Think on These Things

staying positive when things get hard

It is so easy to get dragged down in the negativity of a situation. The devil often tries to use something unexpected or challenging to lead us to despair. This is a great struggle for me at times. I find I am either very strong in the Lord, or I am very weak. “When I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Cor 12:10) often comes to mind. This verse always seemed contradictory. But I now I know when I am weak it is everyone else’s prayers that lift me up and make me “strong.”

When I am Weak

In my weak times, I turn to uplifting songs, encouraging Scriptures, and friends. Those times are so powerful. I am grateful for them and relish them in my heart.

One exercise I have found helpful as well is to meditate on Philippians 4:8. I use it to name or state one thing that goes along with each directive to raise my mind to the things above, the good in the challenging or seemingly bleak situation.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things. -Phil 4:8

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Think on These Things

My 29-year-old husband is in a hospital bed, hooked up to monitors, under heavy anti-seizure medicine and heavy pain meds. How can I fill in these blanks? I must. Christ went to the Cross for me. I can keep going, too.

Here is how I walk through Philippians 4:8. I hope it provides you with comfort, hope and something positive to rest your thoughts on.

Whatever is true.

What is truth? It is so confusing in our world today. We as Christians and Catholics know the Truth. Think of your situation. Is it something with your kids, your parents, job, health? What is truth in that challenge?

For me…

Whatever is true: Jesus is walking with us every step of the way, maybe even carrying us. He died for us on the Cross. He has endured all and rose for our salvation.

Whatever is honorable.

Honor. Another difficult thing in our culture today. Maybe we first think of the commandment to “honor your father and mother.” What about honoring all that the Lord has giving us, our possessions, friends, church, do we honor them? How do we honor them?

For me…

Whatever is honorable: The incredible support of friends and family through texts, calls, messages, sitting in the ER with me, bringing food, and providing prayer and a shoulder to cry on.

Whatever is just.

Doesn’t it seem like Philippians 4:8 just nails each thing that our society struggles with today? Justice. What is it? How do we show it? Do we choose who we show it to and who we don’t or do we show it to everyone?

For me…

Whatever is just: That certain doctors who go above and beyond their duties.

Whatever is pure.

Purity is something that is greatly lacking today. As a teacher, I find it so sad that so many children are completely unaware of purity. They’ve never been taught or had an example of it. That can be purity of body, speech, or just innocence.

For me…

Whatever is pure: The deep gratitude and love that my husband voices to me after his seizures as he expresses his sorrow over the challenging situation and his deep appreciation for me.

Whatever is lovely.

I think of a garden on a spring day, popping with colors, a cool breeze, and meeting God in that garden. What is lovely in your life? You may have to think on this. What brings a soft smile to your face? Is it a giggle or gurgle from a baby? A look from a spouse? A scenic view?

For me…

Whatever is lovely: That a vow made just five years ago can be pushed to such an extent so early on in marriage. And to know that through this vow, our love for each other will continue to strengthen and grow.

Whatever is gracious.

Do we give each other grace? Do we give ourselves grace? I notice it is easier for me to give grace to those I don’t know. It is much harder to give grace to those closest to me, that I love most. Above all, I struggle to give any grace to myself. The last year has pushed me to humble myself and ask for grace from others again and again. I still struggle. I am getting better. It really is, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Once I finally reached out to a few people close to me and confided in them how much I was struggling, I have found help, strength, and support.

For me…

Whatever is gracious: The understanding and willingness of a few close people to step in to do whatever I need. They have not only stepped in to stay up all night or watch my husband on the monitor so I could sleep; but, in love, have pushed me to get the medical and professional help I really needed to keep moving forward to support and care for my husband.

Set Your Mind

Lastly, the scripture ends with, “think on these things.” This is what really struck me with this verse. I tend to dwell on the “what ifs” or play conversations over in the head (both before and after they’ve happened). God calls us to think on the “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious things.” Not the past, future, or negatives.

What is your current challenge, big or small? How can you “think on these things” in the midst of this challenging situation?

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Maureen Fiudo hails from Upstate NY but has found her home in the Midwest. She loves praising the Lord through song, spending time outdoors, and a good cup of coffee. Helping women see their beauty within brings her joy! You can follow her husband’s cancer journey here.

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