When I think of the word “discipline”, nothing good comes of it. It takes me back to when I was a child and too many adults were trying to make me behave “properly”. I look back on those adults and they had no clue themselves.
Some still don’t.
So I prayed about this post and felt moved to write about a type of discipline I’m just now learning in my 40’s. Disciplined thinking.
Now, let me begin with highlighting the “in my 40’s” because I have completely sucked at thinking positive about myself until that point in time. And it is still a daily battle.
For a good part of my life I was told, made to feel, and believed that I was not worthy of love, was not good enough to be loved, and would never measure up. There was always far too much focus on how I was failing and it seemed to me that no one noticed when I wasn’t.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Because when you live as though you are loved, you start loving others better. You don’t look for others’ faults and short-comings, you look for their story, their journey, what struggles they’ve endured.[/pullquote]So I internalized all of it. I believed it. I lived it. I have done things in my life that would correlate with the belief that I’m truly not all that special. I’ve dressed in a way that demonstrated this belief. I’ve behaved in amazingly embarrassing ways.
But then I met God. I started reading what he thought about me. How he created me. How much he loves me. How he planned for my very existence.
And look how much he loves us!!!
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. ~ Romans 8:35-39 (MSG)
I’ve never known a love like this. And it is so beautiful. In all my struggles with discipline this is the most positive discipline I can give myself: to live these words. To believe these promises. To live loved.
Because when you live as though you are loved, you start loving others better. You don’t look for others’ faults and short-comings, you look for their story, their journey, what struggles they’ve endured. And just like God accepts me for the amazingly imperfect mess that I am, it is so much easier when you live loved to accept others in their own amazingly imperfect mess.
Every day I have to discipline my mind to believe God’s word for me and not the things that I’ve heard from people who do not have this unconditional love for me. I’ve had a number of relationships with people who have bragged about being nice, kind, loving, giving, helpful, beautiful, understanding, sweet, and all those lovely flowery words, who did not return the same to me. And when I had enough, I’m a bitch, liar, user, manipulator, back-stabber, and so on and so forth.
For many, too many, years I would believe the latter, even though these people were the ones who hurt me very deeply. I thought I was all those things. I would go days playing those words over in my mind. Letting them take over. Allowing them to consume me.
Then God. Over the past few years, God has removed all of those feeding into my negative thinking and replaced them with people who encourage me and remind me, when needed, of God’s unconditional love for me and his purpose for my life, and it has taught me to embrace all the good things I am and let go of the beliefs that I’m not those good things.
I’ve been in very dark places, through depression and negative thinking, but God came into those dark places, unafraid, and brought me out. Even when I fought him, he patiently and lovingly nudged me with his word, song, and my sisters in Christ. I believe the amazing women that God brought to my life were his gift.
“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. ~ Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)
Sometimes you have to take a look around and see who you have surrounded yourself with. If there is anyone in your life that makes you feel less than what God has created you to be, you need to clean house. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is allowing negative people in my life because they drown out the truth.
Is there anyone in your life that is drowning out God’s truth?
- God Shows Up - April 24, 2019
- Live Like You Believe You Are Plenty - November 30, 2018
- Tsunami Named Chaos - June 27, 2018
Romans 8:38-39 is my favorite verse of the Bible! If it wasn’t so corny to say this, I’d say it was my life verse!!
Not corny at all!! Great choice in my opinion. There’s some important stuff being said there.
The only person in my life that drowns out God’s truth is myself. Working on it every day. Loved the rawness of this post, Tina. Thanks for your transparent you.
Thank you, you’re one of my favorite cheerleaders 🙂
“And just like God accepts me for the amazingly imperfect mess that I am, it is so much easier when you live loved to accept others in their own amazingly imperfect mess.” Well said, Tina, and so true! Thanks!
Thanks for reading, Diane 🙂
One of the hardest things for me when I became a Christian was learning that I needed to distance myself from the toxic people in my life after sharing Truth with them. John 15:2 has been a comfort: ” Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Pruning hurts so badly, but I’m thankful for a Father who shows tough love.
I still miss my best friend every day.
It’s one of the hardest, but really the most important. I’m going to pray for your friend to come to know Jesus the way you do.
Well, a little sob with my coffee, today, thank you. 😉 Really, though. Thank you. This post is such an affirmation and confirmation that though it DOES take discipline to stop listening to the negative recordings of our youth, it’s possible, and not only possible, stomp the crap out of them and are rebirthed in the story of victory when we start listening to Jesus, instead. Beautiful. I’m sure some of this was very difficult to put out there, but, Tina…so well done. xxxooo
Pretend I wrote “we can” after “not only possible” and before “stomp the crap”. Kthx. Can’t see how to edit my comment, and I’m starting to itch. 😉
I’m fluent in my daughter’s garbled texting, so I filled it in, no worries. Thanks for reading. Vulnerable is all I know anymore apparently… lol.
Getting old is physically unpleasant, but my 40s has brought me such wisdom and maturity in how I think about God’s love for me, how I process and react to life, etc. Disciplined thinking is definitely important. Otherwise, we are tossed about in the storm, instead of standing still with Christ. So much of Proverbs is about being disciplined, listening to instruction, the difference between wisdom and foolishness. I find myself sitting in those chapters thinking, God must have REALLY wanted us to understand discipline has purpose to benefit us and mature us.
ahhhh… the 40’s. It’s like the blinders come off, ha. Discipline can definitely be for a positive result. All in how you “think” about it. So happy that you have such a clear vision of God’s love for you. Awesome.
God’s love for us= the greatest love story of all.
“Clouding your actual experience with preconceived notions will keep you from experiencing the vibrancy of the current moment.” Rick Carson
It takes a ton of discipline to move beyond the notion of who we are based on past experiences or how others see us.
I try really hard to focus on how God sees me and you’re right, that helps me to see others in a different way.
I love this piece because I have had a lot of criticism from my mother. It really hurts, doesn’t it? Sigh…. But, “to live loved.” Man, that is a great phrase, a great feeling, a great reality for those who are in Christ.