What Old Photos Reveal

What Old Photos Reveal

February 11, 2019 6 By Nancy Oehlert

It happened again. An old, ugly habit showed up. My ‘open-the-mouth-without-thinking’ habit.
Throughout my life, my mouth has gotten me into a lot of trouble. A whole lot. When am I going to learn?

I was talking with Jana, a sweet, generous friend. She’d seen my appeal on social media for inexpensive, quiet places to stay so that I could work on my book. She graciously offered to let me stay in her home which sits on an acreage in the country. She and her family would be going to be out-of-town for a few days, and I would have run of the place. She even offered full access to a well-stocked pantry and a freezer full of meat. So very generous!

She asked if I could feed the animals, let them out in the morning and make sure they got back in their pens in the evening.

That’s when my old self showed up and my mouth got ahead of my brain. I asked Jana what she usually paid for someone to take care of the animals.

There was a brief, stunned look on her face. She was probably wondering if she’d heard me correctly. Sadly, she had.

All I had thought about was what I was going to be doing for her. Add to that my current state of mind which is, “Money is tight. I’ve got to get a job or some means of income.”

I completely dismissed/disregarded the fact that she was offering me room and board in a quiet, country setting. I should have been offering to pay her for the B&B accommodations!

Five minutes later, as I was leaving our meeting, I dawned on me how ungrateful I had been and how selfish and greedy I must have sounded! I was ashamed. The more I thought about it, the more horrified I became. I had to pull over and contact her. Immediately.

I didn’t want another minute to go by without apologizing. Fear grabbed me. Had I hurt her feelings? Insulted her? Had I lost her good opinion of me? Had I just lost a friendship?

I texted her, apologizing for my thoughtlessness. I asked for her forgiveness.

Her response was, “No worries.”,There was even a smiley face, further testimony to Jana’s character.

“But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8

The Bible verse kept interrupting my thoughts. I’d messed up…again. I regretted it almost immediately, a good sign. I apologized quickly, which is also right. So, why did I still feel so awful?

Satan’s photo album

Satan, the big liar, loves to take out those old “Here’s-where-you-really-blew-it” photos and show them to us.
I sat there remembering times in my life when I’d said careless or hurtful things. I spent too much time dwelling on the past.Why had I fallen back into this old habit?

The bad news

I’m used to working and bringing in money each month. But for now, my husband and I have decided that I need to stay home and focus on writing for this blog, getting some bookings as a public speaker, and writing my first book. Lately, I’ve let concerns over money take hold of my thoughts. This anxiety about our finances allowed the enemy to get his foot in the door. And the big liar was there to trip me up and shove old, ugly photos in my face.

Jesus said:
“…I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?…the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

I had let worry drag me back into old patterns of behavior.

The good news

I messed up. I apologized. I’m forgiven. Today is a new day. If you’ve messed up, own it. Apologize as quickly as possible. Ask for forgiveness and keep moving forward.

I am not who I was. Christ has called me out of that. And I have marching orders.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

What about you?

Are you staying close to God and being careful about what you let your mind dwell on? Do you praise God that you are being transformed by the renewing of your minds? Our enemy would love to catch you at an unguarded moment and trip you up. He is just waiting for an opportunity to show you all of those old, ugly photos…the big liar.

How would it change your outlook if you made a point to remind yourself and others of who we are in Christ? What if we quickly confessed and asked for forgiveness each time we realize we’ve sinned?
Imagine if we kept our focus on all those times when God has miraculously provided! How would that boost our prayer life?

Join me in giving thanks for his “exceedingly, abundantly, far beyond anything we could ask or imagine” generosity.

And thank you, Jana, for imitating that generosity.

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