Think On These Things
A.A. Milne has delighted readers with Winnie-the-Pooh’s quirky cast of characters since 1926. Most of us are familiar with the tales of Pooh, a lovable teddy bear who continually dreams of food (especially “hunny”) and his friends who live in the Hundred Acre Wood. Those friends include Christopher Robin, a cheerful and compassionate boy who is wise beyond his years; Piglet, Pooh’s faithful companion who tries very hard to be brave; Tigger, whose springy tail helps him bounce rather than walk; and Eeyore.
As an old gray donkey with a tail that occasionally falls off, Eeyore often is gloomy and sad. His favorite food is thistles, which further symbolizes his melancholy. His temperament has become such a part of our culture that pessimists often are nicknamed “Eeyore.”
Whether by temperament or circumstances, we can easily fall into the Eeyore trap. Eeyore tends to notice everything. The problem is not that he notices everything but that he concludes it is bleak and fixates on the desolation.
The Apostle Paul had a few things to say on the topic of where we allow our hearts and minds to dwell. He exhorted the Philippians — and us, by extension — when he wrote:
“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.”
Philippians 4:8, The Message
If you struggle with dwelling on the negative, allow the Holy Spirit to transform your heart and mind. In my experience, this happens in two distinct ways. First, we are transformed by reading and meditating on Scripture that tells the story of a redemptive God who loves us with an everlasting love. Second, our minds and hearts are renewed by asking the Holy Spirit to help us notice the parts of our lives or the people and things around us that are good, holy or beautiful and then giving thanks for them.
An effective tool in this process is to keep a gratitude journal. Make lists of things for which you are thankful. Take note of the beauty that you hear, taste, smell, touch and see. Ask the Spirit to help you have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to appreciate what is noble, uplifting and gracious. Give thanks to the One who is the source of all goodness and beauty. You’ll find yourself moving away from Eeyore’s gloom and towards the true, noble, and beautiful.
Ms. Joy Fitzgerald Hilley
St. Martin's Lay Leader
Thin Places 165 by Joy Hilley Art
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