The 6th scripture in this series literally, saved me from myself.
Honestly, without the straightforward instructions of what was best to think about, surely I would have succumbed to a wicked way of thinking.
I know the severity of my circumstances warranted my thoughts wander that way.
The halting fact is that following an afternoon of innocent family fun, I came home minus one family member. Adding insult to injury, my daughter’s death was a result of another’s carelessness. We would not be a family of three, if a driver of an oncoming boat had simply paid attention when they turned a corner. In essence, I suffer a lifelong loss because of someone else’s split second lackadaisical decision.
I realize this is a dangerous mindset to dabble in. Just writing about the actuality of it all makes me uncomfortable and I don’t like reliving this part of the experience. As well, I know not to rely on only earthly details to interpret the relevance of these events, the spiritual story is by far the most powerful.
I dare not linger here long, for I have learned how unwise it is to hang out with painful thoughts of the past. However, there is no denying the reality of what happened. As well, what was mentally required to work through.
I was wronged, when doing right! And, it felt like fireworks that had backfired!
Instead, of looking up and out, celebrating the occasion, I was left feeling the brazing burn. The unexpected and misplaced explosion left me pierced by flying shrapnel and searching for answers among the rubble. There wasn’t a shred of my life that escaped the scorching embers of anguish. My emotional state mimicked my agony, as sorrow and grief overwhelmed me. My mental state was equally as stressed allowing sharpness and hostility to shape my thoughts.
I wish I could say it didn’t happen! However, if I am to be honest, I need to admit it did. On many occasions because of bitterness building in my heart, I found my reflections aiming fiery arrows at others. I poised myself for battle against people, against the world and against any good thought. I even loaded my quiver and aimed my insults at God. On my worst days when I was really ticked off about what happened, I caught myself silently beating up on strangers, as well.
If I saw a mother act exasperated towards a crying child, I unsympathetically squabbled under my breathe, “You wouldn’t get so frustrated if you realized in a split second she could be gone.” If I heard a parent fuss about their child not making a certain team or a certain score, “I would rant to myself, ” Really, can’t you just be thankful she is still here?” When the pain was at it’s most intense, I even had the audacity to call out God and question His decisions. During my nighttime prayer ritual, instead of sinking into sleep, I was railing against my Savior,”What were you thinking, taking her away? I was raising her to be one of yours! How can you think it is OK to do that?”
The reality that someone killed Sam held me captive for quite sometime. I was angry, I felt assaulted and left with no means to improve my situation. That meaning, I couldn’t figure out a way to get Samantha back. She was gone and that was that! For quite sometime, I fought these demons on a daily basis. Whether in public or in private, my tumultuous thoughts fought to control the tender side of myself. I didn’t like any of it, but I lacked the ability to find my way out of the thicket of thorny thoughts.
At some point, I was given the wisdom that lashing out at others (even if it was only in my mind) because of my personal loss only served to prolong and stretch the pain. Carrying the loss of Sam was epic. Couple that burden with constant condemnation of others and I was setting myself up for failure. Furthermore, because I never voiced my vile, I was the only one caught up in the additional mess.
It is even more difficult to confess that I was aware I was acting out on the inside. I knew using my mental energy to be mad was exasperating the trauma. Nonetheless, I didn’t have a tool powerful enough to tame my destructive thoughts. They entered my psyche without permission and before I knew it the negativity had taken control of my conscience.
However, my psychological situation improved once Philippians 4:8 was revealed to me.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
After processing the teaching in the scripture, I realized what I was doing wrong. Oh, I knew about the advertised advantages of positive thinking. I was aware many authors, speakers and advertisements promoted this tool to live a good life. What I’m saying is I knew all along being positive was important, but what I didn’t fully comprehend nor give appropriate reverence to was that the Authority above all authorities authored the instructions.
Immediately, I went to work trying to figure out how the words were speaking to my situation. By pulling the scripture apart and researching each phrase, I realized I played a huge part in my own healing.
I learned being dreadful or joyful doesn’t rest on the actions of others. Instead, I began to understand that it is an ongoing work from within.
In addition, when I visualized God Almighty sitting down to personally advise me concerning the power of my thoughts, the message took on a deeper meaning. It became clear that in order to receive God’s promises of peace, I needed to uphold my end of the bargain. That being, to assess every situation with the eyes of an angel.
By doing this, the waves of chaos in my inner world calmed down and God willing, eventually will cease. No longer will my gaze at the world be seen forever through the eyes of grief. Instead, Jesus is instructing me how to control my mind so I can calmly and gently walk in His will.
He is letting me know that if I try to live a lifetime without Sam thinking my own thoughts, the outcome will not be rewarding. Oh, the goodness of God that He doesn’t leave me defenseless! Instead, He shows me how to parallel my thoughts with His and offers assurance that if we share the same mindset, together we will see it through!
The discipline to recognize and resist each needling notion is a process and continues to be one that I work to improve. The self-control to implement the wisdom into my ways constantly requires a keen awareness of my thoughts and a great amount of grace from Above, which I know I can count on.
From that past point of realization all the way to today, I implement the thought pattern approved by Jesus and taught through Philippians 4:8 in order to diminish the ongoing and dangerous thoughts of doubt, damnation and dissatisfaction. When I do, this allows reflections of affirmation, adoration and excellence to flourish.
By doing this, by accepting and allowing the instruction of the scripture to change my poisonous thought patterns into ideas of gratefulness and abundance, I position myself to receive the peace that God promises to His people.
Thank you Jesus, for always showing me how to walk in Your will, for always providing a peaceful way out , for always bathing me in Your grace and for saving me from myself.