Sunday, June 8, 2008

a Discerning Heart

One thing to consider when you are being aware of your stress levels, and when you are identifying areas that do cause it; is that there are times when what we feel to be a "not good" feeling, could be from a good place.

Meaning, I think the Spirit can sometimes use that feeling to remind us that we arent where we need to be.

Example, when I spend alot of time on the internet, or on the phone with the girlfriend I start getting that tension, "not quite comfortable" feeling. I notice the kids getting antsy or the things not getting done that need to be.

Another one. On days when you are trying to get stuff done, working on your "stress list", or even doing things for others and the husband or the friend keep interupting. You are getting stuff done but your stress seems hardly less than when you started.

Is that Satan making me feel that way, or the Spirit telling me I need to refocus my energy right now?

My mom used to call that tension a "caution". It was a feelign like things werent quite right, or that she needed to pay closer attention to what was going on. She used it usually in reference to feeling that way about big decisions, but I think that it applies here also.

I think that the Spirit can cause my heart to feel a sense of "not rightness" to make me pay attention to what is going on in the moment, and what I may need to change.

So, in being made aware of our stresses and thus making a plan to change that, we need to also consider the source beyond the activity itself. Not only is the fact that I am on the internet at certain times a day cause stress, and here is the solution; but WHY is that causing me stress?

Is it the Spirit prompting me to focus my attention elsewhere?

Remember, when Jesus first spoke of the Spirit to his disciples before his death, he told them

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26 (NIV)

I love the language of this passage as The Message puts it, "I'm telling you these things while I'm still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace." John 14:25-26

I believe that Satan can use stress a powerful tool, but so can the Spirit.

How can you discern the two apart?
Praying always for a discerning heart is a sure fire way to keep your eyes open. Because, He promises He will always come through on that one.
Then, be aware of your purpose and take your priorities to heart..

You know that if you have a purpose, and as a Christian you do, then you know that there are expectations and a list of priorities that come with the job. If what you are doing, or NOT doing is causing stress then first always question whether that something conflicts with that purpose?

Even good things are not the best if there are better things to be done. Did you get that? Its true.

Serving the church is a great thing to do, but not the best thing, if your family is not being taken care of.

Ministering to someone in need is good, but not the best if you are taking time or resources away from your family when they need it. .
Remember your purpose, remember to listen to the Spirit ..but first pray that you will be aware..

AND, remember that stress itself is not a SIN, its when we allow it to consume us to the point of it being a power tool for Satan that we are in the wrong.

So, what is our purpose? I have a thought or two about that, too.

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