Posted in Vision & Goal Setting

Set the Record Straight

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As a young girl, the desire to set the record straight was perhaps one of my strongest traits. To me accurate facts and figures were absolute necessities. It was never good enough to give a ball park figure when the precise data was available. If something cost $1.09, one should never say it cost $1.00. I was quick to set the record straight.

Correct grammar, in written and spoken form, was even more important to me. Nobody was safe from my scrutiny. I adored my sixth grade teacher, but every so often she would misspell a word. I would approach her during recess when the other students were gone and point out the misspelled word on the board. She was very gracious, and sometimes she would disagree with me. Then, we would go to the dictionary. I was right every time! I felt so proud, not because I was smarter than the teacher, but because in some small way I had made the world a better place by setting the record straight.

My poor mom, however, was the recipient of treatment that was less than honoring. I was ready to pounce on any misspoken phrase.

“Dad and I, not Dad and me.”

“This time, it’s correct to say Dad and me.”

“Argh…don’t end a sentence with a preposition!”

Needless to say, my mom felt disrespected by me and exasperated at me. “Just let me speak!” she would exclaim.

I really wasn’t trying to be difficult. In my heart, I wanted to help my mom. I was driven to set the record straight.

Today accurate facts and proper grammar are still important to me, but I have learned more appropriate ways of addressing errors. Thankfully I have become more flexible and actually overlook mistakes from time to time.

Overlooking errors can be helpful in our relationships with others, but it is harmful when it comes to errors in our own thinking. We must be swift to set the record straight with negative and self-defeating thoughts that enter our minds.

At the start of every new year, there is a huge push to make a New Year’s resolution for better living. We are encouraged to develop new behaviors that eventually become healthy habits. However, before we can consistently change our actions, it is imperative to address the thoughts behind our actions.

Perhaps there is an inner critic who pummels your sense of worth.

Perhaps there is an inner skeptic who tells you how impossible your goal is and casts gloom on your pursuits.

Perhaps the Enemy unleashes fiery darts of condemnation until you feel ready to give up.

Or perhaps there is something else.

Whatever it is, we must pay attention to the lies that threaten to sabotage our progress, and then set the record straight with the truth.

One serious error in my own thinking comes in the form of believing I am too weak to accomplish what God asks of me. I am too weak; the task is too big. I use Scripture to set the record straight, and allow the Holy Spirit to redirect my attention to the truth.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me…For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10b).

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you (Romans 8:11).

Where do you get sidetracked in your thinking? What truth can you declare to set the record straight and thrive in your pursuits to grow and change?

I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:16-18).

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I want to please You. I desire my life to reflect the image of Christ. As I set goals in this new year, help me identify the errors in my thinking and the lies I believe that stand in opposition to the truth. Help me set the record straight with Your Word, in order to grow in You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Posted in Faith, Personal Development

A Thanksgiving Challenge

Meet James and Mary, a newly married couple. They were a curious pair, he a widower, she a recent divorcee. They had found each other through a series of interesting events. After a whirlwind romance, they got married to the surprise and consternation of family and friends.

Opposites attract is a saying that I’ve seen epitomized many times, but James and Mary perfectly embodied it. James was cynical, seeing the negative in every situation, and freely sharing his criticisms with anyone who would listen (and even those who weren’t). Mary was an over-the-top optimist, seeing the positive in every situation, gushing happy platitudes with anyone who would listen (and even those who weren’t). As James dumped his woes, Mary enthusiastically proclaimed, “Speak life to the situation not death, honey. Think about all the ways God has blessed you.” James gave a sheepish smile, and then continued with a toned down version of the same story. Mary sighed undeterred and sang out, “He has such a good heart!”

This scene replayed itself many times in various forms while we were together. James would pour out negativity and Mary would counteract with positivity. Back and forth they went. Their antics resembled the shenanigans that often occur in our minds.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful (Colossians 3:15, NIV).

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Like Mary we know these Scriptures are true. It is God’s will for us to live in a state of gratitude. Yet, like James the negative circumstances in our lives capture our attention. I find it is so easy to dwell on what is going wrong instead of right. I can be in a funk for quite a while until the Holy Spirit reminds me to focus my attention on the goodness of God. Back and forth it goes.

There have been so many times I have felt convicted during a church service. As the congregation is encouraged to share something for which they are thankful, I can think of absolutely nothing. I search my memory bank through the fog of disappointment and discouragement for some glimmer of light, until finally…finally I see it—A blessing I have failed to acknowledge, a kindness shoved into a recess of my mind. As it rises to the surface, more good thoughts follow.

This Thanksgiving season, I issue a challenge to you (and myself, as well). Allow your mind to reflect on God’s goodness. When worries and negativity surface, eject them with God’s Word and express your gratitude for what He has done. It may look extreme, like James and Mary in action, but let thankfulness win.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you have blessed me so many ways. Thank you for your love and care. Thank you for being abundantly present in my life. Help me to develop an attitude of gratitude. During this Thanksgiving season, let me focus on your good gifts and express appreciation often. In Jesus’ name. Amen.