Monday, May 14, 2012

The Story Behind the Lies Chapter 2: You Are What You Think

So I've been running around lately doing wedding preparations (I'm the maid of honor for my best friend's wedding) and it's been keeping me pretty busy. So to my dear friends who read this blog to keep up with me post-graduation: sorry about that. I'll try to be better at keeping this thing updated.

You know, I'm going to skip my usual back story and cut right to the chase on this one. Sound OK? I've got like 30 minutes till bedtime and I want to get this thing up tonight. Ready? Let's start!

I once read a quote while perusing the Internet that said something to the effect of if our friends talked to us like we talk to ourselves, we wouldn't be friends with them anymore. Makes you think, doesn't it? I think most of us don't even realize what we are doing to ourselves when we cut ourselves down. I'm as guilty as the rest of you; as you might remember from my previous post, I still struggle with perfectionism, so when something I am trying to do goes wrong, my gut reaction is to beat myself up about it. I've gotten a lot better about how I talk to myself, but the self-deprecating thoughts can start to creep in if I'm not careful.

Now, I say these things for a reason: I know good and well I'm not the only one. I wanted to share something with you that I heard when I visited my old church this past weekend that really hit home on this issue. My pastor took this idea from Psalm 103, which says,

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-- 18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

What David is doing here is focusing not on himself and his own issues, but on God and who he is. He's telling his own soul to praise the Lord and reminding himself that God is compassionate, that he doesn't repay us according to what we deserve, that his love is never-ending and his mercy has no limit. David could have focused on all the bad things happening to him, but he chose to dwell on who God is instead. He could have dwelled on his own failures and shortcomings, but he made a conscious effort to think about the goodness of his Father instead.

Circumstances come and go, but God never changes. You can always count on him to have a plan for your good (and your good is Him). Is the process painful? Yes, it is. Are we going to get it right every time? No, we are not. But I think God has something far better in mind for his kids than a pain-free, perfect life here on Earth, don't you?

So I'm going to choose to dwell on God's love and mercy and compassion the next time I'm tempted to dwell on my shortcomings. And you know what? As I start to think more and more about who my Father is, I'm going to start becoming more like him, because we become what we think. Who's with me?

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