A minister was spending time with a middle-aged couple whose marriage had been a disaster, and they were planning a divorce. It was difficult to help them, but the Minister spent a lot of time talking and praying with them.
One day when the wife was on her own, she told her minister friend her husband was lazy, inconsiderate, self-centred. She had had enough and wanted out. He wasn’t the man she had married. The pastor advised her to spend the next month to concentrate on her husband, to truly love him, as if he was the man she dreamed of all those years before. Her husband wasn’t aware of the plan. She started focusing only on his good points. It was a struggle to start with, but she persevered. One month later, the Pastor arranged to see her again. “well, how did you get on? Do you still want to go ahead with the divorce?”. “Oh no.” she replied “he’s changed so much, and I do truly love him”.
You see, the wife had re- patterned her thoughts. Our thoughts do affect every part of our life.
Someone has wisely said, “we are either controlled by our thoughts, or we control our thoughts”. Thousands of thoughts flow through our mind each day.
Proverbs 4:23 “Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life”.
Too many of us have negative thoughts. I know this to be true for myself.
Philippians 4:8 “Keep your minds on whatever is pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper.”
Your mind is the thinking engine you use every second, minute, hour, and every day. Sometimes we wrongly consider our thoughts control us – not so. You can control your thought pattern. It does not have to control you. If you don’t guard your thoughts, you can tell yourself a lot of garbage that simply isn’t true..and who wants to live like that every day?
The apostle Paul emphasised the importance of managing our thoughts, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
Psalm 19:14 “Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because You are my mighty rock and my protector”.
“Fine,” you say, “but I can’t help myself. Exactly how am I supposed to grab control of my negative thinking when it’s been controlling me all my life?”
Here are a few tips:
- Understand that just because you tell yourself something, that doesn’t make it true. This is essential when it comes to your self-image. No matter how long you’ve been telling yourself that you’re ugly or unattractive or dumb, that doesn’t make it so. Most of your misbeliefs are about yourself and how you think others see you
- Wrong thinking is like a snowball rolling down a hill. It tends to gain momentum. That’s why you need to stop it immediately before it becomes a juggernaut that overwhelms you.
- You do have the power to change what you tell yourself. Your mind is not like a stuck record that gets caught in one groove and has to keep repeating itself over and over again. Your mind is like a tape recorder that can erase abusive messages from the past and record new, positive messages over them.
- It’s not enough to just stop telling yourself bad things. Nature, including your mind, hates a vacuum. It has to fill it with something. That means you have to fill the void that’s left after you toss your bad thoughts out. So ask God to reveal the truth to you. Then replace those bad thoughts with that truth.
- As you learn to recognise lies and self-destructive thinking, you’ll find it easier and easier to guard your thoughts. This is an activity that takes practice, but you can do it. Believing that you can’t guard your thoughts is another lie, a favourite trick of the Enemy.
You deserve God’s best for your life, but you have to believe that truth before it can happen. Don’t stunt your growth by panicky, abusive thinking. Guard your thoughts. Stop the lies before they can get started. Rip those old lies out and replace them with the truth.
When you take this step, you’ll be astounded how your life and your relationships with others will start to change for the good.
Today, I will watch my mouth.
I will only speak good and not evil.
I will not gripe or complain,
but I will keep words of peace and joy in my mouth.
Today, I will watch my heart
because out of it flows the issues of life.
I will grab hold of my deeper self
and bring it in line with God’s Word and God’s will for my life.
I will keep my words and the thoughts of my heart
acceptable in the eyes of You my Lord.
Because You are my solid rock.
You are the Redeemer of my soul.
Alone this is impossible.
But with You, Lord, I know I can do it.
2 Corinthians 10:5 The Message; “fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”