Whatever we focus on—we become…
The words from a past devotion that I saved to share with my daughter resonated in my heart and reverberated within the walls of my mind as I shared it with her this last weekend.
July 4th—the day when our country as a whole celebrates our independence with the traditional fare of family, food and fireworks.
I purposed to spend some individual time with my daughter—I had no idea of how or when it would happen; just that time with her was a goal I intended to achieve.
Before we left to spend that time together, I had been preoccupied with an incident that I had gone through and it was all I could think about. I tried with all my might to harness my thinking and stuff away the chaotic mess that my mind was giving in to—but like a poisonous gas, it seeped its way out of that contained area I tried to trap it in, and began tainting my thoughts.
Even as I walked with my daughter along the elevated shoreline of a beautiful lake—aiming to give her one on one time—my mind couldn’t help but be saturated with what I perceived as an offense too great to ignore.
However, the more I tried to push away the thoughts of that offense, the angrier I felt and the deeper the transgression seemed to seep into my veins. Soon, the violation that I felt had an iron grip on my mind and those poisonous talons of bitterness pierced my heart injuring me in a way that no one else could see.
I wanted so badly to run—
I wanted so badly to call someone—
To text someone—
To ask someone to pray for me…I felt like I couldn’t even do that! The people that I wanted to reach out to have families and friends that they were spending time with and I wasn’t about to infringe on that time—especially, for what I saw as my own selfish desires—
I felt utterly trapped and at a new level of crazy that I couldn’t seem to reign in—and it made me furious!
I just needed to get fresh air—no—I needed to vent—no— I wanted to get away! I wanted to run!
Feeling frustrated and without any rational thought—I asked my daughter if she wanted to go on a walk.
We began to walk, and sad to say my thinking was still on the hurt inflicted on me.
The further we walked the more intense my own spiraling thoughts became.
Soon the offense was seen as a betrayal.
Though nothing that was spoken between my daughter and I was particularly emotional—I found myself letting out a frustrated growl/sigh (more as a response to my own thoughts) to which she thought was a reaction to plans that she had already made. She looked at me quizzically. Her questioning glance put me in check.
At that moment, all I thought was, “oh, my dear, Jesus, please help me.”
I sighed as I chose to allow my thoughts to do a 180°.
I asked my girl to sit down on a log that was on the shoreline and told her I wanted to share something I thought she may identify with.
It was a devotion that I had read a few days back. The words of that devotion reminded me that whatever we focus on—whatever we give energy to—whatever we find our minds dwelling on—we become.
Proverbs 23:7a “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”
It wasn’t until I found myself pouring out my thoughts did I allow those words to sink into my heart.
When I first put my pen to paper I spewed my anger, distrust and pain.
Then, as if trying to convince the one who hurt me, I wrote, “to know God more is to know love more. To know the teachings of Jesus is to know passion, forgiveness and truth. To know Abba is to know love, acceptance and complete wholeness.”
I teetered between my examples of what was done wrong and what I knew to be right biblically.
“1 Corinthians 13” flashed in my mind. I knew this was the “love” chapter.
As I was locating the chapter as fast as I could, I thought, “this will most certainly be the place where I can definitively see how mistreated I was! Surely, I can justify my anger!”
v.4 “Love is patient”
Not sarcastic and condescending when there fails to be understanding.
“Love is kind”
It builds up, it edifies, it encourages and it sees the good.
“Love is not arrogant”
It looks to help the loved one understand. It agrees to bring both parties to level ground—it doesn’t strive to be known as the superior or better one.
v.5 “Love does not seek its own”
Love desires the heart longings of another.
“Love is not provoked”
It sees the times of pain and walks with the one harmed, not angered or defensive because of that pain.
“Love does not take into account a wrong suffered—“
I was told I was being defensive…yes, that was right on, I was defensive.
This isn’t about you. It’s about me.
In my interactions with you, I was not patient or kind.
I sought more to be understood, than to understand.
I was provoked to anger and defensiveness quickly.
I have failed to forgive and thus have allowed for those wrongs to build a wall of bitterness…
Regardless of your choices—I am not being who God created me to be.
It is me not loving well…
It was ironic—in the pointing out of where I felt the wrongs were done to me—I saw my own shortcomings and deficiencies.
Looking back on the decision to ask my daughter to walk with me when I was a total nutcase—I see how wrong it was…though I do have to say…at this moment, I know without a doubt that God works everything out for the good of those who love Him!
Romans 8:28 “We know that, God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
When I took my first step (and my next few hundred more), my thinking was twisted with hurt and fear. My thoughts were not edifying or godly—and I certainly wasn’t thinking on things that were good and pure—but my Jesus, He’s got my back! He works it all out! Thank God!
Thank you Jesus for working out those times when I fail to even desire to do the right thing!