Today we have my friend Elizabeth from Dogfur and Dandelions guest posting. I told you about Elizabeth, her long term illness and her ministry to women a few weeks back, remember? I was so blessed by this piece! Enjoy!!
Fear. Worry. Discouragement. Frustration. Self-Pity.
They all have something in common. They all consume our minds.
What’s more, we let them consume our minds. We choose to dwell on those negative thoughts or feelings. We ignore the little blessings in favor of focusing on the bigger problems.
And once we start dwelling there, the rest of life starts tumbling downhill far too quickly. Our eyes start looking through me-first colored lenses. Our ears listen to the music of dissatisfaction and unbelief. Our emotions go haywire, and our attitudes boil over like an unattended pot of self-absorption.
We all have those moments every single day of our lives – maybe when your spouse is late coming home, when that crazy storm hovers right.over.YOUR.house, when your body does something it isn’t supposed to, when your money goes out more quickly than it came in…
Those are the moments when we must choose whether to look through the lenses of today or the lenses of eternity. When we must choose whether to listen to our flesh or our heavenly Spirit. It’s an active choice. We don’t worry (or fear, or get frustrated, or throw a self-pity party) because “that’s just the way I am” or because “that’s the way I was raised.” We worry because we have actively chosen to do so.
First, we choose to ignore God’s promises.
“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
We could have overwhelming peace instead of worry or fear. We could be filled with His joy instead our discouragement and self-pity. It is our choice. But we must act in order to receive. We cannot find this peace by ignoring God or ignoring the worrisome situations, hoping they’ll just go away on their own. No, rather, we must pray!
Sure, He already knows the end of each situation; He planned out all our days before we were even thought of. But He promises us that through the humble action of prayer, through relinquishing our illusions of control over to Him and begging for His help and direction, through being thankful for everything He sends our way, He will give us indescribable peace! And how often we forfeit that peace and bear unnecessary pain simply because we choose to ignore this promise. We choose to meditate on our trouble-filled thoughts instead of bringing our requests to God and exchanging our turmoil for His calm.
Second, we choose to ignore God’s commands.
We allow our minds and hearts to overwhelm us with negativity because we have chosen to disobey God in how we think:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Could it be any more specific? This is what we should be focusing on and reminding ourselves of over and over! Not those things that are untrue, those what-if’s, those worst case scenarios. We must actively choose to displace our negative thoughts with truth. And not merely whatever is true in your specific situation, but the truths of Scripture. His Word is all of these things: time-tested truth, honorable motives, just commands, pure teachings, lovely promises, commendable actions, excellent examples, and praise-worthy meditations.
So choose peace over unrest. Choose to pray, to be thankful. Choose to banish those thoughts of worry, fear, and discouragement, and welcome thoughts of time-tested truth. Choose to meditate on eternal truth instead of agonizing over temporary disquiet.
Bio: Elizabeth came to know Christ as her Savior at a young age, due to the influence of a Christ-centered home and church in Plymouth, MA. After graduating from college, she was diagnosed with a rare long-term illness, which God has used to noticeably shape her life and ministry. She and her husband, James, currently live near Spartanburg, SC, where he is preparing to serve as a Chaplain in the Army National Guard. In addition to caring for husband and home, Elizabeth enjoys writing and scrapbooking, hiking the mountains, and drinking lots of coffee. Elizabeth blogs here at Dogfur and Dandelions. Stop by and say hello!