I’m a big believer that true happiness works from the inside out. You can look impressive on the outside, but the inside is what counts. In other words, you can’t polish a turd. I have a feeling that on my deathbed the brands I wore, the size of my house, or how much I weighed won’t matter much. A montage of dramatic events will probably flash through my mind as I blow my nose into a hanky, cursing at the nurse for feeding me cafeteria goop when all I really want is a medium rare steak to moo me into the next life. One thing remains true: on my deathbed I will be wishing that I took the time to ponder what’s genuinely important and what’s truly ridiculous. What’s eating up my thoughts and energy now, that’s a total waste of time? Not such a terrible thing to think about.
Thought life is the key to unlocking good or bad perspective. Perspective, in my opinion, generates into actions or attitude. This really applies to relationships. If I look for bad qualities in people, guess what? I will find them. Every time. I’ve realized my successful relationships start with me believing the best about a person, even when it’s not so easy. On my deathbed I am sure that my relationships will be on the forefront of my heart. And on the frontal lobes of my pulpy brain. Sowing positive thoughts into my relationships is probably a good idea.
My thought life can get crummy. Like in the checkout line at the grocery store when people push their cart so close to me that it touches my body. Alarms go off. They are in my bubble. My face flushes. Why? Why do they stand so close? I want to grab their cart and shake it until their soda explodes. Or when you’re standing in an aisle price-checking some items and someone is trying to get by, but instead of saying, “Excuse me, please,” they sit there and stare. When you finally look up and realize they’re waiting for you to move, you feel like you’re the bad guy. Don’t just “will” me to move with your mind powers. You have to actually say, “Move, Jack!” (My fingers just slammed against the keyboard as I wrote that.)
Look, my spirit (or Patronus for you nerds) might appear to be a dancing Bollywood Indian, but I’m no guru. No perfection around here for miles. Which leads me to thinking, what’s the next best thing to a great thought life? Balance. Balancing the areas of life so I don’t end up pampering one and butchering another. That way if I missed the mark in one area, maybe I’ll nail it in another! How can I do this? I try to equally give them all attention, but only within the most important part of my life, my Creator. He gets a front row to my absurd shenanigans and hears my thought life. I’m sure it’s a real treat.
I try to balance the area of health by putting it into practice. Being healthy is important. But I’m can’t lie, I like to eat. When my clothes start “shrinking,” I panic, followed by lamenting my youth when I looked more like Pocahontas and less like Pocachubby. No one is gliding around in a canoe over here. You are now witnessing Pocahontas 15 years later struggling to get in and out of the canoe, while it zigzags around a lake. Pocahontas’ children make her tired. Pocahontas wants a bagel. I am not perfect. And that’s OK. Being perfect seems unrealistic, wouldn’t you say? If I give all the areas of life positive attention versus negative, I think eventually I’ll get positive results. So don’t give up!
Here’s the thing: A joyful heart is good medicine. Just like working out our body, our minds are also a muscle that needs conditioning. Over the phone my best friend offered me some peace of mind for some negative issues I was dealing with. I hope this helps you like it did me.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4: 6-9)
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.