[Move in the opposite spirit: pretty much, check yourself before you wreck yourself]
It might just be me who does this, but I would say that about 90% of the things that I am naturally prone to doing, are tendencies that I wish I didn’t have. I don’t always feel like working hard, I sometimes act insecure, being selfish seems to be an autopilot response in most situations, and fear just somehow creeps in to my thought patterns. It has taken me a couple of trips around this metaphorical “mountain” to realize that just because those are my innate tendencies doesn’t mean that I have to live according to them (all because of a huge thanks to grace).
I was listening to this message by Graham Cooke a few months ago, and one statement he made resonated with me, “As a believer, you should get to a place of constant overcoming…You need to learn how to move in the opposite spirit.” As I listened to these words, I felt a flame light within me because I knew it was so true. There is no reason that I or anyone else should have to live in a constant state of discouragement or with your joy levels being dictated by your environment. And while I felt this flame of hope within me light, I started listing all of ways I am disqualified for living with such consistency, “Maybe other people can live like that, but it just doesn’t seem like it will ever be a reality for me.”
In November I had a life altering conversation with one of my pastors. She said plainly and kindly, “Stop making a list of all you do wrong and all of the ways to fix yourself. In doing that, you completely discredit the ability for grace to move in your life. Just embrace and be grateful for the grace that Jesus has for you and allow him to take care of it.”
With all of those rambling thoughts summed together, I argue that it is possible to overcome your emotions, character flaws, apathy, depression, anxiety, laziness, etc. Simply, through grace and gratitude. And I mean genuine gratitude. When I feel in lack, a genuine heart of gratitude is pivotal. When I feel sad, gratitude reminds me all the reasons I have to be joyful. Gratitude can literally transform any situation. (Maybe you just rolled your eyes at that statement because it is kind of annoying to realize that a lot of how we experience life is on us. And, if we are being honest–as humans we love to blame shift and look for the source of our issues from outside of ourselves.) You can live your life just hoping all of the right things fall into your lap and that you wake up every day on the right side of the bed. Reality check: living life that way leads to no balance, no stability, and you become a puppet to your environment. You don’t just wake up on the right side of the bed, you have to choose to roll over to the right side of the bed and then get up and live with a smile on your face.
So here is my resolve: When I want to be lazy, I will get moving. When I want to be mad, I’ll choose joy instead. When I want to be stingy, I’ll be generous. When I want to hermit and not be around people, I will get dressed and get my butt out the front door. When I want nothing to do with God, I’ll run straight to him.
Life will either dictate your perspective, or your perspective will dictate your life. It’s all in how you want to see it.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” [James 1:5-8 MSG]