I was driving down the street but I aware of nothing.
Not the beautiful clouds floating in the sky. Not the blooming trees. Not the sound of my children’s voices from the back seat.
Instead I was rehearsing the things I should have said. The things I could have said. In my thoughts, things worked out the way they should.
There was just one problem.
Nothing changed in my situation. I didn’t gain the upper hand. I hadn’t resolved the conflict.
Absolutely nothing took place . . . except my thoughts were on everything but what was really important to me.
The way that we think takes place in a lot of different ways. Our background, through pain, joy, and also through our natural temperament.
The way our heart thinks creates a distinct path that often leads us, rather than being led by us.
Years and years ago I spent an incredible amount of time trying to re-imagine conversations or encounters, or wishing I had known how to respond, or change the way something had gone. And in doing so, nothing was ever resolved. Not in the harder places.
Not in me.
Maybe you relate. When we go down that path, it’s time to shut the door because God had more for us.
We can learn how to deal with conflict and then move on.
We can guard our heart, being aware of what leads us down unhealthy thinking.
We can ask God for help (and He gives it).
We can intentionally refocus to find the good all around us.
Let’s begin by honestly answering these questions:
• Where does your thought life lead you?
• How does it impact those you love?
• What does it offer you? (There must be benefits, or we wouldn’t hold on to it.)
• What might God want to offer you instead?
Hard questions, but in the light of Jesus these questions lead us away from unhealthy thinking to noticing the miracles right under our nose.
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. Philippians 4:8 NLT
This isn’t stuffing how you feel. That conflict does need to be worked through and there are healthy ways to do it.
Yet it doesn’t have to consume us or be our identity.
Today let’s shift our focus. Listen to that child’s laugh, see that beautiful sunset, acknowledge that friend’s kindness, and let’s celebrate a thousand other tiny miracles all around us.
Join the Proverbs 31 online Bible study of The Mended Heart. I’ll see you there!