Sometimes our evolutionary survival traits are no longer helpful. Our brains, for example, are constantly scanning the landscape for what’s wrong. Our brains search possible threats and potential harm. But, because most of us are not in physical danger these traits are not so helpful. Researchers in gratitude and positivity have discovered that we must actually train our brains to look for the positive and good in life.
I woke up thinking about a disappointment with a friend. I started recounting ways I felt she hadn’t been supportive or engaged. As I began cycling into this negative train of thought, the Lord just tapped me on the shoulder in a way and turned my attention outside saying, Isn’t this beautiful? I was seated at a window seat in an upstairs bedroom that overlooks a grove of trees. The leaves were turning into lovely fall colors. Yes, it is beautiful, I thought. And, maybe instead of ruminating on all the ways I’ve felt rejected, maybe I should dwell for a moment on all the ways I’ve been celebrated and loved. God quickly brought to mind a handful of precious, godly people who have poured honor, love, compassion, and celebration over my little life. Within moments I felt encouraged and energized, ready to creatively engage with my day. Is it just me, or does anyone else struggle with their thought patterns?
Acknowledging beauty adds value to our lives. Meditating in gratitude calibrates our mindset. Knowing the Word of God, along with hearing His voice, determines our path. This is the scripture that God brought to mind while I was at the window seat: “The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) Please, read it again. God is not scanning the landscape for who messed up. His eyes aren’t roaming the earth to find what’s wrong! He is looking for who loves Him and will follow Him. It struck me that if He isn’t scanning the landscape for evil neither should I.
Do you combat reliving negative experiences while minimalizing positive encounters? I have to train my brain to search out the good in life! A solid instruction, written in the first century yet just being actualized by researchers today says: “”Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) It is a worthy discipline to meditate on the good in life.
My friend, I pray that the meditation of your heart today brings you joy and comfort. In the middle of the chaos, confusion, and negativity of this world, there is an oasis of peace and honor with God. Scan your landscape to discover the love He has poured out.
Allow me to be a resource for your spiritual journey. Get my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion anywhere books are sold or on my website at http://www.MargaretAllen.org