Friday, October 30, 2009

Habits: Out With The Old, In With The Faithful

Welcome P31 friends! Thanks for dropping by today.

Have you ever felt like you needed some spiritual healing like what was mentioned in todays devotion? I know I have, in more than ways than one.

In fact, just recently, for several weeks I had been praying desperately for God to speak to me. I had issues to face and problems to deal with, and I just wanted to hear His voice in a subtle way, or in any way actually. I yearned for a a little reassurance that He was still up there, and that He was still seeing little 'ol me down here.

At the end of that trying week, I found myself asking God why He had not shown up yet. (Yes, I actually asked God that, have mercy.) But suddenly, it was as if He opened my spiritual eyes to help me to see that He HAD shown up....He had been speaking to me.... loud and clear....all week long - I had just not been listening.

It all started on a Tuesday, when my morning devotion verse was 2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge.

The devotion focused on the fact that we are not born with habits of goodness and faithfulness, but we have to deliberately practice and form them within ourselves, through Christ. It mentioned that we are to use these habits, this common stuff of ordinary daily life to glorify God, and live out the principles of faith. Lastly, it talked about being an optimist, instead of a pessimist, by focusing on adding goodness and wisdom to our hearts.

I thought to myself, "Okay God, so I need to form better habits. I get it. I will try to work on doing that."

I rolled out of bed the next day, got a cup of coffee, and pulled out my morning devotion for that day, which highlighted John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

As I prayed and pondered the meaning of this devotion, I came to understand that it focused on the fact that we are made to illuminate the light of God in ordinary ways. It explained that we are to lay down our lives, and our habits, to Him, and not walk in our own ways every day, even if we are used to our own ways.

Hmmm, still need to work on those habits. Okay God.

The next day, I opened up my devotion and read this verse Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Whoa nelly! Now that is hitting a little too close to home. Me, judge? Never. Absolutely not. Ummmmm, well okay, maybe sometimes. Geeesh, I guess all the time, if Im down right honest.

So after a moment of denial which led to self examination, I began thinking about ways that I may judge people every day. For example, I may think someone needs to discipline their child better, or be more considerate of others, or pay more attention to what their teenager is doing, or strengthen their faith, or practice what they preach, or dress nicer, or eat healthier, or treat me better, or,..... Ill stop there. I could probably go on forever. More mercy please.

I realized that my judging, even in little ways, had become a habit. Whether it was about someone else, or even about myself.

I needed a little spiritual healing from that. I prayed about this, and promised God that I would stop having a measuring rod for other people, and instead hold that rod up to myself.

I even enlisted my children that day to help me recognize when I said something judgemental, and believe me, they were all about joining in with that game. It actually became annoying after a while, but it was eye opening. Sometimes we simply dont realize what comes out of our mouths on a routine basis, until we really start paying attention to ourselves.

The next morning, instead of jumping into my devotion book, I turned on the television for my daily 6:30am dose of Joyce Meyer.

I love my girl Joyce. She always says something that speaks to my heart. I seriously think God gave Joyce a little inside peek at my heart, and tells her what to say every day that is going to speak to me and my situations. Yep, me and Joyce are tight like that. :)

Anyway, Joyces message on this day focused on the battlefield of the mind, and how it is our choice whether or not we allow our thoughts to be negative, or positive. It is our choice whether or not we focus on the lies, fears and doubts that the enemy puts in our hearts and minds. It is our choice whether or not we choose to have a heart full of love and full of Gods thoughts, instead of discouragement, or judgement.

She reiterated how we have to get into the habit of focusing on the thoughts of Christ, and not the thoughts of our own mind, or of the world.

That word habit was starting to get on my nerves!

But in that moment, a little light bulb lit up in my head and I instantly recognized the pattern that had taken place during the week. Everything I read or watched focused on habits, and they all reiiterated our need for spiritual cleaning. Spiritual healing of the heart and mind.

I realized that while I had been caught up in my daily habits, that God had been speaking to me all week long, but I had been blind to His activity, because I was too busy being habitual.

I realized I had taken time to pray to God, but not taken time to listen for His answer.

I realized that I had blown certain circumstances out of proportion in my mind, because I was focusing on all the what ifs......

I realized that as I allowed negative thoughts, judgemental opinions, fears, doubts, insecurities and concerns to cloud my vision, it made it hard for God to get through to my heart.

I realized that I had formed a habit of stinkin thinkin - the devils favorite tool.

That stinkin thinkin had become an obstacle between me and God, because my heart needed some healing.

You know, life really is a battlefield of the mind, like Joyce says. There is always a war raging, led by a mighty and powerful enemy, taking place behind the scenes of our earthly vision. If the enemy can penetrate our minds with despair and negativity, then our lives will surely follow suit.

