Is anyone else extra thankful for that today?
I am home today, which is a huge blessing. I love being home. I have taco chili cooking in the crockpot and the scents of fall burning, which adds to the comfort of this place I love. I spent some much needed extra time in the Word and prayer this morning. The rest of the week is going to be extremely full. Today I sit for a few moments. I am thankful for so much. I am thankful it is a new day. I am thankful for mornings. His mercies are new every morning! I am thankful that it is a new week, because last week threatened to drain the life right out of me.
Ever had a week like that?
I am a solid Biblical counselor (by study, not profession) and give myself free counseling sessions on a regular basis. This weekend a friend suggested that I start charging, which made me giggle! (On the one hand I could make some extra money...but on the other hand I can't afford myself. Haha! The conundrum of being your own therapist.) Last week my "office" was busy with three demanding clients - me, myself, and I. And let me tell you, it was exhausting!
I'm not proud of this, but I had a few days where I was tempted to resign any roles of responsibility, leadership, and influence, and crawl into a corner where I could be anonymous, average, and apathetic. That self-protective corner looms in front of me at times, luring me with lies that it would be easier to hide there.
However, God desires leaders to shine as lights and stand strong for Him. So I press on in the name of Jesus. But sometimes my flesh is weak, and I have to fight a battle of the mind.
I've been thinking about that battle a lot. Often we automatically assign the term "battle of the mind" to issues of purity and lust, and those are absolutely areas where we must remain on guard. But there are more issues than those in this battle.
Sometimes in life we get a little beat up; we get a little torn down; we have to process words thrown out about us that are unfair or untrue; we have to deal with circumstances that we just plain don't understand; we have to stand strong in a culture that mocks God and could easily weigh our hearts down, or tear our families and faith apart.
During these times it is easy for all that to get in our head. And we replay words, and wonder why on earth someone would say or do that, or feel like we just can't take this anymore, or feel we don't have the strength to stand strong and endure. And the enemy of our souls would take the greatest delight if we took our ball and went home. If we found that corner and cowered in fear and self-protection, extinguishing the light that threatens his darkness.
But the Lover of our souls has the power to renew our minds. He gives us a plan of action. His Word, our source of life and strength, tells us where to set our thoughts.
Sometimes we want to meditate on the harsh realities of life that threaten to drain us to the point of ineffectiveness. Our minds race with these thoughts, but we need to replace them with things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. Things that will be honorable and profitable to our spiritual lives.
The battle of my mind was so intense this week that I literally made out a chart of some harsh realities that my mind was dwelling on (that threatened to drive me into that corner) versus a chart of some truths I know from God's Word that I needed to replace the other thoughts with. It looked like this...
Leadership is lonely. I had a dear, sweet pastor's wife recently tell me she was battling serious isolation and trust issues. She didn't need to say more. I get it completely. I cannot describe to you how lonely it can be as a leader but if you are one, than you know this already. But in the loneliness I often ask myself, what am I going to do? Throw in the towel? Be anonymous, average, and apathetic? Or embrace the truth that God is always with us - He will never leave or forsake us - He is El Roi, the God who sees. He knows - He will defend and have the final say. We must saturate our minds in truth, because truth trumps feelings every time.
People are manipulative. There's really not much more that is necessary to say, except that manipulation hurts and drains. But God is truth - His Word is truth - and He knows the truth, the whole story! The Bible says we can know the truth and the truth will set us free! (John 8:32)
Life is not fair - often the righteous suffer. Oh, some of the suffering I have seen among the righteous lately has brought me to my knees on behalf of others and what they are going through. It doesn't make sense to our earthly minds. But God is just and all knowing - it will all be sorted out in eternity - and He calls us to faithfulness regardless of our circumstances. That is a high and honorable but difficult calling.
We have some faraway friends who have been enduring an incredible trial for some time now. This couple has four beautiful teenage/young adult children. They opened their home and were sweet mentors to us and several other couples when we were newlyweds. They are godly people grounded in the Word who have served Jesus faithfully. And right now Tim is fighting a very serious battle with brain cancer.
They have been actively posting about their battle on facebook and a blog titled We Choose To Believe. I am amazed how much they are relying on and claiming Scripture during this battle. It is humbling and inspiring.
The other day Melinda posted this on her facebook page...