“I have to be sick to die, Chris,” my dad said.
“No, you don’t. Where did you learn this?”
“I just thought that was how it happened.”
“People move on to heaven all the time that haven’t been sick. They just go from here to there.”
“I don’t want to get sick.”
“Then, you don’t have to. Do you think that God wants you not to be well? It isn’t a requirement to be at your worst when you leave earth.”
“I didn’t know that. I don’t have to be sick?”
For weeks, he and I have had discussions about heaven, and I knew something was blocking his complete understanding of how eternity and God operate. Many times, his response to me would be,
“I don’t think about living and dying.”
The last time he said that to me, I said,
“Well, you should.”
He looked at me, surprised, but I was serious. A peaceful passing generally doesn’t make news. We don’t talk about it enough. We spend a lot of our time preoccupying ourselves, using distractions, and social distancing ourselves from death. With a pandemic at the forefront of our minds and the count, I can understand why we believe we need to die in a tragic or ugly way.
His attitude had been formed by a mindset that had somehow been programmed into his thinking for years. We all can fall prey to that unless we start to think for ourselves and question what we are so sure of.
A while ago, I read about a man who was golfing with a friend. One of them made a shot, and the ball landed off the fairway into the rough. As they approached where they had to go, the one who had sent it there was upset that he now had to correct the problem. His friend said to him,
“It’s all how you look at it. If you see yourself hitting it straight, you will. But, if you think it’s going to be difficult, it will be.”
He listened to his friend, closed his eyes, and saw himself hitting it perfectly. He then did that.
Authors from different periods, many of them not knowing one another or the material they wrote about, have stated that the mind doesn’t know reality from false information. If given repetitive images, a belief is formed, then manifested externally. That isn’t good news for those who want to maintain their victimhood. If what goes on around us is a direct result of how we think, then we can’t blame anyone but ourselves.
It felt freeing when I read that for the first time, but some may feel condemned. That means we have to pay attention to what we conceive in our minds. If you think the world is out to get you, it is. If you consider that good can come your way and you can work with God to make things better for yourself, it will.
In Proverbs 23:7, it is stated that what a person thinks in their heart, they become.
Do you believe yourself poor? You will be. Do you consider yourself debilitated? You are. Many say that the evidence showing up on the outside is proof that you are these things. It is projected to your outside world when you have created it on the inside.
That isn’t what we are taught in school or by our authority figures. We learn at a young age to hope for the best because we aren’t in charge. The world is. But what did Jesus say? He tended to state things that directly opposed what we were taught as rock-solid truth. In John 16:33 it says,
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(NLT)
He also said this:
I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things I am doing. You will do even greater things, now that I am going back to the Father. (CEV/John 14:12)
It is clearly stated that we can overcome the world. We can reside here but not be ruled by it. That means giving up becoming immersed in it. Turn off the news because it’s a form of brainwashing. It’s the best thing I have ever done to get closer to seeing and hearing from heaven only.
Our realities are distorted because our thinking has become that way.
“That makes me look ugly!” she said as I was scanning items. I glanced up at what she was pointing at. The camera directly above the register was focused solely on us.
“That’s to be sure we don’t steal anything. They want us to look as criminal as possible so when they review the tape later, we will fit the profile of shoplifters.”
She pointed out how it made her appear so much bigger than she really is. I stopped what I was doing and took a good look at what this machine was doing to me.
“I look twice my age and seventeen months pregnant. Am I? No. It’s a lie.”
That is what social media and all the rest do to us. It takes strong discernment to understand that not all we see is as it is. We form impressions based on false information, and then we judge that. Soon we hate ourselves, we despise our neighbors, and life takes on a dark outlook. Some overlook all their own faults and take out their aggression on others around them. A time of silence, prayer, and self-reflection can go a long way when changing your mentality.
I recall working with a woman many years ago who was quiet. She had a strong work ethic, and her job was highly stressful. Before I knew her, I thought she was very standoffish and anti-social. Cold and not very friendly.
I discovered that underneath that exterior, she had a reason for her behavior. She didn’t want to be distracted, so she gave the least amount of energy to what was not going to help her accomplish her job. I found out that she was a nice person, but she had to cut herself off from what would distract her.
I heard coworkers speaking harshly of her once, so I told them what I knew. I changed their opinion of her in just one conversation.
The way we view things is probably the biggest obstacle we will have to deal with while we breathe. And our attitude regarding it determines the outcome. Do you want peace? Then be it.
Where do you start to live a life drama-free and one that has a foundation based on wisdom? Look to 2 Corinthians 10:4-6:
We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.(TPT)
You actually can take your thoughts when they come and decide to allow them or not. Did you know that? I didn’t either until I read that verse. When a negative thought floats in, you can say no to it. If you do it enough, it will start to transform you into a different person who will have the eyes of God.
When I got out my Christmas lights this year, they were a tangled mess. I was about to start the process of trying to straighten them out. Instead, I plugged them in, and they were all burnt out. I spent a small amount of time checking where the problem could lie. They were getting older, so I got rid of them and bought new ones.
Take responsibility for your life. Tell God what isn’t working anymore, allow it to be changed, and it will be untangled.