PERCEPTION: ALL in YOUR HEAD

BY:  JAN A. ANTONSSON

JANUARY 23, 2016

 

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The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

 

“For as the thoughts of his heart are, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7, BBE)

 

This title came to me about two weeks ago.  It kept coming and kept coming. When that happens I know the Lord is trying to get my attention and that there’s going to be a writing.  As usual, I never know exactly where He’s going with it until I sit down to write. A suitable time when I could do this has evaded me for the last two weeks, because I have been embroiled in all the things that had to be done before I could get an old friend of Lenny’s and mine admitted to the Missouri Veterans Home in Mount Vernon, Missouri.  

 

Tuesday the 19th was the day we were to be there by 8:30 in the morning. Since the last time we went, the trip took us an hour and 15 minutes, I knew I would have to get up very early, so I set my alarm for 5:15 a.m.  In my world, 5:15 only comes once a day: in the late afternoon.  This was definitely a strain on my mind and body, which were already stressed with the various issues that had to be resolved before he could leave here and go there.

 

I’ll spare you the gory details of how I locked myself out in the cold 20 degree morning when I went out to warm up the van, as well as the frustration we experienced when I got lost after arriving in Mount Vernon.  I had set the Map Quest App on my iPhone to direct my turns, and all went well until we actually got to Mount Vernon.  Computers are wonderful, but when they fail, they fail.  With the help of the receptionist at the Veterans Home and the compass in my iPhone, which showed me which way was south, I finally figured out how to get from where I was, to where they were.

 

My perception of this whole ordeal, and all the effort I had to put in to make it happen, as well as all I have had to do to close down his affairs in Neosho, was that it was a real pain in my drain, to be blunt about it. Throughout all my struggles to make this move happen, however, I heard, “Perception:  it’s all in your head.”  

 

Now, you’ll notice that the scripture from Proverbs I quoted above, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” talks about the heart, not the mind. It would be easy to just blow that off as their ignorance about where things happen in the body, and yet the Holy Spirit has allowed it to remain in the translation. So it occurs to me, that the reality of what’s happening to us is sometimes different from what we mentally perceive it to be. Our perception is clouded by our feelings, which the ancients thought were in the heart realm, not the mind realm.

 

I’ve been writing for years about the cactus patches that our Father prepares especially for us, and then drags us through, sometimes kicking and screaming, but the reality is that He means them all for our good and His glory. After taking everything from us in California, God brought us here for Lenny to be a witness to the Baptist men’s Sunday school class.  Being out of the Real Estate Rat Race allowed me time to write and build websites for The Glory Road.

 

Our exit from California clearly included a series of events which could have had tragic overtones, a real disaster, but which in fact, turned out to be the real beginning of The Glory Road ministry.  It came to me gradually over time that many of the things which seemed dreadful, painful, depressing, and unfair when they occurred, actually did turn out to be a great blessing. This led me to the inevitable conclusion that it isn’t the event that distresses us so much as it is what we THINK about the event, how we picture it in our minds.

 

I have come to appreciate Paul’s statement in First Corinthians 2:16, “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  For me, even though I have no doubt of the veracity of Paul’s affirmation here, sometimes the switch doesn’t get flipped when I’m in emotional or physical distress. In other words I don’t see things using the mind of Christ wherein there is light, but instead am plunged into the darkness and fears of my own mind.

 

What to do about this dilemma? The same thing I do with every other problem that I can’t overcome myself. Who am I kidding.?  I can’t overcome anything by myself.  The only thing to do with these dilemmas then, is to give them to the Lord. I have two friends recovering from major surgery, and the pain and discomfort they feel is not merely a perception.  It’s really happening, but almost every emotional  or mental distress that I feel can be attributed to fear. When that happens, I retreat to the Apostle John’s affirmation: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. (I John 4:18)  My prayer when fear grips me is always, “Father you have not loved me perfectly in this situation, which is my fault, but I can’t do anything about it. You can, however, so I ask You to love this fear away from me.”  He has never failed me yet.

 

I said to a friend recently, that I’m probably too old for “sex, drugs, and rock and roll,” the main components of sin when I was growing up.  But I guess you’re never too old for the sin of worry.  And yes, it is a sin because when I’m worrying, I’m really saying, “I don’t trust you, God.” I certainly can’t actually do anything about that by self effort, any more than I can do anything about other things which need fixing in my life. So I always give it to the Lord and ask him to fix it in me.

 

Regarding my elderly friend whom I’ve been trying to help, I was worrying and wringing my hands one day about what I needed to do for him, and the Lord said to me plainly. “Why are you fretting about him? He’s on me, not on you.”  He said that again to me yesterday morning actually, because I wasn’t getting anywhere with my friend’s credit card company and that made me VERY cross!  

 

My perception in the moment of crisis is usually that I have to do something and I have to get it done now or else there will be all kinds of bad stuff falling on my head.  That is the perception, of course, not the reality, which means some things really ARE all in my head, carefully handcrafted by God to show me yet again, that the Lord, our God is worthy of trust.

 

In his meditation today, Richard Rohr wrote, “Jesus takes our suffering, bears it, and moves through it to resurrection….Jesus does not ask us to worship him.  He asks us to follow him by trusting and allowing this entire, scary, and infinitely rewarding journey.”  End Quote.

 

The Glory Road journey can indeed be scary, even painful, but since He holds our hand while we walk the path with Him, we KNOW He will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death and into resurrection, eventually.

 

Father we thank You that You have given us the mind of Christ, and that You walk beside us everywhere You send us. Thank You most of all that the success of everything You call us to do is on You, not on us.  With every temptation, worry, fear and stressor, You have provided a way of escape.  We ask You to make us light bearers and love bringers to those whom You have chosen to receive these blessings.  We join our voices with all the Saints gathered around your throne, and as the voice of many waters and mighty thunderings, we say together with them, “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”  Amen.  

 

 

 

 

PERCEPTION: ALL in YOUR HEAD [Jan A. Antonsson] 01-23-16          2

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