The Spiritual Practice of Thinking...

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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

This is one of my favorite and most challenging biblical instructions. In the midst of our moving, working, spending time with friends, preparing, and processing, I can feel my heart regress into survival-mode. I need rest, I need sleep, I need alone-time, I need you to get out of my way, I need to get this done, I need this, I need that, me, me, me. It gets pretty ugly.

Throughout this time, I’ve been practicing stopping: Stopping to look at the sky or savor the home we’ve enjoyed so much over the last two years. Stopping to look in other people’s eyes when they talk with me or simply acknowledging the Divine Presence in all and through all. Stopping to think about how we got to this point or about how beautiful Shawna is. Just stopping and savoring; being conscious of presence.

Thinking about such things is a spiritual practice. Sure, not everything is pure, but there is Purity in everything. Not everything is lovely, but there is Loveliness in everything. Not everything is excellent or praiseworthy, but there is excellence in everything and that is worthy of praise. Overlooking these things robs me of life. It robs me of relationships and love.

If Christ truly is all and in all, why do I spend any amount of time complaining about things should be this or that? I am overlooking the “pearl of great price,” that Jesus spoke of. The “pearl,” I believe, is really the Plural. Everything is plural with Christ. I ignore it when it is covered with anxiety, fear, or busyness, but it is still there, gently abiding beneath the surface. It is worth getting rid of everything, so that I may uncover it; buried in the wild field of my heart, circumstances, and relationships.


Josh Pinkston