(This is a long blog because it has an excerpt from a book in it. But still read it. Prayerfully the Lord will use the part from the book in your life somehow!)
My friend got me the book "Loving God With All Your Mind" by Elizabeth George for Christmas. Since the 23rd of December, my life, I believe, has changed. The Lord has revealed day after day new areas of my life where I need to love Him with all of my mind!
The theme verse for the first Six chapters is Philippians 4:8, which says "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if that is any virtue, if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things."
That verse alone is enough to change a life, but Elizabeth breaks down the very first part "Whatever things are true (or real)... meditate on these things." She speaks about different areas of our lives that we need to focus on what is true and real. One of them being with other people. The section is entitled "Playing Mind Game". Here is what it says:
"I confess that through the years I've been guilty of playing min games with people and second-guessing their motives. It's all too easy to wonder about what a person isn't saying or try to read between the lines of what he or she does say- 'He says he loves me, but I don't think he does' or 'She says there's nothing wrong, but I'm not so sure.'
Isn't it amazing how we can come up with very creative explanations for people's actions? For example, 'He's been grumpy lately, so he must be angry with me.' We can also draw conclusions about why people do what they do- 'She left me a message on my machine to call her. I must have done something wrong.' or 'I wonder what she wants from me now.' We can even apply this kind of thinking to what people do not do- 'She hasn't called me in a while. I must have done something to offend her.'
Well there's help and hope for our imaginations and for our relationships! Two principles from Scripture can help settle such mind games.
Understanding the Principle of Love
The First principle is based on 1 Corinthians 12, on the apostle Paul's words about love. As he writes to his friends, Paul notes that love 'thinks no evil' and 'believes all things' (verses 5 and 7). One day I realized that I was violating these two requirements for love whenever I questioned what another person said or did. My habit of second-guessing involved interpreting - and even distorting- the words and actions of others. When I tried to read things into a person's words and actions rather than accepting them at face value, I was essentially making that person a liar.
The solution? I need to stop my wild, speculative thoughts by asking myself, 'But, Elizabeth, what is true and real?' The answer to this questions then called me to believe what the other person said.'"
I know. I know. It's so long. But second-guessing people's actions, and words is something that I struggle with. It has become a hindrance and kept me from trusting and flourishing in my relationships with others. Reading this book has been life-changing. Now, I take people by their word and if I start to second-guess them, I ask "But, April, what is true and real?" and I leave it at that. No second-guessing or trying to read into what they are saying or doing! That causes so many mean thoughts towards others and can hinder you, undoubtedly. So if you ever find yourself trying to "read between the lines" of something someone has said or done, stop yourself and ask "But what is true and real?", and see how the Lord can change you! :)
Oh, and thank you for the Book! ;)
2 weeks ago