Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Light and Joy or the dark and negative?

I wasn’t planning on writing a post today, but something hit me as I was updating my prayer requests page. I was realizing just how much I have been allowing myself to entertain different thoughts. Do you do that too? A thought crosses your mind, and instead of just letting it go, dismissing it, or renouncing it (if it calls for that) and taking every thought captive… you call it back and say wait a minute, let me examine that more closely… you mull it over… you meditate on it. And suddenly it gains power over you. It causes your emotions to change, you start reacting to it. It was just a thought that had no hold on you, and now it is controlling you.

It’s not a good place to be. I have realized that lately I have had different thoughts come into my head and instead of dismissing them, or replacing them with thoughts of God, scripture I have memorized, etc. I have meditated on those thoughts. Negative thoughts, about myself… the “What’s wrong with me” thoughts, the “Why am I struggling with this… everyone else seems to do it ok…” thoughts. Just all the negative self talk we can generate on our own… and the negative thoughts and condemning thoughts that come from our enemy, who is trying to steal our joy and hope and peace away from us.

I guess the best defense is a strong offense. I have memorized some solid chunks of scripture. And I have gotten inspired to memorize some more. And funny thing is, it’s all out of the Old Testament right now. Something from Isaiah, and also from Joel. But right now, they are verses that really speak to me, and may help me see that I am not alone… that God promises certain things to me, and He is faithful, He can’t go against His nature of truth, so if He promises something, then He will fulfill it.

So the upshot of it is, will I meditate on the negative, or will I meditate on the positive? The more I can fill my head with Scripture, the more I will be able to have something near at hand to meditate on to replace the negative. I can mull over the truth, and examine the promises of God.

The challenge for myself, and for you as well is what will our focus be? Will we set our minds on the things of this world or on the things of heaven? Will we meditate on the lies, the negative thoughts, the dark dreams planted in our heads or will we meditate on the Truth, the things God says about us? Do we want to walk in darkness and follow that road, or do we want to have the light of life and follow our Savior?
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

As I thought about all the negative thoughts I had today, I realized it was coloring my whole outlook. I was thinking that this day was a loss, that there was nothing good in it. But then I stopped myself. There were some really wonderful things that happened today.

On my way out of town to a doctor’s appointment, I stopped at the local coffee shop, grabbed a latte, and settled down with my bible and journal. I had a great half hour with the Lord before I had to get up and get moving. I got to pray, study some scripture, and just soak it in. What a way to start the day!

When I went to my doctor, he told me that things seemed to be going well, answered a couple of questions I had, and then said to keep doing what I was doing, and unless anything came up or changed, he didn’t need to see me for another 2 months!

After that I got to go out to lunch with a very dear friend and sister. We had a wonderful time of sharing and laughing and just enjoying each other… talking about deep stuff for both of us, and still being silly and light and giggling like school girls a couple of times (those other people in Culver’s must have thought we were nuts!!!)

When I got home, my little boy was waiting for me so that I could tuck him in for his nap. We snuggled down on my bed, read a book, prayed, and then both fell asleep. I woke up about a half hour later, and he was tucked up tight against my back, sound asleep. And then, when my daughter woke up from her nap, she looked at the door expecting daddy to be getting her up. When she saw me, she shouted “MOMMY!!!” and nearly launched out of the crib into my arms.

What better memories to end my day on, rather than the negative thoughts that flooded in earlier this evening. Maybe that’s what we all have to do. Take an honest inventory of our day, and see what we did right, rather than what we did wrong. Find the joy moments that we had, and give the rest to God.

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