Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Cure to a Bad Thought Life

Philippians 4:8
"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, things on THESE things."

We had a great Sunday school lesson this past week and I wanted to elaborate on it. Basically our teacher talked about 3 things that make up our mindset:

He said that "mind" is "What am I focused on?", emotions is "What makes me happy?" and "will" was something I can't remember. lol.

So what IS my mind focused on? For me, that's where the above verse comes in. My mind should be on the Lord. Does this mean I have to live like a monk and never have a thought outside of a Scripture verse? No. The verse does talk about what's pure, and honest and just--pretty heavy things that we should always be thinking about. But it also talks about lighter things like whatever is lovely and of good report. I tend to always focus on the heavy stuff when I think about my walk. I do not have a problem staying within the major "rules" of what the Lord expects out of my life. But I do tend to forget whatever is lovely and whatever is of good report. Not that I am always complaining, nor do I allow it in my kids, but I think I need to make sure we are including the lovely things that make life enjoyable. I do not tend to enjoy life with my kids. This is something that takes actual work for me. I am so busy being "Martha" that I forget to be Mary with my kids. I am always trying to instill good spiritual truths in them, I am forgetting to show them the joy that also goes along with the Christian walk. I should be focused on ALL these things in the verse.

The other thing our teacher talked about was emotions. He asked what makes us happy. And this was not in the "do what makes you feel happy" line of thinking. He was asking "what makes you happy?" to have us look at it. Am I being happy and fulfilled by what the Lord wants me to do? Or am I happy only when I am doing what *I* want to do? What the Lord wants from me right now is to be my kids' mom, to serve my husband, and to be His witness to my neighbors. Does doing this make me happy? It ought to, and most of the time it does. I am happy and fulfilled by my calling. But sometimes I have to say I am happy only when the kids leave me alone, or when my husband can be content sitting in a less than perfect house (instead of filling his need for a clean house and thereby obeying the Lord), or when I can hide from neighbors and others I encounter that always seem to notice my big-ish family and me. Are these feelings normal? Probably. Are they to be expected sometimes? Yeah. But is my focus right during these times? No. My focus is on ME and what I want at the moment. I am not loving God or my neighbor when I think like that.

SOOOoooo, again, I have things to work on. For one, it's getting off this machine and focusing on my kids and their needs, instead of trying to hide from them because I am in a funk. As my friend Erin of the blog "A Full Heart" (link in the side bar) pointed out, I am probably in a funk BECAUSE I am focused on me! I am not so wonderful that I can focus on myself and what makes ME happy and be...well, happy! The Lord IS that wonderful! He can bring back my joy when my mind and emotions are fully stayed on Him. So when are you happiest? If you really think deeply about it, I bet you will see it was the times when you were focused on someone else other than yourself.
Have a "lovely" day!


Cup of Joe with three sugars said...

Good thoughts, Steph. Thanks for sharing. I tend to be the Martha too, and then I think...hmmm, Julia isnt going to grow up and thank me for vaccuming the house as much as she will thank me for reading stories, blowing bubbles, etc. Granted, its important that I teach her to keep a clean house, but more important that I dont miss these years that she WANTS me to be playing with her! Guess its all balance. I also liked your thoughts about the Phil. passage. Ive also been thinking about how I can keep our minds on things of God..like putting His Word on our door posts...maybe stenceling scripture on the walls above the door or something. Giving it thought. So anyway, thanks for sharing. To God be the glory!

Cherishing My Days said...

i too have been thinking about the doorposts thing. seems like such a beautiful way to bind Scripture to our hearts.

My Inspired Heart said...

Great post! It really is funny how our mindset can get off balance. I'm sad to say it, but the last month has been a real struggle for me... I have been trying really hard lately to keep it all in check! This post really helped me put it in a little better perspective...Thanks!

Cherishing My Days said...

sandra, i am totally where you are right now. the last month has thrown me alot of curve balls and has me anticipating big changes, so it's always hard for me to keep focus on anything, much less for me to remember who this life is for and what the point of it all is. i love it when i go to church and hear EXACTLY what i needed to hear. it always makes me feel more special to the Lord.