Tag Archives: “Be careful how you see”

Feelings Follow Focus

 

I frequently tell you that you will get what you look for, that your focus will determine your mental health and mental state, and I experienced it again this week.

I got caught up in fear without even realizing. It started from a wonderful conversation with a friend that was mind-expanding and spiritually enlightening. I shared something I had been sensing God was asking me to do. I hadn’t shared it with anyone else because I was scared. Scared to actually say it, scared to make it real, scared I’d get some smallest signal that I was crazy to even think it–that it was beyond my ability.

(This sounds silly to me as I write it–what could be crazier than rewriting the Bible? And yet, those good natured comments like, “She’s rewriting the Bible because it wasn’t done right the first time.” I can take in stride with a smile. I know it sounds crazy. And I’m loving it.) But I’ve done enough to know that God is in it. The human support has been gratifying as well.

But this is about speaking. Something I’ve always wanted to do. Something for years I’ve thought God was preparing me for, and yet when the idea first came, it overwhelmed me. Why? Because I had started seeing myself as a grasshopper, just like the Israelites spying out Canaan. (I’d had one bad experience that crippled me. Four great experiences, three good ones, and one bad one. Crazy.)

I moved ahead, preparing, and God’s enemies didn’t work through people; they worked through my mind–evidently playing on suggestions they had presented previously and I must have entertained without realizing the danger of them. I’m not even sure yet what they were, but suddenly I realized that I felt far away from God. My heart was hard and cold, and I felt alone.

It’s my habit to spend time with God in the morning, so I did, but it was like nobody was there but me. I hadn’t even realized that my fear and doubt had pushed Their love right out of me. Hadn’t even realized I was in fear and doubt! Talk about mindlessness!

Until I came and missed the connection. And then I said, “I need help! I don’t even know what is wrong!” Immediately, I heard in my head, “Do you love Me?” Then the tears came from deep inside, and in a flash of insight I knew what had happened. I had been looking at everything God hadn’t done, instead of all the things They had done. I was getting weary of other people’s struggles–my prayers not being answered. I’d forgotten gratitude.

The neat thing is that later that morning my youngest sister texted, “Did you need prayer this morning?” I responded “Yes!!!” and she replied, “Then ours were answered.” “For me?” I asked. “Yes” came the reply. I was so impressed. God cared enough to tell my sisters to pray for me! What a feeling of love accompanied that little message.

It’s really true, you will have or become what you focus on. I cannot over-emphasize the power and importance of focus and gratitude. Feelings follow focus. What you see is what you get. Be careful how you see. Choose your life through choosing your thought life.

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Don’t Make Life Hard

It’s been a week of extremes–highs and lows, not a lot of sleep, even the weather. A week ago today it rained, and yet another day (yea! we need it)! It was beautiful in between–our blooming yard loved it and became even prettier. But early this morning the wind became a veritable tempest–I kept saying in my head I hate this wind.

Now I’m wondering if that is the reason I had such a hard time staying positive today–I really struggled, my back hurts to prove it.

I thought it was loss of sleep, hormones, and being cooped up in the house, plus other people’s attitudes. But it was probably where my focus was. I kept coming back to praise, but couldn’t seem to stay there.

I did have one small victory–I de-escalated a confrontation with my husband. Another was booking plane tickets that have been creating pressure. And the routine of cleaning house is somehow centering, so I got through it. I think I could have made it easier, though.

My irritation with the wind must have started the CRH–triggering the inflammatory cascade. I knew I was shooting myself in the foot saying “I hate this wind!” (Early on, I did thank God for wind sweeping my patio. It was a mess yesterday.) I should have put more effort into the thankfulness. Gratitude is such an upper.  And I knew loss of sleep and exposure to illness put me in a compromised state. Your brain brakes go out when you are fatigued, GABA disappears, and it’s hard to hold a boundary when you are tired.

The day had started out so well: extra time with God this morning, His presence changed my fatigue into energy, I exercised, my perspective improved, and then I kept sabotaging it!

This whole mind-body connection is a fearful and wonderful thing. Our thoughts signal chemical changes that make it hard to reverse them. Our choices (even default ones) set up more of the same kind. No wonder Jesus said in so many ways, “Be careful how you see.” In other words, be mindful of what you allow, choose wisely, feelings follow thoughts, actions too. Don’t make life hard.

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Big Picture Perspective

I snuggled down into my pillow confident of drifting off, but my husband got up and turned on the bathroom light to brush his teeth. I was on the back edge of my sleep window, and five minutes later I was wide awake. Oddly, I wasn’t irritated, I just got up and decided to start this. That was different. Things are changing!

I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to change patterns of thinking and doing. Habits are one thing, you are conscious of them so you can choose, but many things have to become conscious first. For example, I’m convinced none of us hear ourselves. Our feelings and words match so we don’t notice how sharp or shaming we sound. I’ve talked about this before.

But now I’m writing a story about early beliefs about God and the research is very interesting! Fairly often I disagree with the commentators, even though we are all since Jesus–the greatest window on God.

You’ve probably heard me say that I am writing the first interpretive version of the Bible. I’ve just started the book of Job. It’s the next book in the Love’s Playbook series, instead of Exodus, because God kept bringing it to mind, and Biblical scholarship mostly agrees it is the oldest book and likely the first one Moses wrote. He was, no doubt, trying to figure out what had gone wrong in his own perception of life–his programming and his mission.

That makes total sense to me, because had Job been first, or second, in the Bible, we would have understood a lot of things we struggle to understand now. Let me give you the list from the introduction to Perception is Everything.

1) The problem of suffering in a world created by a loving God,
2) The dramatic setting of war we were created into,
3) The representative councils outside of our world,
4) Who is responsible for evil and suffering,
5) The controversy between God and Satan, our adversary,
6) How religion has served to confuse us and give us false beliefs.

Quite a list, huh? But I love digging into this kind of stuff. To me everything has to fit together like a puzzle. It all has to make sense, and make a clear and true picture of God from every angle, looking down every lens. It’s like being a detective about God.

Although, truly, the only way you can really know what God is like is in relationship with Him (Them–one God in three persons). If you don’t experience Him as your Daddy who is crazy about you, you can’t make sense of the rest. No wonder Jesus favorite topic was the fatherhood of God. If you haven’t had a good father, ask Abba to be your father. (my nickname for Eloah–it means Daddy and Jesus used it. Psalm 27:10) You’ll be delighted with Him. I have.

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