10 May, 2017

Thoughts of Today





The brain is an amazing thing. I was thinking about some of the information my brain processes: what I’m learning about counselling, information and new skills for my job, interesting findings in Ezekiel, aspects of truth and love I’ve been studying in 2 John, research about a topic I’ve been pondering, and putting into action feedback my teacher gave me on my music. There’s the general planning of the week, deciding what to cook, talking about my family’s activities, and noticing the weather. And it still absorbs song lyrics, and replays them at random. How is that not incredible?! Information is coming from all different sources about all different topics, and my brain processes and remembers things. It applies them to circumstances and thoughts of the past and present, which affects my future thoughts and reactions. And for the most part, this is automated and subconscious. I can’t even comprehend it. 

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14
~

A few things I’ve observed recently: 

Things that make me closer to God
Prayer, conversational prayer
Reading or studying the Bible
Reading inspirational books
Choosing to think about Him
            Pondering what I’ve read in the Bible          
Looking for answers to hard questions
Talking to like-minded friends
Taking in creation/ being in nature
Doing something for others
Outreach
Counting my blessings

Things that make me further from God
Internet browsing (specifically Pinterest, YouTube, random irrelevant information, etc)
Storybooks, especially fast paced ones
Listening to music
Overeating
Worrying about the future
Small talk
Going to town/shopping
Thinking about other’s faults
Thinking about my inadequacies
Doing something I know is wrong
Compromising my standards
Not getting enough sleep 

Actually, I found this useful, because when I think about doing one of the activities mentioned, immediately my mind equates it with either taking from or towards God. 

~

I was reading something today, and I can’t remember where or what it was, but it reminded me: the glory of God is our number one priority. Not looking good, not having enough money, not satisfying our wants, not even enjoying life or doing something good for others. God’s glory comes first, and everything else finds its purpose in that. Really, the way to get the most out of life, satisfy our desires, and everything else, is by living for the glory of God.

I knew that (somewhere in the back recesses of my mind), but I haven’t been asking that question of my thoughts and desires and actions and plans. It’s powerful: if my life is all about the glory of God, it doesn’t matter a cent what direction my life takes or what people think. If I’m doing what God wants me to do to advance His glory, I have nothing to lose. The Almighty is on my side. Except, I’m actually on His side, and He’s already won the victory. 

~

What have you been thinking about these days? Have you observed anything particular draws you closer to God, or distracts you from Him? What are your thoughts on the complexity of our brains, or living for the glory of God? Let’s have a conversation! :)

23 comments:

  1. Amen! So convicting. I have a tendency to overindulge in things that distract me from God. Thanks for the reminder that "the glory of God is our number one priority."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it seems to be easy to do, doesn't it? Praise God - I need that reminder often too. :) Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      Delete
  2. So true! Beautiful, encouraging words and photos! Thanks Jessica!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Clara! Your comments are a blessing. I'm glad this was encouraging to you. :)

      Delete
  3. Absolutely, we should live for God's glory not our own. Sometimes I think we 'know' it, but it takes time for us to fully accept and live upon the knowledge. Thank you for sharing! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think you're right. I guess that's where we need the Holy Spirit to help us apply it, and God's grace while we learn! Thanks for your sweet comment, Melissa. :)

      Delete
  4. Agh that Psalm just kills me every time. <3 <3 <3
    I loved this post so much!! I like the idea of that list a lot . . . I'm going to have to try it!
    Your words are always inspiring and these photos are fantastic.
    xx

    Sophy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, isn't is so good?! You should try the list sometime - I was surprised at how helpful it was for me. Maybe it can be the same for you! Thanks a heap for your enthusiastic and encouraging comment, Sophy. xx

      Delete
  5. I read your post on bravery before, but it was a timely reread today. One of the things that takes me further from Christ can be fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of embarrassment, fear of disappointing someone. Worrying just comes naturally sometimes. But "Perfect Love casts out fear." As you wrote in your post, we can have courage in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. If He is living in our lives, what have we to fear? But the harder step is to get that message from our brain into our heart. While our brains can process amazing things, so often we leave information there...instead of treasuring them in our heart. Jessica, how do you think we can transfer those Truths from head knowledge to treasure in our heart?

