Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 4:19

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
–Romans 12:2

A noble and God-like character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with God-like thoughts.
–James Allen

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
–Maya Angelou

Dear Munchkins,

We all struggle with “stinking thinking,” Pop included. What I mean by that is we all have ways of looking at things that don’t square with reality.

As you go through life, I want you to honestly examine the ways you think and ask yourself if you’re thinking right (accurately, rationally, realistically, biblically). Stay close to the idea that “garbage in, garbage out” when it comes to your thought life. If you believe things that are false/irrational/inaccurate/unbiblical, you’re going to struggle more emotionally and spiritually. If you believe things that are true/rational/accurate/biblical, you’ll handle the slings and arrows of life in a healthier and more mature manner.

I want to warn you about some of the deadliest beliefs you can fall into, lies if you will. These are faulty ways of thinking I have struggled with throughout my life that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Whatever else you do, make sure these toxic beliefs don’t take up residence in your mind and heart.

I must be perfect. Perfectionism is one of the deadliest ways of thinking we can fall into. It stiff arms the reality that we’re all a big honking mess while we’re here and that everything we do falls grossly short of perfection.

I’m worthless. Many people walk around feeling that they have no worth as a human being. One reason for this is that so many people tie their worth to their performance in life.
I must have everyone’s love and approval. Munchkins, if you’re like me, your emotional health depends too much on whether or not people think you’re awesome. Everyone isn’t going to think you’re awesome—some people are going to dislike you for being so awesome.

Life should be easy, fair and just. In a fallen world like ours, we are certainly going to run into our share of life treating us harshly, unfairly, and unjustly. We need to avoid feeling resentful about that and respond with civility and decency.

Now, let me turn your attention to some of the most important truths I want you to spend the rest of your days on earth internalizing in the deepest recesses of your mind. These beliefs are the ones you want to soak your mind in each day given that they will help foster your emotional health as a human being.

I have worth because I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God in His image. If you want a proper basis for worth as you go through life, anchor it in the fact that God made you in His image. The fact that God made you in His image gives you and every other human being inherent, perfect, permanent worth.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Focus on serving others rather than taking from them. Trust that if you focus on giving to others God will do everything He can to make sure your needs are met as well.

To err is human. Try to accept the fact that you’re are an imperfect human being who will make lots of mistakes along the way. Accept that life is about learning from your mistakes and improving along the way.

Life is difficult. Painful problems and challenges are always nipping at our heels in life, and they trigger physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. Don’t forget that “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34), and try to accept that about life rather than whine, moan, or complain about it.

The victory is in the effort, not the result. The world we live in focuses way too much on results rather than effort. I want you to focus on effort, not how things turn out. We only have control over our effort in life, not the outcome.

Munchkins, don’t ever forget—garbage in, garbage out; good stuff in, good stuff out. Spend as much time as you can thinking on what is true, pure, and worthwhile so that your feelings and actions get healthier over time. The truth will set you free, but you have to dedicate your life to pursuing it and running it through your mind day and night.

Love,
Pop