For days, three words have been in my head.
It all started one morning when, after a shower, I realized I was left with the remnants of the previous night’s makeup all over my face. My clownish face needed some attention. The lazy voice in my head (the same one that didn’t let me do the job right the night before either) encouraged me to just wipe off what didn’t look right. The common sense voice was reminding me that if I didn’t start from scratch and really clean my face effectively, I’d pay for it all day with smears and smudges. (Okay. I know I’ve lost the boys. Hang in there with me.)
That’s when I knew these words. Move or Remove.
Either I could move things around a bit to make it look good enough, or I could get out the tools to completely remove the remnant and start with a clean slate.
It got me thinking. You know when you clean the house and find yourself arranging and moving piles to different locations instead of really dealing with them? Does everyone else have a stack of paper mess that is much easier to put into a cupboard with doors than sort and find places for? Move or remove?
Have you ever been to a tick state in the spring? A tick state, you ask? We have been to a couple states that I hope to avoid for the rest of my life in this springtime. If you knew how I feel about bugs, you’d understand. I’m not too ashamed to admit that I’ve been known to cry hysterically when faced with a big bug. So far, I know that Minnesota and Arkansas are places so full of these little suckers that we all did tick-checks every single time we came in from outside. They were found in hair, under rings, and in other unmentionable locations. How effective would it be to remove one of them from your arm and then let it bury its little nasty head into your leg instead?
Now, look at that picture and tell me…move or remove?
I have a friend who, when she prays, says “Lord, remove from me anything that is not like You.” Not move it around. Not put it where I don’t have to look at it, but remove it.
We had a discussion in our family last week about taking thoughts captive (fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ–2 Cor. 10:5). Thoughts that come in my mind either are 1. a plant from the enemy (hoping to get me into a pattern of stinkin’ thinkin’), 2. my own emotion (usually not the safest, most stable place, or 3. Truth.
If it is destructive, I need to evaluate where it came from, take it captive, and get it out of there before it takes root and does damage! Remove it!! Then replace it with something good.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8,9
As I begin a new year, this is a goal I have set. To pull out those thoughts–you know the ones I mean. The ones that try to tell me how I fail, or that I have nothing to offer, or that I’ll never be enough. The ones that compare my abilities, the way I look, my failures, to those around me and lead me into negative patterns in my mind.
I don’t want to ease them out. I want to rip those little suckers out by the root, and replace them with truth. To be a part of the most excellent harmonies.
I will fill myself with truth and surround myself with people who love me and help speak truth into me. And I rest in the knowledge that I am who I was made to be. I was specifically designed (Psalm 139) just as I am by One Who sees me all the way through to the ugly, and loves me even to that place. That love fills the place where stuff was removed, and soothes the wound left by so much garbage.
And then, finally, I looked up how the word “move” was used in reference to Jesus because in all I do I want it to look the most like Him. Here’s what I found…
Mark 6:34 “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them…”
Mark 1:41 “Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him…”
Matthew 14:14 “And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.”
Yup. That’s how I want to be. Moved with compassion (thinking about someone other than myself) and taking action. Anyone with me?