we were made for one and one was made for us.

The author says:

Start where you are with the gifts you have. Do you feel alive speaking? Painting? Designing? Opening your home and putting out brownies and helping people experience a sense of belonging? Your ministry doesn’t have to start big or become monumental; your God given purpose may start with a prompting of His Spirit and a willingness to be present, to be obedient, to offer joy . . .

This is what I want to say to you today:

We are in world where our to do list can wrap about the galaxy ten times. We are in a culture that asks us to put ourself and our own first. We are at a point in history where picking and choosing sides is valued over entering in.

It is in this world that we are offered the choice to cling to isolation and the false pretense of self-preservation or open our eyes to God’s redemptive purposes.

The people that will be impacted by our daily choices are all around us. They are people waiting to be noticed, heard or sat with. Just like you. There are heart connections waiting to be made. The same kind you yearn for within.

This is where your calling, your gifts, lie.

Your hidden gifts yearn with potential to change someone’s day or even season. You have the gift of you that only you can give.

As we approach the season of gratitude and giving, let it become so very clear – – may you know how you were made to give in they way only you can.

I pray that you would pause in your routine and in busyness of your day. I pray you would ask yourself these questions and, with intention, write your answers.

Will you shut yourself in and paralyze your soul? Or will you choose to turn your loss outward and use your story for a redemptive purpose?

Will you succumb to your circumstances or turn your feelings outward to be available to how God wants to use your imperfect situation?

When you are ready, write out how you will live outwardly every week for the next nine weeks. I’m on week twelve of sending one postcard or card to a friend each week.

What is God calling you to? Do that and do it well.

Ah, yes, one more thing, I just updated a page on the blog. I took a workshop on writing this page and I’d love to hear your feedback! This is the link. Shoot me an email at sasha@sashakatz.com.

Love,

Your Soul Sister Sasha

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April Challenge: Live Your Story!

Dear sisters,

I am in between books. My extremely bright, big sis Nat – who I weathered three years of law school with – reads twelve books a year. I aspire to do the same. I shopped my bookshelf this week and could not find anything that called out to me.

But. I did notice some unfinished work.

As a practice, I go back through the pages of the book I just read and write out the highlighted quotes. This helps me take in the themes and truths over and over again. I highly recommend this practice. You can do this with books, devotions, the Word and posts. If you keep all of your notes together in one journal, you will love going back in time to become inspired.

Back to my point. Unfinished work.

I had not finished this practice for the book I read in the late fall of 2019. I flipped backwards through the pages of my journal to find where I had left off. I came upon, not just quotes, but a reflective challenge I took on from one of the themes in the book.

Immediately, I thought of you!

Yes! I am passing on this challenge to you!

You are going to come up with a few words that mean something.

To You. To Your Story.

Why? Why do that?

When we name the most meaningful parts of ourselves, we bring pleasure to God, our creator.

Then, we can be intentional. We can employ these meaningful words and put them into practice in our lives.

So, what’s the point of this challenge?

There is a dry and thirsty world waiting for you. The ability to define yourself will help you know how to resonate the gifts God has tucked into you to others. That’s the short version of Follow Your Calling!

Before you begin: Reserve 15-20 minutes of time. I recommend picking a pen you really like and paper you won’t lose. Choose a spot that speaks inspiration to you. I choose my backyard for this one.

Think about your story.

Not the details.

The big themes.

The themes that help you define yourself.

Write two or three words that make you you.

Do you need some help?

  • Think of word that represents your greatest desire or pursuit.
  • Think of a word that represents your personal joy or what gives meaning to your life.
  • Think of a word that represents the part of you that you extend to others in love.

Now that you have a few words, let’s go!

For each word you wrote, how does that word help you know how to live your life with intention?

Yes, of course, here are some examples!

If you chose JOY, your story probably has some pain and hardship. You are a living example of Consider it all Joy! Or Beauty from Ashes. Or All Things Work Together for Good. How do you live that message through your life?

If you chose PEACEFUL, your story probably includes some chaos, uncertainty or confusion. You reflect the omnipotent quality of God. How do you live that message through your life?

If you chose LIGHT, your story probably includes some desperation, hopelessness or loss. You are a platform for others to see that Even Darkness is Light to Him. Or God is not Done Yet. How do you live that message through your life?

When you are finished, you should be able to say to yourself:

My words and how I aim to live my life make sense to me. This is who I was made to be. This brings joy to me, my Creator and the world around me!

If you’re like me and you love to share, don’t hold back!

Share this post with a friend!

Post one or all of your words and how you live them out in the comments to this post.

Or, send me an email at sasha@SashaAKatz.com.

Love,

Your Soul Sister Sasha

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