At day’s end, where does your mind wander?
As you assess your day, do you predominantly contemplate the places you fell short or the moments that made you grateful?
When I was pounding the religious treadmill, I always found myself far more aware of my mistakes than my joys. I’d go to bed aware of my deficiencies and promise God I’d do better the next day. But then I was right back there the next night doing the same thing. Perfection is an impossible standard.
One of the most significant changes I’ve noticed as I learn to live loved is that I’m much more focused on ways I saw Father’s hand in the day than on the disappointing moments or my failures. And I’m pretty sure I miss ninety percent of that as a barrel through life, but I am treasuring those moments I do see.
If you’ve been schooled in religious performance, it will be far easier for you to believe that God is disappointed in you rather than to believe that God is delighted in you and your desire to know him. That’s especially true when we are aware of our doubts or failures. The religious mind can’t comprehend God’s delight unless we are perfect. So, every failure is more evidence that you’re not good enough to have God’s pleasure, even in the process of him changing the waywardness of your desires.
We discussed that Sunday in our He Loves Me Discussion of chapters 3 and 4. It’s a great way to remind ourselves to stay off the religious treadmill and shift our attention to how his Spirit works in us and around us.
Paul warned us in Romans 8 that the mind focused on the flesh is death. Looking at your performance and feeling shame or frustration for your failures will literally kill you.
But he also encouraged us that when our minds are focused on his Spirit, we will experience his life and peace. So, that’s where we want to look. Don’t assess your failures every night; instead, look for ways God was involved in your day—his fingerprints, winks, whispers, nudges, encouragement, and blessings that were part of your day.
If you’re not used to doing this, don’t be surprised that it will take time to shift your focus, but doing so will bring you great joy. You’ll see that you don’t have to be perfect to have God interact with you and that he is always involved in your life, inviting you to greater rest and trust.
That makes sense, doesn’t it? Since we are helpless in our doubts and sin, we can’t change that without him inviting us into his light and equipping us with his strength and wisdom. “Be holy as I am holy” is either the most frustrating command ever given or the greatest invitation ever made. He wants to come alongside us as he shows us how to live.
So, at the end of your day, when brushing your teeth or laying your head on the pillow, ask Jesus, “How were you with me today?” Don’t hurry the moment. It may not come easy, but wait until your eyes begin to see how he walked with you through your day.
It’s like going outside to look at the stars. Initially, you’ll only see a few, but the longer you stare at the sky, the more your eyes adjust, and you’ll see more and more of its glory.
Your eyes will adjust to match your focus. Look for his delight rather than his disappointment, and you’ll find a trajectory that will rewrite your life.