    Thank you for sharing those wonderful thoughts. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I like that point you brought up - fear keeps us from Christ. I hadn't taken my list that far yet. And that's a very good question.. because I forget so easily. I'm sure we can help ourselves remember by posting reminders in places we'll see, or by consciously thinking about it, or by sharing it with a friend or family member, but maybe the most powerful thing we could do on top of that is pray and ask God to help us understand and remember His truths. That's a few of my thoughts, but I'd really like to hear how you see things! Is there something that has helped you treasure and apply truths you learn?

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Hosanna! It's lovely to hear from you. :)

      Delete
    2. That's so hard, Jessica. It's easy to become excited and convicted, but truth often leaves before we take action upon it. I've found myself in that place so many times. It helps me meditate and remember truth by writing it down and rereading it throughout the day. If I am constantly thinking about something, I will more readily be applying it in my life and bringing it before God in prayer. But, as you said, the most important thing is to seek God in it - ask Him for continual reminders and wisdom.

      I appreciate you sharing here...it means a lot to me, and I love the conviction and thought it brings. =)

      Delete
    3. Yes, there are so many distractions, aren't there?! It's so encouraging to discuss these things with a like-minded friend, Hosanna. May we both continue to grow in Christ! Thanks for the discussion! :)

      Delete
  6. My phones a huge distraction as well as over eating haha. Church and Saturday masses are where I feel closet. I love this post though. I needed to think about these things. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, technology has a habit of doing that it seems. :/ That's great you have a church that brings you closer to God. Thanks for your comment, Vanessa! I'm glad this was timely for you.

      Delete
  7. What a handy couple of lists, Jessica! They've helped me asses patterns in my own life. Without even trying, I immediately recognized that some of those list items affect me in the same way. Choosing to think about God, talking with like-minded friends, counting my blessings - these undoubtedly draw me closer to Him. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, doing something I know is wrong, compromising my standards, small talk, not getting enough sleep all make me feel further from Him. Basically I'm just repeating back to you what you wrote... I just felt those list items resound so surely.

    Another thing that takes me away from God is doing something (almost anything) for an excessive amount of time. It seems to dull my passions for anything, especially for God. Do you find that to be true for you? And something that draws me closer to God is hearing the life testimony of someone who attributes all the glory to God.

    And besides a slower pace, what do you think it would take for a storybook to instead have the effect of drawing you closer to God, if it's possible? This is a question that has occurred to me over and over. Lo and behold, here it is again! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't even know what prompted me to start those lists actually! But I'm glad they were a help to you. Hmm, I wonder how many of those things affect everyone in the same way?

      Yes, those are more good items to add to the lists! I do find doing things excessively has that effect (even sometimes good things - I found after doing 6+ weeks of outreach my personal spiritual life wasn't as vibrant simply because I wasn't putting as much time into it. Maybe it's more about keeping things balanced and making sure our personal relationship with God is always given priority.)

      Ah, that last question! I can see how relevant it would be to you as an author. I've been thinking about it over the last few days since you commented… I asked my sister and she said it comes back to portraying a real and honest relationship with God – not perfect, not shallow. I also think it varies depending on what place the reader is at in their walk with God, and on person to person. I know there have been fairly fast-paced storybooks that have definitely brought me closer to God, but maybe they wouldn’t have the same affect if I read them now. I’m not sure there is a clear answer! What have you come up with in your previous time pondering it? Do you think about it differently relating to writing books compared to reading them?

      And as always, thanks for reading and commenting. :) Your comments always spark thoughtful discussion, and I really appreciate them.

      Delete
    2. Jessica, I can't believe it's been more than three weeks and I'm only replying to your comment now. :( I'm sorry, friend. I've been doing just terribly at keeping up with everything. I value you and you're one of the people that I most *want* to keep up with.

      I believe it. It seems strange that something like outreach might take us away from God, but as I've experienced something similar, I believe it. In my case, I spent large amounts of time looking into the subject of head covering in the Bible. Again, I don't think it's a bad thing to let the Bible separate tradition from biblical truth in my life. On the contrary, I think it's quite a good thing. But when all my personal devotion time became fully given to that alone for days on end (maybe weeks, but I can't really remember), I felt it was on the verge of taking me further from God.

      Hmm, I like your sister's response (that would be Rachel, then?). Is it me or does that "not perfect, not shallow" relationship seem to relate back to vulnerability... again? I like your point, too. It takes a lot of responsibility off my shoulders because I can't control where my readers are at in their spiritual lives when they read my book. Only God can do that, and I have to relinquish that control to Him. Not that it was ever mine to give up.

