Saturday, July 30, 2011

F.R.E.T. part 3: Suicide by Stubbornness

In this final installment on what it means to fret, resentment and envy take center stage. These two were the core of my personal acrostic, bookended nicely by fear and turmoil (see two previous posts).

In those dark days of depression I turned to the book of Job because I wanted to read about someone else who felt beat up, someone with whom I could relate. I was stunned to find my R and E falling from the lips of Job’s friend.

“Resentment kills a fool and envy slays the simple” (Job 5:2 NIV).

The very things I had been clutching were killing me. Suicide by stubbornness?

When I resent someone who has not lived up to my expectations, or resent an unforeseen situation that alters my plans, I fill up a place in my heart with poison. When I envy others who have succeeded at that to which I aspire, I add bile to the mix: a deadly concoction.

Confession broke the vials of resentment and envy; brokenness was the big break I needed.

Do not fret. Do not fear, resent or envy, for turmoil results. It’s a simple directive not easily carried out unless I follow His instructions. And I find them in Psalm 37 where this whole fretful journey began for me. It tells me over and over that God is with me in this struggle, and it tells me what to do. How can I have time—or space in my heart—to fret if I am trusting, doing, delighting, committing, listening and waiting for Him?

For me as a writer, it is a war of words and the battlefield is the mind.

Norman Vincent Peale said, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The ancestor of every action is a thought.”

A hard-nosed Jewish lawyer waylaid by the living God said, “… we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (II Corin. 10:5 NIV). That’s the winning catch phrase for me. Because of Jesus and His power, I’m no longer a prisoner fretting my life away. When I fix my mind on Christ, and remind myself what He has said and what He has done, I find freedom.

Thank God, I don’t have to fret.

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