I could not win today, at least not for a period of time. That is how it felt after a very long day, but I am learning to let feelings come and go because once more…
“Feelings make terrible leaders.” – Mark Durniak
So now you and I both know that feelings cannot be fully trusted, but you know what? Your heart can. That is why my favorite nugget of wisdom of all time is Proverbs 4:23. When you guard your heart, you CAN trust it and part of that guarding means that you watch carefully and intentionally what comes in and what goes out.
Kind of like a filter or a net.
Guarding does not come with ease. It can actually be quite uncomfortable and truth be told, some days I am lazy. I don’t really care to show up to my post. I call in sick. I have a headache. I stayed up late. Work has me swamped. Whatever. Secretly, I must enjoy being buffeted by my feelings because surely if I didn’t, I would practice “Take every thought captive and obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
My friend Leslie read those words out loud last night and I swear Holy Spirit was whispering in her ear, “Say it. Out loud. So she can hear it.” He obviously knew I was there. That I was sitting smack behind her. He knew I would perk up in my seat and when she was finished, lean forward and close and ask, “Um, what scripture was that again? And did it just say EVERY?”
“Yes. Take every thought captive.”
Surely He can’t mean every as in ALL. I have A LOT of thoughts.
This whole thing is no longer fair. I felt like a three year-old child throwing herself down on the floor in the middle of the building. Sometimes it just sucks to love Jesus.
Let me tell you why.
There are days, hard days, where people and I don’t necessarily mesh. I could give you a list, I could feed you from the smorgsaboard of why’s and what’s and I can make it sound good and appetizing. You would likely eat the crap I’d serve you and call it nutritious AND delicious because I know how to plead my case. Yes, people and life WITH people is challenging. But here’s the thing…
I am finding I cannot afford to have a single not good thought in my head about someone. Even the woman today who ran my red lights at a bus stop as I drove one of our school buses. The very woman who endangered the life of one of my students and then laughingly waved hello and goodbye as she looked up at my window. I could not afford to call her the names I wanted to in my head.
I. Could. Not.
I know what it does to ME. It makes me angry and angry makes me say, out loud, not nice things. It tempts me to go home to my family, all worn thin like paper and grumpy, and transfer my bad day to those who innocently say, “Hello Mom! How was your day?”
They have learned over time there are days where it’s best NOT to ask Mom anything and those days are very hard pills for me to swallow when it is all said and done. Regret is not a friend. But this whole things goes much further than me. If I do not take every thought captive and I allow just one nasty thought, that for a moment I believe is justifiable, take up space in my head, I might as well charge rent and make some money. One thought leads to two. And two leads to four. Get my point? I was not created to be critical, especially of others. That is NOT the mind of Christ. I was created to be loving and encouraging and to see correctly, as in originally. Though rightful blame can be assigned when wrong is done, I need to position myself to think the best of others so not to separate them from my heart. Even if I don’t ever see them again, as in the woman from this afternoon at the bus stop, I want to champion FOR them in the spirit and believe they are doing the very best they can.
That means, every one. Because sooner or later, every one leads to a thought about EVERYONE. I personally cannot afford to think less than the best about my neighbor because there are days that I need my neighbor to think the best about me. Days where I screw up and get lazy. Days where I forget, days where I need someone to remind me once more, “August…you are good.”
“For as a man thinks in his heart, he is.” Proverbs 23:7
Likewise…”For as a man thinks in his heart about his neighbor, he will call his neighbor up to be.”
That one’s from me. You are welcome.
Think well of others.