Today, I found myself caught in the cycle of self-criticism that often begins with my noticing something about myself that makes me feel embarrassed or ashamed. As I walked through my front door, finishing my commute for the evening, I went straight to pick up my prayer journal to write to God about the matter. In the midst of my writing, I felt led to do something else that had been on my heart for a while. I searched for some blank “thank you” cards that I had and began to write notes to some of the women that I worked with. Each of them have impacted my life in some way and I wanted them to know how grateful I was to have them in my life.
My point in sharing this story is let you in what God reminded me of in the midst of my self-indulging behavior. Focusing on something more positive, something that allowed me to speak life into others, something that made space for the joy I experienced when I remembered my relationship with each of them allowed me to get my mind off of my own problems.
God has a way of redirecting us in the midst of our shame spirals and “I wish I was…” thoughts to get us back on track with who He calls us to be. The key here, though, is that we have to be open to allowing His redirection. There were many times like this in the past where I was so wound up in my own struggles that I had no room to allow God in. There is a beautiful song called, “What If?” by Blanca that I’ve had on repeat many days when I needed to remember that life is bigger than my mistakes.
Philippians 4:8 states that we should focus on what is positive, admirable, and pure as well as things worthy of praise. Through this practice, we are able to create room for the light of God to shine in us and the peace of God to dwell in us. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit living within us. When we allow our thoughts to dwell on positive things, we create an atmosphere suitable for the Spirit to move.
If you happen to be reading this and have not been able to get to know the God of peace that I’m speaking about then I invite you to pray this prayer with me:
I have been struggling with negative thinking and I can’t seem to let it go. I hear people talking about peace and joy, but it doesn’t land in my heart the same way. I haven’t been able to accept it. I ask you now to help me to release the people, things, and situations that have been causing me pain. The mindset that I’m not good enough. The feeling that I’m unworthy. I let it all go into Your hands. Help me to focus my mind and heart on the good in life. Help me to see that You have something better planned for my life and that I can trust you with my future. I want something better than what I’ve had and I understand that now is the time to choose something different. I accept your Son Jesus Christ into my heart and thank you that He died for my sins. I am willing to take the next step with you.
I pray and ask this all in Jesus’ name.
Photo courtesy of Yan Berthemy via Unsplash