Focus: The right kind of thoughts
Proverbs 13:12 (NCV) It is sad not to get what you hoped for. But wishes that come true are like eating fruit from the tree of life.
Not everyday is a ‘dream come true’, right? You might be wondering if a day will ever come when any dream of yours is going to come true. Well, what is your dream? What do you wish for? What specific things are you hoping for that haven’t come to pass, as yet? Have you ever thought of writing out a ‘wish list’ for God? If you don’t have the joy you’d like today—what would it take for you to have it?
Sometimes we go along in life with a vague sense of dissatisfaction—but, if someone were to ask us why we aren’t satisfied, we might not be able to pinpoint what is particularly lacking in our lives.
You may have suffered a long list of disappointments. You might be someone who could fill several sheets of paper with things that haven’t turned out very well—but how about a list of hopes? Could you fill a page? Have you ever tried? Do you have one? It’s hard to write down something that may not seem realistic—but go ahead! As long as it doesn’t disagree with the Word of God, just go ahead and dream.
You might have the feeling that nothing great is going to happen to you, so why make some ridiculous list? After being disillusioned, it’s common to feel like you might not get as disappointed if you don’t let yourself dream about how life ‘could be’. Although nothing ventured, is nothing gained.
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Not thinking the good thoughts might be one way of coping—but God wants you to have a vision. People ‘do better’ when they are looking ahead toward something they are hoping for. Looking forward is what ‘faith’ is all about. If God didn’t want us to look forward with hopeful thoughts—there would be no need for faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” If God had a problem with us asking for things—Jesus wouldn’t have said in John 16:24, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
So, make a wish list. A list of things ‘hoped for’ gives you a way to track positive results. Looking back at your list from time to time, you will be surprised as you recall many things that were only dreams at one time…and how they came to pass.
Take time out for a moment and picture yourself laying on a big branch of a huge tree with limbs that spread out far and wide. You are relaxing on that branch and there’s a thick, fluffy canopy of leaves all around you. It’s a comfortable spot—very sheltered and secure. As you are lounging—you gaze around and notice a variety of beautiful, ripe, luscious fruit. All of the fruit is within your reach. You have permission to be in the tree and eat all the fruit you want. Looking from one piece of fruit to the next—it’s hard to know which one to take first. You can stay in the tree as long as you want—there’s no hurry and no limit to what you can have. You are in the tree of life and the fruit is there for you to enjoy.
You might be out of the habit of imagining anything happy. When you allow your mind to wander—it probably takes you on a trip to places where you have to recall disturbing memories or harsh realities that are stressful and filled with pressure. Have you come to feel an obligation to spend your time contemplating things that have caused you—or still cause you pain? Are you uncomfortable when you allow yourself to think about anything happening that would bring you pleasure?
How did you feel when you were trying to imagine being inside of that big tree with all of the wonderful fruit? Did you find it awkward to visualize being in there? Was it difficult to imagine not having to worry about the amount of time you could stay on that limb—or how much fruit you could have?
Suppressing dreams and hopes because of depression can cause some people to move toward substance abuse. Your mind has a real need for relief from stress and pressure. If something or someone has made you feel you don’t deserve to have good things happen—you might be tempted to escape in one way or another.
God wants you to be filled with joy. He wants you to believe good things can happen to you. He wants you to focus your mind on the right kind of thoughts and embrace the wonderful plans He has for your future. He wants you to abide in the tree of life and enjoy eating the fruit that represents wishes which have come true.
Declaration: I will find new strength by believing God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life. I will make a list of good and righteous hopes. I will stop imagining the ‘worst’ and start living in expectation of my dreams coming true.
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