Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
Years ago I read something that Chuck Swindoll wrote that changed me (thank you, fine sir!). To this day I use it every single time I am overly upset about anything. And generally when I use this to keep my responses to life in check, I find sin in my own heart. If I’m too upset about something or if I feel like I’m living in a spot of great injustice or if I vehemently disagree with someone or something to the point where I have lost my peace, then I know that somewhere at the root of it all, I have an issue in my relationship with the Lord.
Here it is: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes” (emphasis is mine)
Sometimes I find that I am upset about something inordinately because there’s something in me that needs healing. Sometimes I discover that I am trying to control something I cannot control and need to simply release the situation to the Lord. Sometimes I find that I am on my own pedestal and I need to think of others before I think of myself. Sometimes I am seeing things from a self-focused viewpoint instead of an other-focused viewpoint. Sometimes I have put my personal value in something other than the cross. Sometimes I am feeling entitled- to have had better parents, to have had more (or less) friends, to have had different whatever! We have what He has allowed in our lives. He doesn’t make mistakes! And many, many times, I am looking at the circumstances of life through temporal eyes instead of eternal ones.
Everything in life speaks to eternity in some capacity. Life here is about eternity, not about the temporary. To seek the eternal perspective on our circumstances is divine- and freeing. To let go and release the circumstances in our lives to Him and let go of any entitlement we have to them being as we would prefer, brings us exactly what we are all seeking- peace and joy.
Paradox- When we release all of our expectations and entitlements then we gain what we really seek- all of us-peace and joy.
Takeaway: If we have lost our peace, if we have lost our joy, then we are living outside the thoughts of God. God, regardless of the circumstances, remains in peace and remains in joy. If we are living in Him and through Him, then we have His peace and joy. If we lose our peace or our joy, we only have to seek His face and release all of our expectations and entitlements and see life through His eyes. I’m not saying it’s easy. But it is divine. And it’s not an event. It’s a process.
Prayer: Lord, reveal Your ways to me. Help me to release my plans, my thoughts, my expectations, my ways to You. Your ways are not my ways. And Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Please help me see things through Your eyes and trust You to provide for me everything You choose to and nothing that You choose not to. This is about You, Lord, nothing else. Help me to see this!