Choose your Thoughts!
I am not even up good in the morning and before my feet hit the floor, the battlefield starts in my mind. I think to myself, “Let me get a hot cup of coffee before the onslaught of negative thoughts starts.” I have to CHOOSE to begin saying to myself first thing in the morning, “This is the day the Lord has made and I will be glad and rejoice in it, or joy comes in the morning.” I have to speak life over myself and I do not always feel like doing it. Get past your feelings; otherwise, you could end up lying in bed all day or you could CHOOSE to set your day negatively by the words you speak over yourself first thing in the morning.
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Wilderness Mentality Stop your Stinkin' Thinkin'
Many of our thoughts are random, some are from the enemy, some are from past experiences, and some are from God. You must differentiate which thoughts are coming to your mind and from what source. Our mind can also be passive, and that is not necessarily a good thing because a passive mind can open the door to the enemy planting his thoughts into our minds. The only sure way to win the battle in our minds, is taking every thought captive and asking yourself, “Is this thought from God?” If it is not from God, immediately replace that thought with God’s Word and faith-filled statements. DO NOT ponder, dwell, or analyze your thoughts too much. In other words, if you get a thought in your mind like,” Your such a failure,” you can know immediately that did not come from God. So many times when we get a thought like that we come into agreement with the thought and when we do that we have now believed the lie the enemy was trying to get planted in our minds to become a stronghold. A stronghold forms after not taking captive thoughts that come into our minds and CHOOSING to accept the lie as a truth. We must discipline our minds to take EVERY thought captive immediately, because if wait to do so that thought will be implanted into our minds. Once a thought gets implanted in our minds, it takes a lot of work to remove that thought. Think of it like a seed that gets planted, if you go and dig up the seed right after it is planted it can be easily removed, but if you wait until that seed has grown and developed deep roots it will take a lot more to uproot that plant. Our thoughts are similar, once a thought gets “roots” it will take a lot more effort to dig up the roots.
We have to constantly monitor what is coming into our minds. The enemy is clever and will disguise his voice to sound like yours, so you believe the thought is coming from you and not the enemy. If we are not thinking on thoughts that are lovely, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), we need to stop the thought immediately! Yes, there are times when something will cause you pain or upset you, and your thoughts may really have difficulty thinking about anything good or praiseworthy, but we can cast our care on God (Psalm 55:22), and believe He will work out ALL things for our good (Romans 8:28).
We have between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day, or 35-48 thoughts per minute. That is a lot of thoughts to have in one day, and research supports that many of our thoughts were exactly the same as the day before! 80% of our thoughts are negative, but we have the ability to change that. Negative thoughts are life draining. Thoughts such as, “should,” “ought to”, “never, “or “can’t” are particular draining to us mentally.
It is important that we are so filled with God’s Word that we will immediately know when a thought comes to us that is not from God.
For years, neuroscientists believed the brain was fixed and immutable but new research suggests that we can rewire our brains! It is possible to reset our happiness and joy meters! I have always believed this, but when I was in college studying Psychology I was taught that our brains were hard-wired from birth and could not be changed. Research now shows our minds can be set free from depression and even addictions by CHOOSING the right thoughts! Science simply confirms what scripture has been saying all along, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good.” Philippians 4:8. The words think, thought, and mind are used hundreds of times in the Bible. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinks, so is he.”
When someone has experienced significant trauma or setbacks in their lives, it can cause patterns of thinking that are toxic. These toxic thoughts can become automatic as one engages in life. These toxic thoughts must be exposed to the healing and truth in God’s Word. It may take a while for toxic thoughts to be completely removed in someone’s mind, but by renewing the mind often in God’s Word and saying scriptures out loud that speak the opposite of the toxic thought will cause a shift in toxic thinking.
But we can retrain our brain no matter what experiences we have had! If you truly desire to be that joy-filled, optimistic, sunny person, you can be no matter what your genetics are or your circumstances! If you CHOOSE to take every thought captive and renew your mind with God’s word for the next 21 days, you will have formed a new habit of right thinking.
What are some negative thoughts that you need to “fast” from for the next 21 days:
· Anxious and worry
· Criticism of self or others
· Judging self or others
· Ruminating the past
· Dwelling on painful memories
· Thinking about your problems/difficult circumstances
· Thinking thoughts like, should, ought to, need to, or can’t
· Focusing on what is wrong in your life (lack)
· Thinking negative thoughts that God does not love you or bless you
· Thinking hopeless thoughts or believing that everything will always be this way
· Believing you are rejected
· Believing you are not good-enough or smart enough
· Worst-case scenarios
· Other people have it better than I do, or they are more blessed than me
· Self-pit or being the victim
· Comparing yourself to others
· Caring what others think of you
Any other negative thoughts that you need to fast from for 21 days?