The following is a repeat from March 2011, but actually written about a journal entry from 2010. During Lent it is a perfect reminder that I very much need, and hope you find helpful also…
“Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38
Some of us use positive statements, sometimes called affirmations, to help bolster our attitudes. When our mind is filled with positive messages it is easier to disregard the negative messages that we are often bombarded with. When put to good use, positive affirmations can alter lives for the better.
On May 8, 2010, in my time of Stillness before Our Lord, I was compelled to write the following definition of affirmations, and then share publicly on Facebook some of the affirmations from my personal journal. The entry from Journey Through The Stillness reads: “Affirmations are to make one pause and think; to pull one from the clutches of temptation; to bring one into the grace of the moment; to help one to be conscious of failings and to grow in desire to do good.”
When taken separately, each part of the definition truly puts the use of affirmations into perfect perspective.
To pause and think – During the course of our day there are many times when we should pause and think before we speak or act. One example of an affirmation to use is this one from Journey Through The Stillness: “When you judge others, I must judge you.” (3/1/11) Write it on a sticky note and put it on the dash of your car, on your computer or in a drawer you open frequently at work, or mentally paste it in your mind. Read it, think of it, before you speak or act; pause and think.
To pull one from the clutches of temptation – I know there are multiple occasions every single day when I need to be pulled from the clutches of temptation. Having an affirmation ready in my mind to repeat over and over to myself can stop me in my tracks and save me from the evil of the sin I am about to commit. This one can bring me quickly back to reality: “They have pierced my hands and my feet; they have numbered all my bones.” When I say this stirring line from A Prayer Before A Crucifix, and have the image of Jesus on The Cross in my mind, I find myself humbled and no longer desiring to succumb to the temptation. I do not want to add even one more of my sins to the weight of His cross, to His pain and suffering.
To bring one into the grace of the moment – Sometimes we feel more like complaining than rejoicing. In our complaining we may miss out on the truly good parts of the situation, we may miss out on the grace of the moment. I love this affirmation, again from Journey Through The Stillness: “Hear Me. I love you exactly as you are.” (1/22/11) When a situation turns sour, or we find ourselves doubting, it is good to know He loves exactly as we are, and in reality, His is the only opinion that counts!
To help one to be conscious of failing and to grow in desire to do good – This final affirmation is a matter of self evaluation, of becoming aware of the times we fall short and strengthening our resolve to do better. As we go forward from our failures or shortcomings, we ask Him to come with us, we ask His guidance: “Heart of Jesus, lead me in what is mine to do.” (3/23/11) Knowing He is there to guide us to what is our true calling can make all the difference in the world.
The personal affirmations I have shared here are just a few of many. Often the most effective of all is simplest. JESUS – The name of Jesus repeated over and over until a situation passes or resolves itself, or until a temptation releases its power over you.
You can find many phrases in the Bible to use as affirmations, or create your own. Then arm yourself with a few so when the time comes you turn to them automatically and without hesitation.