“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.” – Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
“Again,” coach yelled from the sidelines. “Do it again.”
I placed my soccer ball at the corner of the field, took two giant steps back, and charged like a bull at a rodeo clown, launching the ball in an arc toward the net.
“Don’t forget to lean back,” my coach shouted as our goalie caught the ball and prevented the point.
“It takes practice,” he said.
So, I did it again. And again. Until I made progress.
A really cool benefit to practice is muscle memory, or “the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement” by dictionary definition. The more I repeat the item in which I am trying to improve, the more my muscles remember how to execute it without even thinking about it.
Hope is the same way. We make progress and build muscle memory, creating a habit of hope, when we practice it on a consistent basis. The more we practice looking to and relying on the hope we have in Jesus, the more we approach relationships, circumstances, decisions, and actions from a place of hope – or confident expectation.
Philippians 4:8 outlines a thought practice, and in the repetition, we can confidently expect our Lord to meet us moment by moment.
FIX YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT IS…
TRUE: When times are tough – fix your thoughts on truth.
HONORABLE: When you face temptation – think about the honorable path, your way out.
RIGHT: When no one is looking – dwell on right instead of wrong.
PURE: When the world around you is distracted by darkness – meditate on wholesome things.
LOVELY: When you don’t get your way – renew your mind with appreciation for the beauty of God’s creation.
ADMIRABLE: When someone is suffering – remember how it feels and empathize.
EXCELLENT: When you achieve a goal you set – consider all it took to get there and be grateful.
WORTHY OF PRAISE: When you receive new mercy every morning, reflect on the goodness of God and praise His name.
I’m exchanging perfect for progress, one thought at a time. Wanna practice with me?
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Another way to build a habit of hope for the next 30 days is through the faith practices outlined in my new book, LIVE IT OUT – Hope, A Devotional Journal.
Connect with me at CodieWinslow.com or on social media on Facebook (Codie Winslow) and @codiewinslow on Instagram.