David and I are in Michigan. Yes, Michigan. Before you ask why, just let me say that where else would a Ford man be during the 50th anniversary of the Mustang? We visited the Henry Ford Museum , spent a day in Ontario, did lots of other Ford stuff and enjoyed a prelude to winter. (yes it is down right nippy) While he is checking out the cars, I thought I would post a quick blog about something that affects every woman I know, especially me:
how we think.
In a recent article in the Western Recorder, "People are Looking for Mercy", Rick Warrren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California said this: "A lot of people think mental illness means people are out of touch with reality. Ninety nine percent of us-and I include all of us-- struggle with mental health issues, and we're not out of touch with reality. Depression is a mental health issue. Worry is a mental health issue. Compulsion is a mental health issue......Fear is a mental health issue."
Rick and Kay Warren have experienced something that no parent should experience; the suicide of their son, Matthew. They have been very open about the mental health issues he suffered since childhood. And while I am no where near qualified to discuss the issues of mental health from a professional perspective, like most women, I have experienced depression, worry, compulsion, and fear. And before I go any further, let me encourage you to seek professional help for depression or mood swings that consume you or hang on for long periods of time. Tell a trusted friend or family member, please don't suffer in silence, find someone who will listen and get the professional help needed to get well and whole. This post is not meant to address those issues in any way. This post is for those times in our lives when we are fearful and worry, when we feel mildly depressed and just a little compulsive. Sound like your life? It sure sounds like parts of mine.
"Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Most of the things that bring us down emotionally are things that are simply untrue. And lies of our enemy bring on feelings of fear and worry. Who told you that you aren't as good as...........? And who said you aren't as smart as.......? And who is this "they" that we often think are talking about us or putting us down? Stick with the truth of what God says about you in Ephesians 1: you are "blessed, chosen, holy, without blemish, (sounds pretty good to me) adopted, accepted, redeemed, forgiven," and that's the truth! More truth: Phil. 4:13 and 19; "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." V19; "God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Truth; through Christ you can do all things so don't be afraid.
Truth: you will not starve, God will supply all your needs so don't worry. And since God is always right, and since He is always good and since He will only allow into our lives the things that are best for us and bring Him the most glory, that takes care of worry and fear for our future. Think about that.
The truth is, we are His chosen, beloved children and "no weapon formed against us will prosper." Isaiah 54:17. When I replace fear and worry with truth, I take the focus off of me and my way of thinking, and it changes everything.
Most women can get a little compulsive from time to time. (I am smiling as I write this) We get compulsive with how we look, what we eat, how we decorate our homes, how are children are perceived, and yes, you got it; ourselves. Many, many times I have been more consumed with what people thought of me than what God thinks of me. Read Isaiah 6:1-3. It really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up and sitting on His throne. Above the throne stood the seraphim and what were they calling to each other? The truth is, it is not about me and it is all about our holy, holy, holy Lord. Truth sets me straight and keeps me in my place, but more importantly truth sets me free. (John 8:32) One day, the things we are consumed with, the things we think are so important, will pass away and we will kneel at His feet and proclaim that He is holy, holy, holy.
Guilt often leads to depression. And it doesn't take but one drop of guilt for the enemy to start a fire of depression and I tend to isolate myself. He knows that if we as believers are isolated from other Christians, we develop a more inward focus and the guilt will eat away at us and kill the joy. Guilt keeps us from church attendance, from prayer, from reading our Bible, from fellowshipping with other believers and before we know it we have gone so far we think we can't get back. And that is depression's goal; to take us so far away from truth that we feel there is no way back. But when I think about truth, and honesty and being fair, again the focus is turned from me and my prideful thinking that "it is all about me" and placed where it belongs; on Him. I have learned that when I begin to feel guilty it usually means that I have unconfessed, unforgiven sin that is standing between me and my Father. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean and brings back the joy, it brings back the hope, and it puts out that fire of depression. The goal of our enemy is to keep us so consumed with ourselves that we cannot see anyone or anything else. We train our minds to think in the heavenly realm when we think on truth, honesty, fairness, pure and lovely things, reports of good news, things that are virtuous and worthy of our praise.
Now, that means we may have to change what we watch on tv. We may need to change the style of music we listen to, the books and magazines we read, who we hang out with, and where we go for entertainment, but it will be worth it. Because you see, when we replace a lie with the truth, when we replace compulsive, depressing thoughts with pure and lovely things, dwell on the good news and not the bad, and we look for things in our lives and in the lives of others that are virtuous and worthy of our praise, a whole new way of thinking and believing opens up to us. And when we control our thinking instead of our thinking controlling us, oh ladies, we begin to experience the freedom that salvation intends us to experience. So today, you choose what you think about; don't let the enemy make that choice for you.
I encourage you to read Phil 4:8, spend a few moments meditating on truth, honesty, fairness, lovely and virtuous things, the good news we hear and cultivate virtuous thoughts. Think on the these things and watch God transform your attitude toward your husband and kids, your work and other relationships, and your feelings and emotions concerning the future. God is interested in every area of our lives and it all starts with what we are thinking.
(I did not know they have black squirrels in Ontario! An amazing sight to this Kentucky girl. Oh yes, and at the border, as David talked with the border control agent, he politely smiled and said, "I can tell you are from Kentucky." Now wonder how he knew that?)