Sunday, March 5, 2017

Whatever is Lovely

I was sitting at church one recent Sunday sulking. Not even worship, which always gave me reasons to smile, could pull me to a happy place. It had been a rotten week and it seemed like all my emotions decided to accumulate in that moment. I felt blue.
Nothing terribly horrible had happened. It wasn't anything like that, but the people that had crossed my path had done everything in their power, it seemed, to trip me up. Words were like poison. Attitudes like flaming arrows. Actions... completely self centered. One hit after the other. My heart had taken a bit of a beating and I just couldn't take any more of it.
The problem with my pity party however, was that I was having it while seated on Holy ground, in the presence of My Holy God, too caught up in my problems to remember He is the one who holds it all together.
And then He dropped a word in my heart.
Do not let the circumstances that are surrounding you distract you from the truth of My promises.
The words rolled around in my heart and I knew He was right but how was I supposed to just tuck away all the bad, the mean and the awful?
The words "truth" and "circumstance" rang with importance. The thing I seemed to forget was that they are different things separated by a little thing called vision. Circumstance is here and now but truth is unchanging. Circumstance is often what we see right in front of us while truth is the bigger picture.
My biggest problem...I couldn't get to the truth because I wasn't bypassing Circumstance Boulevard.
A Hillsong Worship song lyric floated into my mind.
"I cast my mind to Calvary. Where Jesus bled and died for me (O Praise the Name)."
I had always taken the whole few lines into context but this time I stopped near the beginning.
I cast my mind.
Suddenly it dawned on me; I have a choice where to cast my mind. Where to cast my thoughts. My attitude.
I can cast them in places they shouldn't be or I can cast them in Someone much greater than me! But bottom line is that it is a choice.
I recently heard a speaker at a conference say that God told her, "Andi you can do this day in your own strength or in My grace (Andi Andrews)."
I think that's true of everything our day encounters. The problems, the people, the unmet promises...we can cast anger or trust. Fear or peace. Curses or blessings. We can walk it all out on our own or we can lean on God's abundant grace.
Lysa Terkeurst's new book also shares a similar phrase over and over. Her message is to "live loved". It sounds so simple yet requires much strength. If only we lived as if we were filled with love. If only I would take a "loved" heart into the storms and trials of my life. To that person who always says something that gets to me. To a crowded room of people I don't know. To those situations the enemy sneaks into my life that sends me into despair. How much would a place of love make a difference when these moments come?
It would make a huge difference I think. And not just in my life, but in the life of the person receiving me.  A world that lived loved would be something. It may never happen across the entire earth, but it could become a reality in our individual world. We could touch the corners and streets and people that intersect out lives with a force of love like never before.
Needless to say, as I squirmed in defeat that Sunday morning and countless times since then, my focus needed a little help. And I think maybe I'm not the only one that has been wading in the wrong river of thoughts. How about we cast a little differently tomorrow. How about we see through different eyes and a different heart and a different mindset. Don't let "it" or "them" or "that circumstance" be the reason you don't make a difference for the Kingdom. Let "it" and "them" and "that" be a reason to make a difference.
Choose friends; choose life. Choose to cast yourself into "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable. Think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy" (Philippians 4:8).
It could make all the difference. Think Lovely!
-Only Hope

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