Thursday Tips: Soul Searching

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“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you…” Psalm 42:5-6, NIV

When the Psalmist wrote this, he was doing some genuine soul searching. I’ve been there. I have every reason to live with joy and hope and yet at times I feel the weight of worry or fear pulling down my thoughts. Dark and difficult emotions seem to take over without warning. Perhaps my soul could stand a good questioning.

Why are you still harboring anger?

Why is your fear based on numbers?

Why does failure leave you anxious?

“When you are confronted with a circumstance that challenges you, you have two choices. You can say to your soul, ‘Get depressed.’ Or you can say to your soul, ‘Hope in God.’ Place your expectation in the goodness of God. That’s what the psalmist did. He attached his hope in God to a promise from God.” – Jennifer Rothschild, Me, Myself, and Lies

That’s the idea behind today’s Thursday Tip. When we feel weighted by an untruth we attach our hope in God to a promise from God. Watch this retro video clip and I will catch you when it’s done.

Truth vs. Lies from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

As I said, I highly recommend “From Head to Foot” by Annie F. Downs, but you should know that since the creation of that video she’s come out with a NEW version of the book entitled “Perfectly Unique: Praising God from Head to Foot.” I highly encourage you to check it out if you are a tween or teen gal. But more than anything, I encourage us all to continue to exchange those beat up playlists for a different tune.

Following,
Ginger

Beat Up Playlist

Here’s what you will find if you break into my journal entry for this past Monday morning:

“The overwhelmed feeling is starting to creep in! Full weekends, garage sale, wedding activities, preparation for speaking engagements, preparation for travel, blog posts, volunteer opportunities, youth ministry, friendships, registry, baby stuff. My plate feels full. Lot’s of good things, but that voice in my head wants to tell me this is too much and I should quit while I’m ahead.”

I took a break from journaling and started reading… but that didn’t last long. Soon I was back to journaling.

“Lord – I find myself dwelling on the things I am anxious about. Teach me to have a joyful heart in all of this.”

Step #1 was to admit my anxiety and recognize it wasn’t a place to dwell. I was letting my self-talk run negative and the cycle wasn’t breaking simply by dwelling on it. But step #2 was also within my grasp. Here’s what I tried next.

I wrote ANXIOUS HEART in my journal. Below it I listed every little thing that could keep me up at night or keep me on edge. I wrote out everything the little voice inside of me continued to throw in my face. But then I made another list.

I wrote JOYFUL HEART on the opposite side of the page and made my list of thanks. There were twenty-five items before I even stopped to think what else I could add. Before I knew it, I felt my entire mood shifting, my body relaxing, and my outlook changing.

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Yesterday I quoted Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Here’s a refresher:

“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 are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you.”

Our thought-lives play such a huge role in our every day lives! No one else may ever know what runs through our minds each day, but we know… and it probably is less that kind and less than beneficial. In fact, I often beat myself up with my own words. And when I beat myself I end up feeling defeated and lonely. When I worry I feel out of control and frustrated.

“Worry is fixating on or meditating on what if rather than what is. Our English word worry comes from the Old English wyrgan and the Old High German wurgen. Both mean “to strangle.” When we worry, we choke out the life-giving truth that should be filling our thought closets.” – Jennifer Rothschild, “Me, Myself, & Lies”

The words we listen to become the soundtrack of our lives. I can play my beat up playlist if I want, or I can switch to meditating on giving thanks for God’s wonders and God’s Word.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

If your thoughts today are less than pleasing, can I encourage you to hit the pause button? Play a different track. List your many blessings, call a friend, write a letter, get outside, open up the Word, and start meditating on the WHAT IS rather than the WHAT IF.

More tomorrow…

Following and learning,
Ginger