FINDING PEACE AMONG THE CHAOS: Guarding our thoughts
Let’s face it . . . bad things happen, even to good people. We live in a fallen world so that is the way it is. When we find ourselves in a situation that we don’t want to be in, the most effective way to deal with it is to change the situation. For example, if being in debt is causing us stress and loss of sleep, the best way to fix this is to change the situation and eliminate that which is causing us stress; in this case, debt. Unfortunately, we cannot always change the situation. Does this mean we’re destined to be miserable if we’re in a situation that we cannot change? Thankfully the answer is “no”.
We don’t have to let a negative event control our lives. We have a choice. While the Apostle Paul was imprisoned he was able to have complete joy. How is this possible? He kept his focus on God. We may want to consider the same. Whether we choose to focus on God or not, the point is this: By guarding our thoughts, we can choose to live in peace regardless of what is happening around us.
So, practically speaking, how do we do this? What we focus on persists. Just because we may be in a “bad” situation, doesn’t mean we have to constantly focus on it. At the time of this writing, there is a nasty virus sweeping the world. Businesses are shuttering, people are losing their jobs, and many are even succumbing to the deadly disease. I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t agree that this is a “bad” situation. We do have a choice though. We can focus our attention on how terrible things are. We can worry endlessly and watch the news 24/7 reminding us of just how bad things are. As a result of our attention being on the terrible situation, we will begin to feel bad and before you know it, depression, anxiety, and fear have set in. Alternatively, we can choose to focus on something else. We can focus on something we’re grateful for. We can focus our attention to doing those things we always said we don’t have time to do. We can focus on our pets, our children, or a Bible passage.
Now I’m not saying we deny the bad thing is happening. The virus is happening. That is a fact. People are dying –yes. Businesses are closing –yes. However, we don’t need to be consumed and inundated with all the negativity associated with it. If we do, we will experience greater misery. Instead let us focus our attention on things that are good, things that we love, and things that bring us peace. The choice is ours.