Fifteen Seconds to Beauty

By Deidra Riggs

November 13, 2016

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.

Philippians 4:8


A hummingbird flitting about.I once heard a theologian say that, “Fearful, negative, hateful thoughts are like Velcro®.” If we’re not careful, they will stick to us. The same theologian went on to say this:

“Positive, grateful, loving thoughts are like Teflon®. They just slide off, unless you savor them, consciously, for at least fifteen seconds.”

I’ve been mulling this over, ever since I first heard it. I’ve been comparing the idea to my own experience. Are negative thoughts more prone toward burrowing in like a Dear Tick, weakening and feeding off of me in some sort of parasitic manner?

And, what about those positive thoughts? Are they truly as fleeting as the theologian stated? Do they slip away if I fail to give them notice, recognition, or attention?

I’m no scientist, but here’s something I’ve started doing that seems to prove the theologian’s point: paying attention. Well, at least, I’ve been trying. In the small things, I’ve been working to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

Just now, it was a patch of sunlight on the floor. Early this morning, it was the leaves on the trees as I stood on my back porch. Later this evening, I’ll soak up the company of my husband and weight of his hand in mine. In the morning, perhaps I’ll notice the warmth of a coffee mug cradled in my hand, and the staccato steps of the neighbor’s dog walking my neighbor down the street. Instead of letting those moments pass me by, I’ll choose to savor them.

Fifteen seconds is all it takes. That, I can do. You too?


Have your days felt more like Velcro® and Teflon® than you’d like? Take fifteen seconds, right now, to savor something beautiful.


LORD, you make everything beautiful in its time. Make me more aware of the beauty around me. Let me sink into it, so that it sinks into me. Thank you. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: Resolving Conflict (Philippians 4:2–9)

Deidra Riggs

Writer & Author

Deidra Riggs is a national speaker, an editor, and the founder and host of Jumping Tandem: The Retreat, a bi-annual event for writers, authors, and entrepreneurs. She is a storyteller who creates safe space for navigating...

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