Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Personal 95 Theses

The Wittenburg Door

It's been four years since my personal life changed immeasurably, and after many years of therapy, I feel like I'm turning a corner and want to plant a flag, so to speak, as I move forward.  Please join me by interacting with some of the lessons I have learned (and will probably never be done learning).

Like Martin Luther, I've realized that it's how we think that shapes how we live.  His 95 Theses are often seen as the catalyst that launched the Protestant Reformation.  A similar, explosively new way of thinking came to the Apostle Peter through a vision in Acts 10-11.

 "10:28 God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean." 
If you think about the entire foundation of Jewish law and practice until then, this was a revolutionary insight!   God went to extraordinary measures to make sure Peter and the early church got it.  I can identify with Peter in wrestling through and accepting new, life-altering ways of thinking.

So here are my personal game changers. By implication, you can see some of the lies I've been entangled in.  Maybe you have a few of these thought patterns too?

  • God's love is a gift that I cannot earn by being better than I am or destroy by being worse than I am. I am worthy to receive it because HE created me, chose me, redeemed me and lives in me.
  • I don't need to be right or perfect.  I'm okay.  I'm human.  I'm still worth a lot to God.
  • My ex's rejection of me, betrayal of his vows, etc, etc has more to do with him and his choices than my deficiencies.  (Help thou my unbelief!)
  • I am not responsible for anyone else's choices, but will be held accountable for mine.
  • I need security and significance, not everyone else's approval.  (Larry Crabb) 
    • Therefore, I need to move the locus of my identity from outside myself, to inside of me. 
    • And, act out of my God-given values, not out of fear of what others think.
  • Do it afraid- do not ever make life-limiting choices based on fear (except to wisely heed everything my parents taught me:).
  • Suffering is often more about people's poor choices (including mine) than punishment because I've messed up.
  • When things go wrong, it's not necessarily God punishing me.  Looking at many Bible heroes’ lives, when things go wrong, it's probably the RIGHT direction.
  • Bad things happen in life- it's perfectly normal. When I long for it to be different, it's obviously heaven that I'm eager for.  
    • "In this world you will have trouble, but fear not, for I have overcome the world!"  Jn 16:33
  • Speak up, stay present in relationships.  By not talking about what needs to be talked about, I don't win (peace at any cost, costs too much!).  I lose, we all lose.
  • Don't be angry at God for not keeping promises He never made. (Check it out, you might have a few too!)  "I will never change, I will be with you" are promises I can count on.
  • Thinking differently than someone else doesn't need to threaten or diminish either of us, if we can respect each other's individuality. 
  • Stop giving more than God wants to give through me, than what He has given me to give away. After all, I am NOT the Messiah.
  • Add up all the stresses, fears, opportunities and joys of the day to come.  Then put God in the equation first- He makes ALL the difference!

One last note:  Yes, many of these lessons learned came about through a failed marriage, but every one of them has application to my daily life, and to my relationship with myself, God, family, refugees, co-workers and friends.  For that I'm immeasurably grateful. 
So, what do you think?  Any you'd add?