by Carol McCracken
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139: 23-24 (NIV)
I reached down to transfer my wet laundry into the dryer and tugged at the tangled clothes which seemed anchored in the washing machine agitator. The agitator. How fitting.
It was 4:17 AM and the wrestling match of trying to sleep was continuing for a second night in a row. My ruminating thoughts were obsessing anxiously on things that did not make me proud. Prior to doing laundry, when I had stumbled into the kitchen to feed my coffee addiction, the Keurig had begun my agitation by jamming.
Too much testing already. Passing any test was highly unlikely at this point.
Something wasn’t right in my spirit, and it appeared my sleep deprivation was the open door to self-examination. But I didn’t want to examine my heart. I already knew negative thoughts occupied real estate in my brain. The more I stuffed them, the more disquieted my spirit became.
The irony of my recent book publication on wisdom taunted me. Though the launch team had given me great feedback, I felt far from wise. I instead battled spiritual darkness along with the darkness of the night.
I climbed back in bed with a pen, paper, and my gratitude journal and wrote, “God loves me even with my ruminating, obsessive, not-able-to-sleep thoughts.” I added, “God will search my heart and correct and center me as needed when I ask.” Interesting. I had never asked God to search my heart.
It isn’t as if He didn’t already know what was in my heart; the exercise would be for me to see what was there. So, since sleep was evidently not on my agenda, and with plenty of time for self-examination, it was time to get to work. Looking through my gratitude journal, one reflection stood out: “Think of all God’s blessings–His salvation, hope, wisdom…we can look to God…ask for His wisdom.” I had written on this very thing.
So, I asked for His wisdom, and He gave me this verse: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). I began to write down those thoughts that were running rampant in my head while sleep escaped me. Those tangled, agitating thoughts, some of which escaped understanding. Some of which I was afraid to see.
Over time, God revealed issues I would have to keep bringing before Him because only He could heal them. And He opened my eyes to some lies from the enemy my heart believed– some big insecurities.
Perhaps that’s why God had Paul use the pronoun “we” in that verse. It is not in our power alone to make our thoughts obedient to Christ. Willpower is not enough. It is for us to lean into Jesus’ power to help us. We may be reminded that working with Jesus in that way, can be a process. Avoiding a heart search or a test keeps us in potential captivity when Jesus can release us with His help. That’s wisdom. His wisdom rather than our human wisdom.
Oh, the dryer just buzzed. Apparently, the benefit of a good spiritual cleansing is clean laundry before dawn. Clean heart. Clean laundry.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Carol McCracken has been a Bible teacher for over twenty years. She currently serves on church staff as Minister of Discipleship. Her passion is to make the Bible come alive for women and connect it to a real relationship with Jesus Christ in today’s busy and demanding world. She is an AWSA Associate and Destin Word Weavers member.
Carol is a contributor to ChristianDevotions.us, Arise Daily, and Mustard Seed Ministries. Her new book, Wisdom: Where To Find It If You’ve Lost, Forgotten, Or Never Had It released in November 2020.
Join the conversation: What damaging thoughts plague you in the dark of night?