“From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:8-9 CEB
As I’m sitting here on my couch, I am torn between checking my social media and shutting it off altogether. There is so much misinformation, fear-mongering, and rumor flinging, that it’s all a little overwhelming. I know people are just trying to be informed. Maybe they’re trying to alleviate some tension with funny memes.
Fear is contagious and it has symptoms that threaten our well being. We could choose to spend our days at home glued to the news. We could swim in negativity for days. We could let our attitudes sour with the thoughts of how the world is drastically changing around us.
Or…we could shift our perspective. We could focus our thoughts on things that are excellent and admirable, pure and holy, lovely, and worthy of praise. Pastor JoAnn encouraged us this morning to list ten things we are grateful for. These are the things I am grateful for.
- I am grateful for a group of friends willing to spend time with me as if I’m their family because I don’t have family in Detroit to be quarantined with.
- I am grateful for a school district and volunteers willing to pack and deliver breakfasts, lunches, and weekend meals to our students and families.
- I am grateful for the people who spend their days cleaning and sanitizing public spaces in order to negate the spread of sickness.
- I am grateful for cashiers and all other workers in our stores making sure shelves are stocked, people are provided for, and a sense of calm and normalcy is kept in a time where it’s easy to feel anything but panic.
- I am grateful for our healthcare workers, on the frontlines, putting themselves at risk to care for the sick and hurting.
- I am grateful for pastors who have been flexible, realizing a need to guard our communities, while at the same time sharing the love of Christ in every way possible.
- I am grateful for people calling for unity and love to abound.
- I am grateful that Covid-19 has not touched Amarillo yet, and that my family and friends there are safe and healthy.
- I am grateful for the sunshine that reminds me that storms don’t last forever.
- Most importantly, I am grateful for God that is bigger than anything this world will face. I am grateful that God provides us with good things to dwell on in the midst of chaos and heartache. I am grateful that through it all God is good today, tomorrow, and forever. I am grateful that God loves each one of us more than we can fathom.
I have been out, I have seen and heard things, I have observed people. I have found many things to rejoice in. I encourage you today, to take a walk, look out a window, focus your energy on things that you see that are worth dwelling on. What do you see that is excellent or admirable? What do you see that is pure and holy? What do you see that is lovely or worthy of praise? I encourage you to spend your thoughts on things such as these. Spread warmth and love through kind words, texts, phone calls, and an overwhelming sense of calm when others around are struggling to find these things. The God of peace is with you. You are loved. You are cared about.
Be safe and healthy.
*Pastor Cori Fouts – Youth Pastor