Day 7 of 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life put responsibility for joy squarely on our own shoulders. If your emotional life is not where you want it to be, Newberry insists, it’s because you focus on the negative aspects of your life. He states, “What you dwell upon becomes increasing conspicuous in your own mind.”
You can’t blame your circumstances. Everyone can find negative and positive characteristics in their mate, their children, their job. It’s where we put our attention that brings us joy or defeat. Newberry has branded this the 4:8 Principle based on Philippians 4:8 in which the Apostle Paul directs us to focus on the beautiful and positive side of things. If your emotional state is in the pits, Newberry’s advice is to shift your attention to your blessings, your strengths and whatever aspects of your life are working well. Refuse to fuel negative emotions by constantly talking about what is wrong with your relationship, your health, your kids, the economy…anything!
Philippians 4:6 (NLT) instructs us, “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done;” 4:7 reveals the pay-off: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” From that peaceful perspective, it will be easier to think those lovely 4:8 thoughts.
The exercise today is to write down 4 ways you intend to upgrade your thought life. Alternatively, you can identify four productive thoughts you intend to think frequently. Since Paul suggests thanksgiving, I came up with four Thank You statements:
- Thank you for a godly man who loves and serves you and who loves and serves me in so many ways.
- Thank you for my beautiful, strong, capable daughter and my amazing grandchildren. Thank you for my son-in-law who loves and cares for his family.
- Thank you for my job and the opportunity to serve others while providing a living for me. Thank you that I get to work from home!
- Thank you that my life is just as it should be right now. Thank you that you hold and protect me and the people I love.
The Extra Mile option for those who are serious about living a joy-filled life is to notice at least four positive things in your life today and to write them down as they occur or when you reflect on them at the end of the day.
What amazing things happened in YOUR world today?