What Do You Think About?

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

Becky said something to me the other day that’s been bouncing around in my brain. We were talking about some issue and she said, “You know, everything’s not about politics.”

Here’s what bothers me about that observation: I’m not an especially political guy. I don’t like politics or political discussions. Yet apparently I’ve developed the habit of running my thoughts and ideas through a political filter.

Where did that come from? How did I become “that guy” who seems to see things through the distorted lens of political rhetoric?

What you think about shapes what you think about.

Okay, so that’s a “duh” statement, except maybe it’s not. Maybe I could expand it a bit.

What you intentionally think about shapes how you think about everything else. And if you’re not intentional, others will happily fill the void.

SELECTIVE PERCEPTION

I’ll bet you don’t take note of ramps, curb cutouts, and steps. They’re likely part of the background for most folks, things they see without really seeing. But for me those elements are front-and-center, often the first things I notice in any new situation. We see the same environment through different lenses.

Advertisers work hard to direct our attention through their particular funnel. We’re bombarded with messages designed to focus our thoughts on body image, fashion, economic woes, celebrity gossip, sex, health concerns—it’s all designed to fixate our attention on a “problem” their product will solve.

Becky’s comment indicates I’m listening too much to the current barrage of political rhetoric.

Of course, I don’t have to be a passive victim. I can choose my own lens, but that doesn’t happen by accident. Changing my focus requires intentional decisions about my inputs.

Fortunately, I have some wise guidance about a remedy.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9

A friend once asked, a bit cynically, why God needs my attention. “Why does an all-powerful God need you to constantly give Him credit for everything?”

I don’t give God the glory because He needs my worship or affirmation. I do it to remind myself of His presence, to center my thoughts on His peace. It’s not about what God needs from me.

It’s about what I need from God.

Is there a particular lens that shapes your thinking, either in helpful or not-so-helpful directions?

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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