Monday, March 24, 2014

squelch the inner negativity

I'm not thin enough.
I'm not pretty enough.
I'm not blonde enough.
My skin isn't fair enough.
My style isn't good enough.
I am not enough.

You know those are all lies right?

Ladies, why do we struggle so much with lies like these? The enemy loves to speak these lies right into our lives. He wants nothing more than for you to believe each and every one and then to accept them into your life. Because, he knows you'll become totally and completely ineffective, fruitless as a Christian, as a mom, as a wife, as a friend.

It's no secret that girls and women struggle big time with inner negativity. We seem to be so vulnerable to any negative thought that pops into our head, to any criticism we hear from someone else, and to the harsh comparisons we make about ourselves. And it can be a crushing downward spiral.

The good news for those of us who struggle in this area, is that scripture is not silent on this issue. In fact, the Creator God, who made you in His image and loves you beyond words, has something to say about it.

Scripture speaks a lot about both the heart and the mind - what we should be filling both of them with and what we should be setting them on. Do you ever stop to consider what you've set your heart on this day? What are you filling your mind with today? I guarantee, whatever it is, it has a lot to do with how you view yourself.

God knows, and tells us, that we must focus on and set our minds on things which bring life and peace in order to do the things He has called us to - in order to be the person He has called you to be. He has a will for you, a good and perfect will and He wants you to be effective and brazen for Him. But, we become ineffective as Christians when we allow our minds to be filled with the negative - the trash, filth, dirt that so desperately seeks to take up residence there.

Look, it takes work to rid our minds of those things. Sometimes we've allowed so much junk to fill our hearts and minds that it also takes time. But that's where we have to begin. As Paul says, put to death what is earthly in you, those things that your flesh seeks, your earthly desires. Kill them. Get them gone.

What does this look like practically?
In order to rid our minds of the negativity, the criticism, the comparisons, we have to remove them from our lives. Turn off the television shows, stop listening to the music, close the books, x-out of the websites, end the relationships, break the habits that your flesh desires.

That tv show you watch every single week that makes you think, "Oh, if only I had her shape, if only I could afford her wardrobe, if only my children acted like hers, if only..." stop.watching. And don't ever turn it on again.

That magazine you read that causes you to think only about all the things you don't have, all the features you wish you could change about yourself. close.it. And stop buying it. Stop wasting your money.

That relationship that drags you down because she only has negative things to say, she never wants to listen to you, it drains you, end.it. And move on.

That pop "artist" you listen to on the radio who always sings about sex and drinking and clubbing and unhealthy relationships, turn.her.off.

And don't turn back. Seriously, it can be done. There is no reason why we, Christians, daughters of the Most High King, heirs with Christ, should be subjecting ourselves to filth like that. Why do we make ourselves feel that way? Why do we allow it in our lives? Just stop. It's up to you. And you have the power, through the Holy Spirit to say, no.more.

2014-03-22 22.14.35

So, what next?
If there is space in our hearts and minds, no question, it will be filled with something. But we have the choice about what we fill our hearts with and what we set our minds on.

Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2

What kinds of things is Paul talking about in this passage? Well, good thing for you and me, he tells us. Read Colossians 3:12-16 and you'll find a wonderful list:

compassion
kindness
humility
meekness
patience
forgiveness
love
thankfulness
wisdom
praise

And then he tells us, not only what to allow into our hearts, but who: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart." -Col 3:15

What an incredible list. Sister, are these the things that you set your mind on each day when you wake up? Are these the things that fill your heart, your thoughts, even your actions? Perhaps more importantly, have you made room for these things yet? Your heart cannot be filled with both envy and humility, hate and kindness, grudges and forgiveness, pride and meekness. We have to first, cut those things out, and then we can replace them with:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Philippians 4:8

In order to squelch the inner negativity, to rid ourselves of the bad, the hurtful, the filth, the lies, we must ditch it, put it to death, end it and then fill ourselves with the good. Notice in both the verses from Colossians and Philippians that Paul uses action words. Set, think and put on (Col 3:12) are verbs that require us to actually do something. We can't just sit around and expect the Holy Spirit to change us without doing some work ourselves. This is a call to action. 

You have to rid yourself of anger, rage, lust, greed and idolatry.

You have to set your mind on things like compassion, kindness, patience and love.

You have to think about things that are true, noble, right and pure.

You have to do it. No one else can do it for you and no one else is going to.

And you know what? The work, the effort, the time it takes, is so worth it. Aren't you worth it? In the passage from Colossians, Paul refers to you as "God's chosen one." Believe me, you are worth it. Because, sister, not only were you made by Him, but you were also made with a purpose and a calling. There is work to be done (Ephesians 2:10). And in order for you to be effective in your work, you must set your mind on things above. You must be ruled by the peace of Christ. You must dwell in truth. 

It's no wonder that Paul ends this passage in Colossians by saying, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (emphasis mine).


1 comment:

  1. Love this! The more I have the noise of life turned off the more I feel content.

    ReplyDelete