I am convinced that the greatest weapon we have to fight with is the Bible. If I had heard someone say that a year ago, two years ago, or ten years ago, I might have rolled my eyes and made a comment under my breath about how that's not for me. At least not on a daily basis. When I was desperate for my life to change, I would seek a verse, but I wasn't willing to discipline myself daily to get there.
I think it's been a long process and what finally happened; I fell in love with Jesus. I wanted to fully saturate myself with Him. I was no longer satisfied with just talking to Him; I wanted to know Him, to know about Him. I wanted to use every single resource I had.
I was rather selfish before and thought about my feelings too much. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I didn't force myself to do much. Fear and selfishness ruled my life. I wanted to complain and pity myself for my circumstances but I didn't desire to use the tools laid before me. I wanted an easy fix. I wanted to say, "Help" and it would immediately be taken care of. I didn't want to have to DO something. I thought it should just fall into my lap gift wrapped with a pretty bow.
I have since discovered the gift wrapped box with the pretty bow is holding the pages of my Bible. I want to know the heart of God. What does He think about every situation? What does He think about me? I may never hear or recognize the audible voice of God, but I can get good at recognizing His character. I can learn to discern when God is speaking through someone else to me.
I used a simple idea to conquer this task of reading my Bible. I treat it like a treasure hunt. As I read the words, I am constantly thinking about how I can apply it to my life. I search for a verse to highlight, literally. Some of it reads like a novel, but even during those parts you can find a quote or saying that will stand out to you. I make myself find at least 1 verse to underline that's important to me. I can't quit until I find one treasure to meditate or contemplate for the rest of the day. There is always something.
Sometimes the verse will really stand out to me and I stick it on my wall. I have verses all over my house in key places where I spend a lot of time. They are such an encouragement.
A month ago, I found this pad of sticky notes, 101 Bible Verses that Stick. I was so excited I bought a few for my friends. I found it at our local Christian book store for $6. The concept is fantastic! It's literally 101 Bible verses already put to sticky notes. All you need to do is start sticking them up. I have them all over!
When I woke up this morning, I was struggling. I couldn't really pinpoint what was wrong. I just felt frustrated and angry. I was short with my kids and I didn't have the energy to try or the desire to. I said an angry prayer during our morning time together, and I told God I didn't care. I had no idea what was bothering me but I still felt justified in my bad attitude.
As I was sitting on my couch, feeling rather crabby, and not wanting to do anything productive, a friend texted me. I could tell she needed encouragement.
When we stop focusing on ourselves and start looking at those around us, things change. I couldn't be selfish if I wanted to reach out to someone else. As I was giving her advice I felt it come right back at me. As I was quoting scripture and stepping outside of my own feelings, my attitude changed drastically.
I wasn't angry and agitated anymore. I was happy to be alive.
I believe it was the consequence of two things. First, “Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.” ― Daniel Goleman
The second thing I did was meditate on scripture. It has the power to change you if you let it. It's a different mindset. It's our greatest weapon against the enemy, against that selfish, angry person. Me. I had the power to change the whole time. I was choosing not to.
Place scripture strategically around your home. Where do you go the most? What do you use as a source of encouragement when you're feeling discouraged? If it's food, TV, books, shopping, stick a verse there. Remind yourself as much as possible that you have the greatest weapon of this world.
When I'm washing my face in the morning, and I'm experiencing anxiety over getting my kids ready for school, "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself." Romans 12:9-10
When I'm getting dressed or looking in the mirror critiquing myself, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
When I'm doing the dishes and starting to focus on the bad around me, "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
Remind me to turn to you when things are rough, God. I don't have to do it all on my own. Bring scriptures to my mind when I'm ready to lash out in anger. Stop me when my attitude needs adjusting. I want to be used by you and I cannot accomplish that when I'm focused on myself. Thank you for loving me each day in the way that I need it.