What you are thinking today will grow. What you imagine will get bigger. The thoughts in your head will outgrow your head space and flood your life space, then you will be surrounded by the things you were thinking of.
You see, Sis, that little worry you’ve been entertaining won’t stay little. It will grow. It will consume. But so will that little hope. That flicker of hope you have within, when you dwell on it, will grow bigger too. It’s a matter of which one you allow to grow.
Have you ever heard the story of the Two Wolves? An old Cherokee talks to his grandson about life. He says, “Grandson, a battle rages inside of me. A battle between two wolves. One is bad and one is good. The bad wolf is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, and ego. The good wolf is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth and faith. The same fight goes on inside of you and inside of everyone else as well.” The grandson pondered his words and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Yes there’s a battle between good and evil going on within you. Yes, there’s fear and faith fighting for the same space in your life. Yes there’s hope and truth going up against overwhelm and deception. And the winner of this battle determines how you feel, how you show up, and what you do today.
But also remember this, you determine the winner by the one you feed.
Your thoughts are fuel for your feelings. Change your thoughts and you change how you feel. Change how you feel, and you will be showing up for an ordinary day of your life as a totally different person.
Consider this, your thoughts so far today, have been feeding either the good wolf or the bad wolf. If you’ve been thinking about the work you don’t want to do, the people you don’t want to deal with, and the regret of ending up here somehow, the bad wolf has been hand fed this morning and he is howling loud. Those thoughts of feeling inadequate, inferior and unworthy, girl those are like T-Bone steaks for the bad wolf within you. If those have been your thoughts, then understand he is strong and he will win the battle today. Good will be defeated because only the bad has been fed.
Within the same circumstances, with absolutely nothing changing around you, you could choose different thoughts. Even in the overwhelm of today and the jackwagons you may have to deal with, your thoughts could focus on how you’re still wildly rich and ridiculously blessed. (Remember that Thanksgiving devotional from last week with the statistics that prove you are richer than 75% of the world and in the top 8% of the world’s wealth? Yeah, that’s still true!) And those thoughts hand feed the good wolf. The good wolf that causes you to show up with joy and peace and generosity. Thoughts of being loved and chosen by an Almighty God who has good plans for your life, are like super fuel for the good wolf within you. Bad will be defeated because it has been given none of your thoughts as fuel.
You wonder why there’s such a battle over your thoughts … You wonder why the enemy attacks how you think about yourself and your circumstances with such tenacity … Here’s why … You’re becoming what you think!
Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”
Meaning, honey, whatever you’re thinking in your head is what you’re going to experience in your life.
Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
How does the thief steal, kill and destroy? He starts in your mind. He starts with fear of what could happen, what may happen, and how terrible it will be. Those thoughts grow to become depression and anxiety. They are seeds that become full grown wolves raging within us, devouring any ounce of goodness and hope with their darkness.
How does Jesus bring this big full life? He gives you the Holy Spirit which changes the way you think. He changes the way you see your life. He changes the way you talk to yourself. He plants a little seed that grows to become a tree which bears fruit. Fruits that are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (Galatians 5: 22-23)
Everyday you are given a choice … a choice to either partner with what the enemy is trying to do in your life, or partner with what Jesus has offered. That choice begins with your thoughts, which determine your attitude and your actions.
Jesus wants to bring life to your mind. He wants to bring joy and peace to your thoughts. It’s what he died to do so that you could have a life here that isn’t overwhelmed by burdens and worries and stresses, then a life in eternity in Paradise with him.
But the question becomes, have you unknowingly partnered with the thief who’s intentions are to steal, kill and destroy? He is the bad wolf. Have you been feeding him?
If you have a habit of personalizing everything to be against you, you’ve fed the bad wolf. If you have a habit of rehashing everything that happened, replaying all the negative details over and over, reliving it as if it just happened again as it grows bigger each time, you’ve fed the bad wolf. If you have a habit of rehearsing events that haven’t even happened yet, and you’re imagining how it could all go wrong, you’ve fed the bad wolf. These thoughts are not harmless in your head. They are food for a wolf within. And that wolf has every intention to steal, kill and destroy all the good you were created for.
How much life is in your mind, Sis? Is it a full life? Is it a BIG Life? Are your thoughts full of love, joy and peace? Are good, kind and gentle thoughts flooding your mind about who you are and what you can do? Do you embody habits of faithfulness and self-control? You see, that’s what Jesus does in your head space. That’s what he brings with the Holy Spirit within you. And I promise you this, IT CHANGES EVERYTHING. When things change inside you, things change around you.
You can face today’s circumstances, no matter how crappy they may seem, with thoughts focused on faith. Faith in a God who is bigger than any problem you may be up against. Faith in a God who has undeniably good plans for you that you simply can’t cancel. Faith in a God who is for you and not against you, and no one can stop him. And sweet sister, never forget, even a tiny bit of faith can move a mountain.
Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
We adopted our daughters from an orphanage in Mexico when they were 4.5 and 6. That joyous day of bringing them home and welcoming them into their new life turned into a nightmare with legal battles and a country that demanded them back if we didn’t continue to pay more money. After several years in the battle, we had run out of money, sold everything of value we had, and faced the reality of losing our girls.
Every day we had to choose our thoughts and our words very intentionally. That bad wolf within was demanding the food of my negative thoughts, and the same was happening for our daughters. Fear was knocking on our door.
I remember one day I sat them up on the kitchen island, and I put a mustard seed in each of their hands. I told them even if our faith was that tiny, impossible things could happen for our family.
Throughout the day, the girls kept losing their mustard seed, and they would return to me asking for another one. I have to wonder if you’ve ever lost your little faith when you got busy with something else? Don’t we all? We get wrapped up in those old familiar negative thoughts of worry and stress and overwhelm, and dang that little mustard seed of faith is gone.
So, I sat the girls on the kitchen island again and I once again gave them a tiny mustard seed in their hand. This time, I told the girls to eat it. You see, if they let it get inside of them, they wouldn’t lose it.
We kept our faith, and that faith grew. We chose our thoughts intentionally and clung to the hope that somehow that impossible mountain was going to move and our girls would be forever ours.
How does the story end? Well, impossible mountains moved. Not in the way we imagined, and certainly not in the timing we had hoped, but they moved! And those little seeds of faith are still within and they are growing.
Understand this, faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. Either way you’re partnering your thoughts with the unseen. When we fear, we believe something negative will come from what we can’t see. Faith is simply believing something positive will ultimately come from what we can’t see.
The difference in those thoughts is the difference in which wolf grows stronger within you. One wolf comes to steal, kill and destroy. The other comes to give life to the full. And today, regardless of circumstances, you have the power to choose what you believe and what you think about, and which one feed.
Eat the mustard seed of faith. Let it grow! Watch God work. Expect him to do the impossible for you. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)