Sunday Thoughts (focus here, not there)

Today, I have a little bad news to share. (Sorry about that.)

Here goes. 

The bad news is that when it comes to your life, most of what happens is beyond your control.  

You can’t control what other people say. What they do. Or what they believe. 

You were born with a set of genes you had nothing to do with. Where you were born, and what type of community it was. 

Your parents, and whether they were good ones (or not). 

You didn’t control any of it.

The weather. How old you are. The cultural values you grew up around. Sorry, they’re outside your control.

Lightning strikes. Hurricanes, earthquakes and other crises. Nope.

Some diseases and conditions are outside your control as well. And whether someone you love dearly is lost to them is largely outside your control too.

You can’t control what people hear about you, think about you, or say about you

When you think about it like this, it feels a little helpless. And that’s not what I’m driving at. 

Because there is good news. The one thing you DO control is more important than all of those things.

You control your thoughts. You can always control your thoughts.

Think about it. Most times, when something bad happens, like you twist your ankle, you don’t get injured just once. 

You suffer twice. The first time is the actual twisting, swelling and pain. (Ouch!)

But then we start to suffer anew. Why did this happen? I didn’t deserve this! How can I dance at my daughter’s wedding? 

With all the wishing and hoping and dwelling and moping, we suffer more injuries. Mental ones. 

And my friend, these other injuries are entirely optional.

There are reasons we do this, injuring ourselves with our thoughts. 

One is it sometimes brings “rewards.” Like sympathy. Attention. A feeling of being important. 

It can sometimes become part of our identity. “Look at me, I’m that person that has to deal with [fill in the blank].”

But it makes these secondary injuries far worse than the first. And it makes it that much harder to recover and move on. 

I try to remind myself that there’s nothing that’s happened or is happening to me that many hundreds or thousands or millions of people haven’t faced before. 

I’m not special in this crisis or any other one. The world isn’t conspiring against me and only me. 

Bad things do happen. You can’t control your pain when they do.

But listen here. You CAN control how you think about your pain. You can control whether you believe this is a big deal, or something you’ll bounce back from. 

Remember that in this world, pain is inevitable. But most of the suffering happens only in your mind.

So focus on what you can control, and learn to shrug off what you can’t.

Your reward is resilience. And trust me, you’re stronger than you think.

Especially if you think you’re strong. 

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Pamela Graves - August 6, 2021

Thank you for this beautiful post. You are so right. What a great reminder to control our thoughts. I needed this today.

Peggy - August 1, 2021
A better sermon than what I heard this morning. God Bless
jerry steen - August 1, 2021

I read a comment years ago that is that is appropriate for todays message. This older man said " A lot of bad things happened to me over the years… and some of it really did happen.

Danny Crace - August 1, 2021

I know what you are saying and I agree. I have been in some of these situations. For over 21 years my wife has been battling cancer. We travel to Lexington, Ky. And Houston Tx . for her treatment and scans. When this all first began it was overwhelming and after a couple weeks I finally realized it was out of my control. So I began to talk to God about it . And during that conversation I left it in Gods hands .When I gave it to him I received peace and strength that he could handle it. That was 21 years ago and she is still with me and doing good. Thank God for his blessing !

Robert Collins - August 1, 2021

Good morning PHA, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing such positive thoughts and insight.

Jim Routon - August 1, 2021

Control what you can….Cope with what you cannot…Concentrate on what is important…1Timothy 1:7…for God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind….
Great Sunday reminder today have agreat week

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