The other day I was driving along the road outside of my neighborhood and approached a red light. I was sitting completely stopped and my mind was in a very far away place because I became aware of the people in the car in front of me half hanging out of their windows and yelling my name. It was a family who we know very well and are friendly with however it was only the last second that I even noticed them trying to get my attention. This happens to me all the time. I will see some of my closest friends in church in the evening and they will tell me that they had been in the car next to me at a light, or that they had passed by me on the road honking their horn and wildly waving all to no avail because I seemed to be in my own world a million miles away.

 

        My husband also teases me as well about being in my own fog especially when I am walking along somewhere. Even back in college he would tell me that he would be approaching me from fifty yards away on campus and would be smiling and waving to me as we got closer to each other and yet I would never see him until he was a foot in front of me. Even then sometimes I would keep on walking without seeing him unless he planted himself directly in front of me. He also said half of the time, I would be mumbling to myself without even realizing it. I know…it sounds very strange but I have to plead guilty. It is all true.

 

        As far as I can remember, I have struggled with this. I was the kid in elementary school whose name had to be called about four times by the teacher before I broke out of my daydreaming. I would look out of the window and the teacher’s voice very quickly became just a muted drone like noise in the background much like the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher on the Peanuts holiday specials on T.V. Unfortunately, it appears that at least one of my children as well as one of my grandchildren has inherited this not so wonderful trait of unintentionally getting lost in one’s thoughts which is the subject of today’s blog; our thought life.

 

        Did you know that what we think about and how we think has a profound impact on our lives? Our thoughts are our constant companion in a way that nothing else is. Others may know us very intimately, they may talk with us every day, they may spend hours upon hours of time with us yet they do not know all of our thoughts nor do we know their’s. Because of this truth is it not extremely important then that we attempt to guide and protect our thought life as much as possible? I am not even referring to vile or wicked thinking as that is quite obviously unhealthy for anyone. I am simply focusing on the fact that often I can find myself having thoughts that are not positive, not constructive or conducive to making me a better and more content person. For example, we had a pool put into our backyard this past spring and it was quite a project. It required me to be on the phone on an almost daily basis with the project manager in charge of the construction. Every day I found myself almost obsessing about almost every aspect of what was supposed to take place on any given day. I would awake in the morning thinking about the fact that I had to talk with him about a whole variety of issues concerning the pool. That would be alright if I would have this thought just once until I talked to him, however I would find myself thinking about it, then thinking about what I needed to tell him again, then rehearsing in my mind the conversation once he would answer the phone and even thought ahead to what I would say next in response to what he might tell me. To sum it up, I was obsessing about something that only required me to think about for a short time period however each morning I most likely spent at least a half hour lost in thoughts about that pool. How about this one? Sometimes I will be driving along and I find myself counting in my head…yes, I said counting. I mean, how weird is that? I will get somewhere near “27” when I realize that I have a serious mental problem. Another unhealthy habit I have is tending to dwell on something negative. I can have someone cut me off in traffic and I begin to think “idiot” in my brain and can’t get off of that thought. Then, since my mind is on the subject of “idiot”, I will then remember a situation in which I acted like a complete idiot the day prior by something that I said or did which in turn will then launch me into rehashing in my head whatever situation that was and on and on it goes. All I am saying is that I can spend several minutes thinking in a way that is trivial, sometimes silly and just fruitless. Perhaps some of you as you read this can relate to what I am saying.

 

        The Bible has some very specific and helpful instructions to help us with this problem. In the book of Phillipians, chapter four, verse eight, it tells us:

 

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, IF THERE BE ANY PRAISE, THINK ON THESE THINGS.

 

        Wow! How transformed would my life be if I would think only about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and worthy of praise? Would it not be wonderful to be lost in these sorts of thoughts instead of ones of frustration, anger, or meaningless pettiness? Admittedly, it might be difficult to accomplish this verse all of the time but it should most certainly be our goal. I have heard the expression many times throughout my life “You are what you think” and I believe that there is much truth to it. If our heads are filled with thoughts of silliness and shallowness, we will become silly, shallow people. If our brains are focused on the negative in our lives, on all that is not going as we think it should, then we will become negative, bitter folks. On the other hand, if we are steering our thought life to be one of high and honorable thinking, concentrating on the good and the lovely as God’s Word instructs, then we will become much healthier individuals, mentally. We will be viewing life’s challenges and experiences through a brain lens that focuses on right things with a pure motive and that would be a wonderful change that would greatly impact our lives in every way. It is easier said than done though, isn’t it?  Yes, it most assuredly is. It will take a disciplined effort on each of our parts to recognize and then stop ourselves when we discover that we are in the midst of destructive thinking patterns. It will take determination and prayer to achieve this change but it is doable and one that will lift us to a higher level in our lives.  

 

        How about you? What kind of thought life do you have? What you think about truly is your one constant companion…keeping this in mind, would you say your companion is a helpful friend?...or is it a nagging enemy?  Give it some thought…won’t you?