Did you ever play the game ‘telephone’ when you were younger? That was a favorite of mine. The game worked best with a large group and the results were usually very comical! Everyone sat in a circle. One person started the game by whispering a phrase or story to the person next to them who would repeat what they heard (or what they thought they heard) to the person next to them. This process would continue until the story got back to the person who originally started the game. The original story would be revealed as well as the story that had made it’s way around the circle and through many ears and translations. The two stories never matched and really took on a life of it’s own. One of the reasons that the story did not remain intact is that people hear what they want to hear. Perhaps one of the translators was distracted and only heard half of the story and then made up the part they missed. Perhaps, and this is the reason I tend to place most weight on, people anticipate what the story might be and as their focus is on their own anticipated outcome, they miss the actual information being passed to them. This game taught many lessons to my group of friends and I: Don’t believe everything you hear; Gossip can be painful and untrue; Lies spread like wildfire and never end the way you intend…..the lessons that can be drawn from this game are innumerable.
I was thinking about this game today as I heard about a young lady whose feelings were crushed as a result of a conversation that she didn’t hear. She saw people whispering and immediately imagined that they could only be talking about her. This propelled her to criticize herself as she pinpointed the root of the imagined conversation. ‘Her outfit must be out of style, although she had recently purchased it and thought it looked alright when she got dressed this morning.’ ‘She must look ugly today. She was definitely having a bad hair day so that must be the topic.’ ‘Her work production was down and she is probably about to be called into her bosses’ office for discipline.” On an on these thoughts ran through her mind until she had worked herself into a migraine and overwhelming sadness. In reality, her co-workers were talking about a picnic they were planning for the following weekend. The conversation had absolutely nothing to do with her and yet, she had made herself sick as a result of her runaway imagination. Has this ever happened to you? I can raise my hand to admit that I am guilty of presuming myself the topic of secret conversations. Why do we do this to ourselves? How silly! We have enough trouble to deal with that we know about without creating trouble where there is none. If we would only keep our eyes on Him, we could avoid so much hurt and suffering!
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4 (New Living Translation)
I love this verse! I am making a concerted effort to keep my focus on Jesus, where my thoughts and focus should be rather than down in the weeds of imagination. Please join me in this effort. Leave comments of encouragement or suggestions to help myself and others as we endeavor to keep our eyes on Jesus!