August 2, 2012

beating heart baby

 I was reading something interesting last night . . . I'm trying to finish J.D.'s book, Gospel, and there is a section that discusses spiritual disciplines. Basically, he was saying that the more you encounter God, the more you're heart is changed to be like His. The more you practice those disciplines - studying His word, communicating with Him in prayer, etc. etc. the more He changes you so that you start to desire those things. And the more you start to have a distaste for things that are not good.

Over time, I have seen God make dramatic changes in my heart and in the things that I desire.

Years ago, I would drown my sorrows in music. I would listen to AFI, The Used, Senses Fail or anything with a lot of screaming when I was feeling upset (or emo) . . . which, in turn, would only feed my anger/depression. I would allow myself to wallow and feel justified in my emotions. However, at my lowest points I could sense something holding me up - protecting me from slipping into the deepest pit of despair.

I realize that it was the Holy Spirit protecting me from those lows. Even when I wasn't adamantly seeking after God, He was guarding my spirit.

Anyway, fast forward to present day. Only by God's faithfulness and grace has He brought me this far, and changed my heart.

I realize that I've lost a taste for former coping mechanisms.

I tried to watch Nicki Minaj's new music video today when I started to acknowledge this. The video just oozes of sex, drinking, and self-glorification. I couldn't get through it, I had to close it out. I used to listen to only hip hop when I was in high school and would watch 106 and park, MTV, etc . . . and granted, music videos were a lot tamer back then . . . but I just can't do it anymore.

Anyone who has met me knows I love some Nicki, but I see it for what it is . . . and I usually can only handle it at the gym . . . that kind of music makes me go cray on the spin bike :)

I clearly am not perfect . . . but those places that I ran for comfort in the past, or for entertainment just don't cut it. I am no longer amused. I love some Linkin Park when I'm upset, but I can feel God convicting me of even that - because it's so easy to get sucked into a little emo black hole of despair.

That's not where God wants us to run when we're facing difficulties . . . He wants to heal our hearts and direct our gaze to Him . . . to set our feet firm on something real.

I want to run, I want to go crazy with music, I want to numb myself to whatever life is throwing at me . . . but I realize we are called to something different.

Again, the question remains - am I teachable? Do I realize that there is One whose ways are higher than my own? Do I realize that my preferences and desires can be very errant?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:12

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  
Philippians 4:8

"Gospel-centeredness is about saturating your heart in the good news of Jesus - letting it so remake your mind that you see everything about yourself and your life through its lens . . . Make the gospel the center of your life. Turn to it when you are in pain. Let it be the foundation of your identity. Ground your confidence in it. Run to it when your soul feels restless. Take solace there in times of confusion and comfort there in times of regret. Dwell on it until righteous passions for God spring up within you."
-JD Greear, from Gospel

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