Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How to Paint Your Life

Do you ever think of spiritual principles analogous to the mundane tasks you are completing? This morning, I began painting a shelf that sets next to the front door. I popped in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and gathered the supplies for my project. As I commenced the shelf’s transformation from unfinished wood to a pretty blue, I considered transformations in our lives.

It was still dark outside when I started painting this morning. Can you tell?

So often, when we are faced with a problem—e.g., “my jeans are too tight”—we are most concerned about how the problem appears to other people.  In the given example, we may be preoccupied with how our upcoming church directory photo will look; or we may be embarrassed because we are no longer as thin as we used to be in high school ("What will people think?"). We don’t want to be remembered as overweight, perhaps, or we just don’t want people to talk about our weight problem behind our backs. Whatever the case, most of us are afraid of people’s scrutiny and judgment, concerned that our appearances do not measure up.

Like the shelf I was painting, however, the first thing we need to fix is on the inside. If I were to go “gung-ho” and start painting the outside of the shelf first, I would get messy with wet paint when I tried to then coat the inside. And if there were a door on the shelf, I might even be tempted to neglect the inside altogether and focus on the exterior, because that is the part that people see.

Kitty approves of the new color. We can all rest easy now.

Let's connect this to the weight problem. I can give my own personal example: I had been overweight almost my entire life. I could easily blame—and often did—my love for sweets, my hypoglycemia, or my stressful life. But the real problem, as I discovered a year and a half ago now, was inside. It was in my heart. I was running to food for comfort in stressful times and in times of boredom; I was eating more than was necessary—sometimes out-eating grown men twice my size—in the name of my health issue.  Or I just "couldn’t stop" because “it tasted so good.” I could tell you story after shameful story of how my god was my stomach. And I could tell you story after shameful story about “quick fix” weight loss attempts because I was only concerned with the outside of me, what people thought of me, or what I thought of myself in comparison with other people (or my younger self).

Now, the weight issue is only an example. I struggled with it for years, so I know it well. But you do not have to have a weight problem to get caught up in the same line of thinking. Here is another example: I get embarrassed when people stop by, unannounced, if my apartment is not clean. Now, should I keep my apartment spotless because of what people might think if they randomly stop by? Or should I keep my apartment tidy because I am honoring the Lord and my husband by doing so?

Our motivation must be inward. It must be the result of what God thinks and says through His Word. His thoughts should be our motivation.

So, here's the bottom line: Are you trusting God, inwardly, through every issue of your life? Today’s Proverb (ch. 3) is all about putting your confidence in the right things—the Lord and His wisdom (the Word of God). If you have never read more than verses 5-6 of chapter 3 (which are great verses), I would encourage you to read the whole chapter. Furthermore, I would also encourage you to look at 2 Corinthians 10 today. In this passage, Paul says that if we are to glory in anything, we should “glory in the Lord” (v. 17). Glory not in food, glory not in our appearance; glory in the Lord. Our focus, our motivation, our glory should be in the Lord.

I hope you will take time to study and consider God’s Word today. We so desperately need His Truth to touch every area of our lives. And in nearly every problem, we need to ask God to fix the inside of us first.

Happy Tuesday, my friends!

No comments: