A Renewed Perspective and Refreshed Mindset

A new perspective is so often what I need.  This past weekend, I officially entered my 50’s and “wasting away” takes on new meaning.  Unfortunately, it’s not my “waistline” that’s decreasing.  This is one of those birthdays I was not looking forward to for several reasons —and I KNOW! — 50 is the new 40, just like 40 was the new 30.  Nevertheless, it was a decade  I wish I could stall for a bit.  We’ve been talking about our mindset and thought life in this Finding Freedom from Fear series, and today’s passage from the lesson was so appropriate:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. —2 Corinthians 4:16-18

This milestone in my life was the perfect occasion to ask myself some questions based on these verses:

Do I see my troubles as light and momentary or large and looming?

Do I focus more on the outward wasting away or the inward renewal?

Do I fixate on the “seen” rather than seeking glimpses of the unseen eternal?

Do any of these resonate with you?

Too often the gravity pull of this world tempts me to get wrapped up in and often overwhelmed by the here and now. But as I renew my mind in the truths of God’s Word and who HE is, I am reminded that the perspective I choose in the midst of the here and now not only affects my attitude but my joy, my contentment, my peace, and my relationships.  And I do have a choice —gravity pull or glory perspective.  For the TRUTH is, the unpleasant and hard in the here and now is most definitely achieving for me an eternal glory in Christ Jesus that far outweighs them all!  Take a look at the preceding verses in this chapter — a great “BUT…!” passage:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. —2 Corinthians 4:7-12

These are great truths to focus on when an attitude adjustment is needed.

Celebrating who HE is and all I am IN Him!

 

 

©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com

 

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Finding Christmas in a Foul Mood Friday

Have you ever had one of those days when you just wake up in a “mood”?  You know, a foul, stinky mood and for no apparent reason.  That’s how my day started on Friday.  Before my feet even hit the floor, I could feel it coming on.  It reminded me of when my children were toddlers and would wake up from a nap whiny, crying and unconsolable with no clue as to the problem.  That was me!  I laid in bed for a moment running through my day and week trying to ascertain why I was in such a state.  Nothing.  So I asked the Lord to just go before me that day.  As I dressed for my day, every little thing got on my very.last.nerve.  This was not getting better.  I snapped at my husband.  I ranted at drivers as I drove to work.  And I realized that I didn’t really want to do anything to improve my mood. I just wanted to be in a bad mood.  Crazy!  But there deep down somewhere was that nagging (irritating) voice telling me I could NOT go through my day with this attitude.  Then the Lord brought to mind what I’d been learning, writing about and teaching to other women lately —having a rejoicing attitude…DESPITE circumstances or feelings (or foul moods).  Ugh!  I really didn’t want this to apply to me today.  And I just couldn’t seem to shake it and didn’t really have the energy to put much effort into it either.  But I knew that something needed to be done.  This attitude was just selfish and not honoring to Jesus at all!  So I went through the list of what I normally do when I’m in a mood or feeling depressed. Mind you, I didn’t “feel” like doing any of this.  But part of rejoicing always is determining with your will even when your feelings aren’t following suit.

I put on the praise music.  I was driving at the time and I keep an NGU Joyful Sound CD in my car at all times.  Having three children who attended North Greenville University and two who were part of the praise ensemble there, I knew their music always lifted my spirit and focused my eyes on things above.  It was beginning to work.  Then I began rehearsing Scripture in my mind and praying for the Lord to infuse it into every fiber of my being.  I mean the Word IS living and active! (Hebrews 4:12).  By the time I reached work, I wasn’t feeling quite as much like punching something or someone.  (I told you, it was a foul mood!).   At lunch I had scheduled a work out session with my husband and our trainer.  Lunch approached and I considered bailing on it. But reluctantly I pulled on my workout clothes and sneakers and headed to the gym.  Cardio, weights, stretching…I was beginning to feel better.  My mood was lifting.  By the time my day ended I had won the battle with those crazy, female hormones that had been wreaking havoc all day! Continue reading “Finding Christmas in a Foul Mood Friday”

