Blog, in hot pursuit

Stand Guard

February 12, 2012


We’re in Week 5 of “In Hot Pursuit” (a 6-week study), and we’ve looked at various aspects of running this race with endurance for Christ. Throughout, we have touched on ways in which our thoughts affect our race, but it’s so important that that will be our full focus this week.

The daily race we run is mostly mental.  I don’t think that’s overstated.  We are with ourselves more than a spouse, child, parent, co-worker, or friend.  We live in our minds—thinking, processing, planning, dreaming . . . worrying, wrestling, doubting, fearing.  And wherever we are in our heart and mind, from there our actions follow.  That’s why this Proverb tells us, and I love the Amplified version:

“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Jesus also made clear that actions follow that which is within:

“For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Matthew 12:34

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”  Matthew 15:19

Stop and think:  Have you ever taken an action that you didn’t first contemplate?  Ever found your feet heading down a path that your mind never considered?  Ever told a lie you didn’t first hatch in your brain?

If the issues of our lives—of this race—come from the heart, we have to make sure that what goes into the heart and mind is the right stuff.

We are not bystanders in our thought life.  Much of what goes into our hearts and minds is under our control.  The mistake we make is in thinking it won’t matter.  We have to stand guard.

Here are some ways in which we can stand guard and take control of our thought life:

Guard what you watch and listen to.  This is not about laying down rules.  It’s about being real as we run this race.  It matters what you watch and what you listen to.  Some of our single sisters have said they don’t listen to certain love songs because of the thoughts that come to mind.  That’s wisdom.  That’s standing guard.  Some married sisters don’t listen to certain songs because it reminds them of an old boyfriend . . . a road they don’t need to venture down in this race.  Same with television and movies.  If you know there will be a lot of sensual or other action that will cause you to stumble rather than run with endurance, why give it entry into your mind?  Those are thoughts you will only end up wrestling with and trying to kick out later.  Better to keep them out from the beginning.

Guard what you read.  A couple of weeks ago, a fellow Christian author posted a top ten list of African-American books for 2011.  I don’t consider myself naïve, but I was shocked when I saw that two or three of them were erotica.  These “bestsellers” are guaranteed to fill your thoughts with what is perverse and unholy, and they are guaranteed to negatively affect your race.  If you are trying to run in hot pursuit and dabble in these books, throw them out or delete them from your e-reader.  Now.

But it doesn’t have to be that extreme.  We need to make wise choices in all that we read, even the political stuff.  This is the season when Facebook and Twitter explode with political posts.  But if filling up on politics causes you to rant and otherwise act ugly toward people on the other end of your politics, how will you walk in love with them as you run your race?  In this race, we are more Christian than Democrat or Republican.  Guard your heart against anything that will take you off course.

Guard your interactions.  If you have a friend who always questions what God calls you to do—which leaves you doubting God by the end of the conversation—refrain from sharing such things with that friend.  If Facebook and Twitter fill your mind with distractions when you need to focus on your race, stand guard with respect to your time there.  And if you know you have no business chatting with that guy on Facebook, turn off the chat feature.  Otherwise, he’ll be turning over and over in your thoughts . . . a distraction at best, which could lead to worse.

Guard against intruders.  Some thoughts come courtesy of the enemy, as he fires his darts into our minds.  We need to be ever alert, ready to take captive those “intruders” . . . even the feel-good tempting ones.  The minute we recognize that we are dwelling on something that’s not of God, we need to cast it out and replace it with what is of God.

God has given us the thought-path for this race.  He says, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

Do you tend to be a bystander in your thought life?  Or do you actively guard the input and activity of your heart and mind?

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  • Reply Debbie February 13, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Kim (and all my other Sisters here) …I am still here! I am so sorry I’ve been MIA. In fact, I have started writing comments but had to stop to think about them, or got interrupted or…and next thing I knew it was the next post…but please know, I’ve been reading and praying for you!

    This is such a good post. The whole issue of the mind and its primary importance in our walk and freedom is such a passion of mine. I wrote a whole comment and deleted it again. I feel so passionate about this and yet so incredibly inadequate to speak to it. There is sooo much here of import.

