What are we supposed to think?

Challenge Question #3 for leaders and teachers.

What are we supposed to think?

Brake lights came on, then her left turn signal followed. She was traveling in the far right lane of seven lanes, next to the curb and approaching the mall. As she approached the driveway on her right, less than 100 feet in front of me, and just as she had indicated she turned sharply left. Yes I said left, from the far right lane, across six other lanes of traffic. Tires screeching, horns honking, birds flying all expressing the complete and utter confusion of those driving near her. What were we supposed to think?

I relayed this story a few weeks later to my small group at church. One of the ladies who lead the group said, “You need to learn to understand when people get confused and use the wrong turn signal.” Wait, what? I replied,  “She did not use the wrong signal, SHE USED THE WRONG LANE! I mean she only missed by six lanes, it was close right? Every “indication” spoke clearly of her “intent.” It’s just that her decision made no sense to anyone else, it violated a fistful of traffic laws, it risked the lives of dozens of other drivers and passengers and was otherwise reckless.” I was sternly admonished for having no grace, no patience and for judging too harshly the behavior of others. This was the beginning of the end of my welcome in the group. What’s I supposed to think?

Fast forward a few weeks, I was riding with a younger man who was new to town. I had just told him this story and we had a great laugh together at the whole sequence. He placed a huge exclamation point on the moment with a statement I will never forget. He said, “I learned when I moved to East Texas a few months ago that a turn signal truly is an indicator of intention, but it does not say, ‘left or right’ as in most parts of the country. No it means, ‘Watch out, I am about to do something stupid.” Again, we had a great laugh and before we could catch our breath, the van about one hundred yards ahead of us on a two lane road came to a complete stop on the highway and turned on his left signal. We looked at each other and simultaneously noted, “THERE IS NO ROAD TO THE LEFT”  – only a driveway to the right!?!?!

Suddenly the van darted left off into the grass, the driver leaned hips deep out the window to check the mail in a box hidden by weeds and as we slow to a near stop with cars honking behind us, he darted back across the highway only seconds before colliding with an oncoming car, left signal still flashing he disappeared into the aforementioned driveway. Point taken my friend. What were we supposed to think?

What do these stories have to do with thought life?

There are many ways, reasons and processes for thinking. In fact, Leadership guru, Dr. John C. Maxwell wrote an entire book called “Thinking For A Change.” It is well worth the read.

I want to focus on just one system of thinking for the sake of this blog. I would love to touch a bit on reasoning, intention, directed thinking and expected return on your investment in thinking. But I am already over 500 words so I will refrain. Instead, I will give you a brief list of things to focus on.

I suspect these things will be the result of focusing on this list:

  • If you will take the time to think on this list, the stressful issues of life will have less urgency and tyranny in your life.
  • If you will take the time to think on this list, you will have more peace in your heart and mind.
  • If you will take the time to think on this list, you will improve the quality of your relationships.
  • If you will take the time to think on this list, you will be healthier in mind, body and spirit.
  • I cannot promise you happiness, but If you will take the time to think on this list, happiness will be in pursuit of you.

What are we supposed to think?

Heres the list. Think on whatever is:

  • true
  • noble
  • reputable
  • authentic
  • compelling
  • gracious
  • the best, not the worst
  • the beautiful, not the ugly
  • things to praise, not things to curse

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. ~ St. Paul in his letter to the believers at Phillipi as express in The Message by Dr. Eugene Petersen.

I truly believe that we can bring on ourselves great medical and mental destruction by allowing thoughts to prevail which are not conducive to health and success. When we align ourselves with the things on this list and discern what issues, items and persons will garner and keep our attention, we take greater control of every aspect of our lives. What are we supposed to think? Well, that is your choice, your decision and your consequences will follow. Choose wisely!


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thought life, thought leadership, relationships, willpower, discipline J Loren Norris, blog

 


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