Friday, January 26, 2007

Just a thought...

Today’s post is written by Susan Jones. Susan is currently studying at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic. Susan is working on her dissertation in women’s healthcare issues, particularly in dealing with maternal health in Africa.

I love quotes. All kinds of quotes. Whether I agree with them or not. I love them because they make me think. This week I’ve been thinking a lot about a quote by Oprah Winfrey that I ran across recently. Oprah says, “I know for sure that what we dwell on is what we become.”

Now, maybe some of you don’t have this problem, but those of you who know me well can attest to the fact that I dwell on a LOT of things. I can take the smallest event or the shortest conversation and overanalyze it for days if I don’t stop myself. As I’m typing this, I am overanalyzing the fact that I overanalyze.

But something that I’ve never given much thought to is this: How does what I choose to dwell on and what I choose to “let slide” change me? What does it tell me about who I am? How does it shape who I’m becoming?

I’m not exactly sure. But this week I’ve discovered how much dwelling on negative experiences with distrustful people has made me distrustful, too. I’ve been realizing how dwelling on things that didn’t turn out the way I expected or wanted them to sucks the energy out of me. And I’ve been re-discovering that dwelling on the things that really matter to me make me feel more alive.

Maybe that’s why Philippians 4:8 tells us this: “Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (The Message)

But then there’s a whole different set of questions. Can we ignore everything that isn’t true, authentic, and gracious? I don’t think so. How can we be a prophetic voice in the world if we don’t think about the things that aren’t as they should be? How can we change the world for the better if we haven’t spent a LONG time thinking about the world’s problems and coming up with solutions that might work?

And, to make things a little less abstract… how can I change things in my own life that I know need to change if I don’t think about them, figure out why they are the way they are, and decide what to do about them? I don’t think I can.

So, how do we learn to be conscious of the things that are “ugly” without getting so bogged down in them that we become part of the problem instead of part of the solution? I’m really asking. I’m not sure I know. But for me, this week, it’s become a question of balance. I can still think about all the things that I want to change, but I also need to be giving (at least) equal time dwelling on those things that affirm me as a human being and a child of God who really can make a difference… things that confirm that our world, in spite of all its problems, is an amazing, beautiful place… things that remind me that there is always hope.



Blogger Marie said...

Susan, your post sums up what has been going on in my mind for the past couple of months. Through my seminary experience so far(which is very different than yours I believe)I have learned that God wants to heals us from those emotional wounds(distrust, feelings of inadequecy,abandanment etc.). Part of the process of emotional healing is grieving those experiences and then releasing them to God. I have come to realize that we all need healing in some area of our life. I believe having emotional freedom from things that weigh us down is what was meant by "abundant life" we can't have abundant life while living with our "issues" on our shoulders. I also believe that we as Christians need to be more open in praying with and for eachother specifically for healing. It is a messy subject but one that would bring us all closer as a Christian community and make us more effective in our witness to the rest of the hurting world. By healing our emotional and spiritual wounds we will be better equipped to heal our beautiful but broken world.

10:26 AM  

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