There is a line in a song from the Broadway musical Wicked where one of the main characters, Elphaba, says, “Something has changed within me. Something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules of someone’s else’s game.” This stanza is playing on repeat in my mind this morning as I actively choose to see (and hear) every moment through God’s lens.

I write this with an excitement because I have learned something new about how Satan gets to me and this realization is allowing me to close that door. Maybe it will help you too?

After church the other day, I overheard two people talking. “Another meal for the Eberhards.” It’s interesting how Satan twisted that into a negative statement for my ears. They could have been saying, “I get to bring or I’m excited to see them when I bring, and yet the words I heard were “another and again.” The emotions put on their words were annoyance and judgment. There’s much to ponder here in prayer.

We often hear that God is working in our lives and indeed he is. But the reality is that Satan is as well. Both want our souls.

I’ve seen the “God speaks. Satan speaks” meme/poster where we are reminded that God’s voice comforts, calms, leads and reassures while Satan’s voice worries, obsesses, pushes and frightens. But there is a realization that it’s not just the words spoken or how they are said, but how we allow ourselves to interpret them that can cause the most harm.

Again, both Satan and God are working in our lives. As I ponder this, I am frustrated that I allow Satan past my defenses and into that little place in my heart. 

How often do I interpret something someone says through a lens of judgment? I negate their gift. “You look so nice today?” I put the emphasis on today instead of nice. (Boom, Satan got in.)

I’m serious here because it changes our perception of the sentence — and words matter. Do I not look nice on other days?  Nope. That’s not what was said. The person said I look nice. How kind. Thank you.

Think about it! Is that what you are wearing? Do you have time to help me? How did you get that project done so quickly?  Your house is so comfortable. What word, what feeling would Satan want you to get from those statements? What word, what feeling would Jesus place emphasis on? We get to choose! 

Recognition is the first step. I’m smiling that this will be a bit of a Lectio Divina for me not using scripture but the skills of seeking God’s voice, eyes and heart in every word spoken to me. 

I am guilty of often placing the negative on statements, especially if I can turn them toward myself. But the Lord doesn’t want that for us. It is not who he is! It is not how his people speak. 

This realization is freeing me to see others as gifts from God. I’ve placed a gate around my heart and my filter is the gentle heart of Jesus beating with love for me that I may receive words and actions through His lens.

This article first appeared at The Catholic Times.

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