Tag Archive for pride

Dominating Obsessions

“There are three things about us that significantly shape the course of our lives: what we think, what we feel, and what we want. They way in which we handle our thoughts, our feelings, and our desires determines not only our path but whether the path is joyful and fulfilling or fraught with discontentment” states Lydia Brownback in A Woman’s Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything.

How we act upon our thoughts, what we do with our feelings (feelings aren’t facts!) and what we most desire will determine much about about our spiritual walk and growth.

obsession 2

What do you think about, when you’re awake at night or day dreaming doing dishes? What hurt feelings do you nurse and coddle when people have failed you? What is your biggest desire when life is not what you planned?

What are you obsessed with?

 

Teenage girls says things like, “I’m obsessed with this gel or hairspray,” or “I’m obsessed with Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha.”

And while that phrase may be meaningless to them, we are, in fact, obsessive creatures.

Our minds get fixated on one thing:

that problem, that person, that need, that solution, that if-only.

We’re “locked and loaded” with fierce focus on our one thing and our lives become dominated by the pursuit of that one thing. It’s all you talk about, all you think about, all you dream about.

We convince ourselves that we are helpless against it. That we’re made this way.

  • “I’m this way because years ago, so and so….”
  • “If only she’d accept me the way I am, then I wouldn’t be so….”
  • “My husband drives me crazy and until he changes his ways, I’m going to…”
  • “As soon as I reach this level of success, I’ll spend time with my family, but until then I have to…”
  • “I have to get good grades. Nothing else matters to me right now.”
  • “People like her better than me, so to gain popularity and acceptance, I need to be like this….”
  • “She hurt me so deeply, so now I’ll find every way I can to punish her from here on out.”

When we’re focused on stuff like this, it’s all downhill. And in this case, all down the spiritual, emotional, mental hill.

Our minds and hearts are meant to be fixated and focused on God’s glory and what He wants from us, and our life motive is to love/serve others well for His sake.

There is no place for sinful “obsessing” in the life of a spiritually healthy Christian woman.

On the contrary, our only healthy obsession should be towards God’s glory and knowing Him well so we can enjoy Him forever. On this we can be one-focus women.

One-focus women recognize that God is God and is in control. We can trust Him with the big hurts and the tiny details of our lives. He’s capable.

When we are struggling for clarity of thought and steadfastness of heart, we can cry out for help.

I was dreading a difficult meeting I had to have with a woman who was being unreasonable and acting harshly to others. Another friend saw me that morning and said, “What’s that written on  your hand?” I had scribbled in my palm A1, which is my memory prompt “Audience of One.” When tensions get high and women are prone to throw words that are hurtful, my goal is still to live for an audience of One (Not give in to name calling and hurtful jabs, as good as that might feel momentarily in the flesh.) What she says reflects her heart’s goals, and what I say shows what’s going on in my heart as well. 

One-focus women let go of having to be right. One-focus women let go of been wronged.

We know our God and we can trust Him. To obsess over trials and troubles is to become distracted, discouraged, disillusioned. Our God can handle our troubles and the people who inflict them. We don’t need to plan retaliation, worry about outcomes, protect our reputation, replay the wrongs done to us by others, or waste any energy worrying.

As a woman in pursuit of God’s glory, I can’t give in to temptations to worry, to play the mean girl, to use corrupting speech, to withhold love from that annoying person, to misuse the roles that God has ordained for me, to be lazy about opportunities God puts in my path, to gossip about the people God has called me to love, to avoid people who are needy, to give the cold shoulder to that hurtful woman.

When we do all those things, we are confessing that we are double-minded, unstable, content to try to make life work outside of the methods God has chosen and allowed for His people. (Thank God for 1 John 1:9!)

If you are content to use wrong methods to get what you want,

when you are willing to war, or neglect, or manipulate, or abuse others to chase that one thing,

when you play god, making life work your way and monitoring the moves of others to make sure they all play the life-game according to your rules,

be afraid, because you’ve made a choice and have chosen a course and have jumped on the spiritual roller-coaster of your own emotions, feelings, whims, and ways, and it’s gonna be a crazy ride all around.

But He gives more grace.

Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4: 6,7

God says that the only thing that the proud will get from Him is resistance and opposition. His grace is for the humble, who’ll submit to His Lordship in their life.

James 4:8 tells us how to jump off the crazy ride and to begin thinking soundly and acting purely:

“Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your heart, you double-minded.”

Cleanse your hands: stop doing what you are doing. Stop being disobedient. 

Purify your hearts: get rid of the “thing” that is making your heart purity dirty. Rid yourself of the sin.

What’s your one hang up? Or maybe, WHO, is your one hang up? Does it rule your thoughts and therefore your life? Do you obsess over it during the night and daydream about it during the day.

If yes, this sin has become your puppeteer, (and you’ve chosen it if you are saved because sin has no power over you unless we choose to allow it!) whether you realize it or not, entrapping you, yanking your chain, controlling you.

When it comes to mind, and you are tempted to obsess over it, see it as it is: a tool, a trick, an entanglement, an area of your life that you’ve allowed to become too big.

And ask God to forgive you for allowing it to reign for so long in the place that was God’s rightful place. Tell God what He already knows and ask Him to rescue you from the grip of this sin.

In faith, claim the promise that He can deliver you from the power of this sin when you choose to work in agreement with His plan and walk according to His ways.

The cure for obsessive thoughts is this simple truth: God is sovereign in all the affairs of men. God is in control, even when life seems out of control. AND I CAN TRUST HIM!

Do you have one area that seems to have you spinning your wheels spiritually? That one thing that trips you up every time? Be willing to open your hands to heaven and ask God to search them and cleanse them. He will. He promises.

 

Cultivating Humility

As you know, I am going through the book From Pride To Humility by Stuart Scott this week. My first post on this book focused on the problem of pride and how it shows up in our lives. here.

Now I’ll share a few highlights about Humility. Not too many–remember, I want you to buy the book!

First, some Biblical synonyms for humility:

  • bowing low
  • crouching down
  • gentle
  • meek
  • servile
  • yielding

We  know that Jesus was the greatest example of a servant. He was meek and lowly. He put himself last and others first. He calls us to do the same.  He was completely surrendered to  the will of another (His Father.)

In our day and age, the greatest is the one who has status, popularity, wealthy or power. But, in Jesus eyes, the least – the servant of all- is the GREATEST.

Humble people are focused on God and others, but not on themselves. They have no need approval or recognition. They don’t demand respect from other people, because they have no need to elevate themselves. They, instead, are seeing to elevate God and encourage and better others.

Here is what Humility looks like in every day life:

  • Being overwhelmed with God’s undeserved grace and goodness. Ps. 116:12-19
  • Being gentle and patient. Col. 3:12-14
  • Seeing yourself as no better than others. Eph. 3:8
  • Being a good listener. James 1:19
  • Being gladly submissive  and obedient to those in authority. Rom. 12:1-2
  • Being thankful for criticism or reproof. Prov. 9:8
  • Quickness in admitting when you are wrong and seeking forgiveness. Col.3:12-14
  • Being genuinely glad for others. Rom.12:15
  • Minimizing other’s sins and shortcomings in comparison to your own. Matt. 7: 3-4
This was a wonderful little book. I found the best price at CBD (they beat Amazon’s price!)

 

 

Meekness or Weakness?

“The meek shall inherit the earth” is one of the most familiar statements of the beatitudes, but so few people are truly meek. I think that is because most people assume that meekness equals weakness. In our day, the word meek conjures up images of a spineless person with no opinions and no influence. Someone who really is not going to make much of a difference.
Yet, meekness is really strength under control. Think Moses. He was a meek man, a powerful man with influence, but the Bible tells us he was meek.
Meekness is the opposite of an angry, self assertive person. Meekness is self control and humility all wrapped up in one bundle.
I have been so blessed to know some truly meek WIM(Women in Ministry). They have a love for others that draws people into a closeness with them and ultimately their Savior. They have a broader ministry than one might see at first glance, because they are so unassuming. Yet, when the Spirit of God reigns in a life, people are drawn to her because she is imitating Christlike humility.
I have also known WIM who are self assertive, self promoting, needlessly offensive and demanding. They want so much to be a woman of influence, but they go about it all wrong, and as a result , other woman keep them at an arms length distance, not willing to share their lives with them and only dealing with them at a minimum. They forfeit truly being able to minister to others because they are so busy looking out for themselves.
Listen to what Andrew Murray says about meekness in every dealing with people:

WHAT a solemn thought, that our love to God will be measured by our everyday intercourse with men and the love it displays; and that our love to God will befound to be a delusion, except as its truth is proved in standing the test of daily life with our fellow-men. It is even so with our humility. It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God: humility towards men will be the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real; “

A meek spirit flows out of a heart of humility. One that recognizes that without the cross I am nothing. One that with the cross, leads other women by a godly example of humility, good works and service to others. They are characterized by being good in the most wholesome sense of the word. They Do what is right by others and others are better off because they knew them!
If you are a WIM, are you imitating Christ in this area of meekness?
Are you “teaching and doing”(Matt.5:19)? If you have a position of influence in your local ministry, God tells us that our effectiveness is measured by not just teaching but actually doing. Our lives should be a model of good works, a pattern that others will want to follow, because our lives and hearts and motives so closely resemble Christ.

Resources: Andrew Murray’s classic work “Humility.” Excerpt can be read here