We all have a past—things that have happened or not happened that impact our life. We all have the problems and distractions, sorrows and woes, laughter and joys of today. We all have hopes and dreams for the future.
While it is true that some have a past of trials and tragedy and others a past of privilege and prosperity. And some people seem to have charmed lives today and others many troubles today. The future for some is filled with promise–for others there seems to be little to look forward to. And yet we all have the past and the present and the future in our lives.
Then why is it that some people are sad or angry or discouraged about life most of the time? And why do some people embrace life with joy and excitement and energy?
Could it be how we think—what our thoughts are–about our past, present and future determine how we live our everyday lives? If we dwell on the difficulties and the sorrows does that cause us to see only the negative? And if when we look at our lives we see the lessons learned and the wonder of the journey are we seeing a life of abundance and promise?
I believe what we think (and what we say) about our lives influence our attitudes, our mental, emotional and physical health and ultimately our spiritual vitality. I believe the way we think is often learned from what we have observed growing up. Or many times it is from lack of encouragement from others. Maybe sometimes it is just easier to be pulled down than to be lifted up. Whatever the reason for our thought patterns they can be changed from despairing to affirming.
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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
It is not to say the changing of thought patterns is easy or without struggle for as Paul said it requires practice. But the blessing promised to those who persevere is surely worth the effort! Can you imagine the wonder of a life lived in the presence of the God of peace?