There is a song that goes like this:
“Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name”
Its refrain plays over and over in my mind.
Self-talk is not new news… from ancient days to today… this we know… what we think affects us. Ancient text speaks its truth: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Prov. 23:7 (KJV)
Armour of God
Recently, I completed a study with a group of women, called the “Armor of God,” by Priscilla Shirer. There was a great challenge for me in this study. (More than one, actually… 🙂 ) As we progressed through the study, we reached the chapter on the Shoes of Peace. Priscilla spoke of the peace of God that is ours and how to incorporate it into our lives. How to have our feet “shod with the gospel of peace.” Eph. 6:15
She took us to this passage: “… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Phil. 4: 6- 7 (ESV)
And, she made this point, “Thanksgiving activates peace, and trust fuels thanksgiving.” God’s peace becomes our guard and protector; “the guard of our hearts and protector of our minds.”
Shirer says, “when you feel anxiety welling up, take that as your cue to be thankful.” For Col. 3:15, says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Rule, in this verse, connotes “umpire.” So peace is not only our guard, it is, Priscilla says, “also your guide.”
The impact of these words gave me pause. Peace is always something I have struggled with, getting it, keeping it, living in it. I am by nature more of a worrier, expecting the negative outcome rather than a positive one. Still, peace is not to depend on any outcome. Yet, I have wondered, why do I find peace so elusive, it is a promise, right? But here was a revelation; am I a thankful person? When I pray, do make time to declare His goodness to me, thank Him that He knows what He is doing? That He is Sovereign, and more than that, do I trust Him??? And, if I do not trust Him, whom am I trusting? Myself? My ability to manage circumstances? (Which stinks, by the way). Others, to fix the messes? Someone else, to rescue me?
It was a time of repentance… “Lord, I love you; you know I do… but I confess I have not trusted you as fully as I could. I have believed so many things about Your character that are true… You are Love; You are Mercy; You are Just; You are Sovereign, Mysterious, Holy; You are Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient.
But I have choked at this; You are Good. My heart broken over and over again by things that seem to me not good. I confess the need to understand became a false god. I do desire with all of my heart, to trust you.
So, again, I surrender my life, my relationships, my circumstances, and the lives of those whom I love, to your tender, all-encompassing care. I release all of this to You. And, I thank You. I thank You that you know the end from the beginning; that You are Sovereign, that You are Good. And, I am so thankful that You, Yourself are my peace. I am thankful for Your promise: “My peace I give to you… ” John 14:27.
When worry and anxiety threaten to overtake, and overwhelm – help me turn my heart to you, to entrust my cares and concerns to you with prayers, and pleading, AND to be thankful to You; for who You are and all that You are to me. I love you Lord, I trust you. “I believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24b
Peace comes too, with choosing what thoughts I dwell in, ruminate on, stir round and round. Philippians helps us here again:
“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].
(Chapter 4:8) (AMP)
What I think matters
It is instructing myself – choosing my self-talk – “Bless the Lord, oh my soul…” Or, “you will be okay, this too shall pass, this is just your body doing its thing; breathe, breathe.” It is not ‘catastrophizing’ my circumstances.
The key is to understand that no matter what happens, you can choose your response, which dictates pretty much everything that happens next. Truly, the greatest weapon you have against anxiety, negativity and stress is your ability to choose one present thought over another—to train your mind to make the best of what you’ve got in front of you, even when it’s far less than you expected.
Yes, YOU CAN change the way you think! And once you do, you can master a new way to be.Angel Chernoff
Marc and Angel Hack Life
Practical Tips for Productive Living
Scripture puts it this way; “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2b. And,“take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:5.
Corralling my thoughts as one might wild horses. Giving them boundaries and context.
It is going for a walk, listening to soothing music, taking a warm bath or shower, doing deep breathing exercises, calling a friend or counselor. Taking proactive, positive actions.
It is an overall, overarching trust in God’s tender mercy to guide us on the paths of peace.
And, finally, clinging to this promise, rich, strong and true:
“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”
Quotes from Priscilla Shirer taken from my notes on the lessons from the DVD, Armor of God.