I don’t know about you, but my mind is a battleground. There is usually a war raging! Sometimes I’m praising the Lord and thinking about His goodness to me, other times I’m reflecting on how good I am and how horrible others are. Lots of pride going on in this battle! I battle thoughts of hurtful feelings towards others, past wrongs that I want to dwell on, potential disputes that I may have with someone…how silly and what a waste of my time! When I’m “dwelling” on the things the Lord would have me to, He gives me joy in my heart. That joy travels to my face and I find myself smiling and encouraging my husband, my children, and others. I go to bed at night thinking of the wonderful day the Lord has given me! But, when I dwell on the negative and wrong, it likewise travels to my countenance. I’m short with my husband, snappy at the kids, and others? Well, they just don’t have a chance! I go to bed frustrated, feeling like I didn’t complete anything, and feeling like a failure.
When do these times of battle come? Not necessarily when I don’t have anything to do. (Does that ever happen when you’re a wife and mother anyway? :o) It happens at times when my heart and mind are free, even if my hands are busy. Times like washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, ironing, sewing, driving….etc. These are times when I could be dwelling in the goodness of the Lord and in His promises, but, instead, I sometimes dwell on negativity.
Psalms 15:1,2 “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart.” Who doesn’t want to dwell with the Lord? What does it exactly mean to dwell? The Hebrew word is actually “shakan” and it means to abide, continue and rest. Dwelling is actually a process throughout the day. Notice the definition: you abide in it in the morning, continue on it throughout the day and by evening you will be resting upon it. Our problem is that we start the day being positive, then we go negative, then positive again. We're not truly dwelling and continuing in the state of heart that God wants us to be. Here's an example of a heart dwelling on God's Word. As you have your morning devotions the Lord gives you a thought. It may be a verse you’ve read a hundred times, but for some reason this small thought just “sticks out at you.” So, you take that thought and think about it. You “mull” it over in your head. You think about how it applies to you today. Then, you continue to think on it. While you’re washing the breakfast dishes you think of a hymn that goes with the thought and you softly hum thinking about it. You dwell on it some more as you have a quiet moment when the kids are down for their nap. At the dinner table you talk about it to your family. By the days end, you are “resting” on this sweet thought that the Lord gave you over 16 hours ago. That’s what it means to dwell! What is my heart really dwelling and resting on throughout the day? I like the results I receive from my heart when it dwells on the truth. It makes my whole attitude and perspective the way God would have it to be. I want to purpose in my heart to dwell on God’s goodness.
How are some practical ways I can do this? Here are some ideas:
-Music softly in the background encourages us to sing God’s praises throughout the day. This isn’t always possible in a homeschool environment, but when the kids aren’t schooling I love to have music playing that causes me to dwell on how good God is!
-Put scripture in places where you will see it and read it and even memorize it. Put it in places where your mind is likely to have a battle. What about above the sink? On the countertop? In the bathroom mirror? A few great ones for this month are Psalm 16:9 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” Psalm 140:13 “Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.” Ephesians 3:17 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and ground in love,”
-Make it a habit (and ask the Lord to truly help you with this) that everytime you begin to think of someone in a negative way that you will stop and pray for that person. Don’t pray for God to “put them in their place” (Do you ever pray in a negative way like me?) but, pray for that person in a Godly, brotherly love type of way. Then, think about their good things.
-Make something that simply has the word “Dwell.” Put it someplace where you will see it and it will be a reminder of your intent to dwell on what is good and acceptable in the sight of God. You could even have your sweet kiddos help you make a small sign for the fridge or wall. Explain to them that this means Momma is going to be thinking more about how good Jesus is throughout the day. It will be catching! I have an idea of what my creation will be and hopefully I’ll be able to work on it today! (Hmmm, I wonder if it involves a little quilting? :o)
Join with me and purpose to have your heart dwell and rest on things that will be pleasing to the Lord!
Next week I’m going to be focusing on what my heart dwells on concerning my husband!