|my study desk|
A few years ago there was a TV commercial where a homemaker concluded with, "Life is messy. Clean it up!"
Is not that so true? Life is messy! Trouble, pain, confusion, misunderstandings, overreactions, angry outbursts, impatience, and so many other negatives drop in on us, sometimes daily, while we are trying to just stay out of the fray!
Recently I was confronted with stories of a bothersome circumstance, something about which I had nothing to do and for which there was nothing I could do to fix. All the same, it troubled my spirit and I could not easily erase the mental pictures from my mind.
I am not alone in my experience. We are bombarded with bad news, warnings, threats, and stories of terrible things happening all over the world, sometimes fearfully close to where we are. What is a person to do to maintain their sanity and to keep a healthy perspective?
"Lord, help me! I'm drowning with fear, disgust, anger..."
Blessed is the man that walketh not
in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalm 1:1-3 KJV
It is in times like this that we need to monitor our thoughts. With my strong interest in nutrition, I like to say that we are what we eat. The same is true for the mind. We are what we think.
When we allow ourselves to dwell on the unsavory, we become unpleasant ourselves. But when we focus on God's Word, we are blessed with an ability to withstand the bad news and to be both discerning and strong, even winsome, in spite of great hardship.
We must ask ourselves, what does God have to say about [this negative thing] that has captured my attention?
What I found is that when I focus on scripture and turn over in my mind God's ways of handling things, I am blessed like that tree growing beside water. I am able to produce spiritual fruit such as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Experience has also taught me to pray back to God what I am reading in His Word. When we say back to Him what He has said to us, we know we are praying according to His will.
Lord, I do take delight in Your Word. I see the truth in what You have said. I don't want to be like those who pay attention to ungodly counsel, I don't want to spend the majority of my time with those who ignore You and Your ways; I don't want to be negative and critical.
Instead, I want to be like that healthy tree, feeding on Your goodness, Your mercies, learning to live in obedience to You. I want to honor You and be prosperous in what I do.
It is important for our spiritual, emotional, mental, and even our physical health to spend time alone with the Lord every single day, and to spend as much time as reasonably possible. We need a daily infusion of reading Scripture and thinking about the personal application those Words are meant for us. We need to pray back to God His very words because that pleases Him and instructs us in the saying of them aloud.
I have learned to have this quiet time with Him at the very beginning of my day. I need that time to prepare me for whatever will come, even before I read my email or speak to those outside of the walls of my house! To start the day without acknowledging the Lord first is like leaving the house to work in my pajamas -- I'm not adequately prepared!
Life is messy. That is an unavoidable fact. The enemy of our souls is always at work to defeat us. But our Heavenly Father has given us the tools and instruction we need to face the onslaught. Victory is ours when we take Him at His Word.
Blessed is the person who meditates on God's Word all the time.