The things we dwell on get emphasized and repeated. If we focus on being grateful, it has an exponential effect on our lives – we find more and more to be thankful for. If we focus on how others are wronging us, we pile more and more evidence to support that view of our surroundings.
The things we choose to dwell on are important. They determine patterns and develop perspectives that shape the way we feel, think, and behave. If we dwell on good things, we are establishing patterns of goodness. If we choose bad things, we are opening ourselves up to a blackhole of negativity.
This is not to suggest we should not acknowledge pain, that we need to pretend negative things are all rainbows and sunshine. Pretending reality is not real is not the same as dwelling on what is good. Neither is it healthy or helpful.
Dwelling on what is good is not about ignoring the challenging aspects of reality. It is about acknowledging them, but not setting up camp there, and receiving them in the greater context of reality. It is about naming and weighing the trials, consequences, and disappointments we face as a means to an end, an opportunity to continue to pursue (and see) the presence of God in all things.
A commitment to dwell on what is good is a commitment to trust God and keep our focus on the purpose of His Kingdom. When we do that, all circumstances are an opportunity. All struggles are temporary. And all of our life is a resource to reflect the goodness of God.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
– Philippians 4:8