I have been looking forward to today for months. Today I finally get to share this quarter’s challenge! In 15 days, you could be a new you . . . or at least on the path. If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you’re familiar with the verse in 2 Corinthians that says we are to “take every thought captive” (10:5).
And you want to, you really do! But …
If I say ten statements to you about yourself, nine of them positive and one negative, which statement will you play over and over in your mind?
You answered immediately, didn’t you? Of course, you did. Me too. (Even as I type this, a comment about a Global Trellis workshop popped into my mind. And no surprise, it was one of only a few negative comments we’ve gotten, not one of the many positive ones.
Isn’t it funny how negative comments tend to stick while positive ones tend to slide right off?
I recently listened to an interview with Richard Rohr and he explained it like this,
“Negativity and fear and resentment and anger—attach like Velcro and imprint readily. They are addictive. It’s a strange attractor.
Positivity—joy, gratitude, etc.—is like Teflon, it slides off readily. A minimum of fifteen seconds savoring for the brain to hold it and imprint the positive experience.”
Just think about what your thoughts would have been like in Eden—before doubt crept in, before fear and resentment—joy reigned. Pleasant thoughts abounded. Positive comments stayed with you. Your autopilot thoughts weren’t negative. But alas, we don’t live in Eden, broken thoughts are part of our broken inheritance.
But did you notice the glimmer of hope we can fan into flame when it comes to our minds? The flicker where you don’t have to be more, or try harder, or become Pollyanna to fight not to be so negative in your mind? It starts with only 15 seconds.
In Philippians 4:8 Paul writes, “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 is …
Using different language than “savoring,” Paul is saying something similar to Richard Rohr: You have some influence on your thoughts. Herein lies the mystery of our minds—God, in yet another mercy towards us—invites you to participate in making your brains less Teflon-y. Now, He could raise the bar so high you give up (Who has time to think about an attribute listed in Philippians 4:8 continually throughout the day?), or so low that your participation is incidental.
Instead, God is inviting you to take the time; we’ll be taking 15 seconds at a time, to savor something—a comment, a photo, the smile of your child, the new words you’re learning, time with extended family, the smell of your favorite local dish. And after 15 seconds, it will stay with you.
There is so much going on in our world right now. It’s easy for me to become discouraged by the many parts of the world that are out of my control, so that I don’t engage with what is in my control. So, here is the challenge. For the next 15 days, you will receive a daily email highlighting one of the attributes Paul challenges us to think about.
Each email will contain:
—A 15 second practice to help you think on the attribute.
—A 15 minute practice if you want to take the savoring a little deeper.
By the end of 15 days, you will have consistently “thought about such things.” Practicing these things will change you. Paul knew it and you do too . . . your thoughts form you. I hope you will dive into this challenge and let these next 15 days transform you.
15 seconds, 15 minutes, 15 days of “Whatever Is.” Are you in? Join today!