If you’re sick of your story or day, then invite the Holy Spirit to change your thoughts.
Your car needs repair. You and a loved one had a disagreement. You must collaborate with an unpleasant coworker.
You read the news. Another terror attack.
What can you do?
You may not be able to change the situation, but you can change your thoughts about the situation.(*)
If you change your thoughts for good, you change your perspective for good.
(As I said in an earlier post, it doesn’t mean denying our feelings but rather processing them with God.)
If you change your sight-focus, you receive new insights.
Creative approaches may appear to your problem. You pray instead of whine. You decide to zag instead of zig.
Just because I think it, doesn’t make it true.Lisa-Jo Baker from a blog post about her book: Unfriended
Do you focus on the problem or the possibility hidden in the problem? (Thanks to Graham Cooke for this nugget.)
Or maybe, you were “catastrophizing” about a situation you had no control over? (Yes, I did, after I wrote about “catastrophizing.”)
Once I stopped “catastrophizing” and prayed, I got clarity.
I stopped focusing on what I couldn’t control (what happened and related fall-out).
My attention shifted from the problem to the Person of Jesus and how He promises to work it all out for good, somehow, although I may not sometimes see fully the “good,” this side of heaven.
Welcome to the third post in our “Be Transformed” Series.
How do you invite the Holy Spirit (the one Jesus said, “guides us into all truth” about Him and life) to help you change your narrative?
- Call out to God. Sometimes I say aloud, “Jesus, Help me.” Or “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.” (I may whisper or say it silently if I’m in a devolving conversation.)
- Believe God will help you because He asks us to cast all of our anxieties on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7). God always has room for you on his calendar.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help see your story (and his/her story or their storie)s from God’s perspective (Col. 3:1-4).
- While Sara Frankl battled a terminal and painful disease over fifteen years, she asked God to show her how to choose joy. She shared how she learned to choose joy in her memoir.
- Lisa-Jo Baker shares how she battles those pesky middle-of-the-night thoughts. (Hint: battle lies with truth.)
This week, when God gifts us [try not to roll your eyes; I’m with you] with a problem waiting to become a possibility, we can practice inviting the Holy Spirit into it.
We can be like Sara Frankl and ask God to teach us how to learn to choose joy. It’s a process.
We don’t grunt or muscle our way into this change of perspective.
Instead, we ask God to help us and be willing to change as God leads. He often surprises (in my experience).
To change our mind is to “repent” or “metanoia” in the Greek.
In order to change we first have to change our minds [or repent]. James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God, 26.
This past week, I repented or changed my mind (with the Holy Spirit’s help) many times.
This morning’s Jesus Calling made me chuckle:
“WHEN THINGS DON’T GO as you would like, accept the situation immediately.” [Hmm, not there yet, but with practice. . .]
“If you indulge in feelings of regret, they can easily spill over the line into resentment.” [Imagine a “STOP,” sign.]
“The ultimate challenge is to keep fixing your eyes on Me [Jesus], no matter what is going on around you. When I am central in your thinking, you are able to view circumstances from My perspective.”[This is what “abiding in Jesus” looks like. Jesus is always with and within me via the Holy Spirit. But am I focusing on Jesus or my problem?]
What helps you to re-focus or fix your attention Jesus? What helps you to repent or change your mind?
I always appreciate your comments and emails. Thank you!
P.S. I heard John (Director of Investigations) of International Justice Mission speak. I heard about IJM’s work against cyber-sex-trafficking. John said they failed more than succeeded in their rescue work. He had to learn to trust God with what he couldn’t control, such as some corrupt police officers who tipped off traffickers about IJM’s rescue work. Please pray for John and all the brave men and women involved in rescuing the babies [sad but true], toddlers, girls, teens, women, and men who are trafficked. Please pray for God to open the way for more successful rescues all over the world. Thank you!
P.S.S. IJM knows they can’t do their work without prayer. They know God changes stories when we pray with Him for the rescue of the oppressed and the poor.
What if we each acknowledged we can’t rescue ourselves or anyone else without God’s empowering presence and prayer? Isn’t that how God makes us strong in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10)?
Thanks to Henry Park for the photo via Unsplash.com
(*) Unless you have a disorder or illness that somehow causes you to lose the ability to control your thoughts.