Sunday, January 16, 2011

take every thought captive

I have arrived back on campus safely. I actually got in around 4:15 EST Thursday afternoon in time to catch a much needed cat nap, eat dinner, and go to my night class. Talk about a long day! When we got in all I could think of was "I have never been so happy to get to school". I guess it is true, God works in mysterious ways, haha.

I had a lovely visit though with Tim, Beth, and Annette, and enjoyed the extra few days with Mom. I only solidified the knowledge I had already, which is that my niece is absolutely beautiful and I love her so much. I loved the time I had with her holding her, snuggling, and getting to learn her. It was fun too because in the time we were there, she started picking up smiling...which was a blast! What a privilege it was to spend the time with the four of them. Another nice aspect of my time in AL was I got to see Daniel! He was stopping by to spend the night on his way through to go back to school. He had originally planned to leave first thing Monday morning, but due to Monday, he stayed for several more hours. You didn't hear my complaining. All in all, it was a lovely time in AL!

Now, for my female readers (males can read too, but I just don't know how much it will mean to you)....Last night I was talking with a close friend about some of the things I really struggle with and have much room for improvement. One of the things we talked about is a severe case of the worry worts. I am afraid, I do have that severe case. I think it is a struggle most females have, but I won't speak for the rest of you. All I know is that I really have a hard time, and often times, worrying takes over my life. I know that is wrong, and so we were talking last night about how I really have to work on it, and not just half heartedly, but it is a sin that I have got to work on wholeheartedly. It is a daily battle that with God's strength I need to overcome. I am not sure if it will be possible to officially overcome, but I am ready to fight the daily battle until the day I die if I have to. All this to say, this morning in our Women's Sunday School class, we talked about self-control.

In our Women's Sunday School class we are using the book Feminine Appeal to guide our lesson and discussion. In our study this morning on self-control, one of the main points was focused on 2 Corinthians 10:5, "take every thought captive to obey Christ". I valued this discussion with the other women in the class, as we shared what a struggle this is. Women are thinking of something all of the time. I know for me personally, I sit in class listening intently, while planning out my afternoon and the order I will do my homework; I wake up in the middle of the night replaying through my mind tomorrow's activities; my mind is constantly adding to a to-do list, and so I make my point--a females mind is always working. I would like to say my mind is always thinking on productive and positive things, but that would be lying. To be quite honest, all too often, my mind dwells on negative subjects: I will never get everything done, that class was so boring, I am tired of teaching and feel I have no energy left, and again the list could go on. So I know I shouldn't be thinking about those things, but how do I stop it? That is the part of Sunday School I especially loved.

Soaking in the wisdom of older wiser woman is so uplifting. One of the ladies talked about how hard it is picking up after her husband and children, and how she found her thoughts almost always going negative at that time, so she has been trying to instead during that time, thank God that He has given her a husband, and children who are healthy enough to play and make a mess. Another woman shared how when her husband would do something that annoyed her, she would think in her mind how annoying that was, and how dare he say it that way (or whatever the situation). She has thought about it though and realized, "why do we focus on the 20% bad in a person and choose to comment on it, when they do 80% good, and we ignore it or don't comment?" These are good things for me to store away for when I am a wife and mom, but the first two situations don't just have to play out in a marital situation. I think of my 'bad' nights teaching at church when it seems like none of the children are behaving and could care less about the hard work I put into the lesson I am trying to teach them. Instead, why can't I be thankful there are children who are at church. They are the next generation, and they are learning the Word of God. What about those times I am overwhelmed with schoolwork, stressing and worrying my moments away. What if I were to take my thoughts captive and be thankful I have the Word of God to study, and that I have the opportunity to be at Bible College. Another woman shared this morning about she would like to start quoting scripture when the worrisome thoughts creep in. We talk about the Bible being like a double edged sword, why not use it?

As mentioned earlier, a woman is always thinking of something, and when those negative thoughts creep in far too often, it is impossible to just 'forget it'. I know I have tried, and I don't think I have succeeded once. The trick is to replace it with something: thankful for those children and husband who made the mess, the 80% good in a person, or straight up Scripture!

It is important for me to remember though that I can't do this on my own, and it is not by my own strength that I am able overcome this issue of worry. God is my source of strength and power, and it is Him I need to go for help and for comfort about those situations that cause to tempt me to stress.

I know I got a bit long-winded, but that has really challenged me and taken over my thought life today. I am excited to experience the relief the Lord gives me when with His strength, I don't allow worry to captivate my thoughts, but that I allow the Lord to take my thoughts captive in obedience to Christ! I hope you all have a lovely week, and remember the one who should occupy our every thought!

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