Recently, a friend asked how I deal with anxiety concerning the issues of life. Immediately, a phrase came to my mind that I have sensed from the Lord in the past: “The only thing that stands between you and your transformation in Me is what you choose to do with your thoughts.” So I answered my friend, “Choice.”
We each possess a free will to choose how we respond to our thoughts and circumstances. We choose the way of dependency on God or the way of independence. We make decisions in our own leadership through pride or we choose to abide in Jesus through humility. The way of pride brings ongoing frustration as we try to make life work apart from our Maker. But the way of humility brings transformation and lasting peace.
How our choosing manifests itself varies. For example, in self leadership, I may choose to cycle thoughts within myself rather than to dialogue with God. I may talk with others but refuse counsel from God in the matter (Isa 30:1). I may numb what I cannot solve by going into debt, binging on food, indulging in immoral fantasies, or by countless other false solutions. In all of this, I am only attempting to cover what I am failing to make work in my own strength, wisdom, and resources. On the other path- humility- I give my thoughts and feelings to God in conversation with Him. I wait for His counsel as I go for a walk, meditate on Scripture, talk with a sacred ally, or however I sense God is leading. Through this way, He makes my paths straight and empowers me with Himself to respond with His nature.
By the way of pride, I am like a plane with one wing: totally beyond my ability to stop, out of control in a spiral downward, yet thinking that I am in control and can prevent the inevitable crash soon ahead. This produces a frenetic activity in the soul that is unnecessary. From personal experience, I recently took note of some pressure within myself to move toward anger and impatience. Unknowing of what was driving this, I continued surrendering it to the Lord, imagining myself speeding in a car, releasing the gas pedal, and choosing instead to abide. I felt an external pressure to act in impatience, but from my dialogue with the Lord, I discovered that striving to do more than the Lord was asking of me was causing the pressure. The scheme of the enemy is to keep us “busy” and distracted rather than fully present. In our busyness, we miss opportunities for the Lord’s love to be expressed through us. But knowing that God is always looking to grow and mature us in Him, this pressure to “do” is simply a stepping stone to clear. It is an escort to remaining in Christ and growing in fellowship—to grow in the patience and gentleness that are in Him.
By way of humility, we can stand still in Jesus, letting Him fly and land the plane and deal with any malfunctions along the way. Like Jeremiah 6:16, we stand in the crossroads and ask for God’s ways. Confidence and faith grow and pride leaves while we choose to stand in humililty (Pro 14:26). In Jesus, we can learn from Him, happy to do nothing on our own but knowing fully that the Father will reveal to us what He is doing and that His power will perform His will through us and around us (John 5:19-20). This is how Jesus walked the earth, and He has given us His Spirit to do the same. Join the conversation He desires to have in you and be transformed.