Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

Precious Moments

on September 5, 2014

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered!  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!  ~Psalm 139:17-18

I am feeling edgy this morning.  Edgy, irritated, frustrated, impatient, guilty, and just all around blah. I really have grown to dislike mornings like this.  The way I feel, my emotions, are just ugly. A morning spent wearing these emotions can wind up catapulting the rest of my day into a cycle of one bad experience after another.  I know…I’ve experienced it many times.  If I’m not careful, my emotions can become my idol.  My god.  A power that I bow down to, that I submit to, that I give control to.  If I’m not careful.

It’s on days like this that I have to be extremely intentional.  Intentional with my words.  Intentional with my actions. Intentional, even, with my thoughts.  In order to do that, I also have to remain aware.  It is almost like I have to be on constant “alert”, waiting for the next thought that enters my mind, and deciding whether to allow it to stay, or remove it immediately.  It can get exhausting, for sure, but it is much better than the alternative.

The alternative to me being aware and intentional of my thoughts, words, and actions is me losing my “cool”.  It looks like me slamming cabinet doors and stomping through the kitchen with that extra “loud” footstep….It sounds like me taking on a “tone” with my daughter when she shares how she is feeling with me, and I didn’t care for her words….It feels like me taking everything happening around me like a personal attack ON me.  This is kind of the way my morning began today. I wasn’t paying attention to my emotional state.  Suddenly I found myself slamming cabinet doors, walking around with the extra “stomp” in my step, hearing the edginess in my voice as my daughter awoke in her typical groggy, yet slightly-over-emotional-11-year-old-way.  I witnessed my own body acting in a way that felt awful to me, and probably looked and sounded awful to my children as well.

So, right here I sit. With a choice.  I can feel guilty the rest of the day about the way I behaved this morning, looking only at the negatives.  Or I can choose a different path.  I can choose the path of looking to the Cross instead of at my guilt.  I can take the path of focusing on Jesus rather than my own pain.  I can follow the footsteps of Christ instead of my own desire to sink into self-pity.  I can open an email, read the words on the screen, be reminded how God’s thoughts are on me  CONSTANTLY, and know – KNOW at the center of my being – that I am NOT alone, and that I do NOT have to carry this pain with me all day.  I have the strength to overcome, because I have the Strength of the Lord.  Period.  Nothing else is needed.  He IS sufficient, in all things, at all times.

I think I know which path to take.

So, how can I be INTENTIONAL on a day like this?  First of all, my emotions absolutely can NOT be my guide.  They can NOT be my focus point either.  So, that’s step one.  Take the power away from my emotions.  Refuse to be driven by the way I feel.

There is a Truth I have discovered on my recovery journey that will apply today.  When I remove one thing from my mind, I must replace it with another.  So, if I am going to choose to remove the power from my emotions – I have to place it somewhere.  Where is that?  In God.  The power belongs to Him.  He is the One who should guide me today. He should be my focus point as well.  Which is pretty easy, most days.  Most days I am able to go to God with ease. Just thinking, by default, many times will lead me right to the Throne.  Not right now.  Right now it feels difficult to even pray. Negative emotions do a great job at clouding up the pathway to peace, in essence, to connection with God. So, I need something to focus on that will take me away from my emotional state, so the clouds can clear.  There is one thing that always works…. it is the sunshine that has yet to fail me.  This light that chases the clouds away is called GRATITUDE.  Being thankful is the very best way I have found to remove myself from my own pain and misery.  Step two, practice gratitude.

Get out of my head, and into someone else’s world.  That is step three.  I need to remove myself from isolation, and give myself in service to another human being.  God created us to serve Him by serving each other.  So, the third thing I will do the minute I stop typing this is to go find another person for whom I can be of service.

And perhaps, when all is said and done – I won’t be carrying around these negative emotions any longer.  To be honest, I’m already feeling better, just by getting it out.  Sometimes I wish I could be writing for the benefit of another person – but I know that God has me where He wants me now, which is writing for the sake of my own learning and growing.  And that’s good enough for me 🙂  Hey, if one or two others can relate – why that is a bonus, and a bonus is a beautiful thing.

 

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