Monday, January 25, 2016

Above All Else-Guard Your Heart

Photo by Josh May

I'm not sure if you watch the news at all but I live in Northern VA and we were just slammed by snowzilla! So needless to say I've had a lot of time to sit around, organize, plan, read, write, listen to music, and watch a little TV.

Being snowed in is the best time to catch up on those things that you normally don't have a lot of time to do. This time around I did all I could do to avoid the devil...AKA "NETFLIX" (hehehehe all in good fun). Let me just say this as a disclaimer regarding this blog topic: remember this is my journey, so this blog post focuses on what hinders me, if you don't have this issue, PRAISE GOD....mmmmkay??? :-) Let's begin...


For the past few months I've been trying to monitor what I allow myself to engage in. Whether it be TV programs, music, or even the people I spend my time with. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to do something mindless, so I started watching a series on Netflix. It was a really interesting show and I found myself watching more episodes than originally intended. A few days later after I FINISHED the series...I found myself having nightmares. I didn't really make the connection because it wasn't necessarily about things from the series. So again I found myself watching a few episodes of another popular series and again I found myself having nightmares. This time directly from scenes in the series. Prior to watching these shows I slept like a baby (a sleep-trained baby- of course) and couldn't remember my dreams, just peaceful sleep. What was different? I went from lollipops and gumdrops to murders and mayhem. Houston we have a problem!

The Bible tells us to guard our heart above anything we do-GUARD OUR HEART. Why? Because everything we do flows from it.  (Proverbs 4:23). The New Living Translation goes further to say that our heart determines the course of our life. That's pretty deep, right?

My theory is this: I was spending my "down" time reading the Bible, books about focusing my life, watching sermons on YouTube, watching uplifting shows, and listening to mostly worship music-what I consider feeding and guarding my heart...so the moment I allowed other things in---it changed my course of thoughts and thinking. Therefore allowing images that were contrary to the fruits of Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Again, this is just my theory.

Whether you believe this or not- what we watch or listen to can determine how we act/react to certain things and the images that replay in our mind. For example, I find myself being just a little more "flip" or complaining if I'm around people that are already complaining or negative. I did not buy the Adele CD....yes I know I'm probably the only one in this world...but when I sampled it on itunes, I noticed that it made me feel a certain way. I felt sad...like I wanted to call my ex-boyfriend and say "hello...it's me" (I'm sure you saw that one coming). :-) But I actually found myself contemplating whether I should call an ex and hash out why I'm saying "hello from the other side"...and that's just cray cray because God allowed that door to shut for a reason. I don't want to listen to a song that will allow my emotions to be on the sad spectrum for no reason. I used to watch A LOT of reality shows and day time drama and when I was in my relationships I found that my behavior mimicked (to a certain degree) a lot of what I saw...just drama for no reason. Did I do this intentionally, no...but whatever you allow in your heart, will eventually come out- in some form.

Some people might say that I am weak for allowing these images to control my actions and thought process, and I would somewhat agree. Without Jesus, I am weak and my reactions will always pull toward my fleshly desires unless I allow the Holy Spirt to have a clear path to communicate with me. If I allow so many distractions into my world, I won't be able to hear what God is saying to me. Oh and just so you know it is when we recognize our weakness, that God is able to show us His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

Well, now that I know what I can't handle, I have to be smart with what I allow to feed into me. ..Is this easy? Absolutely not. I feel out of the loop when I hear people talk about things on shows or when I don't know some of the songs (that could just be that I'm getting older and can't understand some of the songs :-)) But if I hear that inner voice convicting me to stop watching something or listening to something, or hanging out with someone then I try my best to avoid those things. This is something that I will have to constantly work toward. We have to know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). So Him asking me to stop something is for the good.

How do I determine what to watch, to listen to, and who to spend time with? The short answer...I allow the Holy Spirit (AKA that inner voice) to guide me (Galatians 5:16). I haven't completely given up on all secular music and I enjoy a good comedy series. And although I like to know what's going on in the news - even that becomes too much for me. There seems to be a lot of "scare" messages and it becomes overwhelming.*The world can tell us that we are doomed but we serve an almighty God that already won. As believers, we don't walk by sight...EVER. PERIOD. Remember that! (2 Corinthians 5:7).* And I'm off my soapbox...

Here's a challenge for the upcoming week: try to cut out some of the drama TV programs, listen to some good ole worship music, and read your Bible with prayer for guidance EVERY DAY. Hangout with some positive, fun, and loving people while focusing on all things positive.  Do this flesh detox and tell me how you feel compared to your typical day with your current routine. You will be surprised to see what happens when you allow Him to be your focus.

Remember, God promises that those who delight in His word and mediate on it day and night will be like trees planted, bearing fruit in due season, and prosper in all we do (Psalms 1:2-3).

Do you accept the challenge? You have nothing to lose but EVERYTHING to gain. Have faith and consider this a diet for the fleshly desires ;-).

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