I have heard it takes 21 days for a habit to form, but that after 21 days, the old habit dissappears and the new habit becomes the norm.

Do you have any habits that need a special healing touch of God? Is your mind controlling your life, or is God controlling your mind? Is it possible that your heart and mind could use a little holy prescription for goodness today?

This change in our habits will soon result in a life that is a shining reflection of a heart and mind transformed for Christ.

A heart that dwells on His love for us, not our own short comings, or those of others.

A heart that is full of the love of God, instead of criticism.

A heart that sees the good in things, instead of the bad.

Are you ready to say out with the old, in with the new? Out with stinking-thinkin, in with Godly thinkin? Not just for a time, but permanently?

Are you ready for a 21 day challenge that will leave you spiritually healed?

I am willing to try - what about you?

Habits: Out With The Old, In With The FaithfulSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Anonymous said...

Good morning! Pessimism and negativity is definitely something I am struggling with. Just this week I made it my goal to turn my thoughts around and to trust God in this matter. It's amazing what negativity can do to you, but no more! I will turn my thoughts to the things of Christ Thank you for sharing this post!


Anonymous said...

Thank you! Today is my 59th birthday - I needed a word from God's WORD of enouragement and challenge - I can remember times "waiting for God to speak" and He already had, I just had not listened! Today I pray I will be listening more intently to "hear the word He has for me today."
Tricia Grable

Tracie Miles said...

Happy 59th birthday Tricia! Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you have a happy day!

Anonymous said...

I realized just the other day in my meditation,concerning some very significant issues in my relationship, that I have been blocked from "hearing" God. I am still blocked and do not know what decision to make-stay in this engagament or break it off. When things are close to my heart, I become the obstacle between God and me-I know that. I just don't know how to get out of the way and hear Him. I also know God will be with me either way, but I've been at this cross roads before and here I am again. How do I get out of the way- I know I'm afraid, but that knowledge does not clear my mind. help please!

Angie said...

I too have old habits that I am finding hard to break. Those old habits were created by Satan and he is not letting me forget them easy.

For so long I carried a heavy load and he reminds me frequently the results of that heavy load.

I always "tried" to fix things on my own and often he tries to plug back in the strong willed, self-sufficent woman attitude.

I would never ask for help with anything in any area of my life, but I have seen the results that come from asking for prayer.

I have many years of bad habits. And even as I sit here writing this, Satan is trying to overwhelm me with the thought of how long it is going to take, if each habit will take 21 days to create a new habit.

But I have to take it one day at a time. One baby step at a time.

I am an optimist! Rather than seein this as a 21 day, up hill battle. I see it as 11 days to change then 10 more reassuring myself I Can Do It!

Tracie Miles said...

Angie - I love that way to look at the 21 days!!!!! Perfect. Thanks for sharing it. :)

Barbie said...

Thank you so much, Tracie! The things you wrote about today are SO applicable to what God is trying to teach me at this time in my life. Thank you for being a channel through which He can speak to me and to other women. Suffice it to say, I have a myriad of negative habits/thinking that I need to give over to God. I know that He is truly able to show His power in my life!

Tracie Miles said...

Dear anonymous, I have to agree, that one of the main things that blocks our hearing from God is our own emotions getting in the way. Marriage is such a huge step, that it is definitely worth all the time spent praying that you can get. Ask God to help you understand exactly what it is you are afraid - are they concerns based on "what-if's", or are they concerns based on reality facts or circumstances that have planted doubt in your heart. Also, I would strongly encourage you to check into some pre-marital sessions with your local church or counseling center. I also came across a book called "How Can I Be Sure: Questions to ask before you get married", by Bob Phillips. It is a Christian, bibically focused book which might be a great tool for you and your fiance to work through together. Blessings to you!

Grace said...

Tracie, How did you know I was paying bills this morning and fretting about how we seemed to have more month tha money? I'm always amazed st how the Lord is concerned about every aspect of our lives. My bad habits... you mentioned some of them already. Judging others before I really know them; saying I will pray for someone and then not praying and name a few. Thank you for reminding me to cast all my cares upon Him, because He cares for me and you!
God Bless!

Angie said...

Just another note to add.

Last night a friend tweeted this...

The enemy wouldn't be attacking you if something very valuable wasn't inside of you. Thieves don't break in to empty houses.

Nicole said...

I'd love to join you in this 21 day challenge. Lysa gave me a specific one-week challenge yesterday, and I blew it! So, I vowed to start again today. But in talking to my husband this morning, I think I blew it again.

So, I'm starting fresh right now! If I can't do it for 5 minutes, imagine how hard this is going to be for me to do it for 21 days! I will keep trying though!

I love you Proverbs 31 girls!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning ladies:)...

