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Dwell on These Things

August 17, 2010

In Sunday School (they call it “Life Group,” but it will forever be “Sunday School” to me) this Sunday, we studied one of my favorite verses:  Philippians 4:8.

“… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there be any excellence, or anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

Early in my marriage, my first reaction to any situation was to assume the worst about Ken’s reaction.  Here is a daily example:  I would leave for work in the morning, and perhaps I had left breakfast dishes in the sink on the way out.  Here is how a sample  conversation played out in my head:

Ken: “You left dishes in the sink.”

Me: “I know.  I was rushing to get out on time.”

Ken: “Well you should have planned your time better.”

Me: “Well I would have had time if I hadn’t had to iron your shirts.”

Ken: “You could have done that last night.”

Me: “And you could have taken out the trash…”

…and so it would continue.

Now, 2 key things to remember here:

1)  This conversation would last the entire 35 minutes between home and work

2)  Ken had no idea he was saying all this.

By the time I reached work well, let’s just say my mental argument escalated.

Enter Philippians 4:8.  On reading that verse in my Bible study one day, I realized that what I imagined each day was the exact opposite of Philippians 4:8.  I resolved to rewire that thought process.

The next day as  I shut my car door, the argument opened up.  I had burned dinner the night before and now the negative conversation started.

Ken: “About that dinner last night—”

I hit the stop button on that conversation, and replaced the whole thing with a different conversation.  One between me and Philippians. 4:8

Phil 4:8: Is all that you’re about to think really true?

Me: Well, no, actually it isn’t.  I’m imagining it.  What is true is that even though I burned that dinner, Ken ate it without complaint and asked for seconds.  I didn’t touch the stuff myself – it was really awful.

Phil: Mmm Hmm.  And is what you’re about to think honorable?

Me: Well, no.  I guess I’m thinking behind his back.  What is honorable is that he said, “mmm,” after the last bite, and made it sound believable.  How did he do that?

Phil: (Ignoring my diversionary tactic)  How about right?

Me: (Mentally mumbling and shuffling my feet while looking away but still keeping an eye on traffic)  Nope, it’s not right, either.  What’s right is that I know we love each other.

Phil: Pure?

Me: No.  It’s not pure to believe the worst of someone.  What’s pure is that at the beach the other day, three pretty girls in bikinis walked by and Ken didn’t rubberneck.

Phil: What is lovely about your husband?

Me: Well, 2 months ago he gave me the wedding of my dreams and a surprise honeymoon.  He cares about what makes me happy and works to provide it.

Phil: … and “of good repute?

Me: That’s easy.  No one has a better reputation for honesty, ethics and hard work.  His friends know they can count on him and he doesn’t have enemies because he’s that respectful and considerate.

Phil: Is there any excellence?

Me: Excellence?  My goodness, yes!  He married me, didn’t he?  Just kidding, Phil.  His character is excellent.  He does what he says he’ll do, and all his bosses love him because he works just as hard whether they are there or not.  At home I don’t have to mention things – He sees them and does them.

Phil: And how about worthy of praise?

Me: Sorry Phil,  We don’t have enough time for that.  There’s too much material there, and I only have 15 minutes left till I get to work.

Phil: Well then.  I think I’ll leave you to your thoughts.

By the time I reached work, our marriage had improved by at least 50%.

Here is the song I made up to remember all the parts of Phil. 4:8.  Since I’m not feeling “video worthy,” the video visual is one of my favorite pictures of  Ken and me.  I should have recorded it in the bathroom – every song sounds best when you sing it in the bathroom.  But, here it is, regardless:

Have a nice, thoughtful day!

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