I’m taking a break from my series on the first 24 Psalms because something happened to me this week that I really felt like I needed to share. Last weekend I went to a Men’s Getaway event with my church. This friday/saturday event saw 30 or so men from the church head out to a cool little barracks place by the lake. We shared some meals, heard some great teaching about the Lord, and sang some beautiful praise and worship songs to God. One thing I did not do at this place is sleep much, which became something of an issue in the days following.
Here’s a deep and absolute truth about me. I’m a baby. I mean, it’s a fact, I’m a huge baby. I try not to be, and I like to think I’m far less of a baby these days than I used to be, but I’m still a pretty big baby. I think I slept for 45 minutes at the men’s getaway. Now, part of me being a big baby is that I’m a mess without sleep. It would’ve been great to rest at the getaway, but another part of being a baby is that I just can’t sleep very well away from home. The last place I stayed was house sitting for my family (in the home I grew up in) and even there I could barely sleep.
So my Saturday was pretty nonexistent. The getaway ended around lunchtime, at which point I was feeling totally blasted and exhausted. When I got home the rest of the day disappeared in a series of naps and staring blankly at my computer screen trying (and failing) to work.
Sunday was a little better, although I still felt pretty out of it. For some reason I was just struggling to get back into my rhythms and patterns of life. On top of that, I was extremely behind writing the newspaper, so I was starting to get stressed out about that.
Then came Monday, which was terrible. I still hadn’t rested very much, and at this point I was crazy behind with my job. Everything was taking me three times longer to accomplish than usual, my bosses were waiting on me to send news stories that I hadn’t even started researching yet, it was just a mess. But the absolute worst thing was my mind. My thoughts on Monday were straight up trash. I can’t think of a better word for my thought life on the first half of Monday. I’m ashamed of my thinking that day, it was awful. I was full of self doubt, I felt worthless, I was doubting my walk with God, it was terrible. As an extremely positive and optimistic person, I’m really not used to feeling how I felt on Monday, as my thought life took a nose dive straight into the ground.
I needed some Godly intervention, but as I’ve discussed before on this blog, one weakness I have is trying to handle my problems on my own. I continue to pray that God will help me with this, and help me learn that when I’m struggling with anything my first move should be to turn to Him. But on Monday, it was me and my bad habit of trying to handle it on my own, and it was turning out terribly.
Here’s the thing. At the rate I was going, it wouldn’t have been until Wednesday’s church service that God got a hold of me and shook me out of this self inflicted mental funk I was in. I’d like to say I was going to pull out of it on my own, but I honestly believe that it was going to take God to do it, as I was digging a pretty fantastic hole for myself in my mind. And who knows how much worse I might’ve made things by Wednesday? I was making a crazy mess of it over the course of one day, so given a whole other 48 hours who knows how much worse I might have myself feeling?
But the other thing I had to accomplish on Monday is make it to praise and worship practice at the church. So I packed up my bass guitar and headed to church. What happened there is pretty predictable. I immediately felt better. Just being in the house of the Lord made a huge difference. The praise leader at our church is one of the major spiritual leaders in my life, and hearing him speak and share before we started practice really struck me right in the heart. Then the practice was beautiful, getting to play beautiful music for the Lord and spend a few hours focusing solely on worshiping my awesome God.
There’s another thing I have to accomplish on Mondays. On Monday night, my brother and I meet up to do a discipleship bible study workbook. Sometimes he can’t make it due to work, and even though I was feeling much better after praise and worship practice, I secretly was hoping he might cancel. As you can probably guess, he didn’t. Not only did we have an incredible time studying God’s word, but my roommate joined us for the first time ever, which was an awesome display of the work God is doing in and around me. We closed out with a gorgeous prayer, and as I prepared to jump back into all the newspaper work I was behind on I noticed something. Gone were the plague of terrible thoughts. They were replaced with a supernatural peace, and an overwhelming feeling of being blessed and deeply loved.
I hate where my head was at for most of Monday, and I’m not super thrilled with sharing it here, as it wasn’t a shining moment for me. But I really felt a strong pull to share this, because I want you to really see what helped me on Monday. It wasn’t anything I did that day, it was something I’ve done over the past several months. I’ve designed my week around Godly scheduling. Bible studies, getting involved at the church, hanging out with people who love God. It was this Godly scheduling that pulled me out of my spiral on Monday.
I was thinking about this, and playing a quick game of “what if”. What if on Monday, instead of spending the second half of my day doing Godly activities, I had continued to indulge my negative thoughts? What if on Monday, instead of spending the second half of my day surrounded by Godly men and women, I had hung out with negative people?
There were several lessons I took out of my Monday. But the one that really struck me was this bit of Godly scheduling. Church on Sunday and Wednesday is fantastic, it really is. I can’t imagine my week without those two awesome days. But not only do I want more Godly activities and people in my life, sometimes I need those things. I felt very humbled on Monday about where I am in my spiritual maturity. Where I wish I was and where I am are two very different places. The good news is that I’ve been designing my life around God and Godly activities, and having my Monday set up the way it is helped me overcome a horrendous start to my week. I wish I was mature enough to say I just fell to my knees and sought God’s help, or that I was wise enough to reach out to one of my spiritual leaders and ask for their help/prayer, but neither of those things happened. It was due to Godly scheduling, these Christ focused routines I’ve built into my life in recent months, that I ended my Monday in a great place.
I know this was long winded and a bit of a break from the normal things I write about here, but my hope is that it might help someone. We all have bad days, and sometimes those bad days can send our thoughts spinning in the wrong direction. It’s a great reminder why we should build our lives around God. I’d like to encourage you to get God on your schedule more often than Sunday and Wednesday. Even if it’s just a quick bible study with a friend or a family member, or maybe a weekly coffee date with one of your spiritual leaders. I can’t tell you how much it’s helped for me to have these God focused activities as part of my week. It’s kept me on the right path, in the right mindset, and at least once now, it’s saved me from a self inflicted thought crisis.
CLOSING AND PRAYER
I love you guys. I hope nobody minds the change of pace to close out this week’s posts. We’ll be back in Psalms on Monday, which I’m excited about.
For prayers today, let’s pray for our thought lives. If you’re like me, sometimes you fight a war with your thoughts, the negative versus the positive. Just like the story I shared above, had I turned to God in prayer early on Monday and brought this battle to Him, it would’ve ended before it began. So I’m not just going to pray for God to help me govern my thoughts, I’m also going to pray for Him to give me increased wisdom so I can be smart enough to turn to Him when I feel a thought battle brewing.
Everyone have a great weekend. Walk in the knowledge that you are deeply and dearly loved by God Himself.