    For me, guarding my thoughts and heart (I love that in scripture the hebrews saw the heart as not just emotions but intellect and will) require being into the word so that I can discern and filter all other thoughts that seek to take up residence in this little old brain and life of mine. And it requires prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to give me discernment and understanding, wisdom and insight. There are some things that seek to enter this brain of mine and influence me and my life that are not true…honorable…right…pure…lovely…good…excellent or worthy of praise BUT they are sneaky and are disguised as true…honorable…(you get the picture). Even some preaching, christian teaching, christian books, christian songs, are misleading and flat out NOT honorable, NOT true, NOT pure…but they sure “look” like it at first glance but they just don’t stand up against the whole counsel of God’s word). Frankly, I need to be very active in guarding my mind…more active than I am…But God is so gracious and He continues to teach me and grow me and direct me and forgive me and restore me and…(and I love how willing He is to do it and the thrill when He speaks and points things out…He is a good God not a kill joy…His desire is that we have abundant life, joyful life and so He seeks to have us set our minds and hearts on the Phil. 4:8 stuff!)

    Kim, thank you for this. I love all the wonderful application and examples you give that we might not think of at first as appling to this — (ex: politics).

    Have a great day!!!!!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 13, 2012 at 6:37 am

      Hey Debbie! Good to see you this morning! :) Life is crazy busy for all of us, so whenever you’re able to stop by, that’s wonderful. Thank you so much for reading and praying! “I feel so passionate about this and yet so incredibly inadequate to speak to it”…I feel the same way. I knew the Lord was moving me to focus on the mind this week, and there’s so much that could be said. I had to really pray about what “piece” to focus on. Actually, you touched on a lot of where I’m going on Wednesday’s post :)….but it’s all good because you might be too busy to post on Wednesday. :) One could spend an entire post on THIS…”…BUT they are sneaky and are disguised as true…honorable…”…yes! Discernment is so key! The ability to recognize truth from a lie is so key! “But God is so gracious and He continues to teach me and grow me and direct me and forgive me and restore me and…”….yes again! We have the responsibility on our part to make wise, godly choices about what we input into our minds, yet God is gracious to show us as well. As we run in hot pursuit, our hearts are bent toward Him, and our desire is to please Him…He will honor that by directing us in His will. The more we heed those promptings of the Spirit, the more sensitive we become to hearing His voice. I love that. Thanks for the early morning wisdom, my friend. You have a great day too!

  • Reply Heather February 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

    This post really convicted me to actively guard my thoughts. it can be so easy to start daydreaming about things we shouldn’t. Thank you!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Daydreaming is soooo easy to slip into….sometimes it’s harmless and sometimes not. I’ve gotten to the point where I try to catch myself daydreaming and examine it. For example, it’s amazing how I’ll start “imagining” a conversation I need to have and how it’ll go, and I’ll start getting worried about how it might turn out. Talk about inviting unnecessary worry. I force myself to stop and turn it into a prayer for peace in that future conversation.

  • Reply Kristian February 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Kim, Kim, Kimk, this is sooooo good!I don’t have the time to respond at this moment, getting ready to leave for work. BUT as soon as I get some time in the comp lab, I WILL be responding. I think this is the best post yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Smile, See u in a litle while.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Wow, Kristian, you think it’s the best post yet?? :) Praise God! “Thought life” is always on my mind (no pun intended :)) because it’s so important. I don’t like my thoughts to “wander”….I want to stay on top of what’s going through my mind. It’s such a crucial part of this race. I can’t wait to hear your feedback on this! :)

  • Reply Candace February 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Oh how important your post is Kim!

    Your words about guarding the mind ring LOUD and true! Where the mind goes, the man follows!

    When we’re passive, we’re subconsciously waiting to feel like doing it, waiting to be moved by some outside force. Satan’s only happy to be that subtle seductive outside force. We’re vulnerable!

    You know, we could have a beautifully-oiled spirit, in super-duper shape, but much of what we actually DO, feelings overridden and decisions made, comes thru the mind! So, if our mind isn’t in good shape, then it’s a huge stumbling block on the race to some really great fruit!!

