I’m learning that what I think is often more important than various experiences or events. If my thoughts are dark, if I’m feeling insecure, inadequate, uncertain or frumpy, then I tend to behave & interact from a darker place. On the contrast, when I’m hopeful, optimistic, bright, steady & confident, then my interactions are more positive & constructive, with a higher quality of internal resilience.
So maybe this is why Paul tells us in Phil 4:7-8, to let Jesus’ peace guard our hearts & mind, as well as instructing us about keeping our thoughts centered on gratitude, stuff that’s right, honorable, etc.
it’s important to think about our thoughts & appreciate that how we interact & engage is an interior decision more than an external response 🙂
HELP!!!! I have three children & from time to time, I get these texts, calls & messages. Most of the time, they need me to drive them somewhere, buy them something or listen for venting purposes. One of the things I’m learning is to think about solutions that are internal rather than external.
It seems to me that it’s a common perception that our needs & struggles are externally resolved when the real solution lies on the inside with how we see & think about things.
Here are some things to consider:
Do I not like my neighbor because they look successful or because I’m insecure?
Is that co-worker really that obnoxious or are my internal judgements looking for reasons to justify my cold disdain?
Does that person get under your skin because they touch the internal hotspots that need divine attention & healing?
Before we think in terms of external solutions, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to adjust our internal assumptions.
There’s been some interesting news lately about Pablo Picasso & one of his famous paintings, Blue Room. In this painting, Picasso painted a woman, but art experts have found another painting behind the surface painting. The image behind the woman is a portrait of a bearded man & experts are trying to figure out who the man was, along with many other mysterious & important details. It appears that Picasso used his canvass for more than one painting (not an uncommon practice with artists).
Perhaps this is also true with the greatest Artist of all, our Creator. Perhaps God has not only made the external masterpiece that we can all see on the outside of each other & maybe there’s also an internal masterpiece inside of us that God has also created. Let’s be careful that we don’t get stuck in looking at the outside of people, but let’s allow God to show us the masterpiece inside someone & not merely the external painting 🙂
“I’m not your enemy, please stop fighting me!” I said to one of my kids recently. Enemies can be very interesting as I’ve seen from reading about King David in 1 & 2 Samuel. He was an interesting man and had many of the challenges in his life that we face – external & internal enemies.
David’s external enemies were people who opposed his progress – people who didn’t want him to be king, his brothers who derided him for being the troublesome little brother, Nabal who thought he was just another slacker looking for a handout, etc. We all have people & even situations in our lives that seem to oppose our progress and efforts to accomplish things & to go places. Perhaps we have external enemies to develop internal strength & fortitude.
David also had several internal enemies. In my opinion, David’s internal enemies were more harmful to him than his external enemies. Here are some internal enemies that David had, that might be familiar to us:
focus: David didn’t control his focus & therefore his passions which resulted in his relationship with Bathsheba & the death of her husband, Uriah (read Ps 51)
confronting: David didn’t confront his son Amnon about raping Tamar (Amnon’s half-sister); David didn’t confront Absalom about killing Amnon; both occasions combined to make for heartache in David’s life (killing, rejection, dishonor, rebellion, relationship breakdown, etc)
counting: at the end of David’s reign, he made a decree for the Israelites to be counted. Perhaps David wanted this census to measure his success, power, influence, etc. I don’t know why David made this census, but it was displeasing to God – some kind of wrong motive.
Let’s be attentive to the weakspots / enemies in our hearts & thinking – they can most certainly be more destructive than any external enemy 🙂
There are lots of things that can be stress-ers in our world – dr reports, kids, traffic, news reports, relationships, finances, job situations, school deadlines, health struggles, to name a few. In our world, there’s no shortage of a stress supply. On the flip side, I think we should consider that possibly there’s a shortage of peace & serenity. I also think that genuine peace is not normally found in the external world with all of the news reports, traffic, school deadlines, etc. I believe that genuine peace is a gift from Jesus & that it is best experienced through our relationship with Him. In John 14, He tells us that He’s giving us His peace & it’s been my experience that when I snuggle in with Jesus that His peace immunizes me from the stresses all around me. It’s not so much that I’m oblivious to what’s going on around me as much as His peace inside me has more gravity & strength than the external stresses. May your day be filled with Jesus’ peace 🙂