Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Instead of Worrying...?

Mindscape, What to Think About Instead of Worrying is by Timothy Z. Witmer, who is Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, and pastor of a church in the area. Witmer is also author of several books on pastoral ministry. Mindscape is published by New Growth Press and is available at www.newgrowthpress.com. Witmer says his book is "written for everyone who has ever worried about anything." That would be quite a few of us, I think. And, being who Witmer is, it's also "written from a biblical perspective." He reminds us that the Bible is "not irrelevant to our current worries, struggles and desires." Lately I've been noticing that almost any story we read in the Bible sounds very much like struggles that are going on now. Anywhere in the world we might hear of similar struggles. That surprises me, and I am ready for some encouragement.

Witmer asks us to think about the "landscape of our minds---mindscape he calls it---and asks how do you deal with day-to-day anxieties? Do you worry? "Your condition is not hopeless," writes Witmer. And he has answers that may help. Witmer suggests that the Holy Spirit gave the Apostle Paul the right words we need so that we will not be worrying. Those words come from Paul's Letter to the Philippians, and in English they sound like this: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable---if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things. (Phil. 4:8, NIV, 1985). Paul isn't saying "stop worrying," he is saying change directions. "Be anxious for nothing." Instead, stop, when something is worrying you, and bring it to God in prayer. Prayer, about everything, sounds like it is the answer.

In the next chapters Witmer discusses each of the qualities Paul has offered and meditation on each is suggested. Witmer claims a new mindscape will result. As you "think on these things," and practice, you will be changed. It will take time, but the Holy Spirit will guide if you ask. Witmer concludes that you will see progress in your mindscape, as you "replace worry with peace, as you replant hope in place of discouragement, as you weed out doubts, and as you grow in faith in the Gardener who is determined to transform you."

---Lois Sibley,