That statement has probably been around for decades if not centuries. And I suppose there is a great deal of truth to it. I am reminded of the movie (I think the name had “Supersize” in it) that chronicled the fast-food meals of the subject of the movie for a month. He became a mess physically… it was a gripping movie and changed some of my eating habits.
I think I have an addition to the “you are what you eat” proverb: you are what you think. I suppose that’s not so profound of a thought, but I cannot tell you how many times I neglect that truth. And I ask myself from time to time what is it that I’m filling my mind with? Where do I go inside my head, what do I read, what do I watch, and with whom do I spend my time? Yesterday was Labor Day and since we are bereft of grandchildren that are local we were privileged to spend time with friends from church. They have two small children and also invited a couple that were friends of theirs with four children of their own. My wife Renee and I could have just stayed home, relaxed, and whiled away the day. We are busy, after all! But spending time with our friends was actually just what we needed. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in months… and our conversation was both light-hearted and profound. Renee and I spent the afternoon with couples that encouraged us, ministered to us, and allowed us a more intimate view into their lives. As we drove away later that day, I was struck by the fact that my thinking was different. It was joyful, warm, and satisfied.
What I read, view, the people with whom I spend time… all these and many more factors will affect the way I think. And the way I think will affect the way I feel. And the way I feel will affect the way I’m able to enjoy my life. My challenge is to remember that I am continually responsible for the environment that I put myself in and the input I allow others to put into my life. The Apostle Paul wrote: “…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.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV) That is not only great advice, it’s also an encouragement to me to put myself in environments that will allow me to do this consistently.
So, as you’re reflecting on your life as you read this, think through the input that you are allowing yourself to see, hear and experience. What you are thinking about will make a difference in your ability to enjoy and maximize your life.