"Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour. Be firm in the faith and resist him ..." 1 Peter 5:8-9 (GW)
Have you ever gotten that awful pit-in-your-stomach feeling after finding out you let someone down? It felt like the wind had been knocked out of me as I read through an email from a client, sent to my manager and forwarded to me, describing how I had let some details fall through the cracks on a project.
A horrible sense of discouragement and embarrassment moved in for the kill.
In the past, I would have welcomed my uninvited critical thoughts to stay a while, resigned to the fact that I must be unable to do anything right!
But not this time; too many hurtful experiences had taught me to recognize failure as an opportune time for my opponent, the devil, to devour me with feelings of inadequacy and shame. This enemy is bent on making me believe that when my best isn't good enough, I'm not good enough.
Fortunately, times of pain have also included hours of poring over God's promises, gathering wisdom to deal with this unwelcome intruder. I have learned to be alert to the devil's schemes and ready to stand against them. In today's key verses, Peter tells us how:
"Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour. Be firm in the faith and resist him, knowing that other believers throughout the world are going through the same kind of suffering" (1 Peter 5:8-9).
After reading the email and letting my thoughts run wild for a few minutes, I knew I had to clear my mind. I asked the Holy Spirit to help me unclutter my thoughts with the clarity of truth from logistical, circumstantial and spiritual points of view.
1) I jotted down a list of logistical truths: facts about what happened, what I did right, wrong or forgot to do at all.
2) I also wrote a list of circumstantial truths: factors of my "reality" during the project.
In six months time, a close friend died of cancer, our family adopted a baby from Ethiopia, my mom was hospitalized with blood clots in her lungs and moved in with us, and my father underwent emergency quadruple bypass surgery. Although I cut back on some things, I tried to push through on a few commitments I made before the bottom fell out. Exhausted and completely overwhelmed, I couldn't keep up. But I hadn't admitted or communicated my limitations to our client.
3) Finally, and most importantly, I made a list of spiritual truths. Turning through my Bible, I found and wrote down promises to remind me of these facts:
• "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26, NIV).
• "The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands" (Psalm 138:8, NASB).
Listing logistical, circumstantial and spiritual truths helped me quiet my mind to see all that was going on. Suddenly, I was aware of what God wanted me to do versus what my opponent was trying to do — devour me with discouragement.
God wanted me to humble myself before Him, be honest with my limitations and make more cut backs in my schedule. After apologizing to our client and explaining what happened, she understood and things eventually worked out.
Although I had done the best I could, my best wasn't good enough. But it didn't mean I wasn't good enough. It just meant I needed to make some truth-filled assessments and wisdom-based adjustments!
Lord, some days my best isn't good enough, but it's all I have to give. Help me remember that my best is all You expect. Guide me with Your grace as I make truth-filled assessments of my life and wisdom-based adjustments as needed. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 90:17, "May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands." (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of a time when you felt like your best wasn't good enough. Like Renee described, make a list of logistical, circumstantial and spiritual truths that relate to your situation.
Looking at your lists, ask God to help you keep (or get) your mind clear of condemnation-clutter the enemy has piled on your thoughts. Then stand firm on God's truths and stay alert to His thoughts as you keep making truth-filled assessments and wisdom-based adjustments.
© 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105