Foundational to any desire to change habits is the ability to preach truth to yourself and get beyond the emotional layers piled one on top of another. Many people, especially women, live by their feelings rather than living by what they know to be true and right.
We eliminate our time with the Lord because we don’t feel like it right now, or we aren’t finding something that trips that emotional trigger. Therefore, we decide that putting all the effort into reading and studying is not for us at this point in the day. After all, who wants to do all that work and not feel any better at the end of it?
I find it very easy to decide not to go to the gym some days because I don’t feel like it. I rationalize that I am moving boxes and running up and down steps more so that should make up for it, right? There are a million more examples I could give you for how we abandon thoughts for feelings.
How much like petulant children we are! Whatever it is that does not meet our need of the moment, we abandon it and search for something to make us feel better, loved, needed, wanted, good, and on it goes.
I am so thankful Jesus did not have such an attitude about His life! I often ask my counselee’s about what their fate would be if Jesus would have lived by His feelings that Good Friday — when He was arrested, scourged, carried His cross, and nailed to that cross. At any moment He could have called out for rescue, and in His humanity I can only imagine He wanted to because He most certainly did not feel good during any of the events of that day.
We have examples in Scripture of how Jesus preached to Himself, but more than any other, this one stands out to me, “Not my will Father, but Your will be done.” That and that alone kept Jesus on that cross. Oh, that you and I could have such an attitude about our daily circumstances! Take a moment and ponder what your life would be like if that were your moment by moment prayer, if that were the phrase you preached to yourself on an ongoing basis. “Not my will Father, but Your will be done.”
In the face of desiring God’s will for us, more and more of our own our wants and needs fall by the wayside. They become unimportant and trivial and I would even say some of them are just silly. In the grand plan of our wonderful God and Father we already know that there will be pain and hardship along the way. We won’t always get what we want or what we think we need, but it really won’t matter.
Paul, Peter, James, John and most importantly Jesus lived it. When I am thinking eternal thoughts, I am living it, too. None of these people could have withstood the rigors of their lives if they did not preach the truth to themselves and live in truth rather than feelings. They would have been crushed, defeated, and discouraged to the point of giving up. Yet, their lives were not rooted in or built around how they felt; their lives were grounded in truth and in doing what honored God in spite of how they felt.
Their examples are there for us to follow, to learn from, and to imitate. You have the opportunity right now — can you make it your goal to practice “Not my will Father, but Your will be done”? See what a difference it makes in your attitude and thoughts. Practice it this week and pop in and leave me a comment or two about it. I want to hear your thoughts from this exercise. It is time for you to talk back to me!
Not my will, Father, but Yours.