Do You See What I See? Christmas from the Shepherds’ Perspective

Read: Luke 2:1-21

When reading this part of the Christmas story, I have to tell you, I can’t help but see the Charlie Brown Christmas special in my mind. I love that Charlie Brown quotes this passage of Scripture almost verbatim. What a great childhood memory for me!  And one we shared with our children as they were growing up. And…I still watch it every year!…

UPDATE: This devotional series is no longer available on the blog. Now available in print and ebook on Amazon

Copyright ©2006, Susan Cady

Do You See What I See? Christmas from Mary’s Perspective

Christmas is upon us! Many of us have already been preparing our homes for Christmas, scheduling our holiday calendar of activities and have probably even done some Christmas shopping. Perhaps you’ve set out at Nativity in your home or yard.

Have you ever wondered what those present during the first Christmas were thinking? Continue reading “Do You See What I See? Christmas from Mary’s Perspective”

A Rejoicing Attitude

Rejoice Always

A Rejoicing Attitude!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.                                                 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.  This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Voice)

Attitude!

It all begins with our focus, our perspective, which in turn affects our attitude.

 Rejoice Always!

In the original language of the Bible, rejoice is the word chairo.

rejoicechairo – to be cheerful, calmly happy, to rejoice exceedingly, be well and thrive.

Rejoice or celebrate always is the command. I love this!  I’m always up for a celebration. I love gathering with friends and family to fellowship together.  At our house it usually involves food, lots of conversation, laughter, singing and sharing of stories.  But we all know that life isn’t always a celebration.

  • Sometimes life is hard.
  • Sometimes life hurts.
  • Sometimes life is harried.

But we are still called to rejoice and celebrate!  So how do we do that in the hard, hurting and harried times of life? 

“Rejoicing is a way of praising God until the heart is sweetened and rested, releasing its grip on anything else it thinks it needs.” —Tim Keller

How do we change our perspective & attitude to rejoice always?  

Continue reading “A Rejoicing Attitude”

What Are You Dwelling On?

Week 2 Beauty & Truth: What Are You Filling Your Mind With?

Beauty & Truth

Fill your minds with beauty and truth. Philippians 4:8 (The Voice)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 (HCSB)

Welcome back to the kitchen table!  This week we will examine what it means to “fill our minds”. Paul instructs us in Philippians 4:8 to fill our minds, think, or dwell on these things.  Regardless of the translation these are all same word in the original language. Take a look:

dwell on logizomaito take an inventory, to estimate, to reckon, calculate, count over, meditate on.  This word deals with reality.  This word refers to facts not suppositions.

 Dwell —The reality is, dwelling is part of what we do as women. Dwelling involves taking an inventory, reckoning and meditating.

What do your daily “dwelling sessions” look like?

Mine usually involves something like this: I turn it round & round, looking at all the angles of the “what ifs” and “if onlys” — rehearsing it, calculating and contemplating, until it consumes me! This kind of dwelling session enslaves us and manifests itself as worry, doubt, anxiety and insecurity.

Here is more of Lori’s story as she shares one of her “dwelling sessions”:

Around the time Blair was to be discharged from the hospital to a nursing care facility for rehab, I was invited to participate in a weekend retreat with a small group of friends from our church. My mind was in a constant swirl about the past, the present, and what the future might hold.  I would dwell on what life used to be like and I wanted to go back to what I considered to be “normal.” Then I would think about the difficulties of what I would need to deal with when I left the safety of the retreat.  And, of course, I obsessed about what our future might hold:  What would Blair be like?  What would I do if he only recovered by 50%?  How would this affect our relationship?  How would this affect our daughters?  Would we even be able to pay our bills?  What about our plans for the future?

