This week’s Art piece is a mixed medium: Ink with Pen and Brush and a touch of Watercolor. I took a photograph of our granddaughter’s cat when they lived in St. Paul, Minnesota 13, years ago. At the time, I probably gave her the original Ink, but I do have a photograph of the original on my studio wall.
I sometimes wonder what her cat was thinking at the time. Today, I wonder the same thing about our two cats, Tommy and Maggie. “What are you thinking? What’s going on in your minds?”
WHEN I CONSULTED a thesaurus to find words exchangeable for ‘thought’ or ‘thinking’, I found nearly 50 words in six categories: supposed (adj.), consideration (n.), idea (n.), philosophy (n.), reasoned (v.) and believed (v.). This begs the question: exactly what do I mean by ‘thinking’ in today’s blog? I thought I would attempt a metaphor.
It seems to me, ‘thinking’ describes the process undertaken when I open my medicine cabinet in search of a headache relief and find three products that may offer relief. In the past, I’ve used each one with success. This time is different. I’ve recently experienced two minor strokes and take Eliquis, this narrows my thinking to one recommended safe choice. So, what’s the point I want to make?
When I approached the medicine cabinet, for the purpose of developing a plan to remedy the headache, I was limited to the current contents of the cabinet. This information—contents of the cabinet—becomes the limit of my resources. My choice will be limited to choosing, based on my headache, what I perceive is my best choice from my immediate resources.
One source put it this way: “Thought (also called thinking) is the mental process in which beings form psychological associations and models of the world. Thinking is manipulating information, as when we form concepts, engage in problem solving, reason and make decisions. Thought, the act of thinking, produces thoughts.” When this is applied to the medicine cabinet metaphor, my thought is to act by making the best choice based on available information.
Dallas Willard says, “The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell upon.” In the medicine cabinet metaphor, my selection is limited to what we had previously decided to place in the medicine cabinet.
Think of our mind or heart as our life’s medicine cabinet. Daily we make selections about how to live and deal with life’s past, present and future ‘headaches’. What resources are available to us? What have I placed in the medicine cabinet of my mind / heart with a label I can trust to form the basis for best answers? Truth! Truth that comes from God who created and sustains all that is. Truth of God incarnate in the person of Jesus: “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know the Father as well.” John 14:6, NIV
To become a follower of Jesus is, for me, to recognize that to have an inventory in my mind / heart medicine cabinet that can truly meet my need, it must come from God as incarnate in the life of Jesus.
Here’s the big question: What is currently in the medicine cabinet of my heart / mind that gives me a ‘truth choice’ for what life puts in my path? What contents in my heart / mind would constitute a properly stocked medicine cabinet?
Our ‘spiritual pharmacist’ Holy Spirit, offers this response: “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” –2 Timothy 3:16, 17, The Message
Our ‘pharmacist’ Holy Spirit, summarizes, through the words of the Apostle Paul, the contents available for my mind / heart that are trustworthy for dealing with daily life in this physical world.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” –Philippians 4:8, 9, The Message
So, how exactly can one practically add what’s needed into the medicine cabinet of the heart / mind?
- It is a daily
- It will require time in the schedule.
- It requires a reading plan. Suggestions: Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 23, I Corinthians 13
- It requires listening to the Holy Spirit (pharmacist) as you continue to read.