Piggy-backing off last week’s post, I am still thinking about the views we have come to accept in our everyday lives. Or, as I am now thinking of them, the lies we have heard for most of our lives. They are the lies movies and television tell us, the lies we tell each other, and the lies we tell ourselves.
So, I am sure you are asking, why have I started referring to them as lies? And, what are these actual lies that I am speaking of? Well, let me start with the lies themselves.
The lies that have been top of mind lately are these: To be truly happy in life you need to do “________.” (fill in the blank – get married, have a baby, have a career, etc.), To have a happy marriage I must find my soulmate—the one person in this world who was made just for me., To be happy in life, I must find a job I love, et cetera.
Basically, they all boil down to being happy and finding happiness. And, isn’t that what we are all searching for? Or, at least, what we think happiness is? Well the devil has gotten into our collective minds and convinced us that these lies and more, will make us happy. Well, I am here to tell you from my own experience, they won’t.
The truth is, no matter how much “stuff” we get, we will always want more.
The truth is, no matter how many items we cross off our “must do in life” list, once we do those things, we still feel left wanting.
The truth is, there is no such thing as a soulmate. If you truly love your spouse and marry them, you must put in the time and effort to cultivate a loving and lasting relationship. And, you must choose to wake up every day for the rest of your life and say “I do” to them all over again.
The truth is your job won’t always make you happy. Maybe it will make you happy sometimes. Maybe it won’t. Even if you are fortunate enough to love your job, there will still be things about it that you don’t really like. Plus, as you grow and change, what you love will grow and change too. Thus, affecting what you do. Or, your work environment will change. Basically, there are so many factors that come into play in our professional lives, that getting everything we truly want from our jobs is impossible. And, thinking that your job will always provide your happiness is short-sighted.
So, what are we to do about all these lies? We replace them with truth. We send the devil and his lies packing. We spend our time with God and fill our hearts and minds with Him, His love, and His truth.
Rather than saying, “To be truly happy in life, I need to _______.” say, “To be truly happy in life, I need to know God and have a true relationship with Him.”
Rather than saying, “To have a happy marriage, I must find my soulmate.” say, “To have a happy marriage, I must put God first.”
Rather than saying, “To be happy in life, I must find a job I love.” say, “To be happy in life, I must remember that no matter what job I have, I must do that job for the Lord, not for anyone else.” (See Colossians 3:23)
Ultimately, what we must remember, is that the only way to find true happiness is to find God. John 14:6 tells us, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" God will fill our heart, mind, body, and soul—which will bring us the only true and lasting happiness there is I promise you, this is NOT a lie. This is the truth.
In the course of everyday life, it is so easy to succumb to the accepted views of our environment and traditional ways of thinking. And, by this, I mean thinking things like: I need to go to college, I need to get a degree, I need to find a good job, I need to get married, have kids, and balance all of that with a career. Then, I can be happy. Blah, blah, blah. For most of us, this is what we have been taught. Well, at least, it is what I grew up thinking.
And, maybe you are thinking, so what? What is wrong with any of that? Well, let me tell you; it teaches us to look inside to ourselves instead of looking up to God. And, while none of these thoughts are inherently bad or wrong, they teach us to be self-centered and to think that to find our true value and happiness we must manufacture it for ourselves, by ourselves. (Well, maybe with a little help along the way from other people around us.)
This, to me, is conventional wisdom. And, it is dead wrong.
As believers and followers of Christ, we need to reprogram our brains and start thinking differently. We need to shift our way of thinking. (And, to most people that we are surrounded by, this will be unconventional.) But, I believe if we change how we think, we can change our world.
We need to start thinking in terms of WHOSE we are, not who we are. We are children of God. We belong to Him. And, that makes all the difference in the world.
