As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I received feedback from several people that I thought would be helpful to share. A couple people said it was spot-on for their life and circumstances they were experiencing at the time. Others suggested training of the mind to think of other things. I guess this is obvious, maybe so obvious that it is difficult to grasp. Then, again, perhaps I don’t want to.
After all, it seems to be human nature to dwell on unpleasant things. It must be because we do it so well. Perhaps I should speak for myself, but I think it’s safe to say we all suffer from stinking thinking more than we should. Maybe even far more than we should. In fact, it may be a family thing that develops into a character trait from years of practice. Practice. Yes, practice – as in over and over through the confines of our minds. We practice negative thoughts. Sometimes, we externalize these thoughts into our conversations with others. That’s called a gripe session. That’s called team practice.
Yes, it is true that one must spend time processing information. Yet, wouldn’t the purpose of this be to heal from wounds or to keep us from being wounded? Shouldn’t we also spend time figuring out how we may interact so that we don’t wound others while we go about our business? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I spend too much time dwelling on the negative rather than actually solving problems. Someone might call that brooding. I don’t like to think of it that way when I’m describing my own behavior. Yours, yes, but mine, no.
Let’s call it what it is. Negativity. And there’s a time for that provided it is productive. Let me lay out some scripture.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.
I’m going to be honest, sometimes I spend time for war in my mind when I should be spending time for peace.
Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
There are many, many more passages, but I am going to leave you with this one. We usually hear only part of it, to our disservice. I think you’ll agree.
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
My takeaway from all this? As someone dear to me pointed out, I spend more time than necessary letting my thoughts control me rather than me controlling my thoughts. While I may not be able to control many things that happen in my life, I do have a great deal of say-so of what happens in my mind and through my mouth. There is a time and place for everything.
Father, thank you for caring people who give feedback. Thank you for scripture. As you have written, your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers