And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Every day I set a goal to just say thankful statements. However, it doesn’t last long; I find some reason to complain pretty quickly. Chalk it up to human nature I guess. But I have found that preparing a script for my thoughts ahead of time is extremely beneficial to fending off the complainer inside of me.
I can make myself change what I’m thinking about. I have that ability and should use it. Whatever is worrying, troubling, or frustrating me at any given moment can be met with going back to events, words, or verses that I’ve previously prepared; I can change the subject of the discourse of my mind.
True and Honorable... My husband recently finished the book, Lone Survivor, by Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, and then we went to see the movie of it the other day. Why not think about really brave men doing really brave things? It’s inspiring. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Our US military troops are true and honorable, and thinking about their bravery, sacrifice, and guts changes my perspective on my little problems.
Right and Pure... I love being married. I love recollecting all the things God has seen my husband and me through over the years. We lived on his salary of $800/mo. when we first got married. He worked hard every day, even at jobs he hated, so I could get my degree. He treasures me and treats me more like a girlfriend than a wife. He is a loving daddy to our kids and respectful son to both sets of parents. He consults the Word and prays over every decision no matter how big or how small. And he’s just fun to be around. He’s never violated my trust and he always encourages me in the things of the Lord. Hebrews 13:4 says to “give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.” I’m so thankful to have the example of our parents’ marriages and especially my own to reflect on things right and pure.
Lovely and Admirable... God blessed us with amazing children. They are lovely. They have been discipled and disciplined as God prescribes in his Word, and the result is admirable young people. Thinking about Abby, Josiah, Gracie, and Ben makes me thankful that obeying God’s Word doesn’t lead to disappointment. God directs all parents in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 how to raise children: And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up
Raising them is a pleasure and they are turning out to be people I want to be around; it is lovely and admirable to think about my kids.
Excellent and Worthy of Praise... That would be Jesus! Psalm 145:3 says, “Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.” The Lord is behind men who sacrifice, godly husbands, and admirable kids, not to mention the host of things he’s done just for me let alone mankind. It sounds cliche to say “Just think about Jesus” during my mental breakdowns, but why not? He can change my focus quicker than I can snap my fingers if I would choose to put my focus on HIM!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 urges me: Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. And the way to obey this recommendation is to plot examples for Philippians 4:8 in my heart and give my thoughts a script rather than leave my brain to its own devices which can turn out to be a breeding ground for grumbling.
Thank you for teaching me there’s good things that come from being prepared. Help me to change the script of my heart when I get worried or frustrated. Thank you for proving you are so much more powerful than my feelings and can really literally solve my problems not just distract from them. I love you and praise you for how you function in my life. Amen!