“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
There was an old water oak tree between my childhood home and our neighbor’s. Chained to the thickest branch was a tire swing. We spent hours swinging on that hunk of rubber, spinning each other until we nearly threw-up, and dangling upside down by our feet to the rhythmic hum of the branch. The roots of the great oak had pushed through the ground creating just the right nook. It was hollowed out in the trunk and provided the perfect thinking spot. I can’t imagine now what occupied my mind on those hot summer days, but I enjoyed nestling in the security of the massive trunk for an afternoon of thought.
Our minds are incredible. Have you ever noticed a shadow in the distance, just after the sun is setting? The dark, ominous reflection can become a tree limb or an evil villain; it’s all in what we perceive it to be.
In that tree trunk, I used to imagine being a professional athlete, an airline pilot, or a doctor. Like many kids, I would count down in my mind, “5, 4,3,2,1, swish.” I was the best pitcher ever! Ultimately, I became a pastor. God had a different plan than I had imagined, but imagining sure was a lot of fun.
Thoughts can destroy us or make us be negative or positive. What is more, they can turn from bad into good as long as we keep our eyes on our Father. It takes discipline to be positive and maintain optimism. Many of us actually prefer to be negative. We think, if we don’t expect anything, how can we be hurt? But as our Father tells us, what we think in our hearts is what we become, even what we are.
Take time today to reflect on the positive. See conflicts as opportunities to grow in character and knowledge. Tackle problems with enthusiasm. Above all else, always remember that God is FOR us not AGAINST us. The apostle Paul in Romans 8 said it better than most, “if God be for us, who can be against us?”