“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).
There is nothing as thought-consuming as an illness you have to deal with 24 hours a day. It makes it hard to think about anything else. And usually those thoughts end up being the main topic of your conversation. Matthew 12:34 says “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Sometimes friends and family tire of only hearing about an illness. People aren’t as long-suffering as the Lord is.
Obviously you can’t just forget about your illness or pain, but you can fill your heart with other things that will come out in conversations. Joyful things. Things of God. Pleasures of life that you can still enjoy. The more you do this and the less you concentrate on your afflictions, the more joyful your conversations will become.
How about lovely things? You can still appreciate the lovely things God has created. In my case it would be seeing goldfinches on the feeder. A sunset or a rainbow is a lovely thing.
Something else that can be lovely is music. Music is a powerful way to improve our mood. Just as in I Samuel chapter 16, Saul was plagued by an evil spirit that put him in a really bad mood. But when David played his harp for him, that mood, or “spirit” left Saul. Music can revitalize us, calm us, distract us from unpleasantness, bring to mind pleasant memories, and evoke positive emotions.
We especially need encouragement every day, and there are many good Christian programs that can be obtained on the internet which tell of admirable people and things that are noble, right and pure.
If you take time to dwell on the things mentioned in this verse, you may find you will have more joy in your heart, and that joy will be reflected in your life.
Prayer: Father, I don’t want my illness to consume my thoughts. Help me to find things in life that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy to replace the unpleasant thoughts I have. Give me joy that I can give to others. Amen.
About the author:
Julie Buckley was diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease in 1995 (scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and polymyositis) along with fibromyalgia. She lives in the midwest with her husband and has a grown son. She also has a blog site called “Healthy Souls,” which encourages Christians to grow stronger through their physical weakness, http://jabuckle.wordpress.com/
From where you are right now, can you name things around you that are lovely and praiseworthy?
This is Hawk Nelson singing “Thank God for Something.” It’s an upbeat song that I think I need to add to a playlist! The next time we are wondering how to get out of our funk, how to make the negative thoughts stop repeating in our head, we really can thank God for something and He will help us see even more of our blessings. It’s not magic. . . it is “just” the Holy Spirit. -Lisa