Think about these things … I’m familiar with that phrase, aren’t you? As women, we think about anything and everything – ALL THE TIME! I mean, is there ever a waking moment when we aren’t thinking about these things, those things, a million and one things?!
We generally go to bed thinking about these things, wake up thinking about these things and go about the day thinking about these things. It’s absolutely exhausting!
Do you know what the phrase think about these things actually means in the Greek?
The word, think, is the word logizomai. It means to count, reckon, compute, calculate, to take into account, to consider, to gather or infer.
Isn’t that what we do? We count and recount, consider, infer (i.e. read into), and calculate (or mis-calculate) all day long. We spend so much time thinking that we often get off track about what and how we should be thinking. We make determinations, we exaggerate our thinking, we over think and over analyze until we just throw up our hands and say, “WHATEVER!”
Instead, we need to begin to “four-eight” some things. What does that mean, you’re probably thinking. Several years ago at a women’s retreat I heard a speaker give a talk based on this verse. She talked about how we need to “four-eight” negative thinking and turn it into positive thinking. I went home from the retreat and shared that phrase with my then, 10-year-old son. Like his mother, he often struggles with negative thoughts and attitudes. We all do to some extent, don’t we? I told him we needed to begin “four-eighting” our negatives. We even came up with a hand gesture. When he or I would shift into the “bad attitude” realm, the other would just say “Hey! You need to four-eight that!” and we would do the hand motion and wink.
That’s what you and I are going to learn to do with our thinking. And we’re going to end up with something really extraordinary, I promise! After all the entire book of Philippians can be summed up in one word and “WHATEVER” isn’t the word! The theme of Philippians is JOY! And as Paul closes his letter to the church at Philippi, he is doing so with great encouragement and positive affirmation not a “WHATEVER” kind of attitude.
He is saying think about these things so that joy and peace will rule in your heart. Take a look at the verse directly following our focal verse.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
What things was Paul telling us to practice thinking on?
Things that are …
So here’s how this online study is going to work …
Beginning in week 2 (that’s next week) we are going to take a category of thought and determine what and how we’re thinking. We’ll measure our thoughts against the truths from God’s Word and see if we can four-eight a few things. Our categories of thought will be …
- Week 2 – Thoughts of Self
- Week 3 – Thoughts of Others
- Week 4 – Thoughts of Worry
- Week 5 – Thoughts of the Imagination
In our sixth and final week we’re going to learn to replace the “WHATEVERS” with something extraordinary.
For this week (that’s week 1) your homework is simple.
- First, I want you to memorize Philippians 4:8. You can download the pretty little Scripture image at the top of this post and print it out if you’d like.
- Second, use this Whatever Journal to chart your thoughts. That’s right, I want you to keep a journal this week. So, download this Whatever Journal and when you find yourself “thinking on things” write down the thought and tag it with one of the headings listed on the journal pages.
Throughout the week, I’ll post questions (probably not everyday but several times during the week) and you can comment on these questions. Now, in order for this online study to be interesting, you’re going to have to post comments. I want this to be a conversation not a sermon! LOL!
My prayer for us during this study is that we will …
1 – Learn to capture our thoughts
2 – Immediately determine whether they are “worthy” thoughts (and if they’re not, “four-eight” them and make them “worthy.)
3 – Say “WHATEVER” to the unworthy thoughts
4 – Find joy and encouragement as we turn our thoughts to that which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
So let’s decide today to think on these things, shall we?
Jacqueline Heider says
Ok, ladies … what are you thinking? Have you downloaded the journal yet? Are you tagging your thoughts?
I’ve been thinking about a friend that I used to be really close with. I read an inscription she wrote several years ago to me in a book that was so sweet. We haven’t been close in awhile, and I’m frustrated with that. Every time she comes to mind I have these imaginings of what I said or did to damage the relationship. I’ve apologized but the relationship just isn’t the same. I also end up thinking about what I think she thinks about me (Did you follow that?). It’s silly because I have no idea, but I still “project” what I think she thinks.
