What is the one thing that occupies your thoughts? The one thing that you devote mental space and effort to each day? If you can’t name the top one, how about the top two or three?
What are we pre-occupied with? Our highest teachers have told us what the answers should be: spiritual growth (particularly for those of us who practice faith), showing kindness to our fellow man, or serving in our community, raising children well, or any other multitude of principles that benefit us or those around us in a long-term, meaningful way.
Those might be the answers we “should” give.
But the images and mantras most of us encounter on a daily basis inundate us with answers of their own. These messages pair two disparate things together–so persistently and so forcefully–that people have come to accept them, many times without even noticing. Fitness (apparently a sign of self-discipline and other virtues), wealth (happiness comes only to those with a luxury car and a big house), beauty (beautiful people are good people) are just a few of these messages.
So let me ask it again: what is the one thing (or two or three) that occupies your thoughts?
What I’m getting at is not a new idea. In fact, it’s a very old one. Biblical times old. Moses old.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3 (NKJV)
To the people under Moses’ leadership, it meant don’t worship anything above God.
Not a golden calf.
Not the gold that made the calf.
It meant don’t rely on anything or anyone but God to save, or guarantee anything. Indeed, we mustn’t because we can’t.
Yes, yes, we know. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Lots of rich folks have great sorrows.
But what about if one is super popular and has lots of friends? That’s all we need, right? Good times with good friends? (Assuming, of course, that nobody every changes, there’s never any disagreement, nobody moves, everyone always lifts each other up, and everyone you want to be around is always instantly available.) So in other words, maybe not?
Ok, so what about if we are super healthy? Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly? Healthy bodies means we’ll have a good long life, able to do everything we want or need to do. Ok, not a bad thing in and of itself. But doesn’t health mean tanned, toned bodies? Actually, no. But those are the images we’re urged to accept of health.
Where am I going with this? I’m asking you, simply–as I ask myself–to examine what we allow to occupy our minds and take up our precious time and energy. Our days and abilities are limited. Let’s make sure we’re laying them down at the feet of only the Worthy.