Funny Little Woman

My husband often calls me a “Funny Little Woman”. I kind of like that, but he usually calls me that when I do something that either he would not do or does not understand. Recently, I have a renewed interest in something for which he would again consider calling me a funny little woman. A goodly portion of my new job has to deal with infection prevention. This used to be called infection control, but apparently we are trying to get out in front of these little buggers.

I am all about it. In my mind, I picture myself in a knight’s armor with a sword and shield preventing invasion from all manner of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and whatever. See? Funny little woman- wearing armor.

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It gets worse. My boss recently purchased a three volume text book of infection control and epidemiology. It was love at first sight! I immediately found them a home on top of my desk and looked upon them with affection every time I passed by them and lovingly caressed their covers… sigh. I feel the attraction is mutual.

The day finally came, recently, when I was able to pick up the first volume, open its pages, and begin reading. I soon found this was no light, bathroom reading.

As I delved into the information printed in the text, I began to learn about how pathogens can enter a host (us) and begin to set up shop to do their thing… that thing being to begin to destroy tissue and make us sick.

Sometimes, we can be infected and not know it. An organism can come on in and just sort of hang out. The damage it causes does not rise to the level where it would be noticed by us, and yet there it is, festering and growing just beneath the surface. It stays below our radar until one day something happens. Maybe our resolve is attacked. Maybe we are under an unusual amount of stress, or we suffer an injury, and suddenly what was festering below the surface, rears its ugly head and knocks us on our behinds.

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I think this can happen to us in our relationships, too. On the surface things can seem fine. Except that we often allow things to fester just beneath the surface. Maybe someone hurt our feelings. Maybe they slighted us in some small way. Perhaps they didn’t live up to our expectations of them and so we pushed down our disappointment, hurt, feelings of rejection or whatever until we hardly notice them there at all. We convince ourselves that we are good. Everything is fine. Until the day comes when we are tired, or stressed and that one person (usually our spouse) comes along and says or does the one thing that sends us over the edge. It surprises them, and it probably surprises us… the amount of emotion behind our reactions. (My poor husband…)

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These things happen because we allow issues to set up residence in our hearts and minds. Sometimes these things have lived with us for so long that we just consider them like part of the family. Like a weird old uncle you just have to deal with at holidays and funerals. You’re not sure what to do about him, but you can’t get rid of him.

Just as there are things we can to do to prevent infection of our bodies by invading organisms, there are things we can do to prevent hurts and disappointments from taking up residence in our hearts and minds. I read a book once about offense. It said that dead people cannot take up offenses. I found that funny. Of course they can’t.

They’re dead.

When we say that we are going to die daily to self, and allow Christ to live in and through us, we are no longer easily offended or hurt.

Why?

Because we are no longer the center of our own universe. Because we put on the armor of God and protect ourselves, and we stop being victims of invading thoughts and ideas that try to slowly and deliberately overtake us. It’s time we put on our armor. We look hot in armor anyway, don’t we?

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I Am, Therefore I Think…

“I think, therefore I am.” Cogito Ergo Sum. (I put the Latin in there for my son who is taking Latin this year in school. Inspiration and education. Multi-tasking mom here.) In 1637, Descartes was proving a point with the phrase. The very fact that we question our existence proves that we do, in fact, exist. Feel better? Now that we are sure we really do exist, let’s ponder our ability to ponder.

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Every day, all day long, thoughts come into our heads. It has been said that men have the ability to actually be thinking about nothing at all, but that’s not really true. (And it’s not a very nice thing to say, either)

Both men and women have thoughts coming into their brains non-stop, all day, every day. Where do these thoughts come from? And why?

It’s important to know where your thoughts come from. It’s also important to stand guard at the door of your mind. Most of us let all manner of trash inside, and once we do, it is oh so hard to get it out again. The Bible cautions us on what kinds of thoughts we are supposed to let go bouncing around in there.

Take a look at Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Paul wanted the people of God to think on higher things. He wanted us to post a guard at the door and to not allow ourselves to be entertained by lesser things. He knew for us to win the battle of mind control, we had to take charge. We need to be in control.

