16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
An introvert, especially a Melancholy, finds it way too easy to think negatively. Whose responsibility is it to change that? Do we even see the need for it to change? I didn't for a long time. I didn't see that my own thought habits were keeping me feeling down more often that I cared for. How do we change our thinking? One thought at a time, that's how. Like anything, if we look too far ahead we feel overwhelmed and the negative thinking prevails. Our feelings come from our thinking and actions, not the other way around as most people believe. Once you understand this and act on it you begin to see it's really true. No longer do you feel like you're a prisoner of your own feelings.
Rejoice always. This instruction always seemed so over the top impossible to me. I found myself skimming over it as I couldn't fathom actually doing it. So I back burnered it with all the other seemingly foreign concepts God's Word held for me. I am learning how to rejoice always more and more as I follow Christ in my daily life. Verse 18 talks about being thankful in EVERYTHING. This goes hand in hand with verses 16 and 17. If you are grumbling about something (complaining and not being thankful) then you certainly aren't going to be rejoicing about it at the same time are you?
Getting back to being honest with God. Being completely honest with God in an unfiltered, surrendered manner is essential to praying without ceasing. I find myself often filtering my words even in my thoughts when directing my thoughts toward God. If we don't go to God just as we are we are not really going to God are we? It's more like some cleaned up pseudo version of me is trying to stand before God. But then I realize I can boldly go to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.) I don't know about you but I am always in a time of need. I need God every minute of every day. I need his mercy and grace ALWAYS. Trusting in Jesus in a totally persona;l way gives me the right to go to God anywhere, anytime, with anything, and with total honestly. (I Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxiety upon him; for he cares for you.) and (John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,)
Without complete honestly before God we are putting forth a false self. A false self cannot be changed. If we don't admit a thing to our own self do we just expect God to blink his eyes and change us as in abracadabra el presto change-o? God can change us in spite of our resistance. Aren't you rejoicing over that truth? (Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:) Praise God that he is able to do this, otherwise, we would be doomed.
When we pray we can learn what honestly looks like as we go. Honestly just for honesty's sake means little. Honestly with the motives of getting closer to Christ, being obedient (casting all your anxiety on him), and desiring to be honest knowing He knows us more than we know ourselves and believing he loves us as we are in all our messed up-ness. I am sure it saddens God's heart when we think we have to clean up before we go to Him. Let's make every effort to be honest with ourselves and with God. We are not on this earth to impress anyone. I like a saying I remember Dr. Phil say quite often. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Let's make the decision to get on with being honest with ourselves and with God. Tell yourself the truth. Need help? I highly recommend reading: TELLING YOURSELF THE TRUTH