Unfortunately, I tend to do the same thing with the rest of my life. There might be hundreds of things that are just fine (if not wonderful) in my life, but my mind seems to always make a beeline to what’s wrong. I find it hard to think of anything else. If my son comes home with a report card that has all A’s and one C, I ask him about the C. Why don’t I first focus on the A’s?In today’s second reading, Paul has a message for the Philippians that has had a very big impact on my life. “Have no anxiety about anything,” he writes, “but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”Have no anxiety about anything. Anything! I have anxiety about just about everything — family, money, health and work, to name a few. Why? Well, when I really think about it, I’m anxious when I think I have to take care of myself. I don’t have the confidence that I can do it. Psychologists say we can retrain our brains by practicing focusing on the positive things in our lives. Paul suggests the same thing. Paul’s antidote for this is prayer. Pray with thankfulness that God is there to take care of us. When I do this, I have to admit, I feel much better. “Finally, brothers and sisters,” Paul continues, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”Now that sounds like a great idea. Psychologists say we can retrain our brains by practicing focusing on the positive things in our lives. Paul suggests the same thing. Instead of focusing on the tooth that hurts, think about the ones that are healthy. Instead of looking at the lowest grade on the report card, look at the highest ones. Then we can truly turn to God with thanksgiving and ask for help in the areas where we feel we need it.Then, Paul, says, we will find peace. Not just any peace — not the peace of the United Nations or the peace of a demilitarized zone — but the peace of God. This is a peace that can “guard our hearts and minds” from the anxiety and fear that, without God’s protection, will rob us of joy. This reading is rich with challenge and promise. We are challenged to cast aside anxiety and to embrace gratitude. We are promised peace — a peace that doesn’t come from the absence of conflict but that is based on the presence of God.Bill Peatman writes from Napa. He may be reached at [email protected]