Some thoughts sparked while reading daily devotions from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest...
"Living a full and overflowing life does not rest in bodily health, in circumstances, nor even in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed. But the first thing that will hinder this joy is the subtle irritability caused by giving too much thought to our circumstances. Jesus said, “. . . the cares of this world, . . . choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). And before we even realize what has happened, we are caught up in our cares. All that God has done for us is merely the threshold— He wants us to come to the place where we will be His witnesses and proclaim who Jesus is."
Too much thought to my circumstances, whether good or bad, certainly distracts me from my relationship with the LORD. As a stay-at-home-mom, I am easily caught-up in thinking about how to improve my circumstances, or how I can make each day go more smoothly. I plan meals, I take my kids to do "fun" things (which is really motivated by my need to get out of the house, but it usually turns into a stressful event!); I day-dream about vacations and other ways of escaping my current circumstances sometimes, too. These kinds of thoughts (and more) "choke" the Holy Spirit out of my heart's radar, and rob me of the joy I can have all the time if I can simply be content and fruitful, no matter the circumstances I am in. It reminds me of what Paul said in Philippians 1:10-11:
"For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation-the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ- for this will bring much glory and praise to God." (NLT)
So, after this reading, and after a great sermon from my pastor on Sunday night ( I wanted to post a link here, but the sermon is not on our church website yet.), I am beginning to see what God is teaching me: I am convicted that I must start the process of eliminating thinking about my circumstances, good or bad. These thoughts cause distraction and discontentment, two great enemies of mine (and I think all of ours).
If I, with God's help, can train my mind (Romans 12:2) to stop being caught up in the "if's", I can be filled with the fruit of my salvation, displaying a righteous character; bringing glory and praise to Him; living a "full and overflowing life!" Oh, Lord, forgive me for being so selfish at times!
To be continued...