Keith Wishum: What color is your life?

Published 6:00 pm Monday, April 18, 2016

What color is an empty, clear glass? It doesn’t really have a color; does it?
What if you pour some colored liquid in the glass; does the glass seem to take on that color? If you fill it with pink lemonade, the glass looks pink. If you fill it with orange juice, the glass will look orange.
So far, pretty simple ideas, right? Now, here’s the question that really matters: What color is your world? Does it look dark and gloomy to you? Or it is bright and cheerful?
The difference, you may be surprised to realize, is not what’s outside you, but what’s inside. Just as the color of the liquid we put in changes the appearance of the glass, what we put inside our minds changes how we see the world.
Take this simple test to illustrate. It’s the Thought Analyzer Test (found in Kent Crockett’s 911 Handbook, p. 78). Just fill in the blanks.
When I am happy, I have been thinking _______ thoughts.
When I am sad, I have been thinking _____ thoughts.
When I am angry, I have been thinking _____ thoughts.
Did you answer: happy, sad, and angry? It’s not really surprising that the thoughts we allow into our minds determine how life looks to us.
The key, then, to a brighter outlook on life is to focus on thinking positive thoughts. Yes, but aren’t our thoughts determined by what we experience? No, they are not. We get to choose our thoughts.
The apostle Paul “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12). Part of the secret, he reveals earlier in that same chapter. “Whatever is true,” he says, “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” (4:8).
That’s how we learn to be happy! Not by changing our circumstances, but by changing our thinking. By choosing to think on positive, encouraging things, we change the way our life looks to us.
Try an experiment. Review Paul’s list. Find something right now that fits in each of his categories. Then spend some time pondering each one today. By the end of the day, you may be surprised how much brighter everything looks to you.
What color is your world? It depends on the color of the thoughts you allow inside. Change your thinking; change your life.

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.