I've been thinking a lot lately... about thinking.
There is a common adage which says "I think, therefore I am". This packs so much in a single statement. The way I choose to unpack it today is to realize that how I think, becomes who I am.
In her beautiful blog yesterday, Joyful quoted from 1 Corinthians 13 and I would like to refer to the verses just prior for this post...
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
I Cor. 13:1-3
I have found lately that I can control my thoughts as one would change a channel on a T.V. I find myself slipping into ungratefulness or criticism. Thanks be to God that He prompts me through the Holy Spirit and I can catch myself and take charge of what is running through my mind.
It's almost fascinating. One can live as a Christian, do all those things listed above (speak in tongues of men, prophecy, fathom mysteries and have great faith, be generous and sacrifice one's LIFE), yet have missed what it's all about...LOVE.
And the funny thing is that the verses that follow, about what love is, do not say "Love FEELS patient, or kind, or never FEELS like envying." Rather it says "Love IS patient, kind, DOES NOT envy" and so on.
There may be a cavernous gap between how we feel and how we are to be, yet love IS...
It's all about context. Like DC Talk sang "Love is a verb."
I think there is a great lesson there on self discipline. I hearken back to Mother Teresa again and her example. Did she always feel like serving? Did she always feel compassionate toward those she ministered to, or was she sometimes tired and overwhelmed by the needs?
Yet her life was marked by a sacrifice of love. Her face is known world wide as a face of love, careworn and gentle.
I believe she chose her thoughts, as best she could, and so must I, as best I can, with the grace of God to help me each step, each thought along the way, to be thankful, to be uplifting, to be kind and other focussed.
Surely there is life in these choices, for all of us, in families and community.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139: