“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
“For the mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” –Romans 8:6
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” I’m sure many of you have heard this saying or stumbled across it on Pinterest at least once. And even though it’s become more of a cliché quote that’s splattered all over Tumblr, it still holds an important truth: THOUGHTS HAVE POWER.
Just as the quote says, everything is an out flow of our thoughts: our attitudes, our words, our actions, etc. So, if you have good, uplifting and encouraging thoughts, your actions and life are bound to follow that line of thinking. And conversely, if your thoughts are negative or unwholesome, your actions are likely to be so, too. So the question to ask yourself is: what are you thinking about?
I’ll be honest, I tend to be more of a pessimist. I struggled a lot with thinking negatively and always “expecting the worst,” and this was reflected in my attitude and actions. If your thoughts are negative, judgmental, cynical, prideful, angry, etc., you will become those things. So first of all, it’s important to recognize what thoughts you’re thinking and decide whether or not they are beneficial or harmful.
Then, it’s up to you to change your thought process. Now you may question: “How can I change what I’m thinking? It sort of just happens and I can’t help myself.” While it may seem like we have no control over our thoughts sometimes, the truth is that we do have the ability to regulate and train our thinking. I’m not saying that it is easy, because it’s not. It takes a lot of work, determination, and going to the Lord in prayer to change the way that you think. But it is possible.
Now there’s no clear cut way with a bunch of steps that you have to follow in order to transform your thinking. Everybody is different, and different things work for different people. But listed below are some of the things that I found helpful in training my thoughts.
WAYS TO TRAIN YOUR THOUGHTS:
- Going to the Lord in Prayer
This is definitely the most important aspect when you’re trying to focus your mind on what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable." In our own strength, we can’t control our thoughts, because we’re human and have a sinful nature. But if we go to the Lord and earnestly ask Him for help in transforming our minds, He will hear our requests and help us through the process- supplying us with His aid, strength, and revelation.
- Praying Continually
On top of asking for the Lords help and guidance, we should be talking with Him throughout the day. This is a great way to help change your thoughts. If you’re spending time with Him, you don’t have time to be thinking negatively. And, the more time we spend with Him, the more we reflect His characteristics.
- Memorizing Scripture
This is similar to the previous one, where if you’re spending time focusing on God and His Word, you don’t have time for unholy thoughts. So if you are meditating on Scripture or memorizing a verse (I’ve started memorizing one every 1-2 weeks), your thoughts are solely on the Lord and on what is good- not what is bad.
- Get Rid of Influencers
We all have certain triggers that begin our descent into bad thoughts- this could be music, movies, books, and even friends. I would encourage you to get rid of these bad influences in your life. The more you are around them, the worse your thoughts will become. Now, I’m not saying to completely get rid of negative friends, though in some cases you may have to. Just be aware that they’re influencing you and try to direct the conversation or monitor your time with them.
- Have a Go-To Verse/Song
Whenever I start going down that path or my thoughts go where they shouldn’t, I immediately go to my “go-to” song: Lift Me Up by the Afters. Part of the chorus says, “You lift me up when I am weak. You’re arms wrap around me. Your love catches me so I’m letting go.” I chose this because in those moments, I’m weak and I need the Lord to help me through the situation! I’ve turned to this song so much, that it has just become instinctual whenever something happens. So choose a verse or song that you can turn to whenever you start going down that path.
I pray that you girls will be able to focus your eyes, thoughts, and lives on Him!
Raelene Harris is a spicy as they come- in her faith, her hobbies, and her style! A lover of the arts and aesthetics, she seeks to use her passions such as photography and music to glorify God and build relationships. As a 2017 intern, she is thrilled with the opportunities to expand His kingdom.