A couple of weeks ago a coworker asked what I wanted the hubs to get me for Christmas. I responded with a list that consisted primarily of books and a couple other items priced under $20. Needless to say she was unimpressed.
Then she asked what I planned on getting the hubs. I struggled to answer explaining that he only really wanted one thing and we had already purchased it the previous weekend. The one thing he wanted cost more than my whole Christmas list put together and doubled. So it shouldn't have surprised me when she stared at me with a shocked expression and said:
'Well if he gets that you better pick out something just as expensive.'
I looked back at her in disbelief. Did she seriously think that was how a healthy relationship worked; going tit-for-tat? I was appalled. I was outraged. I was convicted.
When the time came to pay for Mike's gift I too had a selfish thought flash through my mind. I ran through a list of equally priced, yet frivolous, items I decided I was now allowed to purchase since he was getting something big. My practical nature won over and I quickly batted those thoughts away but still;
I can't believe I said that.
The hubs is so good about buying things I want throughout the year that all I could possibly want were the new release books I'd put on my list. However, for some reason I still felt the need to keep things even. I knew it was wrong but I didn't realize how ugly the thought was until I heard it coming out of someone else's mouth.
How would you feel if you had to sit and listen to someone read your thoughts aloud?
I'll be honest and say I'd feel more than a little squirmy (if that's even a word) because getting jealous of Mike's fancy gift is nothing compared to what I think when I'm in traffic or frustrated at work. So often we feel justified that all we did was think ugly things instead of actually saying them. I mean doesn't Matthew 15:11 say:
It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.
It does…but. (Gotta love those buts) Luke 6:45 also says:
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
So basically our thoughts matter. It is not enough to pat ourselves on the back because we didn't say the nasty thing we were thinking. We need to learn to control our thoughts so that nasty thought never gets a chance to take root in our hearts. We do this by committing to be ruled by the Word of God rather than by our fleeting emotions.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
When we focus on the good in our lives we are less bothered by the bad. When we take time to pray for those who are worse off than ourselves we can truly appreciate how blessed we are in spite of our perceived injustices. So as you begin planning out your goals for 2017 why not prioritize the health of your thought life over finally getting a flat tummy. I promise it's worth 1,000 times more in the grand scheme of things.