I’m still adapting to writing the New Year: 2016. It always takes time, but before I know it, I’ll be writing the correct year without realizing that I’ve made the adjustment. That’s how life is.
A thought enters our minds and before we know it, we are following the trail of that thought without realizing where it came from or where we will end up by riding that train. We follow perceptions without considering whether or not they represent the truth.
Once we begin this process, we often follow it with little or no evaluation of its merit. We’re going down this road, not even thinking about where we’re headed. Sometimes we don’t even realize where that road will eventually take us. We’re just traveling on it because it seems right or it feels right – but we’ve never checked it with GPS. I’m not talking about a global positioning system. I’m talking about God’s Personal Standard.
If you don’t subscribe to the Bible as a pattern for living, you won’t be able to follow this post or understand it. If, however, you aspire to live redemptively, then keep reading.
A few days ago, I heard an older, newly-retired man share his thoughts on how to live as a retiree. He reckoned with the fact that life would be different now, and he could choose to live or to just exist. It was obvious he was struggling with his identity and importance since he no longer had a set schedule and a job. Even though it was his decision to retire, he was still grappling with the changes that choice had brought.
Jonas told us that he was struggling with his thoughts. He recognized that his thoughts could take him places he didn’t want to go. So the first thing he aimed to do was to guard his thoughts.
“Because,” he said, “thoughts shape our destiny.”
“Our thoughts will take us down a road that leads to other mile markers,” Jonas explained. “And at the end of time, our destiny will be decided by the road we traveled.”
Then he carefully explained the progression from thoughts to destiny.
Our thoughts become a part of us. Before we know it, those thoughts are shared in our words.
What we think, we will say. Oh, how well I know. We all know, don’t we?
After we speak those words, we act on them. Our words become our actions.
Actions repeated often enough become habits.
Habits can be good. They don’t need to be negative, even though I often think of a habit as something that needs to be broken, fixed, or changed. Perhaps this is because our most glaring habits are often the result of not-so-good actions. Hard to admit, but true.
Soon the habits begin defining who we are. They envelop our character.
And character defines our destiny. It’s true.
There’s a verse in Psalms that says “as we think in our hearts, so we are.”
This whole progression really starts in our heart, which influences our thoughts.
Ouch. Oh, ouch!
How can we go from one bad, ugly thought to a bad destiny?
But really, how can we not?!
There’s a proven way to have our destiny be what we want it to be.
There is a way to change the course of our thoughts. It’s actually a prayer and it comes right from Scripture.
Here it is: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord . . . . ”
What better way is there to pray than to ask this, every day in 2016.
How about it. ‘Care to join me?