What do you dwell on in your thoughts, prayers, and conversations? In those moments before you fall asleep, as you are driving to work, as you wait for your coffee to finish brewing each morning—what are you thinking about?
Philippians 4:8 says,
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things.”
This verse and these questions were on my mind regularly in the spring of 2015. I had just turned 31 and was officially “in my thirties.” I knew I needed to dwell on the things God generously had allowed to flourish in my life. I had a loving and supportive family, a great job, friends, a church community, and so much more. My focus needed to stop being held captive by the one thing I did not have, a husband.
I used that moment and my birthday week to officially kicked off what I called “The Year of Friendship”. I wanted to focus my thoughts and dwell on the ways that God provided and abundantly blessed me with friends. My hope was to shift my focus on the good things God was doing and not my own expectations.
Honestly, it was hard for me. My habits were to let my mind think about my insecurities and focusing on the areas I was lacking, my insecurities, weaknesses, and failures. It was hard to take every thought captive and renew my mind with what was true.
In beginning of my year of friendship I was hoping to shift my attention and gratitude to the present and not focus too exclusively on my hopes and dreams for marriage and a family. We have all heard the cliche advice to focus on your relationship with Jesus, not dating, and “just like magic” the man you have been waiting for will appear. I cannot say that is true. In fact, a friendship I had hoped would be something more faded and I was once again having to shift my future hopes to Christ.
A couple months later I renewed my profile on eharmony and was matched with a man who had a cute little daughter. I had to pray and trust God as I stepped into the unknown of dating someone who was previously married. God’s faithfulness was shown to be bigger than I could have imagined, when a little under a year later I married that man, but my story doesn’t end there.
Now, almost a year and a half into our marriage I have found I still struggle to not be anxious or worried about the future. My mind naturally dwells on what I am lacking and how I am not good enough. It is amazing to me how the muscles of faith I strengthened in the process of waiting and trusting God’s plans for my future marriage and husband have atrophied so quickly. I am so thankful that I have a husband who encourages and challenges my faith and calls me to action. He is able to see my anxious heart and challenge my thoughts that are not rooted in truth.
We are now in the midst of waiting and trusting God with our desire for a baby. Once again, dwelling on what is true, noble, and trustworthy is a choice I have to make daily. In this holiday season of thanksgiving, joy, and hope I am making the choice to trust God’s plans for my life and to dwell on his ultimate provision for me at the cross.