Tag Archives: The Message

Think About Such Things

Twitter is such an angry place. Facebook can be. All news channels can be. The old-fashioned newspapers are too, lots of negative, lots of fear. The political rhetoric is outlandish right now. I’ve read that young people are becoming more and more despondent over the state of our world. I don’t blame them. As of late, it feels like we have so many things to be concerned about.

Every single time, I get like this, I have to draw myself back, kicking and screaming, to the present moment. I have to put my phone down, turn off the tv and ask myself, what do I see, feel and hear in this present moment?

This weekend, the present moments included a trip back to the college where my husband and I met. Memories are embedded in the landscape and buildings there for us. It was our son, living in the dorm his dad lived in…such a full circle feeling.  It was a visit to see our sweet grandsons. Sunny, end-of-summer precious days by the pool with them. Watching the five month old grimace but triumphantly eat green beans. It was hugs, laughs and toddler kisses. In the past week, it was all three of our grown kids connecting with us, asking advice, telling us funny things…just being amazing human beings in our mixed up world.

As I write, right now, it is with the window cracked and the sound of rain, a respite from the oppressive Texas heat and the feeling that fall will likely come…such a beautiful and hopeful idea.

I try not to write about things that are overstated. I try not to throw more words into the universe unless they really need to be said.

This scripture, Philippians 4:8, seems like it could never be said enough, If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Sarah Young writes, This may sound easy but it’s actually quite countercultural….it’s even contrary to human nature.  Jesus Always, p. 258.

Or consider The Message translation, 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.  

Does the world seem negative and harsh right now? Is social media unbearable? Here’s an idea, don’t add to it. Don’t post anything that would not support this Biblical idea. Disconnect from the negativity you’ve been consuming and generating. Draw yourself into the present moment. Consider what is right before your eyes in the here and now. Think on these things. Be these things.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor. 

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Night Verses Light

Our daughter has always had fun with words. She twists them, turns them and creates new ones that make more sense. When she was about three she told us she smelled a “Stunk”.  Skunk is a great word but, my goodness, stunk is better. No wonder she grew up to be a very good speech pathologist.

When she was young, she would tell me things her “Sleep Brain” was telling her. Not dreams really but crazy, untruths. She somehow knew, even as a girl, that her awake brain and her sleep brain had two different points of view.

Because of her use of language, I’m able, even now, to examine a thought or perception that happens in the night as just my “sleep brain” talking. Every once in a while, in that state between wake and sleep my brain will be insightful, useful or come up with the answer to a problem from earlier in the day. “Oh, my headphones are in my hoodie pocket!” “Her name is Mary Ann!” I always marvel at my brain to work on something long after I forgot to think about it anymore.

But most of the time my sleep brain is not logical. She magnifies and distorts reality. She makes me worry and dream about pointless problems. Because I gave my heart, soul and career to the church for thirty years, my sleep brain still does a stunning amount of church work even though I let that go almost two years ago. I’ve spent many a night trying to organize sermon notes, make it to the sanctuary on time and find my clergy robe.

Basically, there is a huge difference between night thinking and light thinking. I try to keep my thoughts exposed to the light of day. I journal every day so I can be real with myself. I write down night thoughts and dreams. Sometimes I’ve even recorded my “Night Thinking” and listed right beside it my “Light Thinking.”

The Bible is redundantly about light. Ephesians 5, selected verses from The Message translation, You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer, you are out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get with it! The good, the right, the true–these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours….Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busy work, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham that they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on…the darkness…see how attractive everything looks in the light of Christ.

Night verses Light. Which one do you choose?

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller and Pace and a breast cancer survivor who loves God’s Light.