Yesterday started out great. Even though it was pouring down rain in sheets and buckets, I was glad that the kids were out of school. Number one, I didnt have to drive to school in that messy weather, and number two, we could all just hang out and eat breakfast, and then spend the day.
Kaitlyn was scheduled for a doctors checkup around mid-morning, and despite my reminding everyone what time we had to leave, of course, nobody was ready on time, making us nearly late for the appointment. I fussed and complained about why nobody can ever be ready on time (with two teenager girls in the house, I recognize that I probably need to lower my expectations for timeliness), but finally we made it out the door, into the freezing rain.
The doctors office, to my surprise, was not crowded at all, in fact we were the only ones in the lobby. Despite that, an hour later, I still found myself sitting in that doctors office. So, I began to fuss and complain once again.
One hour and fifteen minutes after our arrival, we finally left the doctors office, and headed to a local mall to enjoy some pre-holiday shopping together. As always, immediately upon stepping inside the mall entrance, three little faces announced that they were starving, as if they have not eaten for days. I explained to them that I did not want to spend $30 or $40 on lunch in the food court, so we would all plan to get something from the dollar menu of a fast food restaurant, and share a couple big drinks, since most of the drinks we buy end up getting thrown away anyway.
But unfortunately there was no dollar menu to be found, and after ten minutes of being beaten down with begging and pleading from starving little faces who all wanted something different, I finally caved, spending over $30.
Then, that stinkin thinkin flew all over me! So I fussed and complained some more, and also threw in a few lectures about how much money we have spent lately on this and that and such and such.
As a result, my holiday shopping spirit got flung out the window, and my stinkin thinkin had taken up residence in my heart, which I had also now infected my kids with.
So we left and went home shortly after.
I love the verse in Romans 7:15b-16 (approximately, from The Message), where it says “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.”
I certainly did not plan on getting frustrated and short tempered yesterday. I had no intention of arguing about lunch. I did not plan on scolding my kids for a variety of things.
But that is exactly what I did. And all the way driving home, I felt bad about it. God convicted my heart, and helped me to see that I had allowed stinkin thinkin to creep in, and replace my happy spirit, with a frustrated spirit. A few obstacles were thrown into my path during the day, and instead of facing them with the love and patience that would please Christ, I failed miserably.
There had been kinks in my day that were unplanned and annoying – but I chose to respond with stinkin thinkin rather than patience and kindness. So that verse in Romans above is perfect for me! You see, I get so mad at myself when I get mad at little things!
I hate when I do that, I know that I will regret it, but sometimes, I am tempted to sin, so I do it anyway – which is exactly why I so need God every minute of every day.
I need Him to show me the error of my ways when they happen by convicting my spirit.
I need His mercy every time I fall short of living out each day in a way that pleases Him.
And I most definitely need His strength and guidance, even in the littlest bits of my every day routines, so that I can learn to react and respond in ways that portray the values that He sets forth for us in His Word.
If you have taken this little challenge over the past week or so to try to tame your stinkin thinkin, I imagine that you too, have fallen short. I imagine that you too, have been tempted to engage in thoughts and behaviors that are poisoned by stinkin thinkin, and I imagine you too wish you hadnt.
Lets face it…..controlling our thoughts, our minds, our attitudes and our hearts is a daunting task! Thank goodness we have God to help us with that. What a losing battle we would face if we were going at it alone.
So today, if you feel you have failed at keeping your stinkin thinkin at bay, then just ask God to forgive you, and then forgive yourself. Ask for His mercy, and then give yourself a little mercy. And remember that Romans 7 proves that we are not alone in our struggle to be like Christ.
Lets start out tomorrow with a fresh attitude and an open mind. Through prayer and time with God, we can be more prepared for the hurdles that the devil will throw our way to try to cause us to stumble, and be more equipped to stand on the strength of Christ to get a little closer to our goal every day.