Positive Thinking

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

In these verses, the apostle Paul is basically telling his friends in the church of Philippi to keep their minds focused on the positive things in life.  For many of us, that’s hard to do right now.  We’re isolated and worried about many things: our health, our income, and the many people across the world who are being adversely affected by the corona virus.  While these are legitimate concerns, we should not dwell on them or catastrophize.  It’s amazing to note that when Paul wrote this letter, full of joy and gratitude, he was in prison!  It seems he was able to take his own advice.  In fact, he sees a purpose in his situation:

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.  And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”  Philippians 1:12-14

Here are some of the benefits of positive thinking:                                                                                                                                                                              Increased life span
Lower rates of depression
Lower levels of distress
Greater resistance to the common cold
Better psychological and physical well-being
Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Instead of telling yourself that you or your loved ones will probably get this disease and die, give thanks for our healthcare system and the many doctors, nurses and researchers who are working to save lives.  Instead of bemoaning the fact that you can’t get out and see friends, send cards and write notes to those who are in nursing homes who are permanently shut-in.  Instead of hoarding, offer to share with a neighbor.  Take this unexpected “time-out” as an opportunity to pray and read your Bible. When you feel fearful, write down some of God’s promises. You get the idea.  I’d love to hear some more suggestions from our readers and other authors.  Can you, like Paul, see some purpose in this trial?  Are there blessings amidst the difficulty?