The Mind Game

Mind GamesPhilippians 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, think on these things.”

Last month I was asked to teach a workshop at a ladies retreat designed for our local women in ministry.  The topic?  Returning to the first love in your home.  The whole retreat was centered on the topic of returning to your first love, based on the challenge in Revelation 2:4 to the church of Ephesus.  As I prepared my workshop, focusing on how we often lose sight of our priorities within our home, I kept coming back to the truth that our loss of focus begins in our minds.

Stress is so often a factor in my own life, causing me to be worried and distracted.  That, in turn, takes my attention away from my Biblical priorities – God, husband, children, others.  The thoughts I allow to enter and take up residence in my mind will then determine my attitudes and actions.  At the retreat, I challenged the ladies to write down the opposite of the words found in Philippians 4:8.  Here’s what we came up with:

True = False
Honest = Lie
Just = Unfair
Pure = Contaminated
Lovely = Ugly
Good Report = Bad Reputation
Virtue = Immoral
Any Praise = Nothing Praiseworthy

If we take the time to examine the thoughts we allow to dwell in our minds, we can often identify them as antonyms to what the Bible tells us to think.  If a thought is false, then discard it!  If it is contaminated, discard it!  When I make the effort to bring my thoughts under the principles of this verse, I realize that so much of the stress in my life is brought about by my own thinking.  Here are some examples:

  • “I will never get furlough packing done!”  This is false, because despite how impossible it may seem, I WILL get it done.
  • “My kids will always fight!”  This is unfair, because I am not giving them the chance to mature and change.
  • “People selfishly demand too much of me.”  This is not of good report because I am thinking ill of others.

There are many more examples, but the point is this.  If we can get our thoughts under control, using Philippians 4:8 as our guide, we may find that we have a lot less “true stress” in our lives than we think.  Then we can return to focusing on what really matters and invest our time and energy in those most important to us.

~Jenn

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