Have you ever had that feeling where you know you’re about to get sick?
You can feel your throat starting to swell and get scratchy. You begin to feel fatigued and maybe your head starts to ache. You think to yourself, “Crud, this is just not a good time to get sick,” as if any time is a good time to get sick.
You start drinking hot tea like its your job and consume enough chicken noodle soup to feed an army.
Yet inevitably, there comes a day where the fever has to break; where the cold has to leave you home sick in bed, or where you completely lose your voice before you start to feel better.
The worst has to pass in order for the healing to begin.
I’ve been feeling this way recently, though not necessarily in the sense of getting sick but more in regards to my heart.
I feel a heart change coming on and there’s not a whole lot I can do to stop it.
There have been a lot of conversations that I’ve had recently that have really challenged me to stop looking at the outward appearance of my life and to start critically addressing the issues of the heart.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…(Hebrews 12:1, NIV).
I had a friend tell me the other day, in regards to friendships and relationships, that it is not enough for us to just be aware of our bad habits; justifying our attitudes with the ever elusive line – “It’s just who I am. This is my personality.”
Seriously, we’ve got to stop using that as an excuse.
That’s not enough anymore. We have got to start doing something about those toxic attitudes when they are brought to the surface because as they rise to the surface, we can either shove them back down deep into ourselves or we can get rid of them.
Of course, getting rid of them is harder and much more painful, but is it pain you’re willing to endure in order to rid yourself, your friendships, and your relationships of a virus that has the potential of destroying trust and love?
This really convicted me.
I began thinking back to all those times where I allowed my thoughts to control me and my emotions to motivate my actions, like that time I convinced myself that she was mad at me for the way she worded her text message. Or even that time where I allowed an insignificant comment to grow in my mind and develop into unnecessary frustration towards another person, thinking the worst about their intentions when in reality, I had no idea what their intent really was.
I can even look back and see all the times where I allowed my thoughts to be taken over by the Worst Case Scenario Syndrome; living in a reality that simply didn’t exist outside of my own, untrusting, fearful thoughts.
And that’s just it, isn’t it? All of these toxic attitudes are the fruit of much deeper issues such as fear and a lack of trust. They keep me from thinking clearly, reasoning through situations with wisdom and understanding, and ultimately, they keep me from trusting in the sovereignty and omniscience of God Almighty.
Even more than that though, these attitudes keep me from trusting in the goodness of God as well (Psalm 34:8).
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your hearts on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2, NIV).
Something else that was recently brought to my attention was how I spend my time.
I’m not one much for time spent alone. I can go for quite a while without the need for alone time, though that’s not exactly healthy. I was challenged to ask ‘why’ I tend to be so busy; filling most nights with coffee dates, game nights, and social activities with friends.
I just figured I was a social butterfly and enjoyed being around people.
But there’s deeper meaning here. There are deep rooted indicators of pride.
I pride myself in having a full schedule; in feeling like people actually want to see me and spend time with me. I tend to fill up any free time I might have in any given week for fear of feeling alone, forgotten, bypassed, or disregarded without even realizing that that’s what I’m doing.
And in doing so, I wipe out any time I might have had to spend in the Word of God; reading, studying, and writing.
James 4:10 says to humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Before the Lord.
That really stood out to me. I am not only to humble myself, but to humble myself before the Lord; in the presence of God.
I need to stop finding fulfillment in a busy schedule and rather humble myself in the presence of God; in devotional, study, and prayerful time with Him.
So this is where I am at.
This is me.
And it’s time for some changes.
Click here to download the Litany of Humility; a prayer that continues to help me address the issue of pride in my life. I hope it can be of some encouragement to you as well.