Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This Conversation...

I have been so tired lately. And pitiful. Tired and pitiful and I didn't care who knew it! First of all, I started a new job (one the God gave me) and it was great at first. The training was really fun and I made some new friends. Oh, not TOO close of friends because I have been standing my ground about not making friends at work. But these were people I enjoyed hanging out with. I suddenly forgot about all the times I said, "Just be grateful you have a job!" Because now I'm seeing that even when you have a job, if you can't pay all the bills, it can be discouraging.
Then there is the dog that God also gave me. Oh how he LOVES to lick his feet! And everything else he comes in contact with. I love him with all my heart but I actually thought about sending him to live with my mother for a week so I wouldn't have to listen to all the different noises (and smells) he makes. Maybe then I could get a full night's sleep without him scratching on the door in the middle of the night.
Oh, and let me tell you about the house that God blessed me with. I went to turn the air on and, well, it came on. And stayed on. All night long. But it was never any cooler in here so the repair man had to come fix it. Then he kept bugging me at work to sign some paper and fax it back to him.
I'm too big. The neighbors are too loud. Nobody cares about me. Maybe I'm not cute enough. I can't trust anyone. I'm probably going to get in a wreck and die. This is a stupid re-run! Why can't they EVER put anything new on TV? They are talking about me behind my back. Some people have all the luck but it's never me. I'll never measure up. When is this day going to be over? My back is killing me. I wish I even had enough money for a manicure. I think I'm going crazy. What if I have cancer!? I hope I don't get old and have nobody to care for me. This cake looks terrible. He's with someone else. Don't believe they are your friend. Trust NO ONE. Geez! Don't tell me the shower already needs to be cleaned again. I'm so sick of going to the store. I'm not in that great of a mood.
Do you get the picture?  Do you see where I am going with this? Well, I was sitting in front of my computer the other night. I guess maybe I have noticed this before but it never jumped out at me before like it did this time. I had just deleted an email and my computer flashed a sign that said,
"This conversation has been moved to the trash."
Immediately I thought to myself, "As it should be!" Then it dawned on me. How many conversations have I had with myself lately that needed to be moved to the trash? Or how many conversations have I had with other people that needed to be moved to the trash? In counseling we call it "negative self-talk." There is a technique that is regularly used with clients who experience things such as depression or anxiety. It goes something like this: The client is to have easy access to a pad of paper and a pen. At regular intervals throughout the day, he is to write down the thoughts that have passed through his mind. Doing this for a number of days creates awareness about the kinds of things we talk to ourselves about. I just did it a couple of paragraphs ago. Those were really my thoughts. I didn't know exactly how badly I had been talking to myself until I was getting them all out on paper, so to speak. Well, lately it has been a lot and that is disobedience to God in an ever-so-subtle way. The Bible says,
"Finally, brothers, 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." Philippians 4:8.
It does not say, "I suggest that you think about such things" or "Try as hard as you can to think about such things." It just says to think about them. Period. It doesn't even give us a choice to do anything else. I read several different versions and they all began with "Finally" which leads me to believe that is was the final word on the subject. It's like when your mother says, "That's what I said and that is final!" There is no argument, no choice there. It was final.
So anyway, the other part of the counseling assignment goes like this. Once you get the hang of monitoring your thoughts and listening to the ugly things you say about yourself, you start replacing them with better stuff. That sounds an awful lot like Philippians 4:8, doesn't it?  I did not say it was easy or fun. In fact, it is a lot of work. It is very disheartening to realize how negative we really are when we talk to and about ourselves. No wonder we get depressed and anxious!! I also know how difficult it can be to refrain from thinking the bad things and then letting them come straight out my mouth. So I've decided to rely on the following verse as my daily prayer,
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."
I know that it will take the strength of the Lord to change my thoughts and words. So starting right now, let me say that I am so thankful that I have a job and, although it doesn't pay as much as my previous one, I know God will take care of me. My heart is also full when I think of my little dog who licks eveything in sight because I know that he has a deep affection for me. I wouldn't trade him for the world and he is not going to stay with my mother for a week. God has blessed me with this beautiful house and is teaching me all kinds of wonderful things about how to take care of it. All of the previous complaints have definitely been moved to the trash!