Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Thought or Two

Sitting with my fingers poised above the keyboard I was sorting through all the many thoughts that vied to be included in this posting, when a fresh thought made its appearance.
"Just how many thoughts does the average person have in an average day?"

I wouldn't even dare to hazard a guess, but judging by me, I'd say quite a few!

So where does one turn to find answers to such questions?
Of course, Google!

Before the advent of personal computers and search engines, I loved encyclopedias.
To be honest it took some coaxing for me to give them up.
At first I would see if I could get the answer faster than the person at the computer and often I did.
At least in the beginning!

The day dawned when I realized that, not only was the computer faster, but it was virtually unlimited.  Contrary to the volumes of my encyclopedia.

Now back to the question.
The answers varied, but it seems that the general consensus is that we have between fifty to sixty thousand thoughts in a single day.  WOW!
Of course, that includes many that occur simply from going through our day.

A few examples from my day are...
"I do not like how this toothpaste tube squeezes."
 "I need to remember to check the library for that book."
"Do we have another bottle of dishwasher detergent?"
"My ironing is piling up again."
"Eek!  I am in the midst of a patch of poison ivy!!"
Apart from the last one they are not remarkable.

What I find fascinating is how quickly our brain connects one thought to another.
We start off thinking about toothpaste, but end up wondering if our local library has the book we need for book club, which is just what happened to me.

Toothpaste caused me to think of how kind my dental hygienist had been in giving me a bag of tooth brushes and paste for my friends at the rehab.
You pass the library on the way to my dentist's office and there you have it!
It isn't always so easy to follow the trail!

Just about anything can trigger a thought and then who knows where it will take us?!

Our friend, James, joined us for dinner tonight.  He is a regular Tuesday night diner at the Reynolds'.
We got to discussing that how we view any given circumstance has a lot to do with its and future outcomes.

The other day I was speaking with a friend and during our conversation she commented that a mutual friend's son "did not have anything going on up there."
Speaking negatively about someone, especially a child, is one of my pet peeves and I asked her not to speak that way.  She continued to insist that she knows he is dumb, which is not true!
Even if he were not very smart I would not want him to receive such a message.
Words carry a whole lot of power.  We begin to believe what others say about us.  A negative message can even be conveyed without a word.
Imagine what kinds of thoughts are generated by those kinds of messages!

Today I was speaking with a friend who shared with me her concern for her daughter who seems to always end up with 'the short end of the stick'.
When we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, it usually does or at least from our perspective!

Another conversation was with a young man whose marriage is in crisis.  Many are speaking negative words to his estranged wife.  I encouraged him to fill himself with truth and surround himself with those who speak that truth so that he is able to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  The negativity has been dragging him down.  That is not our Jesus' way!

A few sites I visited in my search regarding the number of thoughts we have mentioned that eighty percent of our thoughts are generally negative!

Can that be true?
Very possibly.
Unless we combat this tendency!
Guess where I am going?  :)

Our dear Papa and His Word.
Between the Words on the printed pages of His book and the Words He lovingly whispers to our hearts we can rise above the human tendency to be negative.
We can rise above the messages the world sends our way.

I have been working my way through the Old Testament Book of the prophet Jeremiah.
The poor man had to speak many Words of warning.  Seemingly negative.
Yet, if you pay close attention you will find God's heart is crying out to His people to return to Him.
The commentary given in Moody's Today in the Word made a comment that stuck with me.
"Disobedience is a fundamental denial of God's blessings intended for us."
Allowing ourselves to stay stuck in negative thoughts reveals our lack of trust in our God.  We dishonor Him and cheat ourselves.

Years ago I heard a teaching on the Fourth chapter of Philippians, the Eighth verse.  
First the verse,
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."
The speaker suggested that we take the eight components of that verse: true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute, excellence and worthy of praise and imagine that they are each pieces of fencing.  Then picture creating a corral with them and place your mind in the midst of it.
This is to be done prayerfully, committing your mind to the LORD; asking Him to get your attention when a fence piece falls down.

Well, I did that and Papa has been very faithful to get my attention when any part of the corral is out of place.  He desires all of us to experience the joy that is available to us in Him.  Wrong thoughts rob us of that joy.

So as I wash off the Tech-nu that I soaked myself in a while ago and then apply the calamine lotion to the red bumps that have begun to appear anyway, I will remember that the truth of it is that this in temporary and  then turn my thoughts to the One who is truly praise worthy!

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