Penny for your thoughts?
This weekend, many of us will be gathering with family and friends to honor the memories of all those who gave their lives to fight for our freedoms. I think it’s important to look back on what God has done, and what we have lost, and find gratitude for what we have.
BUT how do we keep the celebrations going when it seems like our liberties are being stripped away every time we look around us. Right now we are mourning the tragedies of lives taken unjustly and too soon. We have witnessed hurt people hurting people and I can’t help but think, “Is this the freedom people have given their lives for?”.
That question is dangerous for me. It leaves an opening to spiral in my negative thought patterns that drip with fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. It’s easy to react out of my heavy heart and go do something about it because I have the answers and can fix this…..right?
Maybe I do. Maybe I don’t. The reality is, that someone else who has a different view than me “might be right”.
Try saying that 3 times, without cringing, to someone you disagree with or are upset with. “You might be right”. It’s tough. One of the greatest challenges I’ve faced is right in my own mind. It’s relinquishing the idea that I have all the answers and choosing to tune into the voice of the one who holds the universe in His hands.
When tragedy strikes in our world, in our nation, down the street, in my church, or right in our own relationships, WHAT IS OUR GO-TO? Are we quick to puff out our chest, point the finger and declare what we would have done? Or better yet, what they should have done?
As followers of Jesus, we have a picture of perfection to look toward for guidance. What was Jesus’ go-to in the face of tragedy and pain?
In Matthew chapter 26 there’s an illustration of Jesus’ response to adversity. He’s been plotted against, arrested and the crowd is out for blood. One of Jesus’ followers reacts, as most of us would, by lashing out ready to fight and defend his truth, his friend, his king.
51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus *said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”
Did you see that? Our King, the one we choose to follow, called his followers to return their weapons. They are just not necessary because Jesus had immediate access to the power of God himself and all his angels. Jesus was in tune with the God of all creation who knew the bigger picture of things to come.
That’s the same Jesus we invite to live in our hearts. That’s the very same power we have access to. So why don’t we reach for His power before we reach for our keyboards and phones to splatter our limited human knowledge on others?
What would it look like if every time we felt wronged or feared the loss of our freedoms, we instead decided to unplug and sit with Jesus? How would our power ignite if we conditioned our minds to experience a perfect outcome through the eyes of Jesus before we mounted our soapboxes?
I imagine we’d all slow down a bit, say a lot less, and listen a lot more. When Jesus slowed down, He looked more like the father and I think we will too.
While we are all processing what’s happening in the world, let’s start with Jesus and his radical love. A love that says, I see you and what’s been taken from you and I offer restoration (John 4: 7-23). A love that conjures healing power when we believe (Mark 5:25-34). A love that drenches our fears and confusion in affirmations of hope (Luke 1:26-38).
As good as this all may or may not sound, anytime we challenge ourselves to grow in our thinking, it’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to feel counterintuitive. It will be tough. If you choose to join me in this endeavor, I encourage you to do so in safe and connected places. Maybe you do this with friends, a therapist, your BeGroup, your partner, or a combination of resources. However you decided to dive deeper into looking and responding like Jesus, I pray that you are filled with courage and surrounded by support.
We are here for you too. Your church family and leadership are here to pray with as we all grow together. This Sunday we’ll continue our “Healthy. Happy. Whole.” series by looking at relational healing. What better place to stretch our thinking than how we relate to each other. I can’t wait to see the ripple effects of finding healing in the way we approach doing life with others.
Here are some resources that have been useful to me:
Podcast: The Bible Project
Practices: Meditation, fasting
I’d love to hear things that are helping you in your thought life too!
Lots of love,