Monday, March 11, 2013

Controling my thoughts

Last week I wrote about one of my difficult truths about myself.  I wrote about a struggle I have to love myself, here.  It was tough to write it out.  Thank you to those who commented in commiseration, and I feel for you because I know how much it hurts, and to those who commented in encouragement by reminding me and reinforcing my knowledge of God and my relationship with him.

I learned a lot about myself and where I fall on the "normal" scale by publishing that post.  I was happy to receive feedback and I can accept it and learn from it.  I wonder, however, if there were readers that didn't comment, but understood my feelings.  Of course, I'll never know for sure.

I've been giving a lot of thought to my thought process lately.  First of all, it's a shame that I don't think about myself more highly than I do.  Yet, nobody out there is going to be able to accuse me of being conceited or big-headed about myself.  Secondly, I don't believe we can sin in our thought life.  I believe we have to act on our thoughts in order to actually sin.  I have never acted out against my body or myself in regard to my loathsome thoughts about myself.  And, even though I may think that I hate myself at least once a day, I am still fully functioning in my life.  I'm going to work.  I'm taking care of my family.  I'm interaction with society.  I am a person that needs to check myself now and again to be sure I'm not sinking into a depressed state of mind.  After all, I'm on Tamoxifen and Tamoxifen has been known to cause depression in some people.  Finally, I know that our thoughts can lead to actions and those actions could be sinful actions.

Proverbs 4:23, "Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life."

Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

Even the eastern philosophers knew that our life is controlled by our thoughts.  If you correct your mind the rest of your life will fall into place.  Lao Tzu

It's hard to do this.  Yet, because I've been reborn and have the Holy Spirit in me, I know it is possible.  There are tangible things I can do to change my thought process.  I searched the internet and found some ideas, both by secular psychologists and by theological teachers.  I wrote a few suggestions down and I plan to use this list to work through my mind altering process.

  • Don't dwell on the past.  Everyday is a new opportunity to make great things happen.  Dwelling on past actions, after asking for forgiveness and making amends, keeps a person from living in the present.

  • Don't think negatively anymore. This seems almost impossible to me.  Yet, it's what I want to do.  I want to think positively.  If I begin to think a negative or loathsome thought of myself or someone else, I can remind myself to think of a positive.

  • Put my focus on the future.  Put my focus on what I want to do.  Believe that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  I need to keep reminding myself of what can be accomplished and stop focusing on failures.

  • Meditate on the positive.  Pray prayers of thanksgiving for all the blessings I have.  Meditate on the promises of God.  Do as Paul said in Philippians 4:8 and think about the pure, the lovely, and the commendable things of this world.

  • Give up the word failure from my vocabulary.  There is success and learning opportunities.  There is no failure.

  • Keep trying.  Don't give up on this process of changing my thought pattern.  I can correct my mind.

  • Think big.  Give myself over to God's use.  Don't minimize what I think God can do with me just because I'm not thinking big enough. 

  • Pay attention to my thought process.  Notice the frequency of adjusting my negative thoughts to positive thoughts.  Note the frequency of thinking or meditating on positive future events versus remembering negative past events.  Take time after meditation and prayer to notice the effort it took to pray prayers of thanksgiving over prayers of confession and humiliation.  Pay attention to my thoughts.  They are what control my life.
*An added note to this post shows what a slow learner I am.  I found this post I wrote back in January '12.  It's basically this same post all over again.  When, oh when will I get it?

220.  Knowing when my will and God's will are in line, there is nothing I cannot accomplish
221.  A beautiful weekend in Old Town Alexandria and wonderful conversations with old friends
222.  Watching my son continue to grow into a competent and confident man
223.  Having a plan to change my life
224.  Serving a God of second chances (and third and forth...)
225.  Looking forward to my small group bible study and friends that love me for who I am


  1. there is def scripture in line with bringing our thought life into line...and its good that we wrestle these thoughts down because our thoughts do reap actions...and if not against us against others...

  2. Keep trying.  Yes - 

  3. none of us are good, none of us are worthy...and that is why God is sooooooo good.

  4. This made me think of today's devotional on the She Reads Truth blog.  It said positive thinking is me focused, but what we need is perspective thinking which is Word focused.  Are we thinking about things, ourselves included, the way God reveals in His Word?  Anyway, you'd have to read it yourself to get the whole meaning of it, but it really got me thinking.

  5. Ok, I do think it's possible to sin in thought. Consider Matthew 5:28. But I'm glad you're doing well despite your inward struggles, and I'm glad you're strategizing about how to overcome. You have a string spirit, and THE Spirit, besides; I have every confidence in you!

  6. Fascinating blog. I shall certainly come again.

  7. Some good suggestions. I do my best to stay in this day and not revisit the past which tends to make me feel sad. There were so many good moments in the past but my mind will pick the ones that weren't good! I realize that I love myself more at some times than others. Progress not perfection....

  8. I need to print out your list and pin it up by my PC where I can see it!


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