Set Your Mind- Refresh Your Soul Week 3

The electric skids to a stop, that sinking sound of the life being drained out of light bulbs, washing machine, and water pump. My heart sinks too and I feel the life being drained out of me as well. Again? Really? The third time today.

“Lord, don’t you know I am hot and tired and weary and well, just plain worn out? Don’t you see me? Here I am trying to serve You with my whole heart and it’s stupid little things like dogs yelping non-stop, the fridge not getting cold, the electricity dying again, the dead gecko I almost stepped on in the bathroom, that obscure my view of You. Again and again. And probably again tomorrow. Lord, it is just so hard to refresh when I stink and there is no place to go to find rest for my body or quietness for my mind.”

And this American-born girl pushes back against her “rights” being taken away. Among the things I expect in life are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . . but also electricity, running water, noise ordinances, and a place to escape the heat. The growing pains of this selfish heart groan against what I view as “the basics” being taken away from me. I mean, shouldn’t a person have a right to flush the toilet when they want to?

I read Paul’s declaration in Philippians 4:11-12, “for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I knw how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and gong hungry, oth of having abundance and suffering need.”  Really, Paul? Because I have got the prosperity part down and to be honest, a little prosperity sounds pretty good right now as I feel the sweat dripping and the dog next door won’t. shut. up.

But to learn how to “get along with humble means”?

To be honest, it wasn’t that hard, the giving up of life and home to follow the Lord overseas. The big sweeping drama of leaving family behind, and traveling into the unknown has excitement and exhilaration attached to it. But the every day, sweating it out? Not so much.

And then I read on, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That was the part I missed. In His strength.

But how do I make that real in the every day moments of wanting to complain and send one more snarky text message to a friend lamenting our woes as we suffer through together? Because complaining can be so much fun!

It hits me between the eyes, as I read Colossians 3: 1-2, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ {which I have}, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth.”

Set your mind. Dwell on Him. Set your mind on the Gospel, the Good News of what Christ has already accomplished on my behalf. Set your mind on things of eternal importance, not on the petty things and silly worries here on earth.

It’s as though He is saying, “I can be your fulfillment, dwelling on me- Your King and Your Savior. Dwell on my beauty, what I have done for you on the Cross, focus your attention on ME, instead of what is dragging you down in this present moment. Seek the things above, the things that really matter, dwell on them, live in them, bask in them. This is TRUE refreshment.

These three words. Set your mind. It is a choice. When everything is going wrong-the electric is off again, the heat is stifling, the dog next door is making me insane, the kids are bickering-again-THAT is when I need CHOOSE to practice to SET. MY. MIND.

And guess what? It is really refreshing. Resting in Christ who strengthens to help me to continually set my mind. Not easy, but truly soul-refreshing.

With what things do you need to choose to set your mind?

Here are all the previous posts in this series:

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  • Jen

    Mine would be my health and living where I live.

  • Lisa Maxwell

    Thank you for your encouraging words. We are missionaries in the Philippines. I so relate to this post! Thanks for sharing.

  • Lou Ann

    Excellent, Joy! I am a missionary in Spain, not exactly with the same problems, obviously, but this week has been non-stop rain and snow and cold, and well . . . I identify. Rest is all about our relationship with the Lord and the choices we make with our minds. A blessing to read this post. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/christina.yerke.9 Christina Yerke

    I can relate to your post, too! I’m not a missionary, not living in a foreign country. I have the luxuries of the states – no power outages, no barking dogs. Yet, still, in the midst of raising three children with a husband who travels a lot for work and no family nearby, I find myself doing the same things… It is so easy to complain! I love the idea of making the choice to set your mind to Christ and what lies ahead, instead of the petty complaints of the everyday! I find that, even before getting out of bed in the morning, if I pray and ask Christ to put his Grace in my heart for the day – to guide my mind and heart to be like Him in all things I do as a mother and beyond – it helps my mind to be set towards Christ a little easier than if I don’t begin my day focused on the Lord. During the day however,in the trenches of motherhood and life, a reminder to be focused on Him would help tremendously! Thanks, Joy!

  • http://www.joyfilleddays.com/ Sarah Beals

    We can all relate, I believe. :) For me, I’m tempted to complain more based on my own little whims. The bigger things in life don’t seem to shake me, but little annoyances like unkind, unhelpful remarks or actions by people in our ministry, the kids not listening during school and a crumb filled counter top seem to get me. No real rhyme or reason to it. That is why I constantly have to remind myself that I am accountable to God for my words…even the complaining ones.

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    OH.My.Word! Such a powerful post today Joy and the perfect way to begin my week. I just finished my morning quiet times and checked my email and there was this post in my inbox – smack! Exactly what I needed to read. Thanks Joy for the encouragement today.
    I just said a prayer for you – I pray God gives you strength and joy this week.
    Love you,
    Courtney

  • beevida

    Dito too it all. Joy, you are a blessing and a gift. Thank you!
    My verse for the day is:“[Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 God are you trying to tell me something???

  • http://www.embracinggrace.org/ Amanda@EmbracingGrace

    I’ve been thinking about the scripture “taking our thoughts obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5) When I’m getting frustrated and overwhelmed… This little reminder helps me remember to CHOOSE to change my attitude and to set my mind on the things above. Great Post Today!

