“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.” (Phil. 4:8 NLT)
Last night I went to sleep praising God for the many answered prayers of the day. Medical tests had come back normal; the government-funded home care agency was doubling the amount of help they were willing to give my mother; and perhaps the biggest “Praise God” was that my son, a first year PhD student in Canada, who has spent the first month of his university program living in a 12-foot, non-winterized fold-up trailer, finally found a suitable apartment for the remainder of his program. Yes. All major answers to prayer, and I was singing God’s praises. I was on a “high” for sure.
I slept well until about 3:00 am. From then on, I tossed and turned and fretted.
Oh, I remembered the apartment all right. I remembered that moving his things from our home to his new apartment would put plenty of stress on our time and finances, and I remembered that it meant my final child was officially “leaving the nest”…
And yes, I remembered the normal medical test results. I remembered that this meant we still didn’t know what was behind the odd symptoms, and I went on to remember all the possible bad scenarios those symptoms could lead to…
And yes, I remembered my mother’s extra assistance. I remembered that it was her deteriorating health that made this necessary…
I could go on, but needless to say, it wasn’t long before I was in the depths of depression.
Why? The negative things were all there when I spent the evening praising God, and the positive things were still there even though I was so depressed!
The answer is simply this: My perspective changed, and that change in perspective was enough to drive me down from a “mountain-top high” into the lowest of lows.
This isn’t the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Something was different this time, though. This time God reminded me of my happiness the previous evening. He reminded me that I didn’t have to succumb to the depression. He planted the thought in my head that if dwelling on the negative side (and any situation has a negative side!) drove me from sublime happiness to the depths of depression, then perhaps things could be reversed by dwelling on God’s blessings instead of on the negative…
Would it work?
I decided to put it to test. I began to thank God once again for the miracles of the previous day. It wasn’t even 5 minutes before I was back on my spiritual high.
The world’s wisest man tells us: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22). I believe I experienced that this morning…
But wait. Isn’t this just some kind of a mind game? You know, if you think positive you will feel better? But thinking positive doesn’t make the negative stuff go away!
True enough; but by focusing on the miracles instead of on the negative, I was able to remember that the God who worked these miracles in the first place is big enough to help me (us!) through the rest!
God gives us a powerful and interesting prophecy through the prophet Jeremiah: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.'” (Jer. 29:11 ESV). In other words, it doesn’t matter what kind of negative circumstances may abound; God has plans for our welfare,tobring us hope! Focussing on the negative circumstances will only make us forget this Truth; but when we focus instead on the miracles and blessings of God, it all comes back into sharp focus: Whatever it is we’re up again, God has got this!
In his letter to Rome, Paul gave us some very wise words: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2 ESV). By focusing on God and His blessings, our minds are renewed. We become better able to hear God’s voice. We don’t need to be pulled down the paths of worry and depression and fear. Our God will bring us through, no matter what. By focusing on Him, this Truth changes our mindset, allowing joy to return, and perhaps most importantly, allowing us to be renewed and better able to hear God’s voice.
Does perspective matter?
You bet it does! Especially when it is God’s perspective!
What are you in the midst of at the moment? What is pulling you down? Instead of focusing on the very real negative circumstances, why not spend some time focusing on the miracles and blessings of God in your life? I can guarantee that this change in perspective will bring you out of the pit of depression. Why not try it today?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Retired Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two young adults, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, The Illustrator, a 4-times per week internet Newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries.