Friday, December 24, 2010

Contentment Day 11: Cognitive Therapy at its Finest...

Philippians 4:8
8 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.

2010 (Part I): As the year 2010 comes to a close I realize that it's brought with it many challenges.  After finding out I was pregnant early in January, we soon found out we would also be moving as my due date approached.  My husband would be starting a new job half way across the country.  That meant one transition after another...and if you know anything about me, you know I hate change.  Not only were we expecting a little one, but we had to uproot our entire lives.  New job, new city, new baby...and a lot of boxes to pack.  I hate packing up.  All the boxes, and disarray...and try moving while you're entering your 3rd trimester of pregnancy.  So we make it to the big move and start our new life in a new state...only to find out that due to some state-to-state complications with my license...I can't start working!  Now I'm stuck with day upon day to just sit around and wait for the birth of my baby...with absolutely nothing to do.  And just when I finally get used to being unemployed...the baby decides to come along.  So then I go from having nothing to do, to having something to do every second of every day....with no breaks!  Being a mom has been quite a challenge...with little appreciation.   I've gone through some of my lowest points this past year.  What a year it has been.

2010 (Part II): As the year 2010 comes to a close I realize that it's brought with it many challenges...but those challenges have also ushered in some of the greatest joys I've ever experienced.  We were so blessed to find out we were expecting a baby at the start of the year.  And not only that, a baby girl...I had always dreamed of having a little baby girl.  Not only that, we found out we were moving half way across the country...closer to my family!  God was setting us up for the support he knew we would need when our little one came along.  Although moving can be a tough process, we were glad to watch it go smoothly.  John even ended up having some extra time off to help with all the packing.  Everything just fell into place, and thankfully a very-pregnant Deb was able to safely make the trek cross-country!  One blessing in disguise was when I found out I wouldn't be able to work right away.  I was stressed out at first, but soon I was able to see and appreciate that I really needed the time to rest.  There was a little bundle on the way and I needed to save up all my energy!  And God provided miraculously financially...we were thankful for that.  Right now I'm the mother of a beautiful, amazing, steal-your-breath-away baby girl who is the joy of our lives.  Watching her grow up has been a miracle to me, and has made me appreciate life in a greater way.  Being a mom has been a challenge, but every challenge is worth the joys that follow.  This has been a a year full of blessings undeserved.

Let me explain.  Today's post on contentment is centered around one topic: how we think.  

I read a book once in which the author was talking about the power of our thoughts.  She wrote two entries about her life, both of which were 100% true.  One positive, one negative.  She then challenged the reader to take a look at both entries and ask themselves the question in their own lives: Which entry do you spend the most time thinking about?

What a much needed slap in the face for most of us.  The reality is, each of us could come up with two separate stories in our lives...each story being 100% true.  One story- the list of positives.  The other- negatives.  Each story meshes together in a beautiful way to make up the threads of the canvas of our lives.  But for some reason...most of us have a tendency to really zoom in on one side and neglect the other.  The unfortunate thing is, the side we magnify is almost always the negative.

This bible passage, my friends, is cognitive therapy at it's finest: the challenge to take a look at our lives from the vantage point of the positive.  The call to totally rearrange the way that we think so that we can also transform the way that we live.

This mental renewal of the mind doesn't always come easy.  Our minds are like computers...and we program them to think a certain way.  We teach them.  And slowly these thoughts and patterns of thinking make their way into habits of thinking...sometimes permanently.

Changing these patterns takes work.  It's not easy to wake up everyday and "look at the bright side of things"...and that's not the point.  We aren't called to be optimists who forget reality, we are called to be optimists who create reality.  We get to pick the ending to our story.  You see, we're all offered the same plots in life- with joys and struggles, with sorrows and triumphs...but the ending is up to us.  And the ending is always created by the thoughts that rule our minds.

For me, I want the ending to be good.  I want to be able to look back at my life and see the mountain tops rather than linger in the valleys.  I want to learn how to take my thoughts captive and really hone in on whatever is true, noble, right,  pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy.  I want to train myself to think the way God calls me to think.  The way He thinks.

This is the way to contentment, my friends.  No matter what your story, no matter what you've been through or how you've lived your life, it's not too late- you can't go wrong if you follow that rule.  God can take your story and allow you to see it from His a masterpiece.

May He give us to wisdom to live our lives in truth, in righteousness, and in purity.  May God give us the strength to see our lives as beautiful. And may we respond with a heart of contentment. 

**Response: I'd love to hear from you.  Take some time to share your stories with me- your positive and your negative one...and then ask yourself, which one do you make your home in?  Comment below!


  1. As you know, Deb, I tend to view the cup not as half-full, but drained. Thanks for the perspective recalibration.
    I'm happy for you guys, but miss you very much.

  2. Thanks Z....hoping your cup is filling up a little these days:) Miss you too!!


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