Our minds love to go back to things, over and over. We obsess about what we did wrong, what we should have done, what we want to get or who messed with us.

record player playing a record

The image that came to mind is a record player. The needle traces a groove from the edge of the record to the middle – usually for about 20 minutes. The more a record is played, the more the grooves get worn out – and the deeper the grooves become. The record starts to sound distorted; eventually, the background noise overwhelms the music. If the needle gets pushed in the wrong direction, a new groove can be made, causing the needle to always jump out of the groove it’s supposed to be in.

At the other end of the spectrum are helpful grooves. A carrier pigeon knows where home is, even from thousands of miles away.

In Philippians 4:8, Paul gave us a great way to get our needle from the wrong groove to the right groove: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

If we always dwell on our failures or obsess about what we want and can’t have, we’re filling our minds with the opposite of things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

What If we work together to get onto good grooves. Here are just a couple ways:

Memorize verses from the Bible. If we memorize those good words, they will sometimes come back to remind us of helpful truths at just the right time. Start with Philippians 4:8.

Find a friend to help you get off your bad grooves. Text them when the bad grooves start and ask for prayer.

May we find the right grooves!

Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday.