“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.
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.
4 thoughts on “Dominating Obsessions”
This was too good…what I needed to hear since an unresolved relational issue (that I’ve tried resolving to no avail) is at times consuming my mind 🙁 It’s a good thing to want to be reconciled or at peace with those around us but I think too it can become an out-of-line goal that takes the place of putting Jesus first in our thoughts. Thanks for writing this!
Sarah, thank you for this article! As I read this article, I was searching my heart about what I obsess about and the Lord showed me that it is security…so I laid it before the Lord and I’m confident that He will be (and already has been) working on this. So, our mail came today and a book I ordered, “refusing to settle for life as usual hoping for something better” by Nancy Guthrie arrived. I like to order used books and so this one came well loved and there are lots of little notes in the margins and underlines and I turned the page and there was chapter 9: What is your obsession? and the verses: Hebrews 12:1-24. It made me chuckle! I just love the way the Holy Spirit leads me to read things or leads me to go clean out something and I find another “piece” that He uses to connect all the dots about what He wants me to hear and see. I hope this encourages you today! The Lord is good!
This makes me smile. I love how the Lord takes care of all these little details for us! 🙂 He knows what we need to hear! God is good!
WOW, WOW, WOW, God speaking to me today. I so needed to hear this! Thank you for allowing God to use you.