  • http://twitter.com/BeckyRosty Becky Rosty

    Thank you Joy. This is such a good reminder! My husband an I serve as “missionaries” to a very small town in Wyoming, USA. We still have modern conveniences and family just 2 hours away, have made great friends and a Churh family here. There are time though, we remember this is not home, but then again neither is the town we came from. I find myself frustrated by the often inconsistencies in ministry, support, opportunities, and our disciples. When that happens, i turn to Pinterest, tv, a book or magazine to take my mind off of the frustration or feeling of abandonment. The other day, I wrote down “engage not escape” with the verse in Colossians 3:1-2. I need to remember when my mind wanders to discouragement, I have 3 choices. Dwell on the discouragement, escape it through earthly distraction, or engage in Gods heart for me and this world all the more. Like you said, setting my mind on Him is so much better! It is then I feel I can subject my flesh to the disciplines of a Christian. I wrote more here: http://beckyrosty.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/what-chains-are-you-wearing-work-out-playlist-day-4-no-chains-on-me/. Thanks again for the encouragement this morning, Joy.

  • Millie

    Oh my! These words are beautifully said. This speaks to my heart today. Thank you for sharing you are blessing to many.

  • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

    This is pretty much the heart behind what I was saying yesterday… I need this kind of encouragement…eyes back on Him and His strength. His promise to be enough in the midst of my whatever-is-the-current-struggle. This is the Truth I need spoken into my heart and the Truth I need to preach to myself on a daily basis… thankful for you sweet Joy.

  • Lauren_onebrightcorner

    Complaining, unfortunately, can be fun! But I need to refuse it, and then I will discover the greater joys in God’s presence! Thanks!

  • Brandy Gainor

    I’m right there with you, Joy, focusing on Him and thinking on the Gospel. It’s what I posted on my blog today. Blessings from India!

    http://gainors.blogspot.in/

  • Stephanie

    Just what I needed–a reminder to focus on what is really important. I live in Lesotho (Africa) and am trying to grow a few veggies for the first time. Today there were cows on our communal property (natural lawnmowers), not by my choice. A few hours ago I saw that they ate most of my green pepper plant loaded with blooms. I was really upset until I read your post. I was focusing on my “rights” as an American instead of contentment in all circumstances. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.ditto.507 Ashley Ditto

    Your writing is such a blessing to me. When I read, I feel refreshed and inspired for Jesus. Wow! Thank you!

    Ashley from http://theheartofashley.blogspot.com/

  • shawn Lakes

    That was perfect for me, today! We’re in the midst of chaos as we prepare to leave this week for Serbia to adopt our son. Finding childcare for the other seven was a logistical nightmare as well as cleaning for the caregivers coming to stay & packing for the kids staying with others, ugh. A friend sent me a link to your post and I found His strength through it. Thank you! I also linked it in my blog. –Tara (No clue why it signed me in as my husband)

  • Katie

    needed this…so needed this. I think I am going to print out the words “set my mind” in big letters, along with the rest of the verse and stick it on some important places in my home. Thanks

  • Katie McKenzie

    Thank you. This is what I needed to hear this morning.
    Katherine
    godslittlegrace.blogspot.com

  • Brie- www.thefruitfulwife.com

    Thank you for this post. It was so encouraging!

  • http://twitter.com/ParentontheMove Kathleen M Smith

    I love this! Years ago I was in the Peace Corps. We expected to have the electricity cut off, no running water a few hours a day; but now? With the snow and schedules changed according to the weather and people piling their shopping carts to the hilt with stuff they won’t eat (see my judging?)…I read your blog today.

    I WILL set my mind! I am starting a new thing this year of memorizing Romans 1 (whole chapter-yikes!)…so I will set my mind on His Word (when I am frustrated with grocery store lines etc….and think about how blessed I am- as long as I set my mind!) Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ChristinaRFox Christina Fox

    Oh yes, I am right there with you! I want for life to be comfortable and problem free. Thanks for this reminder to set our minds on Christ. When I think about all He endured for me, my complaints fade away. Taking your words here with me, I needed this!

  • Deanna

    Ooooohhhh I had a “set my mind” moment (ok it actually took quite a few minutes…) but
    this refreshment was soooo valuable. thank you sweet friend for sharing that which God placed on your heart!! :)

  • Carrie Anne Hudson

    You are spot on. I have to chant James 4:17 over and over again until my brain sees it as truth and not just another obligation. It really is about setting your mind on joy and recalibrating what you expect for your day. Living in China gives us plenty of moments to allow God to show Himself through our weaknesses. :)

  • Jolina Petersheim

    I needed this today, and yesterday, and last week. Thank you for reminding me how very much I have to be thankful for and for living up to your name — joy.

  • Erin K

    SO needed this today. We’ve been back in Indo for a few days after our first home assignment and already feeling like giving in. The first time moving over here was a grand event but the nitty gritty of just functioning everyday can wear you down. Thanks for writing and sharing what He is teaching you. Missionary women NEED bloggers like you, Joy! Thank you so, so much!