Monday, May 2, 2011

on keeping on the right track

Today’s a public holiday and I’d thought to sleep in a bit. But I woke up prematurely at about 8am, and horrible to say, I immediately went downhill on that train of negative thinking. You will not believe (or maybe you can) the number and intensity of negative, fearful, miserable thoughts that crowded in upon me, one after the other. They were of the infamous “what if” variety, and suffice to say they were not the exciting “what if I found a million bucks, where would I holiday first?” type, or better yet, the uplifting, “what if Jesus appeared in my room right now?”

Instead, I sat squarely down in that train of dire, catastrophic thinking, and even buckled my seatbelt. For at least 10, 15 minutes – which felt immeasurably longer – I rode that train, indulged in it, really, and got myself on the express to Depressiontown (which is very close to Panictown).

And yet, it was surely the Holy Spirit in me that rose up saying, with increasing urgency, “Stop it, you’ve got to stop it, you’ve got to stop it right now”. And I saw, in my spirit, how surely I was heading into that terrible pit, where one seems to forget God and all sense of perspective. Gradually, with increasing power, these words came to me, and I repeated and repeated them, meditating on them with all my might: The Lord is my healer, He is faithful to deliver me. I will not worry or fear, because I AM in His good hands. I literally repeated those words again and again until they were the only thoughts in my head. And I fell back to sleep.

This is what happened next. I had a dream. The finer details are vague now, but the essential action was this: I was on holiday somewhere, and having a good time. I had my book of devotions with me, and I wanted to sit down and read it and pray. But every time I started to do so, someone or other would come along and distract me. On the last occasion, someone even took the book away from me. And the holiday became less and and less enjoyable each time this happened.

While I’m thankful to say that I did get another two hours’ sleep, that dream stayed on my mind for quite awhile. I think dreams are to some extent an expression of what’s going on in our sub- or unconscious, and I’m also aware that God does speak to people in dreams sometimes, like He did with Jacob or Joseph, for example. I just couldn’t help wondering if somehow the Holy Spirit was telling me that I was letting myself get distracted from God, that I needed to be more dedicated and steadfast in my worship and faith.

I was letting fear and other unholy thoughts and emotions take away from my devotion to Him. And how can we truly enjoy our lives if we let that happen, if we don’t keep close to Him? Remember how I’d felt God was telling me that the way to overcome my challenges was simply to “Spend time with Him”? Well I suppose lately I’ve been spending more time with my fears.

Fellow Christians, please pray for me. James 5:16 says “Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]”.

Thankfully God is full of love, mercy and compassion. I’m sure He does not want us to live fearful, miserable, powerless lives, subject to the deceits and strategies of the enemy. In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, who “wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living”, we see how loving God is.

The prodigal son repents and returns home, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently] … the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honour) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet… let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:20-24, italics mine).

Indeed, every time I get off that wrong train and return to God, I am uplifted and encouraged. I am refreshed and strengthened. And then I am calm enough to see God’s miraculous power and goodness at work in my life. How wonderful to know that He says, “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness--trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation” (Ps 91:14-16).

1 comment:

my thrifty closet said...

thanks for sharing so openly. Our minds are often our biggest enemy. Let's pray for each other that we will not succumb to negative thoughts. One of my favorite reads is Battlefield of the mind by Joyce Meyer, she shares effectively on how God helps women overcome negative thought cycles. For me personally, dwelling on the word of God always never fails to help me overcome negative thinking. God bless you dear sister!



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