Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Say What You Mean, Part I

I received Joel Osteen's daily devotional via email recently, entitled, "What God Calls You."
I read the title, pondering, "I wonder what God does call me?!?"
Without skipping a beat, I mentally answered, "Pain in the butt!"
I chuckled to myself at this answer, until I felt a burning conviction at my rationale.
No, God doesn't call me a pain in the butt.
I do.

That's how I tend to characterize myself in the many, varied conversations with Him where I question my direction, praying for things over and over again (even when I've clearly received the answers...aaarrrggghhh!). 
No, He wouldn't be so uncouth as to think of me in those terms.
He thinks of me, I feel certain, with love and hope, probably mixed with a bit of sadness and gentle chiding.
How could I possibly think that my Father would condemn me as I condemn myself?

That's how our world has conditioned itself to think, I believe.

My mom was telling me of a dear, dear friend's conversations of late.  She's 83.  She's in poor health.  Her mother died at 83.  
You see where this is going
The conversation begins, "You know, my mother died at 83."  The conclusion is not verbally drawn but is implied.
Enter my mother's no-nonsense, practical approach to life.
Her response?
"So what?  Just because your mother died at 83 doesn't mean you're going to die at 83."
Love it!  And good for her for speaking life over fear!  Ah, for everyone to take that approach.

Sadly, though, the majority of us believe what we tell ourselves, so much so that we often bring it to pass.
We believe what we call ourselves...
Poor. Ugly. Fat. Cursed. Not Enough.
(Sound familiar to anyone?)

We believe what we say of our future...
"I'm never going to make it." (career, college, get it.)
"I'm never going to feel better." (depression, illness, the general malaise that accompanies doubt)
"I'll never be able to stop (you fill it in)."  (binge eating, procrastinating, yelling, avoiding...oh, so many things.)

Our declarative sentences become a clearly marked road map to our future.
"My relatives couldn't so neither can I."
"I don't have enough education."
"There's never enough time, money, desire."
"I'm going nowhere in a big, fat hurry."

Before I go further, I'll let you in on a little secret.  
Here's where I was going to wrap this sucker up with a beautiful fuchsia bow and a motivational message, pontificating on what we must do in order to avoid the pitfalls of negative words...negative thinking.
Wouldn't that have been nice of me, to succinctly tell you what to do?
As if I've got all the answers, a guru on a mountaintop watching goats hop from peak to peak, assured in the knowledge that the answers stop mountainside before drifting down to the rest of you sad sacks?

He had other plans.

photo credit:  "Mountain" by @Doug88888 on flickr

{Living the Word this morning in 
an effort to pave my own way.  
Check back in tomorrow 
for the conclusion 
to this important lesson.
Thanks so much for reading.}

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