The Well Worn Path and the Path Less Traveled
October 24, 2014
By Laura DiFatta
“…but be transformed buy the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
This morning, as I was driving my oldest son and his friend to Bible study before school, I realized that, (ugh!) I had gone into auto-pilot and was driving them toward the high school instead of to their Bible study destination. Fortunately, I realized it quickly, but not before the damage was done: I had embarrassed my teen (again) in front of a teen friend (again.)
I cannot count how many times I have done that very thing: gotten distracted by the conversation I’m in and voila`: my car and brain go into autopilot. This happens mostly when I’m driving in very familiar territory that usually doesn’t require much attention to where I’m going—unless I have a detour to make—as was the case this morning. The bright side: It usually only takes me a split-second to realize what I’ve done and turn around. These moments are also good for laughs.
I’ve realized that my thought life is often a lot like that autopilot thing I experienced this morning. What is mean is this: I have very well-worn, familiar routes that my thoughts tend to take. They are deeply worn ruts of thinking that really affect the direction of my life on a day to day basis.
Let me explain: I am a believer in Christ. Having been made new at my core by God through faith in what His Son, Jesus, did on the cross— gave His life in place of mine in payment for my sin and in return imparted his perfect righteousness to me–I have a new way of thinking. But the old me (or old habits that are gradually being replaced,) the woman who thinks apart from her identity in Christ, tends to think in terms of, “I never,” “I could never,” “I’m just,” in other words, negatively toward myself. And if I’m not careful, I will project that negativity onto others, thus affecting my relationships.
Examples of old thinking would be along these lines: “I bet he/she/everyone is thinking, (insert negative thought here)” or worse yet, things like, “I am such a loser, what good am I?” “I can never do anything right,” “I am such a terrible…” Circumstances or the words or actions of others can trigger this kind of thinking and I can quickly go down the easy, well-worn path of stinkin’ thinkin’ on autopilot! Just like when I’m driving on a familiar road and I’m distracted and I tend to drive the car in the direction of the familiar. These thoughts can take almost endless forms and can go to dark places of self-loathing. Does that sound familiar to you? I bet it does.
In these moments, I’m continuously practicing taking it to the mat with the awesome and powerful Word of God! The temptation to go toward the dark with our thinking must be confronted! That is hopeless thinking and I am hearing and seeing the effects of it more and more!
The great news is that as a new creation in Christ Jesus, and through His powerful Word, we can be transformed in our thinking!
Every single day.
I am living proof! The Truth of God’s Word that I literally preach to myself in these moments tells me that I have immeasurable worth, that He cares about the details of my life (Matthew 10:29-32), that He is willing and ready to take my burdens onto Himself and in turn give me Holy Peace (Matthew 11:28-30, Philippians 4:6-7), that I am loved so much that God sent His One and Only Son to show me just how much (John 3:16-17), that He has a good plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), that He can be trusted even when I don’t understand (Proverbs 3:5-6), that He alone can work even messy stuff in my life out for good when I love Him and trust Him and surrender to Him (Romans 8:28), that He has good things planned for me to do (Ephesians 2:10), that He has an eternity waiting for me that is better than I can imagine (Luke 23:43) and— perhaps most reassuring of all— I am no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:1.) Not at all, not ever. Period. Because God said so. He is Truth and His Word is true. I am just scratching the surface of all the good that is true for me and for you through Jesus Christ.
Here’s the catch—we have a role in our thinking transformation.
What this looks like for me lived out on a daily basis is: when I wake up in the morning, I go to the Truth of God’s Word which informs my thinking, I ask God to help me focus on the Truth that He has for me, I pray for His Word to fill my mind, I praise Him and I listen to Him. Lately, I have realized how very good it is for me to turn on praise music in the mornings (my favorite song at the moment is Big Daddy Weave’s, “I’m Overwhelmed” and I usually can’t stop there so I click on his youtube playlist). Praising God really helps set the trajectory of my day. And I think about particular verses through the day. You may want to write them on sticky notes. I have friends who stick them on the mirrors, in the car, in their purse—great reminders of Truth we need!
You already have an accuser.
He is the enemy of your soul and one of his best weapons is telling you lies. You have to get in the fight armed with the Truth! And because you have a sphere of influence you can speak Truth into the lives of others who need hope. Let me put it this way, if Jesus Himself used the Word to counter the temptations and lies of satan, then we need to as well. Right?!
One of the things that made the biggest difference for me in my walk with Christ and my journey of transformation was actually believing the whole Truth of the Gospel that says:
not only did Jesus save me for eternity, but He also—and read closely because this is where I was functioning in unbelief—gave me peace with God. Through faith in Christ, I have permanent standing that I didn’t have to—in fact couldn’t—earn; I have the approval of God as His beloved child through faith in Jesus. I am no longer under judgement, but under grace. (Romans 5:1-2)
Now, out of deep gratitude and love, I want to cooperate with Him and be transformed.
I do not obey like a reluctant child being made to conform, but as a trusting child, one that knows she’s safest and most blessed in the care of her Heavenly Father.
Has it been awhile since you’ve gotten off the well-worn road?
Do your thoughts easily slide into negative, cynical or sarcastic stinkin’ thinkin’? Then join me on the road, less-travelled and be transformed by the renewing of your mind! You will experience the freeing and holy joy that is from Christ alone. And it will spring up from you and overflow into the lives of others.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2