Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses
all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)
Oh no, not another case of foot rot!? Come on Lord, can’t I catch a break? Haven’t you ever expressed thoughts much like this? You may not have dealt with multiple cases of foot rot in your herd, but there’s been things happen that make you think, “What a rotten year this is.” That’s what I thought last week. I had decided when my cow “Aunt Yolanda” came back from the vet with a wrapped hoof that I would entitle this week’s post, A Rotten Year.
Be it fatalistic, stinkin’ thinkin’, an acute case of “Poor Me”, or a bout of the “Blues”, this old world can sure wear a person down. Bad things happen and once it affects you, they seem to compound. Looking at another vet bill (as if medicines to treat problems ourselves isn’t enough), my mind went to:
- More surgeries and medical procedures for me and my family,
- Huge increases in grocery, fuel, and energy costs (thanks inflation),
- More crop losses and another year of garden failure,
- More equipment replacement and repairs,
- Less than normal writing work to provide income,
- And the list goes on . . .
As often happens, we humans focus on the negatives in our lives. When we do, it takes on a life of its own and can overwhelm us to the point of worry and fear. That was the path I started down when this latest challenge occurred.
Sitting down over the weekend to write this post, God whispered, “Why are you whining? Why are you seeing the negative? You’re looking at the world. I’m over here.”
“Sorry Lord, You’re so right”, was the only way I could respond. As He spiritually patted my head, He brought the familiar words of Philippians 4 to the forefront of my mind. It’s when we focus on this world that we invite Satan to spread his FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) throughout our lives. His lies start quietly, but grow into a deafening crescendo of worry if you let those seeds germinate in your soul.Satan works quietly in the background of your mind, planting FUD until it takes root in your heart. #SatanLies #FUDFuelsWorry #NotOfGod Click To Tweet
While Satan begins his work in our minds, planting ideas, his target is always our heart. He knows that if he can get us to internalize his lies and traps, then he can more easily tempt us into turning our attention from God.
As I thought about the familiar passage from Philippians 4:6-7, the word that I focused on was “thanksgiving.” While I try to pray through my problems, I realize that I sometimes focus on my problems too much and make them larger than they are. That’s when I hit my knees again and asked God’s forgiveness for not first thanking Him for all His blessings in my life. When I started naming those off, I felt the burden of worry, fear, and shame being lifted off my shoulders. I began replacing my negative thoughts with positives that focused on the blessings and not the burdens.
- More surgeries and medical procedures became, “Thank You Father for living in a time when medical procedures and medicines exist to treat these maladies of maturity.”
- Huge increases in grocery, fuel, and energy costs became, “Father, You always provide for my family’s needs. Thank You for Your provision.”
- More crop losses and another year of garden failure became, “There’s nothing you don’t know, Father. Help me look to You before I execute on my own next spring, Lord.”
- More equipment replacement and repairs became, “Your testing helps me to grow stronger in my faith, Lord. Thank You for loving me enough to want to grow me.”
- Less than normal writing work to provide income became, “Yes Lord, thank You for reminding me I need to remember to rely on you more than me.”
- Livestock, weather, and other challenges became, “Thank You for another day, Lord, that I can be here with my family and friends. Thank you for another day, Lord, that You can use me in Your service.”
As I prayerfully recalled all the blessings in my life, I began seeing how Satan can so easily subvert our lives. He had taken things I should have been praising God for and turned them into worries and fears. I recognized that instead of looking for the blessing in each moment, I was focusing with worldly eyes on how it was impacting my life. More time and money. Less time to do what I wanted to do. Less freedom. I realized that if I had instead thanked God for each blessing, then Satan would have never stolen my blessings and replaced them with his lies.
I want to encourage you this week to make sure you take each thought captive and filter it through the lens of God’s blessings. What a difference it makes when you take away the fuel for Satan’s FUD with praise for all of God’s blessings in your life. Lesson learned, again.
Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:00 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.