Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IOW: Think on These Things...

Debbie is hosting In Other Words at her blog Heart Choices. Visit her to read more posts for today's quote and to post your own.
The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. ~Rick Warren
Oh be careful little eyes what you see...

Oh be careful little ears what you hear...

How long are words, images, impressions with us? According to a required study skills I had in college, everything we take in is in our "memory forest." We don't lose any memories, just the ability to access them. If that is true, then everything we see, hear, do is with us forever.

Makes that little nursery school song much more serious and important to heed, doesn't it?

My life has been affected by words, at times profoundly. Let's explore the truth of Rick Warren's quote with a few examples from my own experiences:

Example 1 -
What was said by a parent who grew up with much worse abuse hefted his way than he sent mine: "Why did you do that? Are you stupid?"

What I thought: I can't do anything right. I must be stupid.

How I felt: Incompetent and worthless.

How I acted: I always suspected that any negative words had underlying meaning-that I really wasn't loved. I still have problems taking words at face value without trying to see if the person is saying more about me than his/her words. I was always striving for approval, never convinced that I had any abilities, never believing that my successes measured up...even when I spent 2 years of college on the president's and dean's list and graduated with a 3.9 GPA.

Example 2 -
What was said by a mean fellow 5th grader: "Don't look at me with those bug eyes!"

How I felt: Ashamed, nervous about my appearance. If my eyes are ugly, all of me must be too.

How I acted: Embarrassed whenever anyone noticed my eyes, which are my most noticeable feature. Ungracious whenever I was complemented on them. I sought approval through the attentions of boys. At one point in my adult life, I even felt that others' opinions of me carried more weight than my husband's because he had to say nice things since we were married.

Example 3 -
What was said by a jaded college writing professor: "Your paper is childish, your points trite." (Gave me an F on my first assignment & I barely pulled a C out of the class.)

How I felt: Destroyed. The one area I had ever felt good about, that I had always had success in, was a big lie. My writing was bad, so I am worthless.

How I acted: I stopped writing for more than 15 years. I tried to fill my life with activities to make up for the hole left in my spirit by not writing. I burned myself out saying yes to every task asked of me at church, became obsessed with crafts, cooking gardening and self-sufficiency, and at one point, tried to convince my husband to give up his Air Force career to move to a remote farm and so I could hide away from the world.

Too often we allow ourselves to be drawn in to the spirit-breaking cycle of thoughtless words and deeds. Unfortunately, our minds more easily accept what people say to us than what God says to us. As a redeemed child of the King, I have the right to claim all His words of love to me.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
~ Romans 5:5-6,8
Even when I was an enemy of God, He loved me.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
~ Romans 5:10
Despite my most stupid, ugly, and incompetent points, the Creator of the Universe knew me and loved me anyway.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
~ John 15:16
God's words should supersede any words we hear from the world, should dominate any thoughts we have, should guide our feelings to the purpose He has for us, and be the deciding factor in the way we act.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
~ Romans 8:16
For the Father up above is looking down in love...
Finally, [sisters], whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virture and if there is anything praiseworthy--think on these things.

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
~ Philippians 4:8-9
It is sad to realize that, had I just grasped these things as a young woman, much pain would have been spared me and more fruit for His kingdom would have been produced. I am so grateful that God's strong love pushed through the negatives and turned my life into a positive, happy one.

P.S. Yes, that is really the color of my eyes. Thank you for noticing. ;-> And my daddy thinks I am brilliant and talented....Also, I am writing again-nearly every day. And the only earthly opinion about my appearance & writing that truly matters to me is that of my wonderful, supportive husband.


Laurie Ann said...

You are beautiful. Your thoughts, words and deeds are all for the glory of God. It's amazing how words we heard, especially as children, tore us down but how God replaced them with His Word. I truly enjoyed the lessons I learned in your post. And I'm so glad you're writing again!

Debbie said...

Patricia, I loved your post today! And your eyes are beautiful and the first thing anyone would notice. But that's a good thing, not bad. I know exactly what you mean about hearing words from people we should be able to trust and yet ...they disappoint and put us down. I have come to the place where I focus on pleasing God above all. I remind myself how much He loves me and cares for me and about everything that impacts me. And do you know what? That is sufficient for me and it frees up my loved ones from always having to fill me up. Anything they say is simply overflow and ...appreciated but not needed.

MiPa said...

Patricia thank you for being so transparent in this post. It brings this quote to life. Bless you.

Denise said...

You are a true beauty sweetie.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Thank you for sharing those painful memories. We learn through those, too, don't we? I am glad you are living in light of the truth these days. Wonderful line-up of passages you shared with us!

Carolyn said...

Patricia, I love your post. Your honesty and acknowledgment of God's work in your life. He is truly honored. He has given you amazing eyes!
thanks for sharing your heart

Anonymous said...

I just got your quote up today that you are hosting on Tuesday. Sorry for the lateness. It was a hectic week. Please let your readers know you will be hosting on Tuesday, along with your quote. I am about to post it on FB now. :)

THANK YOU - and you DO have beautiful eyes! :)