Letting Go of the Toolbox

Wigglesworth Quote

I had my first cup of coffee when I was 11. My Granddaddy Salter had died, and the day of the visitation, we were at the funeral home for hours. And, as luck would have it, the only thing they had to drink in the family lounge was coffee. I couldn’t get enough of the generic powdered creamer and sugar in it to make it remotely drinkable. I probably didn’t have another cup of coffee until I got to college.

In college, I was introduced to cappuccino, then latte, then mocha, then macchiato. But still, coffee was one of those things that I could take it or leave it.

Today, two years, three months, two weeks, and three days into my life in the Pacific Northwest, I have to fight not to drink more coffee than I do water. I “candy it up,” but I can consume several cups a day, if I don’t pace myself.

What happened?

So, I’ve never been a good sleeper. From the time I was born. I’ve heard many tales about what a colicky, crying, never-sleeping baby I was. And I remember many, many, many nights of lying in bed, staring at my night-light-lit walls. Or reading under the covers…

And now, at thirty-six, I still don’t sleep worth a plugged nickel.

I know what you’re thinking.


Doesn’t work.


Doesn’t help.

Hot tea and a bubble bath?

Sure, it’s nice. But it doesn’t help me sleep. I put on fresh jammies, get into bed, close my eyes and—

“Is my electric bill due tomorrow or next Tuesday? Did I put my water bottle in the recycle bin at work today? What am I going to wear tomorrow? How much are plane tickets to North Carolina in February? DANG IT! I forgot to turn on the dishwasher! [jumps up, runs to kitchen]”

And then, when I drift off, I’m suddenly dreaming of purple monkeys, sitting in a canoe that’s stuck in a whirlpool, screeching and eating Cheetos. And then the monkeys are attacking me, led by Chester the Cheeto Cheetah. And when I wake up, I feel like I haven’t slept at all.


In all seriousness, I lie in bed at night, attempting to solve a world full of problems. Well, my world full of problems. It never works, though. And I think our authors put their fingers on the reason:

“I start trying to solve the hurt by myself, but I don’t even know the base issues, let alone how to fix them!”

I wish I had a dollar for every time across the years that I’ve heard comments like, “Just get over it.” Or “let go and let God.” Or “when are you going to move on?” And so I’ve laid in bed every night for nearly thirty years, sorting through the tangled threads of my life and only managing to tie myself into knots.

Last year, when I had a monumental meltdown, a friend who is a recovering substance abuser taught me something that’s been pretty handy. I’ll paraphrase – admit that you’re powerless and that your life is unmanageable.

I can’t fix myself. I can’t even identify all of my dents, dings, and broken places. How the heck am I supposed to fix myself? But perhaps instead of lying in bed trying to figure out how to fix myself, instead, I can learn how to trust God with the toolbox.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Lynch, McNicol, and Thrall’s “The Cure.” You don’t have to read the book to contribute to the discussion! If you did write a response to this chapter, please go visit my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, at Connecting to Impact, and link up at the widget.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Yes’mam… I don’t know if I could ever find it, but Assembly of God Preacher, C.M. Ward,who is now deceased, had a good story about something like that.. If I ever find it I will get it to you… OH you didn’t mention a hammer or baseball bat to help you sleep..Oh what about “Either”…Not sure if thats how you spell it.. Love you lady.

  2. Seems to me you exchange one toolbox – an inefficient, ineffective one – for a simple spiritual toolkit that way…and just think – that’s the beginning. The same way Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two? The 12 Steps can be reduced to three principles: Trust God, clean house, and work with others. Now, where else have I seen that written before? 😀

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Oh, but it’s so much easier in THEORY than in practice, Rick. 🙂

  4. So true! Someone saying, ‘just trust God’ or ‘have faith’ when you don’t know why there is a deficiency is completely unhelpful! People aren’t trying to be cruel, but it doesn’t work unless God identifies to you the underlying issues. We’re probably all guilty of it at times, but I think it’s just a quick throw-away cliche answer so we can move on. I learned a while ago that simply listening is a lot more helpful than prepared theological statements. Good thoughts, Sarah. Thank you.

  5. Good advice from your friend. I’m slowly learning to trust God more and not try and fix things on my own. This is helping me sleep better.

  6. Chris Hyde says:

    I highly recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Guide-Spiritual-Enlightenment/dp/1577314808/

    It will totally impact everything you wrote about in this post. It has been life-changing for me.

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