I have a confession to make. This past week I caught myself thinking some pretty negative things. Some people call it “Stinkin Thinkin.” Tackled with some pretty tough issues, I caved at the pressure and believed the worst. You know the thoughts: “Things will never change, the pressure’s too great, it’s insurmountable, etc.” And then the self-questioning thoughts started interjecting their chorus of insults.
But – I recognized it. And reached for my phone to text a friend, “Please pray for me – I’m spiraling.”
Smart move. When our thoughts sabotage us, it’s important to recognize it and put up the stop sign.
The renowned motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar said it well,
“You are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”
And that works both ways. We can think negative thoughts and tear our world apart OR we can think positively and pave a way of possibilities!
Life is just tough. It’s good, but tough. We all struggle from time to time. I’ve heard it said: Either you’re in a battle or will be soon. And that’s okay – if we’re properly equipped for battle.
So, how do we equip ourselves properly for these tough times?
First and foremost, pray.
I used to pick up the phone and call a close friend. Don’t you know that when I did that before I prayed, that person was rarely available! Nor the next one I called, nor the next!
If you can’t pray – reach out to someone
A close friend who won’t ask a lot of questions, but will stand in the gap and pray for you. While they’re praying, you can gather your thoughts.
Something can be a fact, but that doesn’t make it the TRUTH. Ex: A fact could be that while you were driving to work this morning, you had a car cut you off in traffic and then as you passed them, they shot you a nasty look and turned away in disgust. However, the truth of the situation was that the driver of the car was talking on the handsfree phone in his car, wasn’t paying attention when he cut you off and then glanced your way as you passed his car. He wasn’t mad at you, but instead frustrated with the caller. Seek to hear and understand the story behind the scene when you are in a crisis.
Remember that you only have the power to make changes in you.
We’d like to think we can change others, situations, events, but really, we don’t have that much power. I know, I’ve tried! Ha! No dice!
Have you heard of the serenity prayer? It’s a good one!
As I walked through this trial, I am encouraged to remember that sometimes God prunes what is good so we will be even more fruitful. Pain is not our enemy. Alleviating the pain is not the answer. It’s merely a barometer – telling us that something needs attention.
My sweet friend reminded me that life is a journey and that we will continue going through these trials until we see Jesus face to face. Not exactly what I wanted to hear….
But, can I be honest with you? When we expect life to be easy – it’s insurmountable. However, when we take it for what it is – a journey of sanctification wrapped up in love, joy, pain, sorrow, trials, victories, and so on… we have a perspective that takes us from victim to victor.
I urge you to remember that every day matters and that each day that we spend in a pit is a day that we could be missing something great. We are frightfully in charge of our own lives. Even amongst a trial there is sweet joy to be found in each day. Seek it, grasp it, and remember that the God of the universe is right there with you.
Psalm 116 is an amazing and uplifting psalm written in a time of trial. Take a minute and be encouraged by it today! You can read it here.
When you are in the battle, experiencing the pain of your trial – remember you can control your thoughts. Don’t fall into stinkin’ thinkin’. Instead remember how good God is, how He fights for you when you surrender, and seek TRUTH. He is the way, the truth and the life. The verse that helped me most this past week was from Psalm 116. It’s verse 7:
Let my soul be at rest again,
for the Lord has been good to me.
Telling our souls to quiet down is a must. We must be in control of our thoughts. As I listened to what I was thinking about I realized it wasn’t helpful. Understanding the importance of hearing my own voice, I began to speak aloud positive confessions about my situation, about myself, about my future. In those tough times it is easy to “rehearse” again and again what we are upset about, how grim the future looks, how unfair situations are, etc., etc., etc., We must stop this!!!!
Actually the only thing that changed for me this past week was my focus. God has been good. He will continue to be good to each of us, because that is who He is. Our job is to put our eyes on Him and ask Him for direction.
If I can pray for you… I would love to! Please feel free to leave a comment, email me, or join my Open Window Facebook group where we share encouragement. Be blessed my friends!!! Have an amazing week and keep your eyes on Truth!
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