WHATEVER IS LOVELY

by Katie Steele - August 4 2018

When I soak myself in Truth with my morning coffee, read the “Verse of the Day” when the notification pops up an hour into work, do a simple devotional while eating lunch in the shade of a giant oak, and sing Jenny and Tyler’s rendition of Psalm 46 on my walk home, the peace of God consumes my heart and mind. The fragrance of lavender and lilies fill my lungs as I thank God for the bees. These days begin and end with cuddles and smiles and “I love you.” But when I hit the snooze button one too many times, rush out the door without even thinking about Jesus, watch an unboxing video of expensive products someone was sent for free while I eat a peanut butter sandwich, and rant to the wind about the blister on my heel, anxiety takes root. I get shaky breath, bitter bones, and fuzzy vision. A salty attitude, lots of eye rolls, and the silent treatment plague the day. Most of us know Philippians 4:6-7. At least parts of it are the lock screen on our phones, the print in our bedrooms, and the tattoo on our ribs. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” How often do we forget what directly follows it? “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (v. 8) The days above seem like the extremes, sure, but isn’t it all true to some extent each day? What we look at throughout the day is what we think about. And what we think about either draws us nearer to the heart of the Father or pull our affection away from Him. Please hear me when I say this isn’t about Instagram being evil. I started following The Bud Co. because I loved their aesthetic, but I stick around for the community that gives Jesus all the glory. Florists who showcase dreamy bouquets tied up with delicate lace make my heart sing. Videos of hard working women crushing their workouts inspire me to get off my butt and use the body He’s given me the ability to use. There are things that are lovely and pure and excellent on Instagram. There is absolutely a time and a place and a season. But there’s a line, right? Sister friend, it’s different for you than it is for me. It’s different for me today than it is for me in three weeks. But Proverbs 4:23 says that everything we do flows from our hearts.

The line has been crossed when a dear friend shares pictures of her summer Oklahoma adventure, and I just scroll by. When the English cottages with horses in the yard are no longer motivation to reach my dreams, but become reasons for me to be angry about my apartment with just a dirt strip outside the back door. When my heart looks at the bodies of women and compares their toned arms and “after” photos with my wheezy 11-minute mile. That’s not joy. That’s not peace. That’s not love. There may not be a one size fits all standard for how much or what kinds of social media and Netflix shows we pay attention to, but we have the fruit of the Spirit to shine light on how what we think about is affecting our hearts and our nearness to Jesus. When our attitudes stings and our looks could kill, God is there, absolutely, but our arms are crossed and our eyes are wandering somewhere far away. Yet even still, He is faithful to forgive us, smooth out our arms, and remind us of the goodness we have tasted. When we trust His lead and look full in His glorious face, we open up space for the Spirit to blow like the wind in our souls, sweeping away the dead leaves, and planting seeds to bear fruit when the time comes. So, whatever is lovely, Holy Spirit, help us to think about these things.

“Most of us know Philippians 4:6-7. At least parts of it are the lock screen on our phones, the print in our bedrooms, and the tattoo on our ribs. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” How often do we forget what directly follows it? “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (v. 8) The days above seem like the extremes, sure, but isn’t it all true to some extent each day? What we look at throughout the day is what we think about. And what we think about either draws us nearer to the heart of the Father or pull our affection away from Him.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Steele spends her days chasing her two-year-old through the neighborhood, watching “Friends” and folding laundry with her husband, and filling out forms so insurance companies will pay for little old ladies’ CPAP machines. Her life is nothing fancy, and she’s learned to like it that way. As long as her faith is deep and her love is wide, she’s a happy camper (who’s never actually been camping). Katie is an Enneagram 6 wing 2, and only kind of knows what all that means. You can see pictures of her cute kid with more words like these on Instagram @katiee.steele.

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