This past Sunday part of my family went out into the Willipa Hills of Southwest Washington State. The view from one high ridge was spectacular! We saw the Chehalis river valley, the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. My heart praised God for the beauty of His creation. My stress level always lowers when I go out into nature.
The current craze for handling stress seems to be Mindfulness. But I think this practice, based on eastern religious meditation, is on the wrong track. The Bible suggests another way.
In the last two months’ blogs, we saw that Paul’s cure for anxiety was to pray to God who would guard our hearts and minds. But the advice doesn’t stop there. Paul finishes his thought in Phil 4:8-9 in two parts: Right thinking and right action. Today we look at verse 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. —
The English verb says we should “think.” But the original Greek verb is much stronger and directs us to “focus our minds.” What should we focus on?
We tend to think about ourselves, especially in moments of stress. Mindfulness reinforces that when it suggests we focus our thoughts on where we are at that moment.
Taking a deep breath is fine. But then our minds should turn our attention to God and the excellent and praiseworthy things in this world.
As we look at this list of virtues, we see the character of God. Our focus, especially in times of trouble, should always be on God and His goodness. He provides a peaceful environment in the midst of chaos. He creates a secure place to weather the storms of life. God is always in control.
Our thoughts determine our attitudes and actions. When you are worried, don’t focus on yourself or the negative, which only brings wrong feelings. Instead, focus on God and the excellent and praiseworthy things we see around us.