How Philippians 4:8 is Changing Our Home – Plus a Free Printable
NOBODY LIKES ME!
“Come sit here close to me,” I said as I motioned my daughter to my side and snuggled her up tightly. “Want to tell me what's the matter?”
“I just feel overwhelmed,” she replied, adding a little fling of her arms for emphasis. (Someone's a little bit too much like her mother.) “It just seems like nobody likes me,” she continued. “And I hate having to clean my room all the time. And my brothers are always so mean to me.”
(This is our girl who struggles with big emotions if you couldn't tell.)
“Hmm, let's think about this for a few minutes, shall we?” I encouraged her. “You're sure that nobody likes you? And you really have to clean your room all the time? And your brothers are always mean to you? I bet you could think of someone who likes you. Let's try, shall we? Does mommy like you?”
“Does Daddy like you?”
“Does Grandma like you?”
And thus we continued, adding more and more people to the list.
“And what are some things you've done today besides clean your room?”
“Well, I played the piano some. And I ate my breakfast. And I played with my sister.”
Once again the list of good things began to grow.
“What about your brothers being mean to you? Have they done one nice thing for you today?”
“I can't think of anything.”
“Well, I'll tell you what. Let's get a piece of paper and pen. You carry it with you today, and every time someone does something nice for you, I want you to make a tally mark on your paper. You might be surprised to find out that your brothers are actually nice to you much more often than you realized.”
Now, those may seem like childish emotions to have, and we adults would never be so emotional over such trivial things…or would we?
What about those times when I throw up my hands in frustration because “I can't ever keep this laundry done! Every time I think I'm keeping up with it I find perfectly clean clothes the kids have thrown in the hamper and now have to be rewashed because they were in with the dirty clothes!” (Then I take a big, gasping breath because I just blurted out that really long sentence without even breathing.)
Oh, really? Every time, huh?
Or what about those other times when a child draws on the wall, and I mutter, “I can never have anything nice around here. Everybody ruins everything I own.”
Mmm hmm. You don't have one nice thing in this entire house. Every single thing you own is a rag.
WHERE DID THE PEACE AND JOY GO?
Can you relate? Do your children sound the way mine do? Does your own voice sound the way mine does many times?
Do you know what creates an unhappy, turbulent home life?
It's when the members of that family focus on the negative.*
*Important note: sometimes the truth is that your home life is unhappy and turbulent because of someone else's unkind and callous behavior. To acknowledge that is not “focusing on the negative”; it's being honest about the situation. If you are unsure whether you are experiencing destructive behavior from your spouse, check out this post about the differences between difficult, disappointing, and destructive marriages.
In this post, I am speaking to people who are in homes where there is mutual respect and kindness and where others are not contributing to your distress.
When we allow our thoughts to dwell on every single thing that we don't like, our attitudes can become nasty. Pretty soon all of the negative emotions that we are dwelling upon start to come out. The words we speak to each other start to become critical and sharp. Our home becomes filled with whining and arguing, bickering and badgering when the various members are looking for things to complain about.
How can we bring back the peace and joy?
We can focus on what is true. We can think about good things. We can make a habit of dwelling on the lovely.
The Bible tells us that part of the fruit of the spirit is joy and peace. But in order to be filled with the spirit, we must be filled with the Word of God.
Romans 7:25 tells us that way we do what is right is through the mind. We also find in Romans 12:2 that the way we are transformed into Christ's image is through the renewing of our mind.
I want to cultivate a habit of thinking on things that are true and good. (See also: How to Remain Calm When Your Kids Make You Upset.)
I want that for my family too.
If I want my children to think on those things, I must help them create those habits starting right now.
I decided that Philippians 4:8 was going to become our “family verse” for the next while (however long it takes before we all start to see significant growth in this area.)
There's no better guideline for choosing what to set our thoughts upon than a verse that says THINK ON THESE THINGS.
I created this printable wall art of Philippians 4:8 and hung it up in our kitchen so that we would see it and be reminded of it constantly.
(If you'd like your own copy of this scripture art, you can download it immediately using the form below.)
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