One thing I love about little children is their curiosity. They love exploring the world with their senses and discovering how things work. Unfortunately, their curiosity can sometimes lead to pain. Like when they touch a hot surface or place something dangerous in their mouths. Of course, we try to stop them from harming themselves. But it’s also understandable that they are unaware of the consequences of their actions.
Even as adults, we still sometimes put things in our systems that don’t belong. And I don’t just mean physically. But, the people in our lives, words we speak and the media we digest all affect our well-being. Whether you realize it or not.
The tongue can bring death or life: those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
Proverbs 18:21 NLT
I once had a doctor tell me I had “back luck” because of the circumstances of my condition. I told him not to speak that over my life… that I serve God and I am not “unlucky.” He disagreed, but my faith kept me encouraged. I learned very early on that I could not always accept what other people spoke over my life. It’s important to me that I guard my heart from negativity. We remember what we constantly repeat. Over time, negative statements will poison you if you allow them to.
Many people have insecurities they’ve been holding onto for years, because they accepted what others said about them. They have a collection of statements and beliefs stored up in their hearts that have ultimately poisoned them. It amazes me that I can still remember hurtful things that were said over 10 years ago. Words are so powerful; they can be empowering or damaging. What lies have you believed about your intelligence, your abilities and gifts, the way you look, what you can and can’t achieve, your health, etc.? We have to know what God says about us, so when we’re faced with lies, we’ll know what to believe.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4: 23 NIV
Have you ever thought you overcame something and then noticed it was beginning to resurface in your life? Or, no matter how much you try, you can’t seem to break away from a certain habit or way of thinking? It likely has to do with what you’re feeding yourself on a regular basis. No matter how often you go to the gym, if you go home and binge on unhealthy foods, you will not see a positive change.
God had to show me the music I was listening to was uprooting the fruitful seeds He worked so hard to plant. When I saw how it was affecting my life, I committed myself to change. Once you realize you’re feeding yourself the wrong thing, you must also be willing to break your unhealthy habits. If not, overtime, the unhealthy “food” will continue to negatively affect you. And it may not seem to be a change on the outside, but internally, your insides are rotting. In the same way, what you feed your spirit has long-term effects, although you may not notice at first.
People & Relationships
Sometimes we don’t recognize people as “toxic” because we’ve already labeled them as “trusted.” However, just as 1 John 4:1 states, we are to test every spirit. When Job lost everything, his wife told him to curse God. Thankfully, Job was rooted in his faith and he chose to trust God as his Savior.
Be honest with yourself… How are the people in your life influencing you? Are your relationships life-giving or do they constantly take from you? Are they healthy or harmful? Do your relationships help you grow or do they hold you back? Are the people in your life headed in a similar direction or are they traveling a completely different path?
Those you spend time with affect your character. Don’t compromise your purpose or your faith due to comfort or familiarity. Instead, be mindful of who you’re attaching yourself to and if it will be worth it in the long run. “Convenience” comes with a cost.
First, ask God to reveal anything or anyone in your life who is hindering your growth or your relationship with Him. Some relationships are temporary and not fit for every season of your life. Some situations that were seemingly acceptable before, are no longer purposeful.
Then, you must make a decision. Will I continue to poison myself or will I choose to believe what God’s Word says instead? Ask God for wisdom on how to approach the people and situations in your life.
Make sure you replace whatever you remove. If you remove an abusive friendship, connect with healthy, life-giving people. If you indulge media that causes you to stumble, replace that time with productive activities. If you’re reshaping your thoughts, spend time in God’s Word in order to renew your mind.
Stay encouraged. Growth doesn’t happen overnight but understand God is always with you and the effort you are making does not go unnoticed. Lastly, don’t place so much pressure on yourself. When you are weak, God’s strength is made full. ❤️
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
Cycles by Jonathan McReynolds