Journal Entry ~ 11/15/17

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.  - Psalm 107:43

“Let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”  Of all the important lessons for us in this Psalm, that’s the closing message. We are to consider the love of the Lord.  Steadfast means unwavering, fixed in direction, or firm in purpose, so when trials come, we are to think about his unwavering love for us. When the anxiety hits, when our anger rises, when we feel alone or overwhelmed, when the grief comes, when the disappointment consumes us, we are to consider the steadfast love of the Lord. It can be so easy to let the emotions consume us in the moments the trials hit. We’re hurt or frustrated, sad or alone, and it can feel overwhelming, but we’re instructed here to think on His love for us. Remember He loves you, with a steadfast, pursuing love that doesn’t quit. 

When we are overwhelmed, it can be so challenging to concentrate in anything other than the trial in front of us.  But in those moments, we are to capture those emotional thoughts and make them obedient to Christ - that takes intentional effort. I’ve counseled several people consumed with anxiety or despair who did not understand this was possible. They fall victim to the consuming anxieties or despair when the panic attack or spiraling thoughts begin, and don’t understand how to stop them. We’ve all been there at some point, though, right?  We let our emotions drive our behavior right in to the ground. Taking your thoughts captive takes intentional effort that begins when you’re in your rational mind, it doesn’t begin when you’re already off the rails. You begin by thinking about your thinking in a regular basis - what are you choosing to dwell on in your mind?  You are your biggest counselor - you talk to yourself more than anyone else. What commands your meditation? What are you saying to yourself? Our meditations should be on the Lord. In the quiet moments of your day, when it is just you and your thoughts, your meditations should be on the Lord. You have to begin by thinking about your thinking.  We choose what we think about - we have control over our thoughts. When you review your day, do you dwell on all the things that went wrong, do you replay conversations, or do you stew about what should have happened?  Or perhaps your thoughts are agonizing over the future...do you spend time worrying about what might happen at some point down the road if your situation doesn’t change?  Capture those thoughts. Stop yourself and shift your thinking to Him. Pay attention to what you’re thinking about, and make the conscious effort to capture your thinking in the easier moments of your day, then it gets possible in the more challenging times. Begin to recognize when the negative thoughts creep in, and choose to stop them.  Raise a hand in protest, and push them away. 

When you capture your thinking, you need something to replace the negative thoughts with - this takes time and practice as well. You have to fill your mind with thoughts worth dwelling on. When I feel those anxious or despairing thoughts begins, I know I need to make them obedient to Christ so I usually do one of three things - I crank up the worship music, I work on a memory verse, or I just begin to list all the things that I’m thankful for. Take control of your thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. 

In this verse, we’re told specifically what to meditate on - the steadfast love of the Lord, but we need to know if before we can consider it. Do you know His love intimately?  Do you have experience with His pursuing unwavering love in your life?  If you do, spend time thinking on those moments, reminding yourself of the deep, sacrificial, unchanging love He has for you. Not everyone has those experiences to draw upon when the waters rise. Some people “know” it in their heads, but it hasn’t made it to their hearts. Some people believe it in their hearts, but they don’t have the knowledge from Scripture, and their understanding gets distorted, especially when trials hit. If either of these are you, spend time in His Word allowing Him to reveal to you His deep and protecting love. God loves you with an everlasting love that words fail to describe (Jeremiah 31:3). He knows every hair on your head (Matthew 10:30), He saves your tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8), and He has engraved you upon the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16).  Hear His great love for you when you read Isaiah 43:2: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  

It has been such a beautiful experience to spend so much time reveling in the great truths of Psalm 107, reminding me His steadfast love is the anchor that holds me steady in the storm. It is not by accident that this study fell into my lap as I was coming to terms with my diagnosis. I am so incredibly thankfu for His perfect planl. He wanted to keep my mind firmly focused on the path as I walk this journey, reminding me His plan is for good in all things. Whether I am in the desert, in chains, making foolish decisions, or weathering a storm, He is sovereign over everything and has a beautiful, glorifying purpose in it all - ultimately to demonstrate His steadfast love for me. It is in these truths that I can find joy despite what I may be facing. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists.  It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst.  Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps!  Here is the link:


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