Christine Casten, Director of Intercession with The Warrior Class recently wrote a four-part blog series that highlights the importance and value of “instead of” thinking. “Living from Instead” is part 1.
One of the challenges in living a transformed life is that, well, life happens. Simply put, living brings challenges. In my old mindset, I always thought the challenge was happening TO me and immediately prayed for it to end. Then, I began to look at those challenges a bit differently.
In Manifesting Your Spirit, Graham says, “All our life transformations come from a renewed mindset. Circumstances are transformed when we think differently about them. Now we discover that far from a situation being against us, it can actually be designed to work for us!”
The easiest prayer to pray when going through adversity is this, “God, make this end! I do not want to do this anymore!” I used to pray this prayer a lot! My victim thinking took me into whining and complaining. I focused on how hard the situation was INSTEAD of what opportunities came with it.
One great nugget of wisdom comes from the idea that God uses all things: good, bad and indifferent as opportunities to help me grow. Once I started to look for how God was using my circumstance to grow me INSTEAD of focusing on the negatives in the situation, I finally began to move out of my victim rut. I learned that God tapped into those situations to enrich me through the process of life and guide me toward a better outlook.
No, the sun did not start shining or the birds start singing immediately. The challenge remained and contributed to my growth process. Recognizing that the INSTEAD existed did not mean I immediately embraced all God had for me in that moment. But, in that moment, INSTEAD thinking became a catalyst for change within me. God, in His majesty, transformed the hardship into something that worked toward my best rather than against it.
Obstacles and adversity became opportunities for me to take my heart to God and discover more about Him. He pointed me toward the great heroes of the faith and helped me understand they did not always have an easy walk in life. The incredible feats and authority they carried came because they, too, learned how to find the INSTEAD in their lives. They each looked at their situations and sought to see things from God’s perspective. They learned to embrace every part of their difficulties as a launching point for accelerated growth.
Growth in my walk with God carries a cost. The cost is sometimes as simple as letting go of negative thinking and allowing my perspective to change. By looking for the INSTEAD in each challenge, I am learning to identify the opportunities and embrace the growth. No matter how long that circumstance may last, God provides all I need to grow deeper in Him. He helps me embrace a new way thinking and I step into a place where I am living from the INSTEAD.