Life is not a jar of pickles

Have you ever tried to open a new jar of pickles (or peanut butter!) by yourself only to get frustrated, irritated and defeated?

If you’re anything like me, you try opening the jar using all so-called home remedies. First, your bare hands then with a towel or one of those rubber grippers that are designed for such a purpose. I usually then try running the neck of the glass jar under hot water to help it pop off easier (no idea why this supposedly works, sometimes it’s a miracle cure, sometimes it’s not).

When all the known tricks fail, we usually hand over the offending jar to our spouse or even child to attempt to open. “I give up, you try,” is what I usually say. Then when the other person manages to open the jar, we are grateful but also can’t help but feel like it was a team effort. “I loosened it for you!”

In lesson 15 of the Step Study, we talk about VICTORY:

Voluntarily submit (to every change God wants to make)
Identify which character defects need worked on first
Change your mindset to match your new nature
Turn over your character defects to Christ
One day at a time—that’s how recovery comes, not in one magical moment
Recovery is a process and we should rejoice in steady progress-not strive for perfection
You must change by humbling yourself and asking GOD to remove all your shortcomings.

Something that hit me during this lesson is that life is not a jar of pickles. It really doesn’t work when we try to solve issues ourselves, get worked up, screw it up—then decide to give God a try. Those of us in recovery have a history of doing that, even if we learn to give something over to God we often try to “loosen it for him first.” It’s only when things get completely out of hand that we realize letting God take care of it is a good idea.

Well, life is not a jar of pickles (or peanut butter for that matter). God doesn’t need our help to loosen it and it would be a lot less painful and frustrating for us if we don’t try to deal with it first.

One definition of humility is realizing we can’t manage our lives at all, that we are God’s tool for doing the “hands and feet” work in our lives. To me, true humility means turning to God first instead of taking the opportunity to screw things up on my own first.

CR Attendee


  1. Gail McConnell: This saying "Life is not a jar of pickles" would be likened to the saying "Life is not a bed of roses". As a singer once wrote "I never promised you a rose garden...along with the sunshine there's gonna be a little rain sometime." Hello....a little rain? How about a thunderstorm, a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake? That is how I liken my life. And yet in the midst of these circumstances (divorce, verba-sexual-physical-spiritual abuse, embezzlement, loss of 3 jobs, a squamous cancer removed from my right eyebrow which left a big scar, rejection from my family, criticism from people etc.), God drew me closer to Him as I cried out to Him to rescue me from the enemy of my soul who was using these tribulations to attempt to keep my soul bound in bitterness, hatred, resentment and self-pity. The world with its evil leader satan mocks me and says "You've made your bed, now lay in it." Jesus Christ with His compassion and love looks at me and says "Come you who are weak and heavily burdened, take my hand...take my yoke and my burden for it is easy and light. I have plans to prosper you and give you life in abundance." The Master of the Universe and beyond Jesus Christ, Savior and Lord....part of the Godhead....does not tell me I am a loser. He tells me I am a winner. He tells me that life in Him will be more than a rose will be glorious beyond anything I can imagine. And it will start NOW and continue THEN in eternity to come. My life hidden in Christ Jesus will never end for it is power and it is grace and it is beyond human intelligence. Ok then....come on...."Let go, be still, and know that He is God." How do we do that? By day at a time...until the fire of the Holy Spirit burns away all in our hearts that is not of Him (by a miracle...not a formula) and until the rivers of life from the Word of God (which is alive and well) transform us from the inside out to truly walk in newness of life and truly "be" the eyes, ears, hands, feet, and tongue of Jesus Christ in the flesh.

    Loving you,



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