Monday, January 24, 2022

Notes to Self {Part Two}

 For an explanation and the first 10 true things, please visit this post:

Notes to Self: 50 True Things {Part One}

11. Many of my problems in walking with God come from listening to myself more than talking myself. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones illuminated this for me in his book Spiritual Depressionso I’ll let him explain: 

"Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self [similar to the "flesh" or "the old man" of the New Testament letters] is talking to you. Now this man's treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. 'Why art thou cast down, O my soul?' he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: 'Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you'. 

"...The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: 'Why art thou cast down'--what business have you to be disquieted? ...then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note:  defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: 'I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God' (p. 20). 

12. Feelings are not facts. Ask them gently if they are telling the truth and what deeper questions they are raising. 

13. Feelings make decent thermometers but lousy thermostats. They indicate where something hurts or thrives or feels threatened, but we make trouble for ourselves when we let them rule our words and actions. 

14. Feelings are temporary, waves we can surf that may resolve on their own without additional help. Remembering this enables me to weather the descent from the crest of exceptional happiness to the sands of ordinary routine with equanimity, because I knew all along that the effervescent gladness was temporary. Remembering this also enables me, when the storms blow in, to anchor my hope in the truth of God’s Word and Christ’s work, so that I can ride the wave of trials toward shore and solid ground and not drown beneath it or be swept out to sea.

Remembering that both happy and hard are temporary enables me to believe in the light at the end of the tunnel even when I can’t see it yet. It holds me back from making permanent decisions based on temporary emotions, because I remember the soul sunshine of former days and believe it will come again. Night will not always last.

15. In those rare and precious times of smooth seas and sunshine, learn all you can of God and His Word. Stockpile Scripture and theology in your heart in days of plenty to sustain your soul in times of storm or famine. Hard times sap my energy and mental capacity and make deep study challenging; those are the times to sink my roots deep and ground myself in what I learned in the sunnier days. We will learn much in the painful trials of life too, but for me those have been times of experiential learning and growing in the personal knowledge of God. In academic terms, sunshine is for lectures; storms are for labs.

16. Remember in the dark what you saw in the light. The stars are still there when concealed by clouds. The sun still shines above the thunderhead. “The moon is always round, and God is always good” (Jonathan Gibson, The Moon Is Always Round). 

17. “Anything that makes me desperate for God is a blessing” (Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth).

18. Sometimes we don’t really discover God is all we need until it seems He is all we have. (See also "The Parable of the Bell Sheep.")

19. On the back side of an intense trial, I wouldn’t accept any amount of money to volunteer to repeat it. At the same time, I wouldn’t trade any amount of money for the deeper fellowship with Christ gained through that suffering.

20. If I knew what God knows, I would prefer one slash of the claws of the Lion of Judah to a million accolades and flattering kisses from the world. 

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