Some days the darkness overwhelms me.
A 22-month old with stage-4 cancer.
A friend who scoured for a job for 26 months with no response.
A mom whose post-partum depression leaves her a shell of a human despite the medication.
I lift their names in prayer, but my heart still sinks. Somehow the holidays make it harder.
How long, Lord?
A quick scan of headlines worsens my resolve.
Oppression stifles the globe.
Children of refugees with no refuge.
A cauldron rather than a melting pot of a nation.
In all honesty, this downward spiral I find myself swirling becomes deeper and darker and deeper and darker until…
I’m paralyzed by fear. Wrought with confusion. Increasingly feeling numb.
Maybe you feel this some days, too. I know we’re not supposed to say this aloud during the season of Christmas. But I wrestle with this.
Then I remember…
I burrow into the Scripture searching for a word of hope, a prayer to pray, a ray of Christ-light to break through.
And I found it.
Not where I suspected. Not where I thought. But where I should be thinking.
Because a mind free from turmoil is a mind worth fighting for.
In one of the most hope-filled books of the Bible, the Apostle Paul reminds us…
“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
Ahh, the feisty church planter gives us another tactic of how to flourish when we’re caught in the downward spiral.
We don’t have to get caught up in the speculation and scandals. We don’t have to believe that death and loss have the final word among our loved ones who are journeying through so much pain.
We can cling to Christ and in the process discover hope blossoms anew.
This passage turned prayer empowers us to move from living with expectations to expectancy as my sweet friend Gloria Gaither reminds me.
So I pray and invite you join me in prayer…
Jesus, help settle our minds on…
Whatever is True
Open our eyes to the stunning Truth founded in You and displayed in moral uprightness. Christ, our Truth, reveal Yourself as dependable, steady, unshakable.
Whatever is Noble
Open our hearts to a nobility that is not just kingly in nature, but dignified and above reproach.
Whatever is Right
Open our minds to the fullness of justness. Give us the minds of Christ.
Whatever is Pure
Open our wills to stand in holy awe of you. Give us a fresh glimpse of You.
Whatever is Lovely
Open our ears to be attune to your words, actions, and loveliness in us, around us, and through us.
Whatever is Admirable
Open our mouths to speak in such a way that leads to deference and respect for others. Help us to be the people who speak syllables that inspire and infuse others with courage.
If Anything is Excellent
Open our character to your refining process that we may live in such a way that others will give praise to you.
If Anything is Praiseworthy
Open our lives to your presence in such a way we spend our days conforming more the image of Jesus.
Father, help us to do more than think but to become and do these things. Amen.
A mind free from turmoil is a mind worth fighting for.
Now, more than even, I’m determined to flourish. Let’s make this passage our prayer…
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—let’s think about such things today.