    It brings to mind just how many times God uses powerful word pictures, very descriptive language like 1Peter 5:8 “Be alert; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

    Taking my cues from Him, I envision actually being able to see into the spirit realm, the realm we only get glimpses of in certain passages of the bible like those in Daniel…

    I envision looking out over a sea of people in Times Square, and seeing SO many of them with huge bites taken out of them, ravaged, like refugees of war limping along. Makes you want to scream out, “Heyyyyy, listennnnn, Satan’s coming back and next times he’s bringing more lions!!!”

    It’s sobers the mind, keeps us frosty to wearing the full armor, every minute, every day, being on THE OFFENSE preventing the damage instead of passively, being on the defense, fending off the damage with pitiful results.

    We are usually SO bad at doing what’s right until we have an emergency! Add to it, the minute we start feeling good, we relax!! The Yo-yo Affect.

    Guarding doesn’t really take that much time; it’s a mindset, a habit!! Stealing Nike’s tag line, “Just Do It!”

    Gotta run but had to stop by and touch base on a new week!!!

    Keep runnin! xoxx

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

      Candace, love the warning about passiveness…”Satan’s only happy to be that subtle seductive outside force”….and he has schemes ready and waiting! “…we could have a beautifully-oiled spirit”…love this too! Amen, and it’s amazing how the mind can be the stumbling block to that. The word picture of being alert and watchful because of the lion roaring about speaks powerfully to me too. This is SERIOUS stuff. There’s no time for passivity or laziness in this race, because the devil will never be lazy. No time for that yo-yo effect either! Lord, help us to be alert and watchful always, not just in an emergency. A HUGE amen to THIS…”Guarding doesn’t really take that much time; it’s a mindset, a habit!! Stealing Nike’s tag line, ‘Just Do It!'” YES! Thanks for giving us a power booster on the run, Candace!

  • Reply Geri Brown February 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Good day Kim and family!

    This is such a good post. The fact that you thought to discuss this one week before I final week certainly is no surprise to me. This let’s me and us know that there is always work to do….

    “Have you ever taken an action that you didn’t first contemplate? Ever found your feet heading down a path that your mind never considered? Ever told a lie you didn’t first hatch in your brain?” Yes, Yes, and YES!!! *Raising hands and lowering my head in reference to a forgiving and soverign God* Kim, you questions provokes us to continue to “keep it real”. The most convicting point in all of my “foolery”(a word borrowed from a friend)at that time, was immediately after I told the lie, I knew that all hell would break loose. I had an opportunity to clear everything up. You know, to right that wrong, but my stubborness and hurting heart pushed me further into the abyss of darkness and more pain because, I wanted others to feel the pain that I’d felt. Well, shortly after coming to myself and realizing that newfound angry and bitter person was horribly out of character. I didn’t like this person. Not only were my eyes taken off of God, but they were set on something that God was trying to remove from my life; for my good. Healing become my quest. I repented, asked for forgiveness and eventually forgave. That was 2006-2007. That’s when I began to guard my heart more closely than I had in the past. Notice, I said, “More closely” and not totally. There were times when I would allow my guard to fall, but now that I know better, I definitly purpose to do better. Much better!

    Yesterday, the movie Love Jones was on the television and although I’d seen the movie several times(many years ago), I noticed that the content in the movie no longer held my interest in the way that it once had. I felt as though I was literally watching someone during the love scene and actually left the room.

    It is every so important that we live according to Philippians 4:8 if we do not have a foundation, it is and will become so easy to fall out of “Hot Pursuit” of God; however, when we refer back to that scripture, that returns our gaze to Him. And, it’s that easy! “Eyes on God!”

    Blessings everyone! XOXO

    • Reply Geri Brown February 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

      Happy Valentines Day to my Beautiful Family!

      • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 14, 2012 at 9:17 am

        Aww, love this! So fitting! Thanks, my colorful sis!! Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 14, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Hey Geri! Yes, there’s always work to do. Was just commenting on Candace’s post about how there’s never time to be passive or lazy….but it’s so easy to slump into that. Smiling at the word “foolery”…I say that too. :) Such a powerful testimony, Geri. Thank you for your willingness to keep it real. Stubbornness and a hurting heart can easily push us further into an abyss of darkness. So interesting that you noticed and didn’t like the person you’d become (angry and bitter). Praise God for His healing power and His graciousness to forgive. I doubt any of us are able to guard our hearts totally. (Some things we don’t even realize are going in…) But as we grow and are more aware and purposeful, we become much more sensitive to it. I’ve been there too, re-watching a movie from several years back that I enjoyed…and now I have to turn it off. But I love how it shows growth “Eyes on God!” :) Thanks so much for sharing this, sis!

      • Reply Geri Brown February 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        Kim, I literally felt sick. Now, I understand when people would say that bitterness, anger, hurt and negativity manifest a “dis-ease” in your body.

  • Reply Danielle February 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Ha! Kim, you mean I’m not the only one who plays out entire conversations in her head, getting more and more worried as the “conversation” goes on?! :) This is an area that God is molding me in – I’m learning to turn to Him and prayer FIRST and have the conversation with God, trusting Him to do the rest in real life.

    “Do you tend to be a bystander in your thought life?” Unfortunately, I do until all of a sudden my mind wakes up and I’m like “What am I doing???” Then, I begin actively processing what’s going on around me and thinking about what the right course is. So true that we ALWAYS have to be on guard. People (even other Christians) may look at us funny, call us “prudish” or boring, or tell us that it’s really not that bad to do X, Y, or Z……but guarding our hearts really is a 24/7 deal!

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” That assurance should be a powerful reminder when it comes to weighing the risks of letting our heart guard down for even a second! I’ll admit I am not the best guard of my own heart all of the time, but I’m a work in progress. I love that verse from Philippians – something to mediate on big-time!

    Thanks, Kim!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 14, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Nope, you’re not the only one!! :) Our minds have NO problem spinning things….and usually, they’re spinning US into a ball of worry or some other kind of trouble. ;-) I love this!….”have the conversation with God”…that’s the kind of habit-building we need to do. I’m to the point now where it’s almost become a sport to catch myself spinning and bring it back… “People (even other Christians) may look at us funny, call us ‘prudish’ or boring, or tell us that it’s really not that bad to do X, Y, or Z”…and that’s exactly why our eyes can’t be on people in this race. We don’t know where they are in their walk with God. I can’t even go by what *I* think is necessary or not…I have to go by the Bible and trust that I truly do need to guard against all kinds of stuff. You’re in hot pursuit, Danielle! Praying for you right now, that the Lord will help you guard your heart against discouragement and focus on HOPE and FAITH and BELIEVING God is able to do exceeding abundantly! xoxo

      • Reply Danielle February 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

        Thank you, Kim for your encouragement!! I have to say – since I have been consciously running this race in hot pursuit, digging into the Word, and just listening more to God, I have been filled with peace and contentment… iPod woke me up the other day with a “The Joy of the Lord” medley that I didn’t even remember was on there! God is so good – giving me the peaceful sleep David speaks of in Psalm 4. I am just happy and waiting in hope. xoxo right back – He’s working crazy-big things out for all of us!

  • Reply Kara February 14, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Wow! This is some heavy stuff! I definitely need to guard myself against things in each of those areas.
    I can relate to the reading area especially. I have always been an avid reader. I would sometimes read two and three books in a day (this was before children). Anyway I used to search for certain authors because I wants d to make sure that I supported them. I ended up getting caught up in ethe wrong type of reading material…one day God allowed me to see that me filling my mind with this nonsense, no matter how well it was written, was not pleasing to Him. I threw it all out and was done with it.
    So sometimes I do find myself on a path that I did not intentionally pursue. I want to become sensitive to the Holy Spirit to the point where I don’t even lift a toe to start down a wrong path. This of course takes a lot of work! Practicing making my mind aware of that which is God-pleasing. The song comes to mind, “As the Deer” I think that pretty much sums it up, I long for the Lord, just like the deer longs for the water….I pray that the Lord would draw me nearer to Him. This post makes me do a self examination and I can clearly see some areas I need to work on.
    Thank you Kim!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Kara, your comment reminds me of myself when God took me on a journey of learning to be “more Christian than African-American.” I used to support certain movies just because of the black cast or the black director, and I’d make sure I went opening weekend when it counted most. Once I became a believer, the Lord convicted me about examining what I was going to see through a biblical lens, rather than a “black” lens. Same with books and music. Oh, I was throwing out a ton of stuff. ;-) Praise God that you were sensitive to the Spirit and declared yourself done with it! It IS a lot of work. It takes vigilance to stay on guard, but it’s SO worth it when you think of what you’re guarding AGAINST. Always thankful for your transparency, sis!

