Sometimes I lose perspective. I forget that this whole thing is bigger than me. It's bigger than my checking account or the pile of laundry on the floor. It's bigger than a dirty car or a messy desk.
I have a tendency to make all of these little things into really huge things and then allow those things to occupy my mind for days at a time. They can totally consume my thoughts if I allow them. Sometimes I can recognize the assault on my mind and take those thoughts captive. Other times though, they quietly march around and gain strength. And then without me even noticing, my mind is consumed with a neverending to-do list, a financial crisis, and a million reasons of why "I just can't" be who God has called me to be.
This parade of negativity has some nasty consequences, not just on my spiritual and mental self, but on my physical body as well. My mind gets overwhelmed and so I eat junk food. Then I get sad that I'm eating so much junk food but I figure since I've already eaten one cookie I might as well go on and eat a second one........
And then there is my poor husband and anyone else I'm close to. When my mind is caught up in everything else, I tend to push others away from me. I tend to think only of myself and nothing of what they might be going through. And if they are having a bad day too, then this frame of mind can be a recipe for disaster.
So now with a background into how my mind works, can you see how important it is for me to take every thought captive to my Lord and Savior? I would dare say that most of us struggle with the "dark cloud of negativity" from time to time.....some more than others. Satan loves to keep our minds busy with our troubles so we can't see the beauty around us. Because if he can make us feel abandoned.....he's that much closer to getting us to give up entirely.
Yesterday I was off work (hallelujah). I spent the first several hours of my day off sleeping. As in, I woke up at 11 a.m. yesterday. Some people sleep that long and feel awful....sleeping that long is actually one of the only things that can get me feeling like a human being. I think I've mentioned it before, but my body just requires more sleep than others. So I woke up in a pretty good mood, made a fruit smoothie and slowly started cleaning the house. But it wasn't long before I started paying extra attention to how dirty the house was, how many bills were stacked up on my counter, how my shorts don't fit like they used to and suddenly I found myself parked in front of the TV eating a Twix bar.
And then suddenly, Duke started barking his head off. He wanted outside. I opened the door to let him out, but he stopped to look at me instead. He wanted me to come with him. So I sighed and walked out the door and sat on the porch swing while he sniffed around the yard. But then he got a wild hair and he just started running. He would run in a big circle, dive into the ground, roll around, get up, and run in a big circle again. He repeated this for several minutes. I laughed at him the whole time and that's when it hit me: God is good.
I'm sitting on the back porch watching my dog play in our huge yard that is surrounded by fields. It was so beautiful. There was a nice breeze and it felt so good outside yesterday. God created everything my eyes could see and gave me such a beautiful place to call home. I quit looking at all of the bad and started paying attention to the beauty around me. After that I returned inside with a much happier frame of mind.
We choose whether to see the beauty in life or the ugliness. I know what focusing on the ugly does to me. I know how it pollutes my mind and sends me down a path of self-loathing and general unhealthiness. I want to make more of an effort to focus on the good in this life and to look at the bigger picture.
Praise be to God that I have the Holy Spirit to shine a light into my mind when I start traveling down a dark road. I am so thankful for a God who is actively involved with my life, rather than a God who is never present and makes me go through stuff like this on my own. And I am also very thankful that I married an optimistic man that is always making me laugh. God bless that bright-spirited man.
So with that, I will share a personal goal I've set for myself this week. Part one: when I find myself worrying over the troubles of life, I will redirect my thoughts and spend the next few minutes thanking God for what I have. Part two: make a better effort to spend time in the Word and in prayer. Feel free to join me!! :)
"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fulness of life and power that comes from God." ~Ephesians 3:19