After many years of going to my wife with a shirt and pants in hand asking “does this match?”, I finally solved the problem. Yep, no more color questions for this guy, I finally figured out how to make sure my shirt matches my pants.
These problems and many others just like them plague all of us as we struggle to get out the door. What to wear? Which jacket to wear this day? Which shoes do I wear? What do I say to my spouse as I walk out the door? What’s for lunch today? Breakfast, coffee and a donut at the house or 7–11 coffee on the road with something sweet or do I eat nutritious today? What should I do when I get to the office? All of these questions and many more blitz our conscious thoughts every single day and yet are they really that important? We all tend to focus on the external quite a bit every day and yet we often forget about the things that really matter, the things that are internal. We focus not on the things that really will affect our day the most and we focus in on all the external processes of the day. This is something in all of us that quite frankly has to change in all of us if we want to live to our fullest potential.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8). Paul understood the influence of one’s thoughts on one’s life and he focused this verse on the process of getting out the door each and every single day. Whatever we allow to occupy our mind will sooner or later determine our speech and our actions. As our thought pattern begins to transform itself by the power of the Word, in turn, the result in our life will be a life of moral and spiritual excellence.
Internal, Not External
When I was new to sales I used to look at my front door as this huge obstacle. I truly believed that there was a “NO” monster on the other side of the door and that monster’s every thought was to beat me to my appointments and find new and less than charming ways to deny me a sale. The monster loomed large and no matter how many cups of coffee I drank, no matter how many times my wife told me I was her hero, no matter how many times I would chant “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” I could not make that monster go away.
Then a friend introduced me to journaling and reading the Bible to start my day and slowly, very slowly, the monster began to shrink. The monster doesn’t ever go away, don’t let all those motivational speakers fool you, the monster is still there but we get into a better place. Over the years as circumstances have changed I have changed the way that I do this practice and how I go about it but one thing never changes, the centerpiece of my life has to be the Word. My favorite routine now is what I call Bible roulette. I just stick the Bible in the middle of the table, look away and stick my finger in and flip the page open to wherever letting my finger just sort of roam and whatever verse it lands on that is the verse that I concentrate on that day.
Everything is still going on around me but because I take just a little bit of time away from my busyness I can focus my mind not on all the great things I am going to accomplish that day but on something far more important — eternity. I used to think this would make me some kind of Bible geek or something like that, nerdy beyond words, of more heavenly good than earthly good and all that good stuff that I (nobody else could possibly think like this) think of. I have also gone through periods of believing that this makes me superior to all others because I have a quiet time where God takes time out of the universe and visits solely with me (my nose is way up in the air right now and I will not walk outside because I may drown if it’s raining) and that all mere mortals should submit themselves to me for spiritual wisdom. Then, of course, I woke up and realized I’m a salesman, not a superhero and definitely not Bible Man (remember him?). But there is something that happens when we stop long enough and we focus on the things that Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, the beauty of a world lived focusing in on what is best in life. Think about the focus of Paul’s words for a second — true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Pick a word and begin to focus on that word. True — imagine the result of every word and thought you have today being focused on honesty; noble — decency in our behavior and thoughts; right — a thought process that has to do with justice (and forget the hogwash of social justice that is prevalent today, God wants us to think of what is right); pure — what a word to focus in on to defeat the effects of sin in our lives; lovely — the things that make people want to be around us not the outer stuff that people don’t care about in the end, the things of the inside that cause people to want to hang with us; admirable — learn what is good about the people you don’t like and admire them for that (that’ll rock your boat the first time you try it); excellent — just imagine what will happen in your life when you look for the good instead of trying to identify the weakness in others around you; praiseworthy — same thing but now focus on saying things you like about your spouse, your children, your siblings, your co-workers, your boss, your opponent. A life lived with thinking outside the box of our world around us will be a life that gets you out the door each and every single day and some days your shirt may even match your pants.
Oh, and by the way, the way I made sure my pants always match my shirts. Tan pants, that’s all I’m saying about that subject.
Don't miss a single word. Get Publishous Magazine delivered directly to your inbox each week for FREE!
Please complete the form below and you will receive the next episode directly to the email address you provide.