So. It’s Sunday morning. Well, it’s not Sunday morning when you’re reading this, but it’s Sunday morning as I’m writing it. I’m in the middle of what might be termed an adult tantrum, fussing and angry because things haven’t gone my way this morning.
You see, I had everything planned.
For the first time since our 7th child was born, I was going to MAKE IT TO CHURCH ON TIME! It was all going to work! Lunch was planned. Hair was done. Pants without holes had been found and donned. The baby had even nursed at the “right” time, so that I was able to get ready and was ready to walk out the door.
And then I found out the lunch that had been prepared and was supposed to be coming OUT of the oven, hadn’t yet been put IN the oven. So, it was put in, and I’m sitting home waiting for it to finish so I can get it out and go to church late. Again.
Instead of sitting here stewing, I’m going to DO what I know I should. Take those thoughts captive.
So. Here are my honest, unfiltered thoughts, right now, as I’m typing:
It’s Sunday morning and I’m gonna be late to church, again.
It’s been two months since Luke was born and I still can’t get it together.
I HAD it all together but then the lunch that was supposed to be ready an hour before we needed to leave (so we could eat a ready-made lunch upon returning home later this afternoon) still isn’t ready because the boys didn’t put it in the oven when I asked them to.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
All I wanted to do was actually get to enjoy a full Sunday School and church time. Is that so much to ask?
The kids just walked to Sunday school. And they were late. Again. (Filter back on: we live a block away from our church and the older kids were leading the pack… just in case you were wondering. Filter back off.)
My coffee got knocked over; nothing’s going right.
What are people thinking, that the pastor’s wife can’t even pull it together and be to church on time?
I’m so sick of not being able to get just one full morning of church fellowship and interaction.
By the time this lunch is ready, it’ll be time to nurse him. Should I just go ahead and do it here and miss the whole Sunday school hour?
Guilt trip time. I sent the kids off to Sunday school with my rebukes and frustration fresh on their minds. Hypocrite-ville, anyone? Are we going to end up smeared across one of those bitter large family forums because I just grumped at my kids before church?
OK. There’s more running through my head, but this is enough.
And by this point of chronicling my thoughts so very honestly, the worst and blackest thoughts (absolutely refutable lies like, “no one cares about me…” self-pity train) have run away because they don’t want to be written down, LOL.
So when I write down these thoughts, I’m forced to put them into words in a way that sounds more clinical and less self-pitying than they do when they’re running on the soundtrack in my head.
Running loose in my head, they sound right. They sound like thoughts worth listening to.
Now that I’ve written them down, they sound really pathetic. Self-pitying. Self-focused. With a huge dose of fear of man.
So what I’ve got to do at this point is take those thoughts captive.
Identifying them was step #1.
Step #2 is taking them one by one, not letting them control my thinking, and instead giving myself biblical thoughts filled with truth and grace to replace them.
Here is what I am telling myself right now:
- Remember the contextual truth: you just had a baby. We’re still finding a new normal. Slip-ups and mess-ups are bound to happen. Lighten up, sista. Your Shepherd looks at you, postpartum mama, with gentle kindness and understanding. He knows you are made of dust.
- It’s not up to YOU, Jessica, to “have it together” or up to the boys to get the lunch ready on time. God, not you, is sovereign over your days. These things not being perfectly done is OK.
- What is NOT OK is losing your self-control over dumb old lunch. You chose to scold and guilt-trip your children (who were helping you and felt terrible that they’d botched it) and turned to self-pity and anger rather than just accepting this new reality and rolling with it. Quit acting like you are sovereign and as if your will is iron-clad and must happen, or else. Accept that it’s not going to always go your way. Accept that you are not in control.
- What other people think is not your concern. They’re responsible for their thoughts; you’re responsible for yours. Quit taking on the appearance of righteousness. Be more concerned about exercising your Spirit-given self-control and disciplining yourself toward true righteousness than toward the appearance of it.
- You can pour yourself another cup of coffee. Really.
- OK. So you missed more of another day of Sunday School. God knew the content of your days and had them written out before one of them came to be. Do you really think this is some cosmic accident? It’s one day of missing some Sunday School. How about you open your Bible and grow that way, while you nurse, instead of grumping and fuming about missing Sunday School?
- And, while you’re at it, consider the irony of that last phrase– “grumping and fuming about missing Sunday School”– and be more careful to check your attitude from now on. Don’t be a whitewashed tomb.
OK, that’s probably far enough. At this point, I’ve sufficiently counseled myself back into thinking biblically about the events of the morning.
- 8- Be sure to pull your children aside before the service and seek their forgiveness about how you acted before they left. Humble yourself and make things right with them.
OK. NOW that’s enough.
At this point, I’m back in a biblically-thinking frame of mind.
- I’m seeing the situation as it really is;
- I’m seeing myself as I really am;
- I’m seeing God on His throne over all of it,
- I’ve repented of the sinful attitudes and will seek forgiveness from those I hurt,
- and I’m living in a place of grace and truth.
Now I’m able to move forward as a believer, resting in Christ’s perfection (not mine) and God’s sovereignty (not mine) and moving forward without guilt, at peace with God and man.
I wrote all this out because this is something I’m learning to do and I wanted to share it with all of you.
This is what taking our thoughts captive looks like, and what it means to talk to yourself rather than to listen to yourself.
IN THE COMMENTS, SHARE:
How are you doing, taking your thoughts captive?
In what area of your life would this be beneficial for you to do, or to grow to do more consistently?