Do you get stuck in the muck of “you”?
Confession: I was stuck in my muck the other day, and I came across this old post, and I needed it. I figured that if I needed it, somebody else probably does too. Getting stuck in our muck is the downside of being human. But there is hope.
This is how you can know if you’re stuck in your muck and how to get out of it.
- For 3 days keep count of how many times you think about yourself, pray for yourself, or feel discouraged about your life. Also keep count of how many times you pray for others or worry about someone else.
- At the end of the 3 days tally how many times you thought or prayed about your needs and how many times you thought or prayed for someone else. Write the numbers down.
If your thoughts and prayers for yourself outnumber those for others, then you my friend are stuck in your muck.
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I’m guilty too. The mind is a battle ground.[bctt tweet=”If the enemy keeps us focused on our hurts and needs, we will not be effective for the Kingdom.”]
So, how do we battle these negative self-thoughts? How do we get out of our muck?
- We change them into praise to God, thanksgiving, and prayer for others. One tactic: while you’re waiting at a stop-light, if you’re stuck in your muck, start praying for the salvation, blessing, or safety of all the people in the cars around you. Take note to what happens in your spirit.
- As you pray for those around you, you’ve just joined forces with the celestial army. You’ve played a role in the eternal. We may never know how our prayers helped those around us. Maybe we’ve prayed safety around someone who would soon miss a deadly car accident. Maybe our prayers will soften a heart who desperately needs Jesus or give someone hope who planned on taking her life that night.
Another tactic that helps me get out of my muck is going for a long walk. I live behind three schools. Today, as I walked, I came into contact with tons of kids going to school, and I began to pray for them as I passed. I prayed for families, teachers, individual kids, administrators. I prayed for salvation, safety, softened hearts, life. As I prayed, I was reminded of how much I love middle school kids. I was blessed as I prayed for them. My spirits lifted.
Scripture also helps me get out of my muck. I’ve made a list of six of them. You can download them and print them off. Here’s the first:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds…” (Ephesians 4:22,23).
The word attitude is actually the ancient Greek word, pneuma, which in this context means a spirit of influence motivating a persons thoughts and actions.
Honestly, the attitude of my mind stinks some days. My pneuma keeps me stuck in my muck. But my pneuma and your pneuma will change when we take our eyes off our needs and join the eternal forces praying for people we don’t know as well as ones we do. I’m not condemning praying for ourselves, but when we are consumed by our own needs, we get stuck.
What do you do to change negative thinking and self-focus?
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Finding Purpose in Prayer,