|“Whatever is lovely…think about such things”
“You worry too much,” my cousin wrote the words that so aptly describe the workings of my mind. Just a few weeks ago I was held captive by worry as I drove home from work, not an uncommon happening.
Anxious thoughts crept into my mind and spiked on the Richter scale of patterns zigzagging across the internal screen. As I wound up the road home, the intensity of worrisome scenarios built for the questions with no answers playing on the field of my mind.
My heart beat raced keeping pace with the mind game as I flipped through pages of ways to control the outcome of what could become the reality of my worst scenario. I was almost to the stop sign when I heard the Lord whisper, “You could just think about something good.”
“Could I really JUST DO THAT?” I wondered. It’s always been impossible for me to change the direction of my thoughts without a logical explanation to refute them. But the Lord did not say, “Change the direction of your thoughts.” He said, “…just think about something good.”
I breathed in slowly and deeply, slowing the rapid pace of my heart. I looked out the car window and saw the sturdy mountains against the backdrop of a clear, blue sky. Mmmm. The beauty began to seep into every fiber of my being and the peace that passes understanding began to control my thoughts.
I was amazed. I had never experienced any change in my thinking as dramatic as that before. Just as surprising was the discovery much later that my anxious thoughts were far from the reality of the situation I was stewing over.
Gradually, I’m learning that the anxious thoughts and racing heart do not always signal a need to take action. Often they signal an overactive nervous system that needs to be infused with peace from good thoughts.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is pure, 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 4:7,8 NIV
I actually like the translation in the Amplified for verse 8 better as it elaborates on what could be admirable thinking:
“…whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and LOVABLE, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things–fix your minds on them.” Philippians 4:8 Amplified