1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)
6 Do not eat the bread of a miser,
Nor desire his delicacies;
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
But his heart is not with you.
8 The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up,
And waste your pleasant words.
Proverbs 23:6-8 NIV
As we continue this journey of creating the wholesome “it” that we desire for ourselves, we have done the following:
- We have defined the CONTEXT of our situation, recognizing that things are neither ALL good nor bad, but a mixture of states. We have labelled out “it” and hopefully shared it with others. We have reflected on the future benefits we foresee receiving and the negative present circumstances we are experiencing (as a result of not having “it”). Our “it” may be related to our relationships, careers, personal comfort, personal characteristics, social connectedness, financial security etc. “It” can be any wholesome longing that we have that is currently not in our grasp.
- We engaged our RATIONAL mind to reflect on the feelings and thoughts we have about our current circumstance and perception of the future. Feelings are expressed using the sentence stem “I feel…” and involve some aspect of the emotional states of sadness, happiness, surprise, anger, disgust, fear and shame/guilt. Thoughts are expressed using the sentence stems “I am…”, “You are…”, “He/she/it is…”, “We are…” and “They are…”. These capture our perception of how our characteristics and those of others (or the environment) intersect with our current circumstance and the feasibility of achieving our “it”.
In this week’s reflection, we continue to review God’s blueprint of C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N as the original Creator (Genesis 1:1) to give us insight into how we should approach our own “it” creation exercise. On the third day of creation, God separates and then instigates action.
Genesis 1:9-13 - 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
In his wisdom God creates a domain (land) for man (whom he will create later) and takes the actions that are necessary to furnish him (man) with the items that will help him achieve his purpose of stewardship and population. In similar fashion, our next C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N task is to take our thoughts (the domain action), EXERCISE judgment and separate them in the following way:
Exercise judgment in separating thoughts into two categories – (1) within your control, (2) outside of your control.
Why are thoughts the domain of action? The answer is found in the Proverbs passage that is referenced at the beginning of this reflection. The man who is a miser starts of by being this way “in his heart”. His thoughts manifest his actions. Proverbs 4:23 puts it this way:
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Our thoughts about our circumstances can be broadly categorized into those associated with things we can control and those that we can’t. In general, thoughts that we have about all else but ourselves are associated with things over which we have very little power to change. As an example, if I think to myself that something is unfair, then my ability to change the associated injustice (by myself) is very limited. I can, however, change aspects of myself that result in immobilization when I interact with this system. In this way, I move to the next aspect of God’s actions on the third day where he instigates ACTION.
For those thoughts associated with things that are within your control, what are the Actions that you need to take?
Creating a list of associated actions that are derived from thoughts that are associated with our personal spaces (those thoughts whose sentence stem is “I am…”) takes effort. It is in this realm, however, where there exists the greatest potential for creating the wholesome “it” that we desire. People may not change. The circumstance may not abate. We, however, can change our posture and position within the situation. We can change the way we relate to people. We can alter the opinion we have of ourselves or the story we tell ourselves (about ourselves). We can desist from blame and attribution and embrace the reality human imperfection, situational ambiguity, and future uncertainty.
Doing any of this is not easy. It is, however, feasible and profitable. There are many who are doing this and can help. If you need help working through this step, reach out to us.
- Of the thoughts you have identified about your situation, which things do you think are within your control? Which things would you like to be within your control?
- List the actions you can take to address the things that are within your control?
- Out of the actions you have listed in (2), what is ONE action you can take within the next week?