Think About What You Think About--Part I
I find the title of this issue of Pause More. Rush Less. provocative. Read it again. Clever? Confusing? Both? All I’m sure of is it’s profound. I didn’t write it. I borrowed it. This headline is actually the title of Chapter 9 in Max Lucado’s bestseller, Anxious for Nothing (Finding Calm in a Chaotic World). *
It’s a compelling book filled with insights about overcoming everyday worry and anxiety. In Chapter 9, he’s making the point that we choose what we think about—things that make us anxious—or things that restore peace and perspective. We choose to worry—or to trust—based on what we focus our thoughts on.
He recounts the story of a woman whose teenage daughter suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and how she, as a parent, became emotionally crippled because she was consumed by those two chilling words: “hemorrhagic stroke.” Eventually, she chose to “think about” a Bible verse familiar to us all, Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” When she did this, she also started thinking about everything she was thankful for, despite her circumstances. Peace followed. She was no longer a prisoner of her thoughts.
As Lucado tells it, “The words hemorrhagic stroke hovered over her life like a thundercloud. Yet, she stopped the dreaded phase from sucking joy out of her life.” She did it with thought management.
Lucado goes on to compare our thought life to being an air traffic controller. We control the thoughts that we allow “to land” in our mental airport. He says, “Thoughts circle above, coming and going. If one of them lands, it is because you gave it permission. If it leaves, it is because you directed it to do so. You can select your thought pattern.”
What are you thinking about? Especially, in this crazy time of the coronavirus, Stay-at-Home orders, closed businesses, and job losses. Worried? You have a right. Anxious? Makes sense. Fearful? Fair enough. But don’t let those thoughts--or any others that concern you--to land for too long. Like the air traffic controller, direct them to take flight and land somewhere far, far away.
Think about what you think about. And then think positive and guard your thoughts. Lucado is right when he says, “Your challenge is not your challenge. Your challenge is the way you think about your challenge.”
Now that’s a piece of advice worth slowing down—and thinking about.
* Max Lucado has more than 125 million products in print and is considered America’s bestselling inspirational author. He serves the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.
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