Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her
How many of us really trust God and His Word? I mean really trust and in times of turmoil and lean more on what He said than on what we see. It’s not so easy.
Since we’ve been talking about seeing, and sight, let’s explore the physical world and how we perceive it based on the foundation of knowing God loves us, feeling seen and understood by Him and also having a right perception of God.
Walk with me down this path as a roadmap to untangle misaligned thinking which may be preventing you from experiencing all that God has to offer, especially peace of mind.
First we know that our beliefs create our thinking which produces feelings, not the other way around. And mostly we take actions based on our feelings which then produce outcomes and the cycle repeats ad nauseam.
Here’s the path: Beliefs -> Thinking -> Feelings -> Actions -> Outcomes
So to understand your feelings and why they might be plagued with anxiety or stress or worry or discouragement, look not at the external situation, look at your thinking about that situation. What are you ruminating on? Are you giving yourself the luxury of indulging in negative thinking. Maybe you don’t know it.
How can you find that out? Write for about 20 minutes on a topic that is bothering you. Get it all out. Then go back and re-examine what you said and you’ll discover the way you are processing the event is causing you to feel the way you feel.
If we know that Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen then we just need to focus on what is not seen more than what is seen.
How can we re-align our thinking to produce peace? Here are a few simple steps I have used for many years now and have found to be helpful.
1) Know that your eyesight isn’t the best compass.
It’s easy to think that what we are seeing in this world is the reality. That we understand the ‘facts’ and that is all there is. People hurt us. We are struggling financially. We don’t understand why something happened that we didn’t want to happen. That’s how the world lives. But WE don’t have to live with such limited vision. We have been given promises that can trump the ‘facts’.
Of course we need to accept responsibility for inaction or mistakes we have made that in part created the situation. Then we correct those moving forward. We also need to focus on God’s promises more often and know that where you focus your thoughts, feelings will follow.
2) Find promises that counter-act your mis-aligned thinking.
What do I mean by that? Do your own research. Open your Bible and start reading in Proverbs or Psalms. The New Testament is ripe with promises too. Find verses that can encourage you, strengthen your faith and reassure you of God’s love for you. Believe more strongly on what is not ‘seen’ in this world YET than you do in what is visible to you now. When you see God Rightly you can have a smile even in what seems to be a dark time because you are excited to see how God is going to work it out.
Some of the staple promises I focus on are: All things are working together for my good. With God all things are possible. His eye is on the sparrow. God’s good thoughts towards me are more in number than the grains of sand in the ocean. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. God wishes above all things that I prosper and be in good health even as my soul prospers.
3) Re-calibrate your Faith Compass.
I am not saying that you deny your situation. You can acknowledge it, accept it and then choose to act or not act from a place of assurance that God loves and supports you. If you are doing the best you can with the gifts and talents He has given you, then you can be sure He will work miracles on your behalf. He WANTS to!
Remember my old philosophy, “If it’s to be it’s up to me.” Hogwash. Today I live light and easy. I take it one day at a time. I am careful to monitor my thinking and make sure my compass is tracking faith and not fear. How do I know? Just check in with my feelings. If they are more positive than negative I am heading in the right direction.
Be like Mary. Even though she didn’t understand how it could be that she would bear Jesus, she said, “Be it done unto me according to your word.” She trusted what seemed a physical impossibility and aren’t we glad she did!
Day 4 Lenten Love Prayer:
Today I choose to let go of fear, anxiety, doubt and discouragement. I trust that You have a plan and that all things are working together for my good. I know that sometime in the near future I’ll look back at this moment and say, “Wow if it weren’t for that happening then this wouldn’t have happened!” So while I’m in the midst of the storm, even then shall I praise you. Knowing that you are Lord of it all. You see things I can’t see right now and I will hang onto the promises that You love me, You see me, You understand my needs in ways I don’t and You are working on the details I couldn’t possible orchestrate myself. I am excited to see how this will work knowing that all glory will go to You because I could never take credit for pulling this off myself. As I look back on my life I see that some of the worst things turned out to be the best things. I will go where you lead me next…with a smile on my face.
Day 4 Scripture:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. — Romans 8:28