      That reminds me; are you still experimenting with writing fiction as you hinted some time ago on Goodreads?

      Delete
    3. Oh, don't feel bad about it! I find it hard to keep up communicating with people too, so I know what you mean. :) But I hope you know I appreciate your comments, whenever they appear! :)

      I see what you're saying, yes! Knowing the more technical and doctrinal aspects of our faith is important, but our relationship with God is still most important, if that makes sense. Those are the times I wish I could study the Bible more, because surely then there'd be time for both! In fact, right now there's a more technical issue I've been meaning to study out, but I haven't yet partially for that reason. And I really appreciate how you want to study these things to find out what the Bible says, whether tradition says so or not. It's encouraging! :)

      Yes, that's Rachel! :) And wow, yes, that does seem to link back to vulnerability! It's crazy how it links to so much - I'm noticing it everywhere too! Mmm, I hear how that would be freeing for you! I think that's the beauty of God - it's amazing He can take one thing, and use it to speak to many different people in many different ways!

      You have a good memory! ;) I had to think what conversation you were referring to. No, I actually haven't tried to write any fiction since then. I did quite a bit of experimenting (I like that term!) before when I had more time, and especially when I did a creative writing course (last two years of school). But since then, I find I barely have time to get my real-life thoughts down. I also feel like God's called me to more inspirational style writing - basically what I post, whatever genre you would call that! So yes, that's the long answer. Have you ever thought of writing non-fictional books? Or any other genre than what you write now?

      Delete
    4. Oh yes! Wouldn't it be amazing to have all the time we wanted to study the technical aspects of our faith *and* invest in the real relationship part! I've wondered whether it will be like that in heaven, or whether we'll suddenly all have correct doctrine when God's glory puts everything into perspective and we'll only have the relationship part left to put our time into and really savour.

      Well I love reading your inspirational thoughts. In fact, that very word - "inspiration" - was completely revolutionized in my mind after reading one of your posts; God In Three Words. As long as the Holy Spirit continues to breathe His divine breath into you and so influence your thoughts, I want to keep reading.

      Um... sometimes poetry? But very sporadically. I don't have a taste for most poetry, though there are exceptions. But I haven't really experimented too much with other writing genres. Actually, wait. Just recently I wrote some copy for my parents' new website. Maybe that counts?

      Delete
    5. Yes! Wow, that's an interesting thought - I've never considered it before. Maybe it will be a bit of both still? But like you said, His glory is going to put so many things into perspective!

      Oh, praise God! I'm in awe seriously, just thinking that people even remember stuff I write, let alone it impacting them. God has blown me away with this blogging journey, and it's all Him. :) And same back to you - I'm so often inspired and encouraged by your thoughts, and I know God is speaking through you.

      Wow, poetry is something I've never done seriously! I've always found it.. hard. Especially because poetry with rhythm and rhyme appeals to me most, and that's harder than free verse, for example. Which do you prefer? Yes, copy totally counts! It sounds like that would've been a good (and new?) writing experience for you! :)

      Delete
    6. Thank you, my dear friend. :)

      Okay, I'm going to backpedal a bit here. When I say I sometimes write poetry very sporadically, what I really mean is maybe once a year. I'm really not a poet, but every now and then I write something that's usually for my eyes only. :P I also prefer poems with rhythm and rhyme. If I tried to write free verse, I honestly wouldn't know when it would be considered poetry, and what would make it so. So yeah, I'm really not a poet at all... I was just trying to answer your question comprehensively.

      What about you? Do you ever suddenly get a little inspiration to write poetry? And when you say you feel called to more inspiration-style writing, do you think it may be a long-term thing, or just part of this season of life? Would you ever write a book?

      PS - sorry, I keep commenting on the main post instead of in this discussion thread, and then deleting.

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

When you comment:

1. My day will be brighter, my face smiling, and my heart blessed.

2. I’m likely to immediately go and explore your blog (if you have one) to find out more of your amazingness, and return the blessing.

3. I will then attempt to craft a response to you that will somehow fail to convey how much I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness. I’m grateful for every word of encouragement you give, and don’t be afraid to share some constructive criticism also; there’s always more to learn. In short: thank-you! :)