“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 NASB
“If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.”
― Roy T. Bennett, the Light in the Heart
Have you had a hard time lately focusing on the good? Boy! I have! I see the news and I feel powerless and frightened. Someone close is in the midst of an addiction and I’m powerless to help. But the most disturbing problems are the everyday woes like finances, work, kids and we’re instructed to dwell on the positive. Bad news: It’s hard. More bad news: discipline. Everything is the battle of the mind.
I read somewhere if you know how to worry; you know how to meditate. I think that’s what Paul’s saying in the above verse. What we think about, or obsess over, determines our life. Fortunately, our Father knows we can’t do it without his help, which is why he left us his word, an example to follow, grace, fellow believers and a hotline to his presence.
I was given a 90-day challenge for dealing with a person in my life. The anger in my mind and soul was tormented with all the mean, sneaky, and unfeeling words and actions this person had done to me. The challenge was 90 days of praise for this person. If I criticized this person just once, I had to start over in my challenge. This person had many praiseworthy qualities. He was smart, handsome, talented, well-read and more. I started over many times before I made it to 90 days. Did it change the situation? No. Did the person change? No. Did I change? Yes. I became a more peaceful person and the interesting part was all the good changes I saw in me. Was it hard? Oh my! Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. The only person I have control over is me and that is overwhelming too. There’s my business. There’s God’s business. Sometimes I confuse the two.
Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, wrote a book, Man’s Search For Meaning. It’s about a horrendous time in a Nazi war camp. Here’s a quote from his book: “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” This is the only way to live fully. We must keep our eye on the ball.
We thank you for so many blessings and we can’t name them all. We know following your son means challenges, character development and putting the focus on you in all our life experiences. There’s always something worthy of praise, even when the feelings refuse to participate.
Help us to keep our focus on you, where it truly belongs.