Gloom and doom. Negative thinking. Pessimism. Why is it that some people seem to be programmed to focus more on the chance of failure than success, of sickness than health, of misfortune than progress? Many of us do not like to admit it, but we, too, have a tendency to look at our own personal circumstances, the challenges of our neighbors and friends, and certainly the chaos in our world, and feel a sense of anxiety, hopelessness, and at times even despair. When this happens, it is so easy to let one’s imagination start moving or to let one’s thoughts drift aimlessly through a maze of “what if’s”, “could be’s”, and a variety of complex options and solutions.
When Paul wrote to his dear friends in the city of Philippi, he had every reason to share with them the details and story of his suffering and imprisonment. He could have easily written to them, complaining about the unfairness of his situation or the injustice of his sentence. He could have focused on his disappointments, discouragement and difficulties. But, instead of self-pity, blame, or cynicism, Paul lived out the very same attitude that he was describing to all those who would read his letter. It was the mind-set of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It was the life of the Spirit of God changing him from the cantankerous, ambitious, aggressive Saul to the saint and servant that God wanted him to be. There was nothing more important to this man than “knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings” – Phil. 3: 10. He knew that who he would become was determined by the attitude and thoughts that he focused on in His mind.
When your mind is “wandering”, where does it go? When the unexpected happens or things are out of control, what are some of the thoughts that spin around in your head? When you hear rumors or have to wait for information or a diagnosis, how do you manage the scenarios that play out in your mind? What’s on your mind today? How will those thoughts play out in your conversations and life tomorrow?