October 23, 2023

Swirling Thoughts

Devotion for the week...

I had to have a hard conversation with someone recently. I hate any kind of conflict, or anything that makes me feel I might be disappointing or inconveniencing someone, so I had been putting the conversation off for a few weeks, but it finally had to happen. The next day, I kept replaying it over in my mind, coming up with ways I could have said something different, or things I didn’t say at all, but should have. It just kept going and going, until suddenly I thought of Philippians 4:8, which says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” 

A few verses before this one, Paul told the Philippians to “always be full of joy in the Lord” (v. 4), then he told them, “don’t worry about anything” (v. 6), and to “thank [God] for all he has done” (v. 6). Can you see how thinking about things that are true, honourable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise would help with all of that? Thoughts that fall into those categories are uplifting and positive. They help us see the good in the world, and in other people. They remind us of joy, and give us reasons to praise God.

The replayed, and reinvented, conversation swirling through my head did not fit those categories. Thinking about it over and over didn’t leave me feeling uplifted, or joyful, or in the mood to praise God; it just left me feeling depleted and annoyed. And for what? I wasn’t going to have the conversation again, and the imagined replay wasn’t going to change anything.

Do you find yourself dwelling on thoughts that leave you feeling depleted or annoyed? When thoughts are swirling like that, it can be hard to get rid of them, but I find that worship music helps. The morning I was redoing that conversation over and over, I turned on Jenn Johnson’s “Goodness of God” for a quick reset. Singing along about the goodness of God pulled me out of the swirl of negativity and by the time the song was over, I was able to leave the conversation in the past and move on with my day. 
God graciously reminds us to focus on good things | DevotedQuilter.com
God knows us so well. He knows we tend to dwell on negative thoughts, so He graciously reminds us to focus on the good things instead. When we fix out thoughts on good things, we are better able to be full of joy, better able to banish worry, and more likely to thank God for all He has done.

What do you do to change your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones?


  1. What a great devotional. Just what I needed. I am just like you and replay those conversations in my head over and over also. Goofed up this morning and arrived at the airport for a pm flight that I thought was am! Been beating myself up all day. Such a good word that I can remind myself of.

  2. Wow! Just what I needed to read and listen to today. Thank you for a beautiful devotional. I have a feeling I would love to have a cup of coffee with you. God bless you.

  3. Thank you for this devotional. I need a wallhanging with Philippians 4:8 on it to look at each time negative thoughts start to creep in!

  4. Thank you for today's devotional especially, timely in my world. When negativity seems to be overwhelming, I say to God, "Deliver me from these, thoughts, and keep my eye on You." It works and and helps me to feel His ever presence.


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