No, I am not speaking of some grueling drive from home to work. Mine is only three stoplights and seven peaceful minutes. I am speaking of the much more grueling task we face daily to get from bed to desk, from sleep to work, from rest to productivity. What I am amazed by is how frequently this 60 to 90 minute period of my day can be filled with incredibly negative thinking.
Today, I was very aware of this for some reason. I jotted down just a few of the thoughts the invaded my brain while commuting this morning:
- I can't get plants to grow. There must be something wrong with me.
- I gained a few pounds on Men's Retreat. I really lack self-control.
- I am unorganized and can't keep my office cleaned up.
- I am unsuccessful and a nobody compared to... (I could put any number of "successful" pastors in the blank here; about a dozen of them stared up at me on a conference advertisement this morning.)
- Our church is small and will never make a difference.
- I can't play the guitar and I lack any real skill.
- I'm sure giving and attendance will be poor in June.
- I must have disappointed my parents this morning because my kids were watching TV when they left.
Now, your list might look vastly different than mine, but I wonder how many of us do have a list. Some mornings it can be more quiet and subtle, while other morning it shouts rather obscenely at us. What I am noticing today is how many of these negative thoughts are half-truths. Observations that I have made and then turned into a deeper self-critique. For example, I do have some plants that are struggling to grow in my yard. But how do I go from there to "something is wrong with me"?
This, my friends, is the nature of evil. Call it what you want- the old self, Satan, the Monday morning blahs- but something insidious takes our short-comings and turns them into deeper questions of our worth, value, and identity.
So, on my journey today, I am doing my best to remember who I am. I took a few minutes to pray and read Scripture and asked God to give me a new soundtrack. My only regret is that I didn't start the morning commute this way. Maybe I will tomorrow.
Whatever your morning "commute" is like, may it be filled with words that are true and spoken from your loving Heavenly Father.
Praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. (Eph. 1:3,4)