So … how can I tag that and four-eight it?
False, unfair, and unworthy – because I have no idea what she’s thinking, and I shouldn’t allow my mind to try to figure out what someone else is thinking. It’s unrealistic and unfair to her.
How can I four-eight this?
Well, for starters I can pray and ask the Lord to help me deal with the disappointment because I am obviously grieved by the loss of this friendship. I can pray for her and our relationship. Every time I have these thoughts I can follow these three steps:
1 – I can take the thought captive. In other words, I can stop the thought and not continue going there! (2 Corinthians 10:5)
2 – I can surrender the thought to the Lord, and pray. I need to make sure my heart is right! (Psalm 51:10)
3- I can remind myself that God is the Good Shepherd. He is in control and doesn’t allow any situation or circumstance to touch my life without His divine authority. He is obviously trying to teach me, grow me, or prune me through the situation. I need to trust Him with the circumstance, listen to His leading and follow my Shepherd (Psalm 23)
So that’s one way I can four-eight that thought. I’d love to hear your “thoughts” this week!
Mary Ellen Butler says
I completely agree with the tag, unfair. You don’t have any idea what she is thinking. As women we speculate all day about what others are thinking about the comment we made. “Did she take it the right way or did she take it another way? Oh, what if she took it the complete wrong way?” We worry ourselves sick with whether or not our statements come across the way we meant them to or not. At least I know I do this. This is certainly something I struggle with daily. I have to constantly remind myself of Matthew 6:27, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Jacqueline Heider says
You are absolutely correct, Mary Ellen. It is unfair of me (us/anyone) to speculate. It causes me worry and puts the other person (without their knowledge) in a bad light.
The really awesome thing about this kind of chatter as we go through this study is that it helps us become more aware of what we’re thinking, saying, and feeling. I’m liking this and getting so much out of hearing from everyone!
Pam Daniels says
My first statement to you is – I am computer challenged most days! So patience is a virtuous statement in my abilities to navigate and end up where I want to.
So I am praising myself for not saying “whatever” because I found the first weeks study today! I am already behind, but I am “thinking”‘ I am so grateful to have succeeded this AM – because I am at work! So I have now been to SS (small group )online and can truly say whatever the rest of the day! Thanks for this scripture we have to commit to memory- it is one of my favorites.
There are so many areas of my work that need to be whatever’s and so many others that call for patience, honorable responses and a listening heart. My goal and I suppose my gift- is a calm spirit, a listening heart and compassion for the sick. Everyone has a story- I make many attempts to not allow my patience to grow thin at the stories stack up. And then I have to listen to caregivers that are disgruntled – and keep my spirit of nurturing going and try now to let the whining word invade my think tank!! God give me encouraging words for all I meet wherever they are! Help them see calm in me and leave them better for it each day I work.
Thanks Jacqueline for this study! Think I misspelled your beautiful name- so sorry if so!
Jacqueline Heider says
Oh, I am so proud of you, Pam! Good for you for sticking with it and not saying “Whatever!”
I love your attitude toward work and those “disgruntled caregivers.” You are on the right track with training your heart and mind to be gentle, compassionate, kind, and loving.
The prayer you typed above is a wonderful way to journal each day, specifically asking God for exactly what you need to be able to “four-eight” the frustrating things that come your way!
So glad you’re doing this study with me! And … you spelled my name perfectly!
Angie Beacham says
I believe, God gives us a “Reason” and a “Season”. I miss many people I made good friends with and I too wonder why???? I learned at some point that there is a reason people come into our lives and we may not know that reason for many years. Either we teach them or they teach/touch us. Then we/they grow and move on. That is one reason why we never stop sharing the “story” with every one. Either they have never heard it or need it reconfirmed in their life.
Fond memories are things to cherish, be glad you have them and make good ones each day.
Jacqueline Heider says
Angie, these are such wise words. Thank you. You are right about telling your story. God gives each of us very special stories to share with those He puts in our path. Glad you’re doing this study with us!