During one of our evening sessions at the retreat, a young man who I knew pretty well had a poem he wanted to share with the group.  He said that God had inspired him to write this poem earlier in the week and felt that it was meant for someone in the group that was gathered there that evening. His poem was entitled, “Rest” and explained how much our Father wants us to lay aside our burdens and worries in order to experience the peace and love that come only from His presence. I’m sure there were others in the group that benefited from that poem, but I knew that it was meant for me.  It wasn’t just the words of that poem that changed my life, it was also the realization that God cared enough about me to inspire a poem and make sure I was there to hear those words. I believe that the true knowledge of God’s love and the acknowledgment of the truth of any situation is the key to “really living.”  In my life, I have seen that embracing love and truth can free us in the present and actually protect us in the future from the fear and anxiety that sometimes plagues us and at times can even immobilize us as women.” —Lori Fink

God’s desire is not for us to fixate on the circumstance or relationship that is troubling us until we are a meltdown mess. His desire is for us to evaluate and respond to those things that occupy our thoughts through the lens of truth.

As I would rehearse my troubles to a friend, she would always say, “But the reality is . . .” The reality is always where the truth lies.  And yes, sometimes the truth is not pretty or comfortable.  Sometimes the truth can be terrifying.  But the truth also contains the fact that God is good and He loves me, some days that is all that kept me going.  Oh yeah and taking every thought captive and examining it for truth. —Lori Fink

Truth — things that are true is the first in the list that Paul exhorts us to dwell on.  This word in the original language is alethes meaning true, real, conformed to the reality of things, loving the truth and not concealingIt is a word that denotes the reality of a thing. That is just what Lori was talking about—getting to the bottom of things!  Wading through our fears and feelings to get to the reality of the truth.

Now this does not mean we are to live in denial, putting on our Pollyanna smiles and pretty masks.  It simply means we can honestly and openly come before our God and pour out our hearts to Him. (Psalm 62:8). He is our safe place to express and unload all that talk going round in our heads. Once we’ve unloaded, vented, ranted and raved —and yes it is okay to rant and rave before our God, He is big enough to handle it —once we’ve “got it off our chest”, then our “dwelling” needs to take on a different focus.  Look at the definition for dwell again.  It states that this word refers to facts, not suppositions.  We need to turn our attention to dwelling on the facts.  So how do we determine what is true?   How do we sort out the facts from our feelings? 

Truth is found in the unchanging character of God, in the truth of His Word and what HE says is true of us.  We need to remind ourselves, rehearse, and dwell on the truths of His Word, regardless of what the world or our circumstances are screaming.

Philippians 4:8 gives us a list of things to “dwell on” and the filter through which we should examine our situation.  We can examine our situation and ask:

What is true?

What is honorable?

What is just?

What is pure?

What is lovely?

What is commendable?

What is excellent?

What is worthy of praise?

And perhaps the specifics of that situation make it difficult to find any of the above!

But the truth, the reality, is God is good! He brings good out of even the most difficult situations. And when our eyes are focused on Him, we can see what is true, honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise because HE IS all of those things!  I love Lori’s realization and affirmation that some days this truth is all that kept her going!

The truth that HE IS causes us to change our perspective and with a renewed perspective we can ask, “How might I respond in a way that is…true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of bringing God praise?

Finally, Paul follows his exhortation to dwell with an instruction to do.

Do —look at this word in the original language:

            do prassoto practice, to perform repeatedly or habitually

Over and over and over again, we remind ourselves and rehearse the truth of who God is, what He has done for us and who He says we are in Christ Jesus. We are to dwell on the truth of who God is and what His Word teaches us.

So go ahead and get busy —dwell and do! ANDThe peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesusand the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:7, 9

See you next week at the kitchen table as we examine what it means to embrace beauty in our daily lives.

Susan & Lori Signature

 P.SClick here for a list of verses that are great “dwelling session” material.  We’d love to hear from you on what some of your “go to” verses are when you need to be reminded of truth.  Comment on this post and share them with us!