new years thoughts: thinking the right thoughts

“Whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatever is of good report,

Think on these things.”

Philipians 4:8

The common culture might not be familiar with the profusion of Biblical ‘positive’ thought. Frankly, these admonitions aren’t ultimately intended to propel its readers to rendering every moment a lifetime of ecstatic happiness. Rather, we’re encouraged to think true thoughts, honest thoughts, just thoughts, pure thoughts…and to even fix our minds on them as a lifetime practice. And uh, well, this is hard to accomplish.

Some people might call this meditating. Some might call it prayer. You could call it mental training.

If you haven’t tried to capture your thoughts, I encourage you to try. For even five minutes. It’s trickier than it sounds. Our minds meander from grocery lists to next day’s activities to how we’re feeling about a friend scenario to listening to complaints about having to do the dishes again to how to tackle that complaining issue with a child, and with myself, and back to grocery lists to…and on and on.

Imagine how our world might feel if we chose to think on pure, true, just, honest thoughts. A happy, peaceful medley of purposeful, hopeful expectation…and resilience. When we choose to think what we choose to think, instead of allowing ourselves to mentally wander in untrue, or possibly untrue, or disillusioning, or confusing thought, we release ourselves from a lot of trouble. Oftentimes, a lot of made up, internal trouble.

Is what we believe true?

Do we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what we believe is completely, absolutely true?

Questioning our negative thoughts often diffuses self-defeating mental habits.

Who knew we could do so much? Who knew we could include so many people in our lives? Who knew we didn’t need to be anxious about things we had no control over anyways? Who knew our lives were so rich, so blessed, so full, despite the many troubles we think are roadblocks to true, honest, just, pure, happy lives.

Some days this is extraordinarily difficult. Other days, it isn’t easy to enact in the ordinary everyday, and always it is work, that when is repeated often enough, becomes easier as time goes by.

This New Year, I aspire to cleaning up my thoughts. Thinking on the pure, the kind, the good, the true.