Today marks the end of the 35-day journey we had at church. You may remember me talking about this journey beginning back in January in this post. This journey is a time when we as a church, fast together from something for 35-days in an effort to become closer to God. This year I decided to fast from distractions which included: hating how my body looks, being upset with my relationship status, and feelings of inadequacy. Now that this journey is “over” I wanted to share a few things I learned in these 35-days. First of all, I learned that I think about these distractions a lot. A scary amount, actually. And the sad part is, spending all that time thinking about these things is a waste of time. And what’s worse, doing so is selfish and disrespectful. When I condemn how I was made or what God has chosen to give me or not give me or do not fully believe in His promises, I am telling God He’s not good enough. Throughout my life, I have had a constant fear of never being good enough, worthy enough and now I have discovered that the very thing I have feared most is also what I have projected onto God. I have taken the almighty creator of all things, who gave up His own life to die for mine, and lessened Him, demoted Him. God, for some amazing reason, found me worth redemption and yet I constantly tell Him, it was not enough. How can I do that?
In addition, I find dwelling on these poisonous thoughts to be selfish because I spending my time chewing on lies instead of glorying in the truth. Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Instead of selfishly dwelling on the lies Satan has told me, I could be dwelling on the mighty truth of God or praying for someone I love.
These 35 days have taught me the importance of what Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “take every thought captive”. Every thought means every thought. Even the ones that are a reaction to something someone said or did, or what goes through your head when you daydream. Those thoughts shape you and your character and your actions, so think about what you think about. Once the journey ended, my goal was not to go back to thinking and dwelling on these lies again. My hope was to change the way I think. I know this has not been fully accomplished, but I know I have taken a step down the right journey.
Lastly, I want to share Colossians 3:12 with you: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Yesterday, during my quiet time I was reading this passage and it hit me. Most days, I dress in selfishness and pride. My heart is clothed in those, yet I have the foolishness to believe I am clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. The part I so often forget, is that these come from God. I have the spiritual gift of mercy, but it is not because I am merciful, but because God is merciful. It is not my mercy to give, but God’s mercy. I am simply the vessel He has chosen to show people His mercy. What an awesome responsibility. If I show compassion, it is because You are compassionate God. If I show kindness, it is because You are kind. If I show humility, it is because You are humble. If I show gentleness, if is because You are gentle. These are the fruit of Your spirit, not my own.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
If you have made it to the end of this post, then clearly God has blessed you with patience. I have no idea how this year is going to shape my life and I have no idea how these past 35-days will have changed my year, but I ready and willing to find out. I ready for the falsehoods to be subtracted from my life, so I can see the truth clearly.