Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mind on Target...Glocks and God.

This blog is also published over at SHINE Girls.  I encourage you to click over and check out what they've got going on!  I love it, and am thankful to Jill for giving me an opportunity to share.

#1 The mind is a powerful tool.
#2 Use it...don't let it use you.

My husband is exceptionally talented with a gun.  He's also an excellent teacher.  He's taught me to shoot with confidence, and when he was in town last month he served as my "coach" for a Glock tournament in Griffin.  He participated in the tournament too, of course, and it was a surprisingly awesome "date" day.  What was even more surprising is how the Lord began to teach me a lesson that day that's been ongoing ever since...

It has to do with the mind, and how destructive it can be if we let our thoughts wander from the ultimate goal.

During one round of the shooting tournament, I let my mind relax, just for a moment, and I started missing the targets.  It was a downer for my score, but I learned from it.  In a later round I almost made the same mistake, but I pulled my focus back in and made my hubby proud. :)

We started talking about how important it is to keep the mind focused...I related it to my running, and he to his weight lifting, and both of us related it to this time in our lives when he has to be far away from us for a few more months. 

Also, while he was home there was a time when I felt myself spiraling mentally.  I was following a trail of thoughts to somewhere I didn't even want to go. It was really killing my joy.  At first I just rode the wave, and then the Lord (praise!) got a hold of my heart.

I told myself, "STOP!  Just stop.  There's no joy there."

I prayed and prayed to keep the negative thoughts from coming back.  Trying desperately to "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5).  I thought of IV's and my conversation about the mind...I had to reign it in!

The next morning the Lord gave me this verse:
"Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord."
Psalm 104:34
I posted it on my kitchen window.  I had it memorized almost immediately because I just couldn't stop saying it to myself.  I wanted to be glad in the Lord, and I was...I am!

Since then, I've been thinking, praying, and studying about the effects of the mind.  The negative effects when we let it go places it shouldn't, and the positive effects it can have when it's trained and used appropriately. He gives us clear instructions on what to think on in Philippians 4.

From studying God's word, to shooting a gun, to maintaining healthy relationships, to running a marathon, to sticking it out when times are bad, and to not losing focus when times are good...a steadfast mind is necessary if we want to live purposefully, bringing glory to God.  We should discipline ourselves "for the purpose of godliness" (1 Timothy 4:7).

We could be like the Israelites who complained in the desert (as we SHINE girls have read in Numbers 11) and let our minds control us.   How quickly they forgot the works of the Lord!  And boy did it annoy Him! 

A better choice is for us to remember the things the Lord has done - that He's formed us, we're His servants, and He will never forget us (Isaiah 44:21).

It brings great reward today and forever:

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
 Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock."
Isaiah 26:3-4
What's even better?  We don't have to do it in our own power!  "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" (John 14:26).
If we keep our focus on Him, He'll do the rest.  His love never fails!



Friday, March 1, 2013

Wait, Is This What I Ordered??

#1 What do we expect when we wait on the Lord?
#2 Expectations are tricky things.
It's back to "normal" life least my normal for four more months (maybe).  I did stop myself from making the movie cliche dash to the airport to chase him down and yell, "Wait!  Don't go!", but just barely.  So here we are - waiting, planning, and preparing for what's next.  However, we (like everyone else) never know what tomorrow will bring. I'm okay with that (Matthew 6:34 has been one of my life verses for a LONG time), but I've got a new verse in my head this week that just won't leave me alone:

 “Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
 “Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:18-19
The Lord is speaking to the nation of Israel.  The "something new" is Jesus.  The sad thing is that when the Messiah came many Jews missed Him because they were expecting something else.  They were looking for an earthly king, but Jesus had something so much better...a kingdom "not of this world". (John 18:36)
I don't want to make the same mistake. 
I don't want to miss what God has in store.
When He comes calling I don't want to be looking over His shoulder to see if He's hiding a bigger house on a little bit of land for us behind His back (because that's what I think I want).  I would rather be looking to see what He's holding out to us in His hands, because I'm sure it'll be so much better. (Or it may be a bigger house on a little bit of just never know!) All I know is that He wants to give His children what is good. (Matthew 7:11)
We have lots of dreams, plans, and ideas, but in the end what we should really want is what He wants for us.  He says in His word that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are not ours. (Isaiah 55:9) He's a BIG God, let's not miss out on His BIG plan.

I'll have what He's having.