I have been so focused on changing my thinking, saying positive mantra’s to myself, and working on controlling my moods, thoughts and emotions, that I have forgotten that it isn’t about a formula, or a thought, or an attitude. Yes, all these things help and are vitally important in one’s growth and quest to move forward in life, but there is a key element that I have been missing out on over the last couple of weeks (months?)…
And that key element is:
You see, no matter how many mantras I have, or now many books I read, or how many blog posts I write, I – on my own – cannot change who I am. I can focus for a while on a new aspect, like starting a gym routine, or learning how to run, but if my heart doesn’t change with it, then I’ll probably give up before I’ve gained any real ground.
And for the last while, I have been focusing so much on thinking new thoughts that I have forgotten to go to the Creator; the one who truly brings about change, who truly focuses on us becoming like Christ, and the one who loves us completely.
So, for lent I have decided not so much as to give something up (except for a little extra sleep), but to do something: I want to get up earlier in the mornings, so that before work I can focus on just spending time in prayer. Just spending time with God so that He can bring about the changes in me that I so desire – to love my husband well, to parent my daughter well, to focus on honouring the body that God has gifted me with and to be a good steward of my finances.
So, what I decided to do each day was to read a verse from Gary Thomas’s 40 Powerful Blessings to Pray over your Marriage, read the entire passage and then to pray about it. Now, you all know by now that I have battled anxiety and negative thinking, so I found it somewhat amusing that my verse for today was:
Adoration – “My beloved is mine and I am his.” Song of Songs 2:16
BUT – reading the entire passage, this is where God spoke to me this morning:
Song of Songs 2:15 (NIV): Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
“Little foxes that ruin our vineyards – our vineyards that are in bloom“
My marriage is in bloom. God has blessed my marriage in the last couple of years in ways that I could not imagine. And I am truly humbled and very grateful. But, there are still those little foxes…
I can most certainly attest to the fact that negative and destructive thoughts (the little foxes) can destroy your marriage, your self-image and so much more. I didn’t ever believe I was worthy enough to be loved. So, I built up walls around myself that kept my husband out. I didn’t trust in myself, never mind God or my husband. There are plenty of reasons why and I can delve into my background and upbringing until the cows come home and never fully uncover all the damage that was done. But, I can’t change the past. There’s nothing that I can do about my upbringing, my childhood, my family, schooling or anything else and allowing a negative belief system to permeate my life and my thoughts just isn’t helping. I eventually got to a point (after Baby Girl’s birth) to stop believing the lies, and to start believing God instead. But, weeding out lies and replacing it with truth is NOT something that happens overnight. It takes time. It takes time to spot the lie, learn what the actual truth is and then teach yourself to believe the truth – making that conscious decision to believe the truth – God’s truth – instead of believing the lies each and every day. It has taken time, a long time, but slowly but surely I am learning that I do have value, that God does love me, I have worth: not for anything that I have done, but for who I am in Christ.
More importantly, though, is realizing that I am worthy to be loved and cherished. Not from anything I have done, but for who I am in Christ. Because Jesus loved me enough to die for me, I can accept love from my husband – I have no idea if that makes sense. But, I can learn to accept God’s little blessings in my life – because very often they come through the hands and feet of my husband. I can let myself be loved and cherished because I am a person of worth and value. Gary Thomas
So, I pray that God will help me to catch those little foxes that are ruining the vineyard – the lies that so easily want to ensnare and trap us. We need to protect, at all costs, the vineyard (marriage) by believing God’s truth.
So, I hope to benefit by spending more time in God’s word and in prayer every morning. I am quite sure that my sacrifice of sleep will be well worth it.