The question comes. Do I believe about myself the same way God sees me? How often does ‘I can’t’ come out of my mouth? Paul didn’t use those words, but he might have thought them when he faced his thorn. Otherwise, why did he plead with God to remove it? The Lord did not take away his thorn. What ‘thorn’ is in your side?
Here is a short poem to help us view another aspect of our thorn-trial. It was written by a woman who lived with intense pain and immobility. Mendicant is a beggar. The Thorn was written by Martha Snell Nicholson. I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne. And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own. I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart. I cried, “But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart. This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me.” He said, “My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.” I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore. As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more. I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace. He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.
We lose eternal perspective when we focus on our stressors. Here is what I have learned about negative dialogues. Not only are they toxic, but they keep us in the sympathetic part of our brain. That is the fight or flight. They increase cortisol which increases inflammation. The lies that we have believed are stressors. They counter God’s way. Psalm 18:30 says, “As for God, His way is perfect…” Verse 32 says, “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.”
We can quickly take ourselves out of the sympathetic into the parasympathetic by changing our thoughts. Yes, every aspect of our lives is affected by our thoughts. Shift your thought-gears. Focus on the Lord and His faithfulness. Speak that truth in your heart. Then take a deep breath from your diaphragm. It will immediately take you out of your fight or flight to bring your body into peace and rest.
The lies we believe about ourselves cause stress in our bodies. They oppose God and His ways for us. They cause us to bury our emotions as a means of control. It is self-preservation. In truth, we have control over nothing in our lives except our thoughts. No one but you can change the path your thoughts are going. Negative dialogue is NOT a road map that we should follow.
Lies make us weak. When the Lord spoke to Paul about his thorn, Paul recognized something. His weakness was his greatest strength. He had to acknowledge that truth in order to go forward. What lies about yourself are holding you back? What lies keep you in fight or flight, pumping cortisol into your system continually? Paul’s understanding was enhanced through the truth the Lord spoke to his heart.
To follow our high standard flesh-expectations, or other’s expectations of us causes stress. They keep us uptight which stops fluidity. It blocks us from being who God has called us to be. Let us view our stressors as an awakening tool. Before each of us is a blank canvas. Let’s draw a collage of verses that address our lies with truth. It will help to bring us back into an eternal perspective. Everything on this earth is temporary. God uses our thorns to reveal Himself to us in a new way.