Thursday, May 26, 2016

Be Careful What You Think

May 26, 2016

Talking politics recently with a friend, he quoted musician Chuck Pyle who said, "Don't believe everything you think." I would add to that my own quotation: "It's hard to have deep thoughts when you have a shallow mind." Alas! Such is the condition of much public thought today, and it would be disillusioning were it not for something I learned over forty years ago working with therapist Dr. Day, who talked often of "stinking thinking." Stinking thinking is the self-talk we have that does us more harm than good. It is when we find it easier to criticize than to bless, when we talk defeat, disaster, and discouragement. Life is hard, and as John Wayne is reported to have said, "it's harder when you're stupid."

"If you believe you can't, you're right. And if you believe you can, you're right again." Years ago, I heard these words from motivational speaker John Maxwell, and they haven't become untrue in the years since. How we talk to ourselves and others, and even to God, is important. Especially when life caves in, we need to speak words of faith and hope, for it is then we most need to hear them. The Scriptures are full of them, and we need to be full of Scripture so as to take advantage of the wisdom and hope they can give. St. Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 10 to take "every thought captive to Christ." My thoughts are like young calves that constantly try to break out of the corral, and it is my job to round them up and keep them where they need to be. It can be hard and ceaseless work, but the alternative is to let my thoughts rule my life instead of my faith. So no matter how compelling my thoughts may feel, I don't believe all of them. My thoughts and my feelings often lie to me. They are vicious slave drivers, and need to be put in their place by the Word of God and prayer.

I am grateful tonight for pithy sayings that tell me the truth about myself, about life, and about God. I am grateful for wise people who have thought deeply about themselves, life, and God. And I am thankful that even if my mind is shallow, I can think correct, if not always deep thoughts.

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