Miss me? It’s been quite the week, y’all. Finals, coming home, general exhaustion. But I’m sitting by a fireplace with a cup of tea (that my sister made me) and a Christmas tree, so all is well.
This is another post is I’ve been wanting to write for awhile. It’s something I think about and talk about a lot, especially when it comes to people asking for my relationship advice. It’s a truth that can permeate every area of my life if I let it. I can’t take full credit for the idea though. Last year one of my friends (hi Steph) passed along some of her sister’s wisdom that has stuck with me. It was based off of Philippians 4:8.
We all know Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
You’ve probably been in Bible studies where you’ve gone through all these adjectives describing what we should be thinking about. You’ve probably made lists of honorable, pure, and lovely thoughts you should be having throughout the day. Instead of going crazy deep into this verse, I’ve found myself stopping on the first three words:
Whatever is true.
What does it mean to meditate on what is true? How often do I choose to look at what is true, whether that’s the Lord’s truth in Scripture or what’s true about the circumstances He’s put me in?
One of my strengths (according to StrengthFinders) is futuristic, so maybe part of it is that, but I think we all have a natural tendency to dream. It’s part of the reason we love Netflix, books, and movies. It’s why we think it’s fun to look back through photo albums or old Instagram feeds. We love ideals. We love imagining or remembering the best. There’s a necessity for hope when it comes to walking with Jesus and expecting Him to move. But what do we do when hope gets muddled with our desires? When what we want blurs the lines of what God is actually doing in our present? This is where He calls us back to what is true.
What’s so freeing about meditating on what is true is that it doesn’t limit the scope of your circumstances. It doesn’t keep you stuck where you are today. It doesn’t hinder dreaming because it doesn’t mean that what is true today is the same thing that will be true tomorrow, or next month, or a year from now. Meditating on what is true right now doesn’t limit what God can do later. It just means that you’ll be less likely to miss the blessings and beauty of today.
Dwelling on what is true also stops our thoughts and dreams before they become linked with misplaced desires or hinder us from seeing what God is doing in the present. It doesn’t allow us to miss out on the significance of God’s work in our present. We don’t want to miss out on living into what is true right now, even if it’s hard or painful or not what we would choose. Because, whether for better or worse, it may not be what is true later on.
This has been such a foundational way of thinking for me, in every area of my life, but specifically when it comes to relationships. Or rather, desired relationships. It’s easy to dream about whether that boy over there likes me. It’s easy to read into signals of kindness or friendship and imagine that there’s something. Does he like me? Will he ever like me? What if he came over here and swept me off my feet? Would we work as a couple? And so on and so forth. . .Or maybe there isn’t even a boy that I’m crushing on. Maybe it’s just the overarching desire to be in a relationship.
Whatever the dreams, it’s easy to slip into a place of desire that can blind you to what the Lord is doing right now. It’s easy to become distracted and disillusioned, and ultimately disappointed when the things you’ve imagined for yourself come crashing down.
So, meditate on whatever is true.
This includes every general, cliché truth about who the Lord says you are and what He is doing in the world. It means reading Scripture and letting it’s words sink into our hearts, whether we feel it or not. It means sitting at the feet of Jesus and letting Him tell you what is true in your life right now. It also means honestly looking at your circumstances, emotions, and situations, choosing to see what is true in them, not necessarily what you’d like to be true.
It’s not the funnest line of Scripture I’ve ever meditated on. But it continually brings me back to what the Lord is doing in my life today and reminds me to hope in His trustworthy plans for the future.