Tuesday, September 27, 2011

With all my mind...

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment."  Matthew 22:37

So, just what does this mean?  I've always sort of understood what it means to love God with all my heart, that's kind of easy.  And with all my soul?  Okay, I sort of get that.  But with all my mind?  I've never quite understood what it would look like to love God with all my mind.  

Recently I've gotten a glimmer, of that I'm sure.  And here is the amazing part.  The more I love God with all my mind, the happier I am.  The more joy I have.  The more peace I have.  The more freedom I have.  This truly is a great commandment.  Let me explain.  

I picked up this book from the thrift store, "Loving God with All Your Mind" by Elizabeth George.  Just thought, hmmmm, it's only a quarter so I'll get it to go on the shelf.  Not thinking, I really need to read this because I'm clueless about this subject.  

I decided one evening without much fore thought to pick it up and read it a few minutes.  Wow.  Here is where the light of conviction shown into my heart with blaring intensity.  And I'll quote Mrs. George as she writes about one of my largest and most painful struggles:

"Like our relationship with God and our perspective on ourselves, our relationships with people need to be guided by the command of Philippians 4:8-"Whatsoever things are true (real)...think on these things."  Women who think on what is real do not spend time analyzing other people's words and actions or second-guessing what they say and do.  Such negative thoughts damage relationships.  When we focus on what is real, we experience sound and sincere relationships characterized by a genuine love for others."

Profound.  Here's more,

"Two principles from Scripture can help settle a mind that is overly active when it comes to thinking about relationships.  The first principle is based on 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul's words about love.  As he talks about love, Paul notes that love "thinketh no evil" and "Believeth all things".  I violate these two requirements for love whenever I question what another person says or does.  My second-guessing involves interpreting and quite often distorting the words and actions of others.  When I try to read into a person's words and actions rather than accepting what they say and do at face value, I am essentially making that person a liar.  Instead, I need to stop my wild, speculative thoughts by asking myself, "But, Liz, what is true?" The answer to this question calls me to believe what the other person says."

For as long as I can remember I have questioned and analyzed both myself and others.  I have questioned every little thing I say and do after spending time with someone.  Here's a window into my head, 

...."Should I have said that?  Hmmm.....I wonder if they were offended.  I wonder what they were thinking.  She seemed a little short and angry.  Not very friendly.  I bet she didn't like me."

...."So and so hasn't called me.  In fact she doesn't call me.  Almost never.  She's too busy for me.  She doesn't need a friend.  She doesn't like me.  I bet I offended her.  Oh, remember when you had that conversation about milling grain?  She probably thought you were being stuck up and snotty and judging her for not milling her grains like I do.  Oh well, I always mess up relationships.  I just talk too much."

"She didn't look at me all night during book club.  I know she must be mad at me."

This sort of thinking plagued me.  I have spent my whole adult life analyzing myself, my words, my actions, etc. trying to be perfect, worrying about failing, worrying about offending, wanting to please and be liked.  And on the flip-side, I have speculated time and time again about other people, trying to figure out their motivations and thoughts.  I have judged their hearts, questioned their motives, and made short-sided assumptions.  

The reality is that only God knows mans thoughts.  Only he knows their motivations, their reasoning for doing certain things.  I have no clue and it is not my place to make assumptions or speculate.  That is dangerous and murderous to relationships.  More than likely I have been wrong 95 percent of the time.  Maybe more.  

When God turned this heavenly light bulb on for me, when he shown the light of his Word in my heart, the chains were broken.  I have felt free to just be a friend.  I can call you, whoever you are, regardless of whether or not you've called me, or if you talked to me at church or not.  I'm not assuming anymore it's because you don't like me, or I offended you.  I'm trusting that if I did offend you, you will come and tell me.  And if I experience real, Holy Spirit conviction for sin that I've committed against you, then I will follow His lead, and go to you and confess and repent.  But I'm not playing the part of the Holy Spirit anymore, I'm letting God be God.  And I'm not playing judge anymore of those around me, of the friends God has given me.  I'm accepting others at face value.

This is loving God with all my mind.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5

I feel free.  I am free.  And once again, I'm thankful.  God's ways are so, so good.  The commands, no, they are not burdensome.  We were made for them.  And in Christ, I am able to walk in them.

..."Love the Lord your God with......all your mind."


Sarah Harkins said...

This is so true. Thank you for sharing what everyone woman struggles with. We all need a reminder to keep those insecurities at bay and keep our thoughts and hearts focused on God and love the Lord with all our mind.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog through Ginny at Small Things. I needed to read this today. Thank you and please don't give up blogging. You never know who you are going to touch. Thanks Claire in Virginia