Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you. Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
I can polish my words if I want to. I can say the right things. Even build others up with exactly what they need to hear. These are my spoken words–audible for those around me to hear.
Sometimes I get this right and can walk away from a conversation feeling pretty good. I’ll even thank God for giving me the perfect words to say to someone who was in need of encouragement. I’ll praise him for helping me speak kind words to my husband. I’ll breathe a sigh of relief that I spoke gently to my daughter instead of losing my patience.
But it’s the next part of that verse that really trips me up! The meditation of my heart…
What exactly is that? When I did some digging, I learned the Hebrew word for meditation, hagah, means to ponder, imagine or think. Simply put, it is our thoughts.
This is where it gets really ugly sometimes.
Sometimes our thoughts consist of the following:
I’m a horrible mother for yelling at my child.
I can’t do anything right.
I’ll never change.
*The things we rehearse in our mind when others hurt us
If she offends me again, I’ll have a better comeback.
Why didn’t I tell him what I really thought?
She’s nothing but a @#$*!
*Lies about God
He can’t possibly forgive me for this.
He doesn’t really care.
He’s out to get me.
The things we ponder, imagine or think are not audible to others around us. While they may hear our words loud and clear, they don’t have any idea what is going on in our mind.
But God does.
This is the place where I struggle!! Even if nobody around me has a clue as to what I’m thinking, my heavenly father knows it all. Every. Single. Thought.
Even if I say the right words to my daughter, God knows what I’m pondering as I walk away, fists clenched.
Even if I remain silent after my husband offends me, God knows what I’m mulling over in my mind.
Even if I smile at the woman in Target who irritated me, God knows the hateful thoughts I’m thinking about her.
Even if I don’t honk my horn at the driver who cut me off, God hears the ugly mumbling coming out underneath my breath. (And if nobody’s in the back seat, those mumblings are usually louder!)
Yes. This is where I learn humility. This is what drives me to my knees in prayer. This is where God does his most transforming work IN me. This is what reminds me moment-by-moment why I need a savior.
So how do you keep your thoughts pleasing to God? How in the world do you possibly keep the junk out?
Although I’m a work in progress, I’ve found comfort in the rest of that verse: Oh Lord, my strength and redeemer.
I certainly can’t count on my own strength to pull me out of the pit of ugly thoughts. It’s his strength that does this.
I’m also challenged by the scripture found in 2 Corinthians 10:5:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
So instead of dwelling on the hurtful things I’m tempted to say to someone, I can tackle that ugly thing and acknowledge it before God, turning it into a prayer instead.
Instead of replaying damaging scenarios in my mind, I ask God to redirect my thoughts.
Rather than get pulled in to negative self-talk, I praise him instead for who he says I am in Christ Jesus.
Praise God for the comfort and power found in this scripture! For when my thoughts do NOT please him, I can humbly confess them and trust that HE will help me in that moment.
What about you, dear friend? Do you too struggle with negative thoughts? Do you feel defeated by a pattern of negative thinking? You don’t have to linger there. You can have victory in the power and strength he longs to give his children.
Blessings to you!
Check out my book, Embracing The Race:40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul