8 “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 excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Even though I am 37 years old, I am still astounded at how my opinions of God and of myself change with my most recent circumstances and latest experiences.
If I have a great day, it seems like God is better than He is if I have a bad day. If I have a great day, it seems like my value and purpose are greater than if I have a bad day. But in actuality, God's character and my worth do not change.
Maybe you apply those same misbeliefs in relationships, school and sports.
Paul, acting as a counselor, advises us to dwell on whatever is pure, lovely, true and excellent. If we do that it can crowd out lies we tell ourselves and misbeliefs we recite to ourselves. This helps us focus on what is real versus what we feel, because what we feel and think is not always aligned with reality.
Athlete, sports, academics and relationships are difficult and always changing. They can make us feel as high as the sky or less than dirt. But no matter what happens in them, know that our latest experiences, thoughts and feelings do not determine reality.
So know that your union with Christ and your place in the universe remain the same the day you score 28 points in a game as the day you score four points. They remain the same on the day you get criticized as on the day you get praised.
They remain the same on the day a girl or guy you like talks to you as on a day when you are ignored. They remain the same the day your grade is an "F," as the day your grade is an "A."
How can we remember “What’s true in the light is still true in the dark,” as the band Rend Collective put it?
Here are some ideas:
1) Stay objective. Be data based. Fixate on who God is and the deeds He has done throughout history instead of focusing on what it seems like God is doing, or not doing, today.
2) Identify your misbeliefs -- the things you recite to yourself which are not true. Write them down, then write the corresponding truth.
3) Dwell on weighty and objective things more and subjective and inconsequential things less.
4) Since God made us emotional beings with powerful feelings, do not aim to eliminate emotions and feelings. Instead, bring them into the light in hopes they can be informed by and conformed to truths.
5) Consider how many lovely, pure, true and praiseworthy things there are to think about. There are a lot.
Action: Redecorate your internal monologue. Join me in the arduous work of adorning it with wonderful and true statements.