The enemy of our souls tends to hit us the hardest in the area of our thoughts. Mind control or influence is his specialty. He is the master truth twister. He is the prince of lies. And he is so believable. But don’t take my word for it, just ask Eve. I’ll bet her greatest regret for all of time has been that she did not stand guard at the door of her mind.

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Just because a thought is bouncing around in our head, doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. If I have an argument with my husband I can very easily convince myself that he just doesn’t really care about me at all. If I am not careful, my mind can shift into overdrive and in a very short matter of time, in my mind, my husband can become my enemy. The real enemy just loves that.

Descartes had a point, but he never said the thoughts we think are true.

I used to think I wouldn’t have fallen for Satan’s lies like Eve did there in the garden. But in Eve’s defense, she didn’t have any experience with lies or sin. I am far more qualified than Eve to note the lies of the enemy, and yet I still believe them sometimes.

We have so much information coming at us. We are living in the information age. Sometimes it’s just overload. With all that information influx we can let it overwhelm us. So what can we do? It would be great if there was an off switch, but there’s not. Instead, we arm ourselves with the peace of God. Let’s back up a bit in Philippians and look at 4:6-7.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

As those thoughts enter our minds, we must call on the peace of God to guard us and show us truth from lies. One by one, the Bible tells us to take each thought captive. Check it out.

“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

As thoughts come to mind, we test them against what we know to be true by the knowledge of God. As thoughts come a knockin’, we take them captive. We don’t let them run amuck inside our heads. The ones that measure up to God’s truth, we keep, the ones that don’t- the lies we tell ourselves or the ones that the enemy sends- we take captive and force the truth out of them. We make them obedient to Christ. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” He is truth. He is our truth standard.

I am, therefore I think. It’s just the way I am wired. You, too. But we must stay in the driver’s seat when it comes to our thoughts. Our kids may run amuck sometimes, but our thoughts never should.

He Will Do Anything

One of my favorite books is by Ted Dekker. Its called Martyr’s Song. A close second to this one is called Heaven’s Wager, also by Dekker. The books are different stories but they are related. What I love the most about the books is the idea that God will do anything to reach his lost sheep. Anything. What will God do to reach you?

Anything.

Another theme in the books is the idea that if you open yourself completely up, you just might have vision. What kind of vision? The kind of vision that pulls back the veil of time and space and gives you a peek into eternity. How cool would that be? Pretty cool, I think.

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I want to see like that. I want to really see. Sometimes during worship at my church I think he might just peel back the ceiling of our auditorium and let us see the angels looking down. Do I believe God does that? Do I believe God would pull back the veil and let this child see a glimpse of eternity? I think God could do what he wants, but I’m not sure he’d really do that.

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But there are times when he does let us see things. We just have to have the eyes to see. I know, we all have eyes, but we can’t all see. I love to see God doing things. I love to see him MOVING. I ask him sometimes to let me see him moving. To let me see things happen that could only happen if he made them happen. I want to see the kinds of things that cause jaws to drop and faith to grow. I want to see the things of Romans 8:28 that we all love to quote in faith. When we don’t understand our circumstances, but we want to believe he is working in them anyway, and we quote the verse because we have little else to hold onto. No, I want to see it. I want to have vision.

This week, I saw. I saw in retrospect how God moved in the lives of three people across three states to affect a fourth person that was known only to one. I saw how over a span of seven years, God began orchestrating a rescue he knew would be needed this week. I saw how he weaved the lives of three different women together in completely different circumstances to cause paths to cross and situations to merge to culminate in someone learning how much they matter to Jesus now.

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And I laughed. Out loud. I couldn’t help it. Maybe that’s the joy of the Lord. I don’t know. I didn’t get to see into eternity, but I did get to see the real life workings of God this week. I saw how he had worked the fabric of my life into the lives of two other women who love him in order to affect one of his lost sheep. What will he do to reach his lost sheep? Anything.