I learned in recovery that our minds are like huge magnifying lens: Whatever we put our attention on tends to grow and overwhelm us – for bad or also for good: If I focus on the negative parts of my life – I am a 400 pound addict divorcee’ who lost his home in a foreclosure and almost never get to see my son or do the things that I used to love to do – oh and I now am medication dependent and have to shoot up once a week for the rest of my life and take a handful of pills three times a day, or it will be a really short life – then I am apt to give up and go have a drink and end up right back where I was – alone, hating what I had become and just wanting to die. . . or I can focus on the positives: I am only 47, I have a good church, a good group of friends and family that are supportive and love me, a good job where my skills and talents are needed and appreciated, a sweet and beautiful wife who loves me and wants to live a peaceful and happy life with me, I get to see my son regularly and I have the ability to live with my medical issues, thanks to wonderful medicine and doctors who can extend my life and I am a follower of Jesus Christ who used to struggle with an obsessive-compulsive addictive disorder that is removed from me daily by His grace – then everything seems ok and I can breathe peacefully and life doesn’t seem too bad after all. This teaching isn’t new, it was just new to me. Our guide to life, (also known as) The Bible, tells us these same concepts:
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. – Proverbs 3:1-4
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. – Proverbs 4:20-27
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22
This one is my absolute favorite – Paul really hits home with this: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is praiseworthy – think about such things – Philippians 4:8
I love you all and hope that you too can find the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.