Oooh Tracie,
Today it is a rainy day...stinking-thinkin sets in easy on these days for me. Am I ready for a 21 day challenge that will leave me spiritually healed?

Perfect timing for this 21 day challenge.

Joyce Meyers....Tracie Miles
(I love my girl Tracie. She always says something that speaks to my heart. I serioulsy think God gave Tracie a little peek at my heart, and tells her what to say every day that is going to speak to me and my situation).

....We are entering the dreary months of the year. I AM GOING TO HAVE A GOD CONTROLLING MIND.

I came across this just the other day....This could be something to settle us in for this DAILY HABIT as we pray about it.

A Daily Pattern

Preparation for Prayer:

I weave a silence on to my lips,
I weave a silence into my mind
I weave a silence within my heart
I close my ears to distractions
I close my eyes to attractions
I close my heart to temptations

Calm me, O Lord as you stilled the storm.
Still me, O Lord, Keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease.

Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

Blessing Everyone:)

Anonymous said...

Nicole....You hang in there girl!
....You can do this!!

I too when talking to my husband this morning....Stinking-thinken sat in very quickly.

Thank You Tracie....(God speaking)


We are in this world together....Reach out and touch somebody's hand make the world a better place if you can.


Nicole said...

Thank you Rhonda! I decided today to see how many times today that I can encourage someone (not my strong suit), with face-to-face words or in commenting on his or her blog. The real challenge will be in extending that to my family as well!

God controlling mind!!!

Andrea said...

Great message today, Tracie! And thanks, also, to all the other blog posters for the encouragement of changing out thinking to focus on the thoughts of our Lord Jesus, and take one day at a time! I, too, struggle very much with fear and anxious thoughts, making it hard for me to hear from the Lord. Thank you, Tracie, for pointing out how to hear from and listen to Him.


Eagles Wings said...

Tracie thanks for your post today, I almost didn't want to finish reading it....ouch ouch and ouch...(that's my toes being stepped on :-)
I've tried to change my stinking thinking with hubby and doing Love Dare from fireproof...
When I have a good attitude it affects hubby's...Thanks for the word and yes 21 days count me in...

My Journey to Hope said...

The blog & your devo today are both excellent! I really liked this- "Not a cure for the problem, but a cure for my heart as I dealt with the problem under His care."

So often I squirm and try to get out of the difficulties I'm in. Many times God wants me there to learn things. Instead of getting rid of the problem, though, I've learned to pray for His perspective. If my mind is renewed and I see it as He does, then I will have peace in spite of the circumstances.

God keeps hitting this idea home to me this week, and just like Joyce did for you, your words did it for me. Thank you!

:) Michelle

Anonymous said...

I have been struggling for weeks trying to hear the voice of God and not that of my own mind. I know my heart is in the right place but my mind just doesn't feel the same. Thank you, for this post has helped to open my eyes as to how to start fresh again.

Anonymous said...

thanks and i am up for the challenge much blessings

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post today Tracie, I struggle with the judgmental (critical) thing ALL THE TIME, constantly asking the Lord to help me then blowing it again. I would love to join the challenge. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us.
Deb Searfoss

Cape Breton Girl for God said...

Hi Tracie , how i love Joyce Meyers i agree i just love the way she is so open and bold in what she knows to be true. I cant wait to get that book, Battlefield of the Mind i so need it and God is providing:) Take care and God bless.

Denise said...

God's Word is always on time. This is sure a timely message for me. I have some mind habits to change. Just the other day I was at the doctor receiving meds for depression. The continuous situations in my life seems never ending, yet I still believe God has a plan. But my mind often depicts otherwise.

I need to renew my mind in the word. God is able and He has equit me with the strength to do all things.

God bless and thanks for sharing.


Misty said...

I stumbled upon your blog after reading Friday's devotion and seeking some "Spiritual Healing"... It was God moving! :) I can't wait to take this 21 day journey with you... Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of it.

Take care,

B His Girl said...

I love how God delivers His words to us. He is Faithful and True. He is smiling at you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Tracie and you other gals for sharing encouraging words! It helps to know others face depression, "trash thoughts,& stinkin' thinkin." For whatever reason (heredity, circumstances)some of us are more prone to have these feelings than others, but we must hold on to God's promises and Cry out to Him when we feel overcome with dark thoughts and hopelessness. He will surely hear!

Remember, also that God sends us help through others such as Christian Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists. Even in this 21st century there are still those who criticize talk therapy and medication for anxiety or depression, etc.

Talking with a Christian therapist and if needed, taking a prescribed anti-depressant, combined with prayer and reading God's word are positive steps in the right direction!

Linda said...

This really spoke to my heart today. I really needed it! Praise The Lord!
Thank You!

God Bless,