Do you give your worries a second thought, and a third and fourth? Deni shares how to change this habit.
–Please keep Deni in your prayers as she is in the hospital this weekend. -Lisa
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
I’ve been thinking.
Specifically, I’ve been thinking about thinking.
It’s interesting that our minds can take a step back and examine our own thoughts–and that our thoughts can drive our emotions.
I’m seeing how the things that I let linger in my mind, the things that bring on fear, anxiety, resentment, bitterness and anger, are the things that repeat over and over.
Things from the past, challenging current events, and the uncertain future–all being rehashed again and again.
What I’m learning?
That as soon as “one of those thoughts” hits I need to tell myself not to think that thought again.
I consciously decide not to give it a second thought–most often more than once!
From a biological perspective this makes sense. When we first think a thought it leaves a very fine, almost non-existent neuro-trace in our brains.
We think it again, the connections become firmer.
Again? Deeper entrenched, until the thoughts become either automatic or so uncontrollable that we are seemingly unable to shut them off.
God has the answer to this.
It’s not as short or as simple as “Don’t give it a second thought,” but it sure fits the bill.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any of excellence and anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB)
If it’s not true and honorable?
Don’t let it stay in your mind.
If it’s not right?
Nope. No second thought.
Things that are true, pure, lovely and of good repute? Those that are excellent and praiseworthy?
Dwell on them.
Give then that second thought. And a third. And a fourth. And, and, and . . .
Focus on them until they are your new thought pattern.
And those other things?
Don’t give them a second thought.
Prayer: Father God, help us to realize what a powerful tool You have given us in our minds. You have given us the ability to think about the things that draw us closer to You and further away from the challenges that can seemingly drown us if we dwell on them. Thank You for the wisdom we find in Your Word. And, Lord? Those thoughts that do bring us down? Help us not to give them a second thought. Amen and amen.
About the author:
deni believes that the only true way to deal with physical and emotional pain is to bring them to the feet of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. A psychologist by profession, disability forced her into an early retirement from a field she loved. Now battling breast cancer, it is her fondest prayer that the lessons she has faced during those years might be helpful to you as you walk this path, encouraging you to replace feelings of discouragement, hopelessness and helplessness with those of encouragement, hope, and ultimately, joy. Her website is http://todaysencouragingwordonline.com .
Has living with a chronic illness changed your thought pattern? Do you ever find yourself on that runaway train of troublesome thoughts? What things can you find in God’s word that important for you to dwell on?
This is Michelle Wagner singing the song “Whatever Is Lovely” and Deni thought you may like it. The lyrics speak of how hard life can be when we have so many struggles, so many people advising us on what to do, but this is when we must make a conscious choice about what our thoughts rest on. This is something I will likely be practicing the rest of my life, but it does get easier as we practice is more and more. -Lisa