It’s impressive how well God knows us right down to our very core. It’s even more impressive how, no matter how frequently the Lord reminds me of His sovereignty, I am still amazed. God knows exactly what I need.
I have been so fortunate and blessed in my life, that it’s funny how often I forget the good while in the middle of the bad. God has been pulling at my heart so that I may hear a few solid truths, but I have been reluctant to really HEAR these things, though they have been repeated to me by various sources at various times throughout my life. This week, however, I heard, for the first time, what God wanted to me to hear about a particular area of my life: my thought process.
I used to be very pessimistic. I fully believed in Murphy’s Law (partial definition, if something can go wrong, it will) and I thought that good things happened to everyone BUT me. I truly believed that I would be alone (single) for the rest of my life and that God would bless the people around me with the desires of their hearts. I felt unworthy to be blessed, therefore, I would be passed over. When I started on my journey into a relationship with Jesus and God, and began to toss those negative thoughts aside. I thought I had fully turned into an optimist, but I was simply putting a makeup on a dirty face. In trying to cover up the truth, I was lying to myself. I have been lying to myself. I still think negative thoughts on a daily basis; I still feel unworthy.
The funny thing about faith in God and the belief that Jesus died for my sins is that I, indeed, AM unworthy of all that has been done for my salvation. No amount of work or service or doing is going to get God to love me any more than God already loves me. I know this to be true. However, the problem with my negative thoughts is that I am putting negative energy out into the world, and not allowing my mind to truly believe that positive things can, and will happen to me. Now, some areas of my life are fully cleaned up and my mind game is tight. I think positively about certain aspects of my life and future, while other areas I am lacking. I realized this week that it’s time I start cleaning up my WHOLE mind, so that my WHOLE life can be fruitful and positive.
This week, it felt like I was being hit by consecutive truth bullets, one after another. The attack started Wednesday night, when my dear friend and sister in Christ, Mary Held, preached out having a solid prayer/devotion/meditation life. I am a seminary student who does not read the Bible on a daily basis. I have yet to read the Bible in its entirity, and this is something that eats at me every minute of every day. I have a strong passion and hunger and thirst to know God’s Word more than any other book ever written. However, I don’t DO what I need to do to have that wisdom and knowledge. I spend quiet time with God every day in my car. I recently started praying before I get out of bed each morning. I pray almost every waking hour of the day. But, I am not where I need to be (especially if I know God is calling me to pastor in some capacity). After hearing Mary’s powerful message, and looking at the practical plan outlined in the church manual, I know now that it’s going to take true discipline and tactical steps to get to where I want to be. Last night, I bought a coffee put with a timer and starting tomorrow, I am going to be waking up an hour earlier each morning so that I can start my day in true devotion to God.
If my Bible game was tight, I would definitely have the tools I needed to be consistently thinking more positive thoughts. I realized Friday, while crying for an hour at the gym, that my mind is not in the right place. If you know me, you know that I lost 80 lbs from 2008-2009. I was working with a trainer in Florida and fully dedicated to the process. Upon moving to Atlanta in June of 2009, money was tight and I wasn’t able to stick to the plan. Since then, I’ve gained 30 lbs back. In October of 2009, I started working with a trainer in ATL but I wasn’t dedicated to the process. However, I got dedicated in January of 2010. For the past 8 weeks I’ve been hard core in my weight loss attempts, with the goal of losing 50 more lbs to complete my original goal of 100 lbs off and gone forever. Yesterday, I had a heartfelt conversation with my trainer which included a lot of tears on my part, because in doing everything right, I’ve not lost 1 lb this time around so far. He reminded me, as he does every week, that my mind isn’t in the right place. I don’t believe enough in myself, and therefore, I am getting in my own way on a regular basis. I have to transform my mind in order to truly transform my body. It’s going to take discipline and will power; two things I KNOW I have, but haven’t been tapping into. So, again, God has shown me that not only do I need to read His Word more, but in doing so, I will be able to overcome my negative thoughts, thus overcoming and transforming my physical. More details about this to come, as I think this part of the transformation is going to be very interesting and fun.
Mary also spoke about allowing your life to be interuptable. I don’t do this and I actually fear praying it each day. I often help strangers and don’t mind talking to people I don’t know as long as I feel like it. The point is, though, that God needs and wants me to be a vessel even when I don’t feel like it. With my busy schedule, I don’t allow for much time to socialize during the week. Even on the weekends, I rarely see my friends because I am either sleeping, studying, working out, reading, or typing a paper. I often joke that even if God wanted to use me, He would have to get in line! This is horrible! Well, this week God taught me how an interruption in my schedule could be exactly what I need.
My best friend, Michael, has held that title since the first week of school freshman year of college. We instantly clicked and haven’t stopped talking to one another on a daily basis for the past (yikes-I feel old) 9 years. We’ve only lived in the same city the first year of our friendship, and since then have maintained a friendship solidified by phone called and yearly visits. He moved to Korea last year to teach English and was back in the states for a few months on break. He left again today to go back to Korea for another year and will probably stay there for a while after that year is over. I didn’t think I would be able to see him before he left (my schedule, money, etc.) but low and behold, he missed a plane in Atlanta and had to stay for the night. Though, at first, I was annoyed at the fact that I wouldn’t get any sleep Thursday night, it turned out that our interaction with one another was everything I needed to rejuvenate my spirits, and rekindle the love that exists in our long distance friendship. We laughed, we ate dinner, we watch Will and Grace, and we just talked for hours. Knowing I had to wake up early for work on Friday didn’t matter after a while, because I was with my friend and I was enjoying the brief moment we had with one another in person. Interrupting my schedule was the best medicine.
So, I have a lot ahead of me (as always). A lot to learn, a lot to do, a lot to accomplish. I have God, though, and that’s really going to be the force that guarantees that by my submission, I will succeed.