Think On These Things
One of the most stressful places for my son to go is to the dentist. It is an anxiety filled experience for both of us. Because of his profound special needs, he has to be sedated and held down in order for them to clean his teeth. The whole ordeal is traumatic and overwhelming. I know many of you can relate.
Several years ago, following another difficult dentist appointment, we sat silently in the car trying to decompress and settle ourselves before beginning the hour long drive back home.
While we were gathering ourselves, a lady driving a luxury vehicle pulled into the parking lot. I watched as this beautiful mom got out of her car along with her cute little girl. I remember thinking to myself, “That mom has no idea what we just went through and how hard it is for our family to go to the dentist!”
And then, it happened…
The mom walked to her trunk and pulled out a child sized walker. She then went to the other side of the car and helped her son with special needs out of the car and into the dentist’s office. In that instant I realized how quickly I had judged her and the situation before I knew the whole story.
How often do we do the same thing? We compare our lives to what we THINK someone else’s life is like when, in truth, we have no idea the challenges they face. Before we even realize it, we are caught in the comparison trap.
For me, it starts with my thoughts. A negative or judgmental thought comes to mind about someone or something, and if I am not careful, I begin to ruminate on it. I allow it to play over and over in my mind, and before I know it, my outlook is tainted and my opinion about that person or situation is changed.
Philippians 4:8 reminds us where we are to fix our thoughts.
“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.” (NLT)
We are to fix our thoughts on what is…
– Worthy of praise
This is a deliberate and intentional command. FIX your thoughts! When I stop and deliberately choose to see my life — the situations I face and the people I encounter, through this lens, my outlook and my attitude become more positive. When I don’t, my thoughts tend to become negative and I am at risk of getting caught in the comparison trap.
It is a choice that I must make over and over, multiple times throughout the day. When I choose well, I have more joy and peace and I can better handle this special needs life.
Think about it:
Think of a time when you judged someone or a situation incorrectly. What did you learn from that experience?
How have destructive or negative thoughts affected the way you interact with other people? How do those thoughts affect your perspective on being a special needs parent?
How can focusing on the words from Philippians 4:8 affect our attitudes towards others and help us avoid the comparison trap?
Father God, Thank you for helping me to fix my eyes on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. Show me anytime my thoughts are not fixed on things that please you. Amen