  • Reply Candace February 14, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Thx Geri for the music!!!

    Asked God to slip a card into each of our hearts with His own unique message for each of us:)

    Considering His innnnncredible love for us, we should be floating for at least a week;)

    HaPpy Valentines Day blog fam!!!!

  • Reply Mona February 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Hi Ladies,
    Sorry I’m so late responding Kim. I’ve been under the weather. But I’m feeling a little better today (not 100% but I’m pressing). These are really good points. What works for me is to is to step back and have a little talk with myself (I don’t hit the mark all the time however). We truly have to know ourselves and our limits and make wise decisions like you said. Sometimes when I hear things that others say or believe and I KNOW I don’t, I just speak to myself and remind myself that doesn’t work for me if that’s what they believe that is them. I can’t allow other people to influence my belief. You don’t know how often I’ve been told that I’m guarded. I’ve always taken that as a not so good thing. Thanks for reminding me (in Christ), it’s a good thing to Stand Guard.
    Good piece Kim-Thanks,

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Hey Mona! So sorry to hear you’ve been under the weather. Praying you’ll keep feeling better and better. :) “We truly have to know ourselves and our limits”….exactly! We really do. We need to pay attention to how our minds respond to certain things. What am I dwelling on after I watch this show or listen to this song? “I can’t allow other people to influence my belief”…another great reason why you need to know yourself. We’re not all going to be guarding our hearts in the same fashion. Some things we know none of us need to be reading/watching, etc…but other things are individual. I’m glad you’re seeing it as a good thing now to be guarded. :) You’ve probably avoided A LOT of negative things as a result.

    • Reply Danielle February 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Mona, I loved when you said “I can’t allow other people to influence my belief. You don’t know how often I’ve been told that I’m guarded. I’ve always taken that as a not so good thing.”

      I’ve experienced this in the past, too – hearing another Christian say something, and then I start thinking, “Well, THEY believe in God, so if they think _____, it might be ok……” and then I start reevaluating things and making excuses and whatnot. Not good!

      It’s true, also, that when people say “You’re guarded,” they phrase it in a negative way….like it’s bad or weird or something. We’re called to be IN but not OF the world, right? Your comments are an excellent reminder that it’s NOT a bad thing to have our guards up, despite what others think. We HAVE to keep them up or we’ll get swept away…….

      Great thought-provoking comment! :)

  • Reply Mari Taylor February 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Ever told a lie you didn’t first hatch in your brain?” – Yes ma’am. After it just popped out of my mouth I was just mortified. But that’s what happens when you haven’t put on your armor and KEPT it on. It still happens from time to time but much less then before. The closer I grow to God, the more he changes and molds and makes me more aware of what is required of me.

    Thought life is so important. My daughters wonder why I don’t listen to 99.9% of the secular music today. It just doesn’t keep my mind in the right place. I monitor what I watch on TV. I get on them, even though they are slightly older teens about what they watch and listen to. If they don’t guard their minds now, there will be damage. I try to teach them this in words and example.

