“So,” Ella said. “If I’m not spending my time thinking about what I’m worrying about, what do I think about?”
She had read my post last week about worrying. Or rather, about not worrying.
“Paul suggested that his friends could think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, “I said. “And he points to the things that he taught during his years with them and encourages them to do the things where his teaching and actions intersected.”
Ella smiled. “I know that list. I’ve read it often. But I’m not sure how to actually do that. I mean, it’s easy to say ‘think lovely thoughts’ but what, exactly, are those things?”
It was a great question. I wrestle with it often. Because I find it easy to identify things to troubleshoot. I get questions all the time about what isn’t working. My facebook stream is full of opportunities to think about what isn’t admirable.
Ella interrupted my thoughts. “Have you ever considered that Paul was suggesting that we not think about everything that other people suggest?”
“What do you mean?” I said.
“It seems to me that Paul’s encouraging us to make some choices about what we’re thinking about,” Ella said. “And maybe that means setting aside what Amazon suggests as books that other people have bought. It means setting aside time to think about what we’ve read rather than running after more input. It means starting the morning with your list rather than Facebook’s latest suggestions.”
“But how do I come up with my list?” I asked. Ella seemed to be answering her own question and I wanted to encourage her.
“What if this isn’t about lists of things,” she said. “What if you said, ‘who’s the most noble person I know?’ And then you wrote them a note telling them why you appreciate them.”
I hadn’t thought of that. I said, “tell me more.”
And she did.
(to be continued).