You probably already know that if an oyster ingests a tiny bit of sand it can develop a pearl. Not only a grain of sand, but a microscopic parasite or injury to the oyster’s flesh can also trigger pearl making.
The making of a pearl is the oyster’s defense mechanism. The oyster secretes ‘mother-of-pearl’ chemical to encase the irritant. It secretes layer after layer until a pearl is formed. Once the pearl is formed, the oyster no longer recognizes the irritant. It smooths the rough edges. It only sees a new beautiful part of itself.
You, too, can be just as beautiful and lustrous!
My luster comes from years of layering. Years of working through the grit and injuries of the heart. I bet you've had a bit of grit thrown your way, too. The grittiness of life's issues can be battles; battles within yourself, battles with exterior forces (gossip and you’re wearing the bulls-eye, or people who absolutely don’t get it), battles with toilet training, battles with finances, unforeseen battles like tornadoes that vacuum up your home or health scares.
In the midst of all the grit, you have to make a choice, exude Battle Scars, Battle Bitterness (which can fester) or Battle Beauty.
Choose to exude Battle Beauty "We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ," 2 Corinthians 10:5. Catch those thoughts that are negative and turn them into things of beauty. The essence of Jesus Christ is love. So, making a thought obedient to him is to turn those defeating thoughts into something lovely. "Easier said than done, chica," you say? Oh, how I know it!
How Stupid of me!
Why did I say that, I’m so embarrassed!
Why can’t I ever do anything right?
My husband is an idiot.
Where did these wild tadpoles of children hatch?
Or playing a disagreeable incident over and over and over in your mind……
When these try to invade, catch ‘em and catch ‘em quick. Sure, you are busy and it takes extra effort to:
1. Acknowledge the thought was negative
2. come up with a beautiful alternative
After all, these are precious micro-seconds of your life.
And by beautiful, I mean positive uplifting and encouraging. Maybe your style isn’t strawberries and cream, maybe you are more red pepper jelly, chocolate covered pretzel, sauerkraut or deviled egg. Whatever your personality, you can counter discouraging defeating thoughts with the noble, praiseworthy kind.
If finding an alternative thought is hard at first, just think about your physical being or location. “ I am driving the kids to school. Oh look at that little bird over there, he’s so cute. I love the color of the sky in front of me.” etc…
PRAY for positive insight. Let God give you HOPE that what you are struggling with isn’t futile. Pray over this scripture, Philippians 4:8 from the Message.
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on thing 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.
Positive thinking is not going to solve all of life’s problems. But, it helps to be aware of your thought process. Choosing to show Battle Beauty requires a small sacrifice of time and lots of practice. It may be more than just a single thought here and there, you may have to choose to adjust your attitude toward a whole scenario in your life.
For example, I have a scenario I’ve been dealing with. There are always many, and I’ll share them all along the way….but, the one I’ll mention is helping care for my elderly father who lives 600 miles away.
Every 6 weeks, I pack up and return to Hoosierland for 10 days or so.
1. It’s a disruption to my busy life. I work my shell off around here. Now, I’m going to be behind schedule and I’ve got many many responsibilities to juggle.
2. It’s separation from my husband, which can put a strain on us.
3. I miss my sons.
4. It’s emotionally draining.
5. I miss my dogs.
So, I need to capture those pieces of grit and layer them:
1. The time away is refreshing for my brain toward responsibilities at home.
2. The work to stay connected relationally with my hubby, Mr. Muscle, while I’m gone (phone calls, txts, emails) leads to some fabulous welcome home intimacy.
3. I reconnect with my dad and relatives (esp. my sisters). I’m building sweet memories with dad for when he’s gone.
4. I can see puppies at the pet store.
5. I am building a repertoire of great nursing home stories.
6. My kids enthusiastically lavish appreciation on me for hot meals and laundry after I’ve been gone.
Sure this example is on the simpler side, but the same technique can be used with weightier issues. I suggest with weightier issues, you actually write the negatives and positives down. Again, remember to PRAY for positive insight. God will not let your spirit be crushed.
Psalm 24:18 “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Showing Battle Beauty is always a choice. We all feel overwhelmed by the grit of life at times and resist making the choice. I know you have made the beautiful choice before and you will do it again. Not only are you honoring God, by believing he will bless you with noble thoughts, your attitude will permeate into your relationships. That positive you exude will flow back to bless you again and again. I have prayed for you already!