When we turn our gaze up and focus on God, rather than looking inward and down on ourselves, we start to realize that we can harness the power of our Almighty God. We can do whatever we set our minds to; not because of who we are, but because of God and who He is. Ephesians 3:20 tells us, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”
Take some time and really chew on this verse, digest it and get out all the sweet goodness and truth it has. His power that is at work WITHIN us. We have the power of God WITHIN US! This is the same power that made blind people see and raised the dead. We, as God’s children, have access to that amazing power. It truly blows my mind.
When we start thinking in terms of, not what we can do, but what can God do through us, we open the door to unlimited possibilities. We are here as tools for God. We are His hands and feet, His vessels. He can and will use us for great and mighty things.
One of our most important jobs is to bring God glory. And, once we tap into God’s power, we can accomplish far more than we ever dreamed. Then, when people ask us how we did these incredible things, we can proudly tell them that it didn’t have anything to do with us, it was all God. That is how we give Him the honor and the glory.
So, I am going to keep my eyes lifted up towards God as much as possible. I truly want to change my perspective. Will you join me in shifting your way of thinking? I truly believe it will do us all a world of good. And, that is certainly something the world can use more of right now!
Life is a crazy thing. Some days and seasons of our lives can feel like we are on a run-away train. Other days and seasons can be slow and rote. Good days, bad days, ups and downs. That is just life. But, the basic ins-and-outs of the everyday pressures can be mind-numbing. We can easily grow weary, tired, worn-out. Life is full of hills and valleys. The Bible tells us this, often. Most of the time we find a way to slog through and do what we feel like we must.
No matter where you are today, valley or hill, I wanted to share a little something with you. In the past, I have talked about how important it is to pray. Well, not only is it important in our spiritual walk and to our spiritual growth, it is indispensable.
As you grow, you will learn to pray more adeptly and more often. I know I have. (And, as a side note, the more time you spend with Jesus, the more time you will want to spend with Him. It truly is an amazing thing!)
And, in the vein of prayer and how critical it is, I would like to share with all of you my new basic, go-to prayer. I stumbled upon it not too long ago while I was reading a book. (And, sadly, I read so many books, I can’t even remember which one it was. But, I digress…) It is a simple prayer, but one that I now find myself praying often. And, I think it is one that each and every one of us can use and find great value in.
That simple prayer is this: Change me, Lord.
Change me, Lord. Change. Me.
So often in our lives, we pray for what we want, or how we want things to be, or how we want people to be. I think it is so easy to forget the fact that the only person we have any control over is ourselves.
And, I don’t know about you, but I want to change. I want my heart to change. I want my mind to change. I want my thinking and my way of life to change. I want my sight and my hearing to change. I want to see people the way Jesus does. I want to love people the way Jesus does. I want to be more and more like Jesus every day.
In order for this to happen, I must change. Me.
But, as I grow in my spiritual life, I have also realized that I can’t do any of this on my own. I need Jesus. I need His help in order to change. I need His strength in order to change. I need His grace in order to change. I need His mercy in order to change. I simply just need Him. And, I need Him more and more each day.
Now, this is not to say that I don’t pray for other people, things, events, or outcomes. I most certainly do. However, with this simple prayer I have learned to look at everything I pray for with fresh eyes and a new perspective. I believe that everything and everyone we pray for is an opportunity for us to grow. I can’t change a person or a situation, but I can change how I see them or it. I can ask God to change me and my heart and how I see things. I can also ask God to change the hearts of others. He can do these things. He has done these things. I have seen Him in action. It is wondrous to behold!
When we pray, we change.
Why? Because we are talking to God; communicating with Him. We are seeking more time with Him, and spending more time with Him. And, when we spend time with God, the person who loves and cares about us the most, we change.
You know it’s true. Just think about it; you are the company you keep. There is an old Japanese proverb that says, “When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.” That speaks volumes, doesn’t it? That is why it is necessary for us to spend time with God each and every day. (Not just on Sunday mornings.) And, not only should we be spending time with God every day, we should be spending GOOD, QUALITY time with God every day.
This is how we change.
And, the first step is as easy as saying one simple prayer: Change me, Lord.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light and any good thing that I come across.