“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).
At the heart of this oft quote gem is the call to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2), yet earthly things – disease, death, and depression – rage at out front doors like floodwaters. It takes new thought-patterns to combat such negativity, so we turn off the news. We get outside. We immerse ourselves in positive thinking and encourage good headspace.
Two weeks ago, I discovered a bird had built her nest into our front door wreath. Abigail and I took quick peeks at her four cream-colored eggs and it was easy to stay positive, to turn our attention from the shadowed world to the bright things. I even considered that God cares for this mother bird and her four eggs; surely he cares for our family (Matthew 6:26)!
It all brought me comfort and cheer until the novelty faded. The floodwaters rose a little higher. I even stopped seeing the mother bird. Whatever roots my positive thinking had grown were not sustainable; my heart grew anxious again.
Why does well-intentioned positivity fall short?
Friend, these good, bright things, though worthy of our attention, fade like summer grass.
If we are to think on “such things” and experience the peace of God, we must go beyond the obvious, the temporal, that which in and of itself is unsustainable. To expect any lasting change in our headspace, we must cultivate our *soul space.
We turn to the one thing which endures forever, the word of God. Not mere ink on gold-gilded pages, but God himself, who invites us “to be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2).
To be transformed by the renewing of our minds implies that we are not only turning to God but engaging with God. To me, engagement looks like prayer and Bible reading, and to type that does not feel glamorous or particularly revolutionary – unless I shake off the unwritten rules of duration, location, and style. When I remember there’s no one right way to spend time with God, “prayer and Bible reading” becomes more than a rote phrase.
I prefer my hardcopy Bible. Maybe you operate exclusively from your phone. I panic that if I journal in the margins, I’ll run out of space and then will I archive my old Bibles like I archive my old journals? Maybe you don’t have this problem.
Maybe I’ll just come to the point since I’ve been drafting this post for three days now. In these crazy times, I, too, am looking to the bright things to encourage good headspace. I, too, am trying to remember who I am and that God is sovereign. I am quickly realizing I need to just go straight to the Source – over and over and over again. I need to cultivate my soul space.
So, to set my mind on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – anything excellent or praiseworthy, I am going to study Psalm 23 an image at a time and pray for the renewing of my mind – for a transformed SoulSpace.
You are welcome to join me!
*”Kathleen speak” for spiritual health.