Paul’s Playbook

Posted by jael on Sep 22, 2011 in Parenting, Religion, Spiritual Journey

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content, (Philippians 4:11).

As previously posted, the promise that I can learn what Paul grasped through Christ’s strength
 and be glad in every condition stokes my GO! fire.

If interested, you may check out the entire post about my recent infatuation with Paul here.

My thoughts continue to dwell upon Paul and the masterpiece of transformation God crafted with his willing soul.

Paul proffered the young church a godly Where-Our-Thoughts-Should-Dwell-Punch-List in his thank you note to the Philippians for their ready aid when he was in the clink in Rome:

Finally, brothers,
whatever is

  • ______ true
  • ______ noble,
  • ______ right,
  • ______ pure,
  • ______ lovely,
  • ______ admirable
  • ______ if anything is excellent
  • ______ praiseworthy

think about such things, (Philippians, 4:8).

<Aside: That’s exactly how I see this verse in my head.
For me,
it uploads as a check-list,
not a sentence
or benediction.>

I would benefit from this being tattooed on the front of my right forearm where I could not fail to see it before taking action into my own hands.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Dove, Paul equips believers with the spiritual equivalent of a pilot’s preflight check-list.

Just as pilots must file a flight plan to ground control before take off, Paul challenges us to record a metacognitive, quality plan prior to thought habitation.

In other words, Paul directly warns us to responsibly plant what thoughts we allow residence in our minds as they not only germinate expectations, but self-fulfilling outcomes that directly enhance or impede our Joy.

Paul’s assurance to the Philippians that through Christ that strengthens him (representative model) he has learned how to be happy despite his circumstance (and therefore we can too) resonates with his admonishment to manage the soundtracks in our own heads.

Don’t you want that lesson plan?
Don’t you wonder
how that fleshy guy,
formerly known as Saul,
accessed such a feat of Grace?

I do!
I want Paul’s Playbook!
I wear His colors.
Put me in Coach,
I’m ready to play!
I’m ready to burn it up for You.

I imagine one of Paul’s signature plays is the Thought Sack.

I expect Paul clipped thoughts he did not want to live in his mind at the knees like a hot quarterback that needed to be shut down.

A more aggressive maneuver could be called the Thought Interception.

Such a call would be important were an unwelcome thought already in play, and one needed to catch it and run it down the other side of the field.

Here’s a sample of what such Thought Interceptions might look like:

Thought: Grr! I have to drive my son to soccer practice again!
Thought Interception: My son made the team!

Thought: Hmmph! I have to figure out what to make for dinner.
Thought Interception: We have more than enough to eat. Let’s double-batch tonight. Who can we carry a meal to tomorrow?

Thought: Snarg! I am drowning in a vile sea of filthy laundry and, if my kids throw any more clean clothes in the hamper, they can go to school naked.
Thought Interception: My washer and dryer is right here in the house, not a laundromat across town.

Thought: Spit! This bathroom sink is full of toothpaste and cereal slobber.
Thought Interception: My kid brushed his own teeth before school without a reminder.

Thought: Snarl! My kids have too much homework! Don’t those teachers respect our family time?
Thought Interception: My children love their school and want to be successful.

Thought: Huff! All they do is eat! We are out of milk and Cheerios AGAIN!
Thought Interception: My child is home, not in a PICU ward on intravenous fluids.

Thought: Ack! My husband brings his work home! He’s constantly checking his flipping iphone.
Thought Interception: In this economy, where 1 in 10 are out of work, my husband has a job he loves.

Thought: $$$! The family budget kicked us in arrears again.
Thought Interception: The only eternal currency is Relationship.

Thought: Yawn! Not tonight. I’m tired.
Thought Interception: Meow! (Kegel, Kegel, Kegel.) May you never weary of doing good nor want another.

I don’t see a way we can be like Paul and learn how to be content in all situations unless we pray for the Direction, Self-Control and Faith to reset our internal monologues. Paul’s challege to critcally manage and map our cognitive process streams is in it’s own way, like fishing:

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. (John 21:6)

As for me, I’m going to toss back every discontent idea I net.
I’m only gonna fry the fish fit to feast with Thanksgiving.
Grace & Chips.

I’ve told the truth,
I didn’t come to fool you

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song

With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

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