I am blogging from my phone. Cool, right? I mean, who wants to look like a professional writer tapping on her MacBook keyboard when she can look like an anti-social social media addict?
After months of preparation, I finally got around to installing a new hard drive on my computer today. Super speedy, I would be able to write and post and do whatever without the lag of my old hard drive.
I’d done the prep work. I had my tools and I got down to business. Unscrew microscopic screws? Check. Disconnect battery? Check. Remove old hard drive? Check. Unscrew mounting pins? Wait. Why isn’t this screwdriver working?
Because it’s not the right screwdriver, Lauren. You don’t have the right tool.
In a world where we talk incessantly about having the right tools, I am stranded without my trusty pentalobe screwdriver. My computer must wait until tomorrow, and I must blog from my WordPress app.
It’s not a mystery that we live in a broken world. Why else would so many people be looking for the right tools to cope with it? To fix it? We learn tricks and tips to get our house in order, succeed in jobs, repair relationships, get healthy, fix whatever it is that is constantly reminding us of our brokenness within.
And I get it. I do it too. I read the books, listen to the podcasts, watch the webinars. I cram my brain with as many tools as possible, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as we realize that no tool is going to fix it all. When it comes down to it, God knows our struggles and our job is simply to seek Him first, use tools second.
Let me show you what I mean.
I have a beautiful daughter who tends to be a bit on the anxious side. When her mind starts racing through worst- case scenarios, I tell her to repeat God is always good and I am always loved (thank you, Ann Voskamp). That is a tool. An affirmation.
Affirmations are great tools. Do a web search for affirmations and you will turn up millions of results. Millions. Because everyone is searching for affirmation. The head nod. The “yes, you matter.”
We crave it: to be affirmed. To be known and loved. We are designed for it- for community and wholeness. Separation is a consequence of sin, and ever since that tragic day in Eden we have been looking to be made right.
But here is the problem as we float on our sea of affirmations: some of them are not true.
If we seek the tool before we seek the Lord, we fall into the danger of being blown out to sea. His Word is our hope and our anchor. Affirmations without the truth of God are nothing more than empty self-deception. They don’t nourish- they just distract. And while you are busy being distracted, your malnourished soul is withering away.
The Bible tells us what to do with our mental self-talk.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.Philippians 4:8
In a section of scripture where Paul is instructing the church on how to have peace, he tells them:
- Be gentle
- Do not be anxious
- Be thankful
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7
Isn’t that what we really want? Peace? Aren’t affirmations just a tool we use to bring peace?
God is truth. The moment we think about what is true, we discover that not only is God true, He is noble, right, pure, lovely and all those other things we are supposed to think on in order to receive peace.
Never was peace meant to be found in our own strength and loveliness. Without God, we would have neither.
But now we do have God, and His love and mercy and peace and strength reside in us.
So I can look at my disassembled computer and say, “Maybe tomorrow.” This setback doesn’t define me and it doesn’t determine how my day will go because I am a daughter of the King.
In the moment that we remember the truth, we are free to live and love in a way that is impossible without God. When our identity and worth and peace come from Him, our souls are fed.
So here is some soul food for you. Truths to paste to the top of your tool box so every time you go digging for that one handy gadget, you remember these first. Read on and tell yourself these truths:
Even though I don’t know what tools I will need to deal with tomorrow’s problems, I do know this:
I belong to God and He loves me.
I am forgiven and free to forgive myself
God gives me all I need.
My identity is not in what I do or who I am with.
I am a new creation.
God will never leave me. He will never forsake me.
I am precious to God and He delights in me.
I have no need to fear because God is with me.
God knows how to supply everything I lack.
God is in control and will not abandon me here.
There is joy and peace here because God is here.
I can always be thankful, even right now.
God is working all things for my good and His glory.
Pain is not evidence of God’s apathy or absence.
God loves me enough to say no sometimes. He knows the big picture and His plan is far better than mine.
Giving God everything, all I have to live on, will make my life bigger-not smaller.
I live by grace, not perfection.
I love because He first loved me.
What truths have helped you? I would love love love to hear them. Please share!