I think it’s because we don’t understand how to properly utilize this power. As someone once told me, life happens, and when it does, we often find ourselves at odds with what is and what we believe should be if this is supposed to be working. In addition to the power of our thoughts, there are some universal truths that we must reconcile ourselves with in order to work in harmony with the will of God in our lives and the circumstances we face in reality. Some of these truths that we tend to stumble over are:
1. Faith is the cornerstone of the power of positive thinking, and you have to get alright with not being able to understand everything. There are some things you can’t control, and you have to accept having questions without answers. They key is in our attitude and how we choose to think about the situation. I didn’t expect Ollie to die. I knew that the dementia would eventually win with Rick’s father, but I had no idea it would unfold the way it did. The thought of getting the flu twice, a sinus infection for 2 months, and a torn tendon in my foot never crossed my mind. And yet, all of these things happened. I don’t know why. I have no idea what good could come from any of it. I could only commit myself to standing through the trials and trusting that I would come through with the Lord’s help; that I’d be a better and stronger person because of these unexpected journeys; and that it did work into the “big picture” of overall good in the end, even if I never understood how or why they were necessary this side of Heaven.
2. Timing does matter. God’s time is not our own, and we have to trust it. I respectfully disagree with The Secret that time doesn’t really exist, and that the power to bring things to fruition depends on our ability to channel positive energy. Folks, that’s crap. Time does exist, and we have to work with it. Furthermore, bringing positive things into live does take time for three reasons: we must be prepared, the circumstances have to be prepared, and other people have to be prepared. Last week while I was sick, I watched a sermon by Charles Stanley on waiting on God’s timing and he said this. He followed it by saying “God’s not going to let your blessing hurt others. You have to wait for everything to be right and ready, because he loves other people, too.” The audience laughed. He said, “what, does that surprise you?” The room went silent, but I think Dr. Stanley hit on a very important point: it’s not all about you. Yes, you do matter, but so does everybody else, and often there are more things that have to be worked out and prepared for our success than we realize.
Last night, I was going through some old books and came across some things I read when I started my journey toward being a published writer back in 2001 – 2002. I was absolutely amazed, because I thought wow, the future doesn’t look anything like I envisioned. I realized that if I had actually been successful in traditional publishing, then I would not only have made a tremendous mess of things, but I would have missed out on a great (and perhaps historical) opportunity. Ebooks have changed the entire landscape and horizon of reading and writing, and thanks to my early failures, I have matured and learned enough of the writing and publishing processes to actually gain a foothold in this brave new world. Yes, there’s still plenty of room for progress, and I’m not sure why it’s so slow in building – but after all I’ve seen, I’m certainly willing to trust that it’s building up to something great and am very happy to take one step at a time, and to fully enjoy the journey each step of the way.
3. It isn’t magic. This isn’t “name it and claim it” theology and this isn’t the key to forcing your will on the world or the Kingdom. You can’t control the world with the power of positive thinking, and you certainly can’t control other people. There is still a “big picture,” and no amount of your own mind power will take that from God and put it in your hands. You can only control your own mind and life – but then again, that’s the only thing that’s your business, so tend to it the best you can and trust God for the rest.
4. It’s the hardest work you’ll ever do, and you have to commit yourself to it anew every day. Changing how you think is the hardest thing in the world to do, because it's a habit. Our thought patterns are habits. Our emotions and emotional reactions to things are habits. In order to channel the power of our thoughts, we have to take our thoughts and emotions captive frequently, and often. Just like achieving your dreams requires tremendous commitment and a lot of work, so does changing our thinking. And yet, everything depends on it. You have to commit yourself to being grateful for what you have and for doing the best you can with it all the time. You have to commit yourself to seeing the good instead of dwelling on what irritates you and makes you angry. You have to commit yourself to taking advantage of every opportunity, to nurturing your relationships, and to being a good steward of everything the Lord has put in your hands. You have to commit yourself to stop and take a time out when your thoughts derail and try to send you into worry, anger, depression, or frustration to ask youself why you feel that way, commit the problem to the Lord, and set your mind on a new and better way of thinking.
It’s more than a full time job, and you do it all the time, on good days and bad, whether you feel like it or not. Sometimes it feels like a fight, but it’s one worth having. And the good news is that you never lose, because you can always start over. Even if you’re derailed in this moment, you can start anew in the next – you don’t even have to wait for the morning for the Lord’s mercies, because they are new every moment. Start by embracing that truth, and incorporating it in your life. A miss now doesn’t mean loss forever. Hope is alive as long as you are.
As with all things, it’s a balancing act, and balance requires constant tending, maintenance, and adjustments. It’s a good journey, though, and I’m happy for what I’ve learned and excited for what I’ll discover as it continues.
That’s all today. Take care, and enjoy the rest of your week.