“There is nothing either good or bad except that thinking makes it so.” – Shakespeare
Over the last two weeks, a fever virus spread through many of my children which challenged us in many ways. It wasn’t just the physical symptom of a high temperature that wore us down, it was also the emotional and mental discouragement that can accompany sickness that was most difficult to bear.
Once one person began to feel better, another began to show symptoms. I was personally worn out physically as my husband was on a week long international trip for work when the fevers began.
And when my second daughter (who thankfully remained well throughout the whole period of sickness) heard that a friend she was supposed to have a play date with was also sick, she burst into tears exclaiming that “everyone in our neighborhood is sick! I don’t have anyone to play with!”
It’s All in A State of Mind
As you may know, we gave up complaining for Lent. So we shouldn’t be surprised that in the final stretch of our “No Complaining Challenge” we were challenged to choose thankfulness in the midst of sickness.
We all had our moments of break down (It’s okay to be human!) and I will admit that on Easter Sunday I was definitely discouraged by the fact that I needed to stay home with a sick child instead of attending service with the rest of our congregation.
But after some time away to refresh myself and renew my mind, I felt uplifted again. And as I recalled what helped me through a rough patch, the main thing that came to my mind is what I was choosing to think about.
You Are What You Think
Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our thoughts are powerful. It is proven that what we choose to meditate on has a direct impact on our bodies, attitudes, and actions.
Two people can look at a situation and one can choose to see the good in it and one will only see the negative. It is encouraging to know that even if you have been thinking negatively for a long time, you can train your mind to think differently!
Science has proven that the neurons in our brain can change and adapt as we choose to change the dialogue in our minds. It takes a lot of effort at first, but the outcome will make all our efforts worthwhile!
Philippians 4:8 gives us a good filter to run our thoughts through. It says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Every morning lately, I have been starting my day by meditating on these verses. If I have an anxious thought (which I have had many!) I try to ask myself some questions to steer my mind in a better direction:
Yes it is true that my child has a high fever, but is there anything praiseworthy I can choose to focus on? Yes! That we have good food, water, medicine, tepid baths, and a comfy bed that can help her recover.
It’s Your Choice
Life throws us all some pretty nasty curveballs at times. Let’s choose to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) and receive the mind of Christ. Let’s follow the admonition of Isaiah 26:3 which says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.”
You are what you think. What will you choose to dwell on today? What will be the result?