Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Check Your Thoughts

My baby brother has been heavily on my mind the past few days. I miss his voice. I miss his laugh. I miss his hugs. I hold onto these precious memories in my heart, and I smile. He thought of himself as quite the jokester. He loved to make others laugh.

Those people, the ones that love to make others laugh, watch over them. Typically, they carry a deep amount of pain and suffering. They know what it’s like to hit the bottom and keep clawing their way up to the top; even if it’s only to take one deep gulping breath before going under, once again.

My brother had been told the majority of his life he was overweight. It’s not like he didn’t know. It’s not like he needed someone to remind him of that fact. He knew. Was he helpless to do anything about it? Only he knows. Did he want to do something about it? I daresay, yes. Yes, he did.

I say this because during one of our conversations, his pain filled voice tore at my heart as he told me that he knew he needed to walk. But it hurt to walk because his knees were shot. He said he knew he needed to keep going. He struggled to get the next words out as he slowly repeated, “I need to keep walking.” The tone of his voice was a strained, tear-filled, guttural whisper.

I asked how I could help. I desperately wanted to help. I didn’t know how to help, but I was willing to do whatever it took. Unfortunately, wanting to help those who don’t want help is next to impossible. Especially when you don’t know how to accept help.

Was it pride? I don’t think so. We learned from a very early age that in order to survive we had only ourselves to rely on. Kinda sucks as a child, the people you were dependent on were too wrapped up in their own survival skills brought on by their addictions to be of any real help.

We may be in charge of our own inner healing, but it can be tough trying to figure out where to start. Especially when there’s a searing, all consuming pain that if we’re honest, we know deep in our core nothing of this earth can ever heal.

Instead of beginning the healing process you grab the nearest thing that makes you feel oblivious to the pain consuming your heart and mind. I get it. I did it too. Truth be told, alcohol didn’t make anything better. It made everything worse. So much worse.

My brother never got the chance to see what it would be like to live without being under the influence of alcohol. His body, worn out from the ill-effects of its evil clutches, finally waved the white flag of surrender. They say he went peacefully in his sleep. God only knows if that’s true, but it’s my heart cry that it’s so.

How do we keep missing the mark? How do we keep seeing people for who they are on the outside without seeing their heart? How do we stop being so judgemental of others and ourselves? Why is it so much harder to be kind to those who we deem “different” from ourselves?

How do we continue to live in a country that wants their people sick so someone can get rich off our illness? How do we stop taking our pain out on others through heinous acts of violence? How do we stop the hate? How do we stop the greed? How do we stop the excess of everything?

So many questions with few answers and even less action being taken to do something about it, at least that I can see. Is it any wonder with so many questions and few answers, we grab onto what we think will give us comfort. Please understand when I say “we”, I also mean, me.

I saw someone recently post that thoughts and prayers aren’t working. That thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. I’m going to say very simply then you don’t know the One to whom you’re praying. Because if you did, you know that praying is more than asking. I’m going to try and break this down.

Thoughts aren’t working. First off, what are your thoughts? Because your thoughts matter. Our mind is our biggest battlefield. Our thoughts are constantly being invaded by ALL the things around us.

ALL the things we watch, ALL the things we see, ALL the things we allow into our beings. ALL the things we believe. Do you hate someone or something? That drives your thoughts. Do you love someone or something? That drives your thoughts. I think you get the picture here.

Indeed, our thoughts may be the enemy and not helping. No where in the Bible does it say our thoughts are the answer. Let’s face it, on any given day, our thoughts can be downright awful. Especially about ourselves. So, yeah, maybe thoughts, and vibes aren’t working to make radical change happen. Yeah, that was definitely sarcasm.

Prayer on the other hand is another issue entirely. You know what happens when you pray? It changes you. It changes your thoughts. It takes your eyes off yourself and puts things back into God’s hands.

But if you don’t know God, if you don’t have a relationship with Him, then, guess what? Your thoughts are left to their own detrimental playground. I may know a thing or two bazillion about that.

Prayer isn’t complicated. It’s simply having a conversion with the Creator of ALL things, heaven and earth. It can be a short conversation, “Lord, help me,” or a long drawn out pleading of your heart. Totally up to you. But, did you know that we’re to pray continually? That’s right. Continually.

Prayer, abiding in, and seeking God, changes you, from the inside out. So, I have to wholeheartedly disagree that prayers aren’t working. However, they may not be working the way you want them to work. Ouch. Yeah, I know that stings.

We’re not God. Not for our lack of trying. We don’t know the bigger picture or purpose. We for sure don’t have all the answers. So, if prayer or the outcome of prayer isn’t working your way, maybe, just maybe, you should check your thoughts.

Friend, we have a mighty God who knows exactly what to do in ALL circumstances. If you’ve not prayed in a while and don’t know where to begin, that’s ok. Jesus taught us how to pray.

“This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” ~ Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

And all God’s people said…AMEN!

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