    I’m particularly diligent about my interactions. I wasn’t always but it is so critical, married or not. Everyone else out there is not necessarily adhering to God’s plan for you. The enemy just needs one little crack to slink in. Stop the cracks before they happen!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Mari, you touched on a really important area…guarding the hearts of our kids as well. When they’re really young, we do all the guarding for them. As they grow and mature, we teach them how to make wise choices for themselves. “I try to teach them this in words and example”…and teaching by example is soooo key, especially for these teens. They want to know if we’re abiding by what we’re telling them. I love when I notice that they’re listening to music they’ve heard me listening to. The other day, my son asked for the Donnie McLurkin CD I played 10 years ago! So much of what we do gets sown into their hearts whether we intend it to or not….so as we endeavor to guard our own hearts and make wise choices, we are affecting them as well. “The enemy just needs one little crack to slink in. Stop the cracks before they happen!”…amen, sis! That’s truth.

  • Reply Kristian February 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Oooh Kim! I sooo wanted to respond on yesterday but I din’t have the time, at all. And that darn devil, really and truly got into my thought life, on yesterday. I was like Wow! I couldn’t beleive that happened. I was chatting with a friend about how hard times have been and how the enonomy is so bad, and how so many ppl, including myself are struggling. I immediately started feeling fear (fear of the economy, fear of losing my job, fear in my insecutities and shortcomnigs) and the Lord revealed to me when I get around this lady, I start talking like her and beleiving like her. My whole mindset was all messed up and I had to pray in the holy ghost, just to be able to funtion. Oooooh this old thought life……. SO yes I do play an active role in guarding my thought life. The image that you have on here for the Blog is Prov 4:23, I literally live by it. I have to be so sensitive to the spirit and really be able to filter out all throse impure thoughts, ungodly thoughts, etc. In 2008 the Lord delivered me from secualr music. I thought it was okay ,because “all I listened to was r&b and that wasn’t hurting a soul, right?” Um, WRONG ANSWER, it was messing me up. It messed with my mind, in every aspect. I couldn’t listen to even the “purest” love song, because then I wanted a man, or it would remind me of an intimmate experience that I had with a man. It would have me feeing for a man, so badly. Especially the love-maknig songs. Man, even something like I’ll Make Love to you by Boys II Men, had me thinknig about “making love”. Thank God for the blood of Jesus, though. He kept me pure and a virgin thru the midst of my own failures and downfalls. I’m to a point now, that I cannot even watch a movie with a sex scene, even if it is between a husbnd and wife, cuz guess what, I ain’t married yet, and I don’t need to think about married ppl stuff, at this point. Especially at nite time, before going to bed, I will only watxh HGTV or Daystar, because I know how much my flesh wants to be “fleshy.” And even in what I read or who I talk to I HAVE to be careful. When I was in high school I used to be able to read African American Fiction, Nope, Not any more. This old flesh wants to be satisfied and I will not allow that. ooh, I can go on and on about this but I don’t have the time to write all my thoughts down, but Kim, you really got us on this one. I’m gonna read this blog again when I get home and see if I can get anything out of this. Oooh! Love Yall

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate February 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Kristian, that is so wild that this happened yesterday! That’s a great example of how our interactions with people can affect our thought life. Other people can cause us to worry or grumble or whatever. Praise God that you were on guard and discerned it right away. I so admire you for your commitment to the Lord and to staying pure. Not everyone is spiritually mature enough–or strong enough–to go “cold turkey” on something like music or certain movies. You even guard what you’re watching before bed! You are steadfast and immovable, girl! And you are experiencing the fruit of that…remaining a virgin. Guarding your heart has so much to do with that. You inspire me! Praising God for you and your commitment to Him. Love you too!

  • Reply Danielle February 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    In reading through this post and the comments again, I was struck very clearly about the “guard your interactions” section. I have an acquaintance (used to be a close friend, but…..) that fits this. I have realized that it’s probably time to cut ties with her completely – my sister and I both know her, and in the past we have either gotten angry/irritated/annoyed by choices she’s made, or fallen victim to gossiping about her in the spirit of “let’s analyze what she does so we can discuss WHY it’s not Christian…” Convenient excuse to talk about someone, which is a weak spot for me. Thanks for the reminder to guard interactions! It’s just better for me AND for her that we go our separate ways and run our own races, because we clearly are not focused on uplifting and pushing each other. Thank you for the wake-up call! :)

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