“Crows! 13 crows!” my son shouted, as our family sat around the breakfast table eating pancakes one Saturday morning.
Unlike his usual talkative self, he’d been quietly staring out our big bay window—just counting. As one crow flew past, he’d count one. As that same crow flew back by again, he’d count two. Then three, four, and on and on. He was so fixated on that singular black bird, it quickly became a multitude. In fact, there was no convincing him otherwise. In his mind, 13 crows existed on the other side of that double-paned glass—a backyard full—and it made me think how often we’re all just like him from time to time.
We get caught counting crows.
By crows, of course, I mean a troubling situation, unwanted circumstance, or problem we can’t seem to solve. We’ll mull over it and let it fly back and forth across our thoughts. We’ll ponder it, mentally turning it this way and that. We believe we can somehow uncover the right solution doing this. But in reality, all we’re really doing is letting the problem fester, aggravate, and grow.
There’s a reason Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, “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.” Paul understood that what we fix our minds on does grow. Where we allow our focus to go will ultimately influence our thoughts, words, feelings, and eventually our actions.
It’s definitely difficult when problems come that cause worry and stress. Externally processing our emotions can be therapeutic and even helpful for good mental health. Still, we must remember to keep our processing in balance. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, “the founder and protector of our faith,” that’s when we ultimately find the resolution we’re looking for (Hebrews 12:2).
He is the One with the answers. He will be our Guide. And He is our ultimate Source for joy and peace.