Fix your thoughts

Published 12:00 pm Monday, October 2, 2023

In a recent study in Hebrews, a particular verse zeroed in on me. It addressed “the holy brothers and sisters who share in the heavenly calling.” God knows that I aspire to holy living and share in the heavenly calling to follow Jesus, so I felt like the verse had my name on it. Then came the directive: “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.”

When Othel and I first met in college and our friendship turned romantic, and date nights became more frequent, I didn’t need a course on how or where to fix my thoughts. Even though Calculus needed a LOT of my attention and thoughts, it never got even a portion of the thoughts that I had fixed on Othel. I kept up with my grades, but they weren’t my top priority. I even slacked off on my weekend trips to my home, because my homesickness had been cured! And it was all because of my fixation on my future husband. I understand “fixed thoughts.”

When that Hebrews verse reminded me of where to fix my thoughts in my present space in life, I began doing some soul-searching. Just where were my thoughts fixed as a believer years away from my romantic fixation? Did I fix my thoughts on our finances?

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Certainly there was a time in our first years of marriage that we thought the credit card was the quick fix to any financial need. Oh, it was a quick fix to a financial hole that took a lengthy remedy. Our list of Christmas gifts the first year we were married was made possible by that handy piece of plastic that spends with such ease. The reward came when the statements arrived along with the high rates of interest. For months we tackled those bills and gave them our primary focus.

We learned too late that if our focus and thoughts had been on Jesus, He would have shown us the wisdom of depending on Him for our financial needs and not a greedy credit company. Our focus was divided.

There were the regular family incidents of raising our two children — emergency rooms, sickness, school issues, braces and the extra financial requirements. I look back to those days and can recall involvement in our church, but I can also remember that visitor we call Worry that wanted to insert his influence in some of our more difficult challenges. Did I focus on that visitor or on Jesus? Some of both, I’m sorry to say. Now I understand how an undivided focus on Jesus would have kept my mind free of worry because of His faithfulness and nearness that are always a constant.

There was that difficult chapter in our lives when we switched roles with our parents. They had reached the age when they needed our care. It was such a challenging role for everyone involved. “How” and the “what ifs” bombarded my mind during many late, sleepless nights. I knew where my thoughts and trust should be, but it took a constant focus on God to carry us through that chapter.

Now comes the chapter of being grandparents and great-grandparents. What a unique and pleasurable chapter of enjoying our teenage grands and little greats but in the awareness that every day is a priceless gift. I’m not sure why fixing my thoughts on Jesus is not the challenge I’ve known in the past. However I’ve certainly learned by now that He is sovereign, just and always doing good for His children. I suppose it has most to do with my nearness to Him. I’m closer than I’ve ever been.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.