Do you ever have one of those mornings or days where your mind just gets stuck on one thing and can’t let it go?
Today, my mind hung out on the thought of pancakes. Blueberry pancakes, to be precise. I like this breakfast food, but usually I think of a gazillion other things. Today, not so much.
Now, I know, you’re probably going, “Lisa, I think you’ve gone round the bend. Why are you sharing this?”
Well, believe it or not, I actually think fixating on pancakes gave me a chance to think on a deeper thing. We face often the problem of repeating one thought over and over to ourselves. Typically, though, it refers to something a bit more serious than pancakes. Worry. Guilt. Shame. Fear. Anger. Bitterness. We dwell on these things; sometimes we may even think we help ourselves in that because our thought is: “Don’t be bitter. Don’t be angry.”
I talked about this somewhat in the post Stop Thinking About Elephants. I guess the topic sticks in my head because I find myself in the midst of a struggle with worry these days. I usually find myself able to push worry aside much more easily, but lately I keep going back to it.
Even the repeated self-talk of “don’t worry,” doesn’t help. Why? Because I put the thought of worry back in my head. So what’s the solution? The Bible gives us a solution, very clearly in Philippians 4:6-8 (quoted here from the ESV). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
There’s a lot here; I’m not going to unpack it all. The primary thing I want to point out is what we should think about. The list we read is entirely wrapped up in the character and nature of God. When we dwell on God, we run out of time to get stuck on maladaptive thought patterns. We come to enjoy the peace that surpasses all understanding when we intentionally seek God, praise Him for who He is, and thank Him for what He has done.
Dwell on God, first.