Hopeful Thinking

I'm just folding clothes, minding my own business, when the dadgum thought enters my mind. It invades my peace, interrupts the song I was humming and causes me to clench my jaw. The thought builds, grows, puts out tentacles and grabs hold. Feelings of frustration and helplessness begin to course through my mind and into my heart.

Isn't it alarming how quickly our dispositions can change as troubling thoughts seep into our minds unannounced, uninvited? It peeves me, quite honestly. But that's the battleground Satan chooses on which to wage the most subversive and debilitating wars for our hearts.

He can't rob us of our eternal victory, so he tries to steal our present peace. He can't snatch us from the Father's hand, so he tries to snatch away our joy instead. And he can't take us down with him, so he resorts to taking out our hope.

Equation for Hope
The fifth index card in my soul-satisfying menu actually contains a scripture passage of four verses. But I want to share each individual verse with you, taking time to flesh out the importance of each. And the first one has become the key to managing the warfare that goes on in my mind most every day.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope...
- Lamentation 3:21

I'm prone to allowing my mind to wander. Bill and Pam Farrel say that's because women are like spaghetti. In their book Men are Like Waffles and Women are Like Spaghetti, the Farrels point out that for us women all of our "thoughts, emotions and convictions are connected." So when we start thinking about one thing, it's not uncommon for us to traverse through many other subjects and concerns in our pursuit for solutions or understanding. And I can only assume that while we're meandering through the dilemmas and relationships and situations and lessons and concerns in our life, that we cover a lot of territory in the meantime.

And that's why we're so prone to picking up a negative thought here and there on the journey. At least that's my theory...

But gals, we have to learn to take control of our thoughts. Rather than allowing our emotions to spiral down like a spaghetti noodle twisted on a fork, we need to learn to choose our thoughts more carefully so that we maintain our hope in a hopeless world.

In Lamentations 3, the prophet laments that he "has seen affliction...forgotten happiness...been made desolate...dwelt in dark places...had his prayers shut out...and been rejected from peace." And that's the abbreviated version of his hopeless lament! This guy is hopeless.

That happens to me, too. What about you? Do you ever work yourself into a tizzy? What's a tizzy? It's a downward spiral in which God is absent and hope is nonexistent. It's not a good thing to be in a tizzy.

But then the author of Lamentations, after stating that his soul is "bowed down within," suddenly has a realization. He stops the downward spiral by calling to mind...the truth. We'll eventually get to the specific truths that brought this lamenter such hope, but for today I simply want to encourage you to follow his very intentional step of calling to mind truth.

That's not as easy as it sounds. You and I both know that. Pity parties usually include large does of the gloom-inducing drugs of bitterness, worry, fear and hurt. It's not easy to pull ourselves out of the stupor long enough to set our minds on the right things. That's why it's important to check each thought at the door of our mind before it has the opportunity to come in and take a seat. But if we do find ourselves spiralling down, we can indeed choose to do the hard work of thinking on the truth.

What lies do you need to send packing today by way of choosing to dwell on the truth instead?

Folks, this is why it's so important to have an album of soul-satisfying truths at your ready at all times. Trust me, I grab this little photo album filled with mostly memorized scriptures at least two to three times each day. These truths sustain me. They give me hope.

Why don't you share with all of us one of the Bible verses that you have chosen to call to mind recently, allowing it to restore your hope? We'd all benefit from your sharing.

And when the enemy tries to steal your hope today, don't let him. You call to mind truth, and hold onto your hope!

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