I’ve been kinda thinking down the last couple days… just one of those weeks when the weight of circumstances seems to pile on and you wish things were different. It’s too easy, when our 5 year old alarm clock comes tromping into our room at 6:00am, to "think down". "I don’t want to get up today," I thought this morning. "I don’t want to have responsibilities today." "I miss my family back in the States… I have to go to consulate… finish taxes… finalize budget… plan this… do that… encourage others… listen… smile… restore order… broker world peace… And to be honest… I don’t feel like it right now. I’d rather slobber on my pillow. I’d rather, in moments like this, just blow everything (and everybody) off and do what I want… which involves some sort of moping or scuffing of my heals or telling everybody to be quiet.
Anybody else have moments like that?
And in those moments, I just want to navel gaze and think down. I tend to make less eye contact with people I love when I’m like this, that is for sure. I want to think only of myself, only of my own situation, only of my own bummed-out brain, only of my own depressed heart. When I’m down, it’s way too easy to think that way… to think of the here and now… to think of what’s right in front of me… and me only.
Colossians 3:1-2 says: "Set your sights on the realities of heaven… Let heaven fill your thoughts. Don’t think only about things down here on earth."
So, as I write this post, I’m openly sharing with you the honest real-time interaction I had with God this morning. And to be honest, I don’t really want anyone, including the Apostle Paul (and maybe even God) to tell me to just perk up. "Get over it, Ken" is the last thing I want to hear this morning. But as I dwell on these words from Colossians a bit longer, I begin to see that God isn’t saying "just snap out of it, Ken."
I think God’s Word is giving me a gentle reminder that the distracting thoughts all around me right now are not what my life is ultimately all about. One reason I’m bummed today is that I feel a bit stuck in all of the things "down here" on earth. Paul says, "Remember, Jesus Christ is your real life. Think on him. Your real life is hidden in Jesus, who now sits at the right hand of the Father in honor and power. It’s hard to see, so think up about this. As you face all the stuff down here on earth, THINK UP!" Okay, so I may have paraphrased Colossians 3:1-4 a little bit there… but read through it… and tell me I’m wrong.
Earthly temptation of lurks all around us down here. Paul goes on in chapter three to remind us what happens when we think down for too long. He urges us to stay away from the sinful stuff, stay away from the lies, the lust, the anger, the rage, the maliciousness, the slander, the foul language. He reminds us in v.10 that we are being continually renewed to reflect Christ, who is above. He says something similar in Philippians 4:9 ~ "Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
I must admit this morning that my thoughts have been fixed on mire and muck. It’s hard to pull your thought process out of guck like that. So I’m thankful for the reminder from God this morning to THINK UP… it’s a freeing way to think and realize that what I think I’m stuck in is only what is down and around me… It’s not my hope nor my life… it’s the circumstance I am honored to live for Jesus in. I am to live down here… but head is to be in the clouds. That sounds kinda childlike… but there’s something to it.