Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Journey

When I was taking psychology in undergraduate school in preparation for serving as a school counselor, I learned that in the 1950s there was a psychological movement based on the power of positive thinking that instructed everyone to arise each morning, look into the mirror, and say to oneself, "Everyday in every way, I am getting better and better."  If one did that each day and truly believed that what one said was the truth, then internally it was supposed to make a difference in the way one lived.

That idea reminds me of a skit that was on Saturday Night Live when Al Franken was part of the cast.  He portrayed a character who was on television who also believed in the power of positive thinking and he would look into a mirror and say to himself, "I'm good enough, and I'm strong enough, and doggonit, people like me."  It was always funny and at times he would have guest stars who would do this with him.  Perhaps this was a parody on that earlier strain of pop psychology.

Whether or not it was based on pop psychology, thinking positively about life is a good idea.  In this age of fear mongering by many in society, where isolationism seems to be promoted as the way to deal with the unknown, it is easy to become afraid of strangers or to want to close ourselves in and not enjoy life as we desire.  Thinking in a positive way about life encourages new relationships and opens us up to new possibilities that we may not have expected in our lives.  It offers us new enjoyment that we may give us a sense of fulfillment.

The book of Philippians offers advice on this very topic in chapter 4 when Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and told them, "Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (4:8)  In other words, fill your mind with good things and the negative things will not overwhelm you.

Life is a journey and as we travel along from birth to death we can become better human beings or ones that others would rather not be around.  Our lives can be blessings or hindrances to others on their own journeys.  We make choices to live so that others may be blessed with our joy and the good that we can do.

Every day in every way, we ARE getting better and better, as we walk the journey of life and attempt to make others on the journey also to experience the better in life.  We will not always make the right choices and make unintentionally harm others.  But our good intentions to continue to live in a constructive manner will outweigh our minor indiscretions now and then.  Live in a way that is pleasing to God and helpful to neighbors and know that God will be with us as we travel daily.

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