Ahead of the Game. Philippians 4.8
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When do we grow up or mature in our thinking? In the last Morning Briefing, I discussed the power in our thinking, and intentionality in being transformed rather than conformedin our minds. We turned Paul's powerful words to the Philippians into a prayer, 'Dear Father, please remind me to think about whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-whatever is excellentor praiseworthy. Prompt me when my thoughts are not of you and help me to change course. AMEN!'
But I have another question for you, for me . . . when do we stop defining ourselves by what others think of us? When do we stop being pushed and pulled by what we think others are expecting of us? We often do not realize how much our "good" thinking is being impacted by approval seeking, which may not be sinful on the face, yet is so far beneath what our Father would have us think or by which he would have us defined. Found this song and played it for my dear Women of Passion on Thursday, "Ready to Be Myself" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5rqGjc7Y2k~
'Who am I gonna bewhen nobody's watching me? I want to be real. What am I gonna doto live what I know is true? I let go. Oh I've been someone else...God, I'm ready to be myself...'
Straight away, as I was gesturing with my right hand and teaching about such things, my friend was getting a text message from her daughter. I finished and she stepped up and handed me her phone to read what her daughter had sent to her Mum and Dad. After reminding them of her status as a soon-to-be-senior in college, she said "throughout high school and college, l have struggled with anxiety. Constantly, l have felt at war with myself--wondering how l can please people and fit in. The main source of my anxiety was stemming from the fact that l have been forcing myself to be an extrovert, but l am actually an introvert. l wanted to be an extrovert so badly, that l have been hiding behind a constant smile and a bubbly personality. People bring me so much joy and l still like socializing with others, but l crave my downtime and time to recharge. Sometimes l find group settings to be draining and exhausting; l am most happy and most at peace when l can be by myself.
In college ... l used to feel that l had to say yes to everything; l was always stretching myself too thin. My anxiety was at an all-time high. l thought if l could somehow make everyone around me happy, it would magically make me happy.
This semester, l have finally listened to myself. l have learned to be a little bit selfish, and to not be sorry about taking time for myself. My anxiety is almost completely relieved and l finally feel truly happy. l now feel that a weight has been lifted off of me, and that l have the freedom to say yes and no when l want, which is more power than l have had in a very long time."
That Beauty-the darling strawberry blonde cheerleader I know--is way ahead of the game, isn't she? She cannot be pushed and pulled by her peers' thinking.
I know men and women who are driven and tossed by the opinions of others at 60+ years of age, and it leaves them always off kilter, regularly unsure and insecure. That is because at some point or another, we must decide to settle ourselves with who we are - man or woman, created in God's image, as he sees us - unique, individual, gifted and much loved.
That is the thing for which we search - that thing alone which will complete us . . . the great love of God which approves us. Beloved, we have been approved by God, and it must revolutionize every element of how we think. Because. Our. Thoughts. Are. Powerful.
Let God Alone Tell You Who You Are and Define You.