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. – Philippians 4:8
Yes, I know I’ve quoted this verse before. Many times. But I need to be reminded of it. Maybe you do too.
Many years ago, when I launched this blog, I came up with the idea of Half-Full & Overflowing as an embodiment of attitude and spirit— a demonstration of a believing, obedient, Spirit-empowered heart.
But what if that heart gets broken again and again? What if we tire of searching for the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)? What if we’re caught in a spiritual desert and all seems sinking sand?
One thing is certain: When you look for the worst, you’ll find it. Or it may even find you.
Sometimes my mind follows a trail of moldy bread crumbs: “Do you remember this? Did you catch that? Did you hear what he said? Did you see the way she looked at you?”
It’s funny —actually, not—how many things will infuriate you when you go looking for them. People may be more concerned with what they’re going through than what you’re going through. They can be rude. Inattentive. Unavailable. Self-serving.
When you’re caught up in negativity, everything looks darker—your marriage, your family relationships, your job responsibilities, your friendships, your schedule, your countenance.
After a while, you find yourself isolated on your private Island of Self-Despair, which is a real bummer, because nothing good grows there, and no one can reach you no matter how hard they try.
But that island is all in your head, and you hold the oars to the only boat that can get you off it.
Your boat is called A New Way of Thinking.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind . . . —Romans 12:2a
I’ve heard Christians say you can’t control your thoughts, but Philippians 4:8 says otherwise. God would not ask us to do what is impossible for us to do. Romans 12:2 commands us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. This is akin to an attic renovation: You clean out all the old junk and make everything new and shiny, except in this case the attic is your head and the new and shiny is God’s Word.
Then you sit there and reflect upon God’s Word. Over and over. Every day. So when negativity comes knocking, you can chase it out with a promise from God. I will never leave you nor forsake you. And when people hate you for no reason, you can keep your focus on what really matters. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
I needed this reminder today. Since last weekend, we continue to find new and expensive repairs from the lightning storm. I’ve been battling some flulike illness and continue to await an answer from the Lord on another front. It is easy to focus on the negative when stress and uncertainty have been the norm.
Yes, you’ll find the worst in life every time you go looking for it. But when you look for the best, you’ll find that too. The best is found in Jesus. When you find yourself thinking the worst, remember He is our best.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13