Upbeat 1

For consideration:

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Philippians 4:8,9. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

So many things are written, spoken, and ruminated on today concerning what we think we don’t have, or what we’re afraid we’re going to lose… or all the awful things someone else is doing which violate our rights and the like.

Don’t get me wrong. A lot of it is proving to be true.

However, I’m reminded of a quote from Will Smith’s character from his recent movie “After Earth”, “If we are going to survive this, you need to remember, fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts you create. Now do not misunderstand me; danger is very real. But fear is a choice.

Listening to or reading many of these heavy gloom and doom reports, and political agendas, although they may be very informative, can have a real down and outer effect on us – especially if we’re sensitive and caring about what happens to our loved ones, other people in our life, and ourselves as well. I do in fact have to wonder if the propaganda mill has allowed some of the commentators to spill the beans as they do, because of the fearful effect it has on people. Being bombarded with fear tears down good moods, self confidence, creates apathy, anxiety, compromise, and the like. It can make your plate seem more full than it really is.

It really is a mind over matter issue in many ways.

Thus we find that we must really be very cautious about how much of this kind of thinking we partake of every day, or even how much we dwell on our own personal issues and problems.

Personally I hopped on the “alternative” bandwagon about six years ago. At first it was a little scary, then fascinating, and pretty soon I was hooked. I thought it was more meaningful for awhile to “wake people up”, than it was to heed and even disseminate spiritual truth and wisdom such as the text stated above from Philippians. [And the days in which that was written were far more threatening than anything we have faced so far in this amazing United States in which we live!]

Pretty soon, I became restless and easily agitated. I had a lot of problems with insomnia. I did not feel very well at all a lot of the time. It was difficult to concentrate.

Then I also began to notice that there were certain nights when I could sleep. Long story short, I realized that the factor making the difference was the kind of information which I allowed to have access to my mind, especially before heading off to sleep.

I began to see that it is one thing to be aware of what may be going on in the outside world. It is quite another to allow that information to take such a hold on your mind that it begins to effect your ability to function.

[I speak only from personal experience here. Other people may be able to stomach more of this sort of news than I’m able to handle. This is not a form of denial; it is something I’m discovering about balancing my life, and setting certain boundaries.]

In addition I began to notice that most of these commentators delight in painting the “ain’t it awful?” picture, yet few offer any solutions except, “You need to be out there waking up the other sheeple!”

Then came the self condemnation because so many of the “other sheeple” don’t want to hear it… There must be some way I can get my point across; I’m not being very effective!” On it goes. And another fear brick is tossed onto the wagon.

But then what? Where to from that point – once the “wake up” [if there actually will be one] takes place? What’s the plan?

Lord, there must be some other way, something You want me to see, something so that I can be aware of Your protection, Your peace, and Your power over all of this! Some way to manifest a life that is in itself a testimony to experiencing the powerful Grace of Your Presence.

The upshot of the answer, for me, was that I had to back off from this “info-monster” that was tightening its grip around my mind and even affecting my ability to function. I began being more earnest about being Scripturally centered, instead of worry and reaction centered. Studying and praying the Scriptures had waned in my life in many respects, as had my attentiveness to centering prayer and other spiritual practices of Divine contact and strength. When I took these up in a more committed fashion, I began to see God’s power unfolding again – in me and in my life.

Soon I began to re-discover all the beautiful, up-beat, positive things that God’s Word encourages us to do, so that we don’t create for ourselves a fear-filled mind trap – things leading us into His Presence, where there is His peace and the fulness of joy forevermore.

This is where I want to stay! May I ever be mindful of the thought from 2 Chronicles 20:9 “If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.”

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