Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Getting Out of the Self-Help Aisle

Before Borders broke my heart and went out of business I used to happily wander through the Literature aisle, the Fiction aisle, and my very favorite, the Self-Help aisle.

Self-Help.  As if.
Read a book and change your life.
I wish it were that easy.
I wish it were that easy for each of us to just identify the habit, thought, or event that triggers the train wreck before it happens and then change it.

I'm trying to organize my Home Office.
So now you know one of my areas of weakness.
I have a little OCD and a streak of perfectionism that makes me want to collect and hold on to any and all information that might be useful in the future.

Sound like conflicting traits right?
They are.
One motivates me to research EVERYTHING to death and curate all I find.
And then my OCD kicks in and I go crazy trying to categorize, organize, and Dewey-decimalize it all so it's easy to access and neatly hidden away in the file cabinet.

Simply put---never gonna happen. 

You'll Find it Under Self-Help
Photo © 2013 Kelly Grace
I've been cleaning and organizing bookshelves. 
 A few of these are business or writing books, but more than a few are Self-Help titles.
My favorite is the bright yellow one entitled:  59 seconds---Change Your Life in Under a Minute.


Let me tell you a story of change that took less than a minute.

When I was a young mother with toddlers I was also a young Christian.  One morning things got out of hand at the breakfast table and ended in a huge mess that covered the dining table, chairs, and floor.  Bowls of cereal, glasses of milk and juice (there were no Sippy Cups back then), and plates of scrambled eggs all oozed together across the table like a mud slide and then cascaded over the edge like Niagara Falls.

Have you ever wished for a rewind button in life?
I snapped.
In a fit of rage I slammed the kitchen cabinet and the door bounced back and hit me in the forehead.
The sharp edge of the corner made deep impact.
It drew blood and hurt more than anything I'd experienced other than childbirth.

And in that moment the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, spoke to me.
" Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools".

Actually yes.

That moment, less than 59 seconds, was the catalyst for some needed change.
I began that very morning studying all the scriptures about fools and anger.
It took me a week with my old green Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, but I finally wrapped my head and heart around what God thought about anger.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Photo © 2013 Kelly Grace
And through the years when I get angry---even if no one else knows I'm about to lose it---I find those verses coming back to faithfully CURB my response.

I've come to love and appreciate Ephesians 4:26.
Be angry and sin not:  don't let the sun go down upon your wrath.
I can have the physiological response of anger, yet not give in to the temptation to respond in word or deed.

Am I sinless in this area now?  No.  But, I have been taught by God.  
His word showed me the reality of my foolishness.
He taught me that control is not only possible, but required.
His take on my anger and outbursts has informed my thinking and my actions.

There are no short cuts and instant cures, but there is divine transformation.
God is completely on board with our becoming more like Christ.
Whatever your own area of weakness, I guarantee you that God has a remedy.
Your job is to find it.
Do you really want to change?
Do you really want what Christians of old called victory over sin?

  • Give your 'weakness' a name and look it up.  You'll find out what God has to say about it and that truth will become the agent of transformation in your life.
  • We only commit the sins we love.  The secret is to learn how to change our minds about our sin.
  • Change your mind and your thoughts and behaviors will follow like sheep.

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Peter 1:3-4
. . .as His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us to glory and virtue:  whereby are given unto us great and precious promises:  that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

If you know Jesus, you have all you need to change.
His Holy Spirit indwells you and talks to you about your sin.
His word enlightens you and instructs you about how to stop sinning and have a godly response instead.

Ask God to show you where to begin.
The goal isn't perfection.
The goal is growth toward maturity in Christ.
The goal is to be pleasing to God as we carry His love and message to our own little sphere of humanity.
The goal is to be more like Jesus with every passing day.

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