Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why We Shouldn't Believe Ourselves at 3 AM

"Yikes! I really need to clean that showerhead." 

"I should eat more veggies." 

"What's a better quiet time plan for my five year old?" 

"I should exercise more than doing yoga once a week." 

"Would we ever adopt?" "Should we really start each morning with old Mickey Mouse cartoons and pancakes?" "I need to finish that newsletter subscription resource." "I need to make that phone call." "Do I read enough to the boys?" "What difference can I make?" "Did I switch that last load of laundry to the dryer?" "I should be more patient." 

These thoughts can crowd through my mind in a four second span of time. And I can go from one simple observation of "there's a cobweb in that corner" to "I'm the world's worst fill-in-the-blank" in a five-step process. 

Ever noticed this is especially easy at night? I don't know about you but when I'm up feeding the baby or putting a child back in bed if I'm not careful my mind drifts. I go from seeing that pile of unfolded laundry I left on the way to bed to realizing that I need to redo my whole schedule to contain my superwoman efforts. The problem is I'm no superwoman. 

Between the things I need to start doing and the things I need to do better is a tiny road that leads straight to exhaustion and discouragement. I start there in my mind and gallop ahead with my heart. This is not the best use of my mind. 

The Bible encourages us to love God with all our minds- not just our hearts or our souls, but with our minds as well. Mark 12:30 states: "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." God cares about we do with our minds. He also gives us guidelines for what to think. Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. (Tell me you didn't have a teacher that told you that!) God bought us with salvation and has the right to all of us- including our minds. 

So what can we do when we realize we are staring at defeat because of one dirty showerhead? 

We take our thoughts captive. We are in charge of them; we aren't at their mercy. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 

"Every thought to the obedience of Christ." 

Instead of dwelling on the questions or the list of "shoulds" (although we should definitely pray about both) let's replace that with God's truth. When I start to feel like a failure for not exercising enough or being the world's best mom or always having all the laundry clean and folded and put away, I should instead remember the truth about God. 

-God loves me. John 3:16 
-God is working in my life right now. Philippians 1:6
-God has all the wisdom I need. James 1:5
-God is gracious and longsuffering. Psalm 103:8
-God gives peace. Philippians 4:6-7
-God establishes boundaries for my protection. Proverbs 8:32
-God uses the hard things to draw me to Him. Psalm 119:67
-God's Word shows me the path to follow. Psalm 119: 105

When I start reflecting on the truth I realize it's not all about me. In eternity it will not matter if there's a pile of unfolded towels on my couch when I go to bed. There is certainly no need to be the "world's best" at anything as that could only exalt me and not Christ. So often my heart craves validation instead of desiring to exalt Him with my life. 

Now you know me. I'm not suggesting that we don't do the work. We need to take care of our families and clean those showerheads and ask the hard questions. We need to fold the laundry and exercise. But we shouldn't beat ourselves up over the fact that we can't finish all the work every day. It's never ending. 

Who actually fixes all the things they realize are wrong with them at 3 in the morning? Let's remember who God is instead. 

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