I talk about "right thinking" here from time to time not just because I am longing and looking to discover practical measures to help my children overcome the peril of undisciplined thinking, both hereditary and cultivated, as well as to seek healing for the past trauma of their lives, but because I feel it is so necessary for my own health and spiritual well-being.
Every day we are faced with decisions over what to contemplate and what to reject. Hopefully we base those decisions on Biblical principle.We have victories and failures every day, but the point is not to focus on the failures but on the promise of what God intends for us in the way He has prepared for us and the victories He gives.
With the beginning of a new month I had decided to study the books of Thessalonians. This was inspired, in part, by Jon Pauline's visit to our valley and his sharing of the Word with us. I know that he wrote our last church quarterly on Thessalonians, but I have not so much as laid eyes on it since I am attending cradle roll with the babies. The themes in Joy and the Blessed Hope are attractive. I am still not getting very good sleep ~ God bless that sweet baby boy~ and I am in danger of sinking into the proverbial household drudge, so I figured to look for lessons in JOY all month long would be a good focus. I have chosen my very best two hours of the day for quiet time ~ Right in the middle of the day while the twins are at school, the girls at college and the babies at their visit, and my husband at work. I could really get some housework done for once, there are whole days that baby cries and I cannot get a lick done... and top it off with a toddler who is a whirling dervish messing everything in his reach, but I am a dry and thirsty soul I have chosen to save my best hours for Him to bless me.
I had not factored in the old devil, though. I don't like to give him much credit, but by the second day of my plan things weren't going quite as I thought it should and I was really struggling with my study and everything else! My mind fuzzy from a migraine, my eyes jerking when I tried to read, everything... THEN came the real test.
I received a message from a friend that I perceived as angry and critical. I saw condemnation. I immediately said, "Well, I'm not going to allow that to hurt me. I choose joy. I choose to contemplate other things. I refuse to let this destroy my peace.I'm going to let this one slide on right by and not give it a second thought."
Um... yeah. NICE idea.
I had read the message just before going to bed and I deleted it right away.
But the words haunted my very dreams all night long. (Lesson learned, don't read messages before bed!)
Every time I got up to tend the baby those words met me at the edge of the bed.
I COULDN'T escape them.
I recited scripture, I sang songs in my head... but the morning light did not erase those words banging on the door of my mind trying to gain admittance. I begged God to take them away... I didn't feel like fighting.
A battle of the mind is much harder fought in real life than in theory.
Being a soldier is not a romantic profession.
By the end of the day, though I breathed not a word of it to anyone, I was feeling deflated and defeated. I started feeling sorry for myself because I had to deal with this horrible battle and I eventually admitted that I was hurt by the way the message was written. Defensive thoughts started to sneak in... oh, I so wanted to defend myself and set the record straight. I didn't like this battling stuff...
But I also, knew I didn't really desire the captivity to a certain train of thought that would come with giving in.
I listened to audioverse while I folded laundry and did dishes to keep my thoughts occupied. I must have found the most boring sermons on the whole site... Nothing interested me at all.
I kept praying, "Lord, please help me".
And in His own time He gave me rest. It was the next afternoon... by this verse:
It must needs be that offenses come.
We know that trials must come to show us what we are made of, to refine us, to draw us closer to Christ. That's what this was all about. According to God's Word I needed to have that experience.
I was just blown away how one verse was the key to this particular battle.
I also have more empathy for my children struggling to learn a new way of thinking. If the battle for me, who knows better, is an adult and fully aware of my choices, must fight hard, what must it be for them?!