The Bible says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." If you believe your thoughts,
they are real to you regardless of whether they are true or false. Your thoughts shape your world. That's because every action begins with a thought. Our life is made up of one action after another. In other words, your present circumstances were determined by the thoughts you had years, months,
or even days ago. If you want to change the course of your life, you must first change the thoughts that you are thinking.
Changing Negative Thoughts and Thinking Patterns is Difficult
Changing the way your think is easier said than done. Many of the thoughts we embrace were embedded into our subconscious mind from the time we were children and can't be altered or removed without conscious effort on our part. People often have good intentions but overcoming ingrained habits and mindsets is more than a just battle of the will. For example, if you've driven the same route to work everyday for the past year, you're probably now driving on autopilot.
You don't have to think about what street to turn on or fear getting lost. It's practically unconscious. However, if you want to take a different or unfamiliar route, you must remain alert and make a conscious effort to get from point A to point B. Several years ago I moved to a new residence, yet on at least on a dozen occasions when driving home, I actually would get to the street of my old residence before I realized I didn't live there anymore. In the same light, your mind is on default most of the time and it's going to revert back to your old habits and learned patterns unless YOU teach it a new route.
Last year, a my good friend told me that I say the phrase "I don't know" in my conversations just like some people say "uh" , "um" or "okay." After she told me this, I began to pay close attention to my speech and she was so right. I prefaced almost every answer with "I don't know," then I would answer the question. I also began to notice that I was saying the same phrase in my thoughts to myself. I'd been told by several people that I tend to be indecisive. In light of how our words and thoughts shape our reality, it's no wonder I had a hard time making decisions. I kept telling myself "I don't know" repeatedly and subconsciously.
Now that I was aware of this terrible habit, I could stop it. I asked the Holy Spirit to alert me every time I said "I don't know" and it was quite a lot. Then I would say, "stop, yes I do know." After about a week of doing this, I didn't say "I don't know anymore." I also began to fill much more focus and less indecisive as a result. My friend even commented during a brief conversation some weeks later, "you would of said ten 'I don't knows' by now," but I hadn't said any. We can't change what we don't see or acknowledge and what we can't see or acknowledge is influencing our lives whether we recognize it or not.
Paul in Romans 7:14-20 declared his struggle with mind over matter. "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do...For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." Sound familiar?
The Bible tells us to "cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." If you are like most people, you have
experienced the dilemma of trying to get a perpetual pesky thought out of your mind with no avail. Sometimes you can't even pray these thoughts away. You may even verbally give the situation over to God, only to have those nagging thoughts resurrect their ugly heads again
Read My 19 Year Old Daughters Thoughts
One day I asked my problematic teenage daughter to record every thought she was having in the course of an hour. I made her walk around with a pen and pad to list every thought that popped in her mind. At the end of the hour, below are some of her negative thoughts:
"I hate myself."
"No one loves me."
"I don't have any friends."
"I can't do anything."
"No one will hire me."
"I have a bad personality."
These are only half of them. During the course of that hour, not one positive thought about herself or her situation crossed her mind. It's no wonder she had so many emotional problems, her thoughts are literally making her sick and not one of them was valid! Yet, they controlled her like a ball and chain! Until she changed the way she thought about herself, she would continue to suffer in every area of her life.
Take Control of Your Thought Life
Before you can take control of negative thoughts or destructive patterns you have to realize they are there. We can't change what we don't see or acknowledge. Below are some tips on recognizing and changing your thoughts for better health and well-being.
Practice Christ-centered Meditation
Spend 15-20 per minutes a day practicing some form of meditation. With the use of a guided meditation or mantra you can learn to quiet your mind and take authority over destructive thoughts.
Practice Silence and Solitude
Many people hate being alone, but extended amounts of silence and solitude is necessary for mental and physical relaxation and rejuvenation. Turn off the phone, don't answer the door, or find a solitary place at a nearby park to nurture your spirit or reflect on your life and decisions.
Record Your Thoughts
Spend an hour recording each and every thought that pops into your head. At the end of the hour you may be surprised to see just what thoughts have been circulating in your mind. Mostly likely, you've been thinking these sames thoughts for weeks, months, or even years. Are they thoughts that build you up or tear you down? Are they thoughts emerged in faith or fear? Do this exercise anytime you find yourself in a low mood. Once you determine the thoughts that are mentally crippling you, you can eliminate or alter them.
Maintain a Spiritual Journal
Living in a society where we rely so much on outside sources for direction and information, spiritual journaling a wonderful practice to help us get in touch with the spirit within. Jesus said in the Gospel, when the Holy Spirit comes, he will lead and guide us into all truth. In fact, Jesus said that no man will need to teach us, because the spirit will teach us what we need to know. And where is that spirit? Jesus said, "the spirit of God is inside you." Unfortunately, we don't trust God's spirit inside us. Spiritual journaling is a great way to strengthen your inner man. Through spiritual journaling you can discover more about who you are, receive personal messages from God, record your spiritual growth, and learn to live more authentically.
Rhonda Jones is the creator of over 25 Christian meditation and affirmation Cds and the author of the Christian makeover program, Detox Your Life & Awaken Your Inner Spirit. Learn more about books, CDs & annual Christian Meditation and Yoga retreats at http://www.thechristianmeditator.com.
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