Thoughts vs Truth

“Do less.  Be more.  Clear out the clutter of idle words.  Find that white space.  Honor God.”  (Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst- chapter 11)

The clutter of idle words.  Thoughts that run rampant in our minds and slowly we think them truths.  The things we create out of our own insecurities and fears and anxieties.  Not truths.

How do you determine idle words and clutter in your mind from truths?  How do you stop beating yourself up and turn to God for answers?  It is easier said than done.  Saying we will turn to God when we are at our lowest or in our ugliest state is one thing.  Actually turning to God when we are most vulnerable is entirely another.  Often it is these times we need God, and it is also these times that our mind is so cluttered with untruths that we forget we need God.  Kind of ironic isn’t it?

So many times I have lashed out at people, people that I love.  I have attacked. I have defended myself (probably against only clutter in my mind rather than truth).  I have been angry and ugly.  I am mostly an exploder, but one situation that sticks out for me is one where I was a stuffer.

My sister and I went years without talking.  We would be cordial at family functions, but in truth, I was so angry inside.  My thoughts told me she hated me.  My thoughts told me she hated my children.  My thoughts were jealous of how she treated other people and their kids.  My thoughts went on and on telling me lies about myself and lies about my sister.  This went on for many years.  It hurt.  It was a hurt so deep that I didn’t even want to think about it.  I ignored it.  But ignoring those hurts only makes the hurt deeper.

Within the last year, my sister and I finally talked.  I cannot even remember how, but I remember the conversation.  All the lies I conjured up in my head were gone.  When we talked, I learned of some hardships my sister had been enduring over the past years.  While I took her situation as I viewed it as a personal attack against my family, she was struggling inside and I didn’t even know it.  She was facing demons that I could have helped her with if I had only listened to the truth instead of the lies.  We are good now.  There are no more barriers between us.  We can help each other face demons together without judgement.

This situation, which truly lasted a long time, has taught me so much.  I have learned that when you clutter your head with your ideas of situations, you take up all the space so there is no longer room for truth.  Truth in a situation and truth in God’s Word will see you through any situation.  I did not allow for truth at all.  I wasn’t even looking for it.

So, here is a graphic representation of the above situation:

Thought:  My sister hates me and my family.  We are not good enough for her to spend time with. She would rather be with other people and other people’s kids.

Verse:  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

Truth:  My sister was struggling.  If I had been tenderhearted to her as God is to me everyday, we would not have had this wall up between us.  Because God is forever forgiving, He has granted me grace and has given me the chance to be tenderhearted toward my sister.  Also, if I love God the way I want to, the way I believe I do, then I must love my sister as well as all others.

We all have what we need to live a Christ-like life.  The Holy Spirit supplies it to us as a gift.  It is up to us to clear the clutter and allow room for it to change our lives and the lives of others.

Advertisements

Jealousy

Jealousy.  What a terrible word.  By definition it means resentment against a rival,  a person enjoying success or advantage, etc. , or against another’s success or advantage itself. (according to Dictionary.com)  No one ever wants to be jealous, yet somehow, jealousy creeps into our hearts and steals away our love and happiness.

For me, it happens in a very non-traditional way.  I am not by nature a jealous person.  However, If I ever see a 1 1/2 or 2 year old little boy, the jealousy eats at my heart until it hurts so much I can’t breathe.  You see, 6 years ago, I lost my son to brain cancer at 17 months old.  My grief journey has been long and hard, but also rewarding and blessed.  I have become so much closer to God and I have found peace where you would think it doesn’t exist.  It has taken me 6 long years to come to the conclusion that my son may have come into this world for such a short time for the sole purpose of bringing our family closer to Jesus.  For his illness and death did just that.  We were Christians before he was sick, but it was more of a habit than a way of life.  I am so sorry that it took losing my son to help me right my ways, but at the same time, I am so grateful for the precious gift my son and God have given to our family.

That being said, I still twinge in my heart when I see little boys.  My son would be almost 8 now, in 2nd grade.  But in my eyes, he is still 17 months old.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and miss holding him so much.

“And in that dark corner, desperation churns for what could be but isn’t, and what we want but still don’t have.”  (Unglued by Lisa Terkeurst, chapter 9)

That quote speaks so loudly to me.  Many a night I sat in a dark corner desperate for my baby boy.  Many a day I refused to attend a function where toddlers would be because I knew I would fall apart.  This eating away at my heart and this jealousy will not bring my son back.  It has taken me years to understand this.

“We stop celebrating our own good and have a really hard time celebrating others’ good.” (Unglued by Lisa Terkeurst, chapter 9)

The jealousy of a baby boy often keeps me from celebrating with others and has also kept me from enjoying my two daughters as well.  I feel guilty making a big deal about Christmas or Easter the way kids like to.  Even birthdays are difficult.  Every momentous occasion fills me with grief of what could have been, of how I will never have a family photo of my entire family, of how ungrateful some other people are towards their kids (am I judging too?).  It is so unhealthy and so difficult to overcome.  Yet, I work at it everyday.  I try to remember that my son is not hurting.  That Jesus has wrapped his arms around my son and they are waiting for me to join them.  That I still have work to do here on earth with my husband and daughters.  That women who have toddler boys are not trying to spite me! (sounds ridiculous, I know)  That it’s ok for my daughters to get caught up in a holiday or an occasion.  That I need to pray more and ask God to carry me more.

“Each of you must take the responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”  (Unglued by Lisa Terkeurst, chapter 9)

This is what I strive to do.  My traditions have changed.  My family has changed.  My outlook on life itself has changed.  However, I can still be a good mom to my girls and a good wife to my husband.  I can be happy for other families of little boys and I can pray to God when I am having a hard time doing this.  I can make a new plan for my family so we are not stuck in grief.  I can do my best to make imperfect progress and embrace all of the blessings God has given me, including my son for such a short time.  I can work toward having a more giving spirit which will leave less room for a jealous spirit.

Jealousy is dangerous.  It is unfaithful, unfair and ugly.  I don’t want jealousy in my life anymore.  What are you going to do to eliminate jealousy in your life?