''Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.'' - Philippians 4:8
Life would be so different if we actually thought like this. If I actually thought like this.
Instead of thinking about myself all the time. Instead of constantly putting myself and others down. Instead of forgetting my worth and letting the world tell me who I am. Tell us who we are.
Why would God want this in the Bible? Can you see His goodness in this??! I see it now. For the first time. God knows that the battle in our minds is one of the greatest we will have on this earth. So He tells us what to think on so we won't have to struggle so blindly. It's not like He said, 'Don't think on __________ (bad stuff).' and then left us to figure out what the good stuff is. No, He tells us what the good stuff is, it's right and lovely. It's pure and noble. It's excellent and praiseworthy. THESE we think on.
Some days, though, my thoughts and I have the biggest battle. I pray. I ask God for help. And then I wrestle.
Some mornings I wake up feeling very dark. It's like being in a little bubble of clouds and there's no sunshine. All you feel is coldness and sadness. It's the days I live in the 'I cannot' that God's 'I can' shine so brightly and give me more strength even in just the thought of nothing is impossible for God than my weak self could ever give. It's a wrestling match for sure because darkness and light just don't co-inhabit. So the dark shows up, the light feels snuffed but then somehow the light overcomes. Crazy but beautiful.
Then there are the days where I feel like I can take on the world. Those days are joyful and hopeful but guess what. Sometimes things go wrong and those are the days that the disappointments hurt way more than you would think. I'm a feeler so when this particular disappointment happens (you know the one that hits in your stomach and makes you feel like you're gonna throw up?), I'm on my face again reaching for help... again.
And here's a thought... do you ever get tired of asking for help? I saw a billboard yesterday that said... Hand out UP. I like that. I sometimes think of God giving me handouts and He's just waiting for me to mess it all up and take it all away. Yeah, I know. Faulty thinking but aren't we sharing how we need that true, pure, noble, lovely thinking here? I've lived in my failures for my entire life. I've listened every time I've heard, 'You're the problem.' I can take it, that's what I tell myself. I can take it. So no handouts this time, right?
Problem is, HE already took it ALL.
I do mess up. I have MANY failures but Jesus took it. Look at the cross. There goes our failures and here comes His victory forever! He must just sit in Heaven looking at me like, 'Daughter, will you please understand now? Let it go.' But I don't. I feel I can't. All these thoughts scattered in my brain from early childhood until now. How my dad didn't want me. The rejection I felt. The pain of never fitting in at school. The pain of being the overweight kid and the bullying that happens. The pain of being the misunderstood. The 'odd one'. The pain of letting down my family. The pain of letting down my God. The pain of just knowing with all your heart that you will never be perfect and you never be good enough.
He knows it all.
Every thought. Every failure. Every old replayed memory, He knows. Every pain. Every tear. Every angry thought. Every single broken moment, God knows.
Maybe my thoughts will never exactly look like Philippians 4:8, but I believe that the longer we hold onto our way of thinking, the longer we let our thoughts drag us into ______________ (despair, fear, anger, hatred, dislike, unhappiness, fill-in-your-blank) the longer we will miss the noble, pure, holy, lovely, admirable things. We can't just put a stop on those old thoughts, but through Christ we can do all things. All means all, as my Sunday school teacher always says. Maybe if we just have enough faith in His all we can begin taking up thoughts that lead to joy, hope and peace in Christ. Amen?