Today’s entry of Voices of Recovery quotes For Today, p. 298, “My best thinking got me into trouble. I could ‘think’ my life to suit me; the only problem was that it didn’t work.” The contributor notes that, “In order to recover, I had to let go of my thinking and embrace believing.” S/he goes on to describe the rewards of trading false certainty and predictability for the risky “world of the unknown, the spiritual realm.” This reminds me of my own tendency to over think. But, for me, the mind’s emotional half is so much louder than the cognitive. I had to develop a belief that could overcome my feelings. My thinking serves to negotiate the balance. Here is an example: I feel unloved, and the destroyer tells me chocolate is love, so I feel like eating chocolate. I have to believe that even if no one else does, God loves me, and He wants only the best things for me. I believe it enough to only eat the good things and then discard the thought of chocolate. Much later, I begin to feel the benefits of habitually recognizing and responding to God’s love for me.

Proverbs 31 talks about the value of a good wife, and closes, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (vs. 30-31) After yesterday’s lesson in not holding the glory back for myself, this stands as a good part two: praising those who support me, especially the good wife, is not only okay, but insisted upon. God expects me to commend and encourage those around me. This does not count as stealing glory. On a side note, part of this speaks to the physical preoccupation with “charm” and “beauty,” or in other words, “outward appearance.” That which shows outwardly is temporary and what matters is what is on the inside.

In Joshua 8, God used even the trouble that came out of Achan’s disobedience for Israel’s good. This time when they attacked Ai and faked flight again, every man of Ai pursued, leaving the city unmanned. An ambush was deployed and the entire city was overwhelmed and destroyed. God can use even what I have broken for His purposes!

Three lessons: belief over feelings; praise God and wife; God uses even broken vessels. When I put them together, I can see that my shame over failing at my first marriage need not overshadow the feelings of my present, but should have taught me to spend energy affirming my wife, and building something whole out of my broken pieces.