Recently, I've felt trapped by my thoughts. Those swirling words and images of things less desireable. It's caused me to feel stunted in my writing and created a lapse in communication with my husband.
The thoughts I'm having aren't necessarily bad. These are thoughts I've carried my entire life. So, what's the difference? Chaulk it up to age and maturity but I'm coining this as spiritual growth. The closer I've drawn to Jesus the more I've realized all the yuck that still lives within me.
Someone recently told me to quit speaking "christianese" and dive deeper. So, I'll get right to the point.
If our life on the outside is packaged nicely but our thought life is ugly and cutting towards others then we aren't living according to God's will for our lives. In fact, we're being downright disobedient to Him.
In the book of Romans, Pastor Paul teaches us what it means to live our lives as living sacrifices for God. I think this applies even to our thought life:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Pretend you're at Target (maybe you're there right now!) and a lady walks down the same aisle you're browsing. You see her outfit and know it's ugly but tell her it's cute anyways. Why? Why did you do that? Because it's nice? Because it's 'what Jesus would do'? Because it made you feel better?
Act one, scene two:
There's someone new to your team at work and you offer to help them on their first project. You may be doing that because you genuinely care and want to help. Or, you could be doing it to show them you're in charge.
For me, this came in the form of serving at church. YIKES!!
I found myself wanting to serve, serve, serve. But why? When I stopped lying to myself I discovered that it was because I wanted people to see what I could do, who I was, what I was capable of, and anything else that I had to offer. Where's the Jesus in that?!
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Philippians 2:3a
Why do we do things? What's at the core of our reasoning? If we can sift through the bullcrap and see straight to the true reason - there we will find that our motives aren't as pure as we'd once thought.
Look, I know this may come across a bit harsh but here's the deal: I didn't think it was a big deal.
IT'S A BIG FREAKING DEAL!
God doesn't want our pretty packages. He doesn't want only what others can see. He certainly doesn't want only half of us. He wants all of us. Yucky hearts and motives included. That's why this isn't something I'll ever take lightly again. Will you?
P.S. This is a small glimpse into why my husband and I are so INCREDIBLY thankful for our phenomenal Pastors, Earl and Oneka McClellan who continually show grace, teach in love and lead with excellence! If you don't have a home church, I encourage you to get connected to one right away! And, if you're in Dallas, Texas or Antigua, Guatemala we'd love to have you join us at Shoreline!
- Is there something in your thought life that's hindering you from growing a more intimate relationship with God?
Pray and ask God to reveal to you the yuck inside your heart and thoughts. Be willing and open to altering those patterns of behaviour and actively pursue working through those areas.