09 August 2008

Two More Noteworthy T's

A couple nights ago I had the opportunity to check in with my buddy, Carla. This working for a living thing that I am doing now is getting in the way of my time on-line with some wonderful friends. Carla is a cyber-sibling extraordinaire! I have told you all before that she is one of those Proverbs 31 types; wife, mom to seven, grandmother to one, homeschooler, blogger, webmaster, businesswoman, author...... getting the picture? The only thing the Proverbs 31 woman had over on Carla was some servants to get the housework done.

In the midst of her other official roles Carla has been doing things like encouraging me to write. Ok, so she isn't perfect! She's getting there! She has also been a good sounding board. We share struggles. She and I are very different women. I am more of a Proverbs 32 woman who accomplishes very little and gripes about it a lot. We have had some similar difficult experiences and so we share some common struggles. It is really a gift when God gives you someone who understands your struggles and knows when you speak of them that you aren't looking for a pat on the head and a quick, "There, there."

For example, I told Carla that I was a mess and needed to quit being brave and be a broken little girl. However, I really struggle with allowing myself to be broken while not allowing myself to become bitter. Carla understood exactly what I was saying. For those who are reading that don't get it, here's the best I can describe it. The freedom we have to lay down the facades and be real by acknowledging that everything is not OK is a dangerous freedom for me. Though I have good reason to be broken, when I allow myself the vulnerability to express that pain, I can quickly go from 'being real' to throwing a pity party for myself. While it is perfectly proper to be honest about the pain and disappointments of a life tainted by sin, it is not appropriate to be miffed at God for His providence.

A right heart attitude is precariously balanced and easily tipped from one extreme to another. A believer's life is a balancing act with Christ as the fulcrum. When we allow our minds to focus on anything but the sufficiency of Christ, we are bound to lose our balance and fall into sin. So for me, telling God of my disappointments is fine as long as I don't let my mind wander and focus on what I want that I don't have. When my thoughts lean that way, my disappointment and sorrow needs to be redirected to the reality that God's providence is good. The T that's important here is for thoughts. Taking every thought captive includes the habitual thoughts we have that lead us toward bitterness, anger, depression and melancholy.

Now, my friend Carla would be a great friend just for understanding what I meant when I said I struggled with being broken without being bitter, but she became an extraordinary friend and sister in Christ when she added some encouragement. Carla gave me a linked me to her blog archives and a post she did about counting blessings. You can find it here. She knew that I needed to redirect my thoughts and she knew exactly where I needed to park them. The second T is for thankfulness. It is hard to worry about what God isn't putting in your life when you are grateful what He has given you.

2 Corinthians 10:5 {We are} destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Psalm 10:4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek {Him.} All his thoughts are, "There is no God."

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Psalm 50:14"Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High;

Psalm 107:21-22
21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! 22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing

Hebrews 13:15-16
15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (NAS)

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