Where does this story begin? From the beginning of course!
I'm sitting in my cubicle working. My job's pretty easy once you get the hang of it; can kind of go into auto-pilot. And that's exactly what I do. The way my brain is set up, I've got this analytical, imaginative, observant thing going on, so when I go into auto-pilot there's no telling what my mind will come up with.
A while ago, I noticed my mind wandering back to old annoyances or recent situations that I hadn't found any closure on.
One particular episode was inspired by an old friendship where I felt I was done wrong. I hadn't forgiven the person and hadn't talked to them in years, but the hurt from a past disagreement was still fresh. When I finally snapped out of my flashback, I noticed my heart rate had picked up, my teeth clenched, and I was super agitated.
It seemed whenever there was time to just exist in my mind, undisturbed this would happen again and again; inappropriate thoughts, thoughts of anger, fears/ insecurities, etc.
I wasn't okay with this, so I went to the one place I knew I could get some help; my Bible! When those moments would surface, I'd search the word for scriptures related to what I was dealing with. Wasn't playing any games. I'd recite them and pray, on the spot.
But, if I'm honest, it was only kinda working. It would work for a little, but my mood would still be all jacked for the rest of the day. So, I took things up a notch. I started writing the scriptures down to combat everything I found myself struggling with.
When it was all said and done, I had Post-It notes all around the edge of my two, huge computer monitors; not to mention the stray ones on my desk! It wasn't a good look. Where I sat, at the time, was in a high traffic area where upper management regularly walked. I knew the jig was up when my boss stopped by for something random and made some kind of sarcastic comment about how "neat" my desk was or something.
It hit me, I wasn't any better off with half of the New Testament written on Post-It notes.
I threw away all of the Post-It notes...
Post-It note-less and a little bruised from my battles, I was at a loss.
One morning, before my shift, I was reading through the book of Matthew. I ended up reading through chapter 22 and came across verses 37-40.
I've seen/read these verses PLENTY of times, but that day, it was like the words jumped off the page; like watching IMAX (Is that still a thing??)
It simply said, "[Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. The law and the prophets are summed up in these two commandments.]"
(I paraphrased all of that)
That was the answer! I was juggling all these rules and expectations and missing the main point of it all, Love.
When the love of God is your focus, you don't have to force-feed certain things to yourself.
If a man loves his wife, he doesn't have to convince himself to be faithful to her, he just does it. So goes the relationship between you and God. When you value the relationship you have with God, you don't have to convince yourself to be faithful to Him, you DO IT.
Seeing things from that perspective really allowed me to be totally transparent with myself and God. I lacked true love for Him. It was hard to admit, but it was the truth. (These are the moments where you get to see the true Mercy of God in action.)
My prayers started changing. Instead of praying, "God deliver me from [fill in the blank]" or "God, help me to get over my past," etc, I started asking for something new.
"God help me to truly love you with everything I have."
When I prayed that way, He showed mercy.
When He gave me mercy, it softened my heart. Now, forgiving someone else was a possibility.
That's what it all comes down to. Love God first and everything else will take care of itself.
That's the [Protocol] of a Holy [Ghost] filled believer.