Do you ever stop and think about what you’re thinking about? It probably sounds strange, but we need to do that from time to time. Actually, every thought that we have deserves examination. Our mind is like a garden, and we can cultivate flowers or weeds; the choice is ours.
The Bible reinforces that by telling us to take every thought captive and to make it obedient to Christ. Sounds like a lot of work, if you ask me. However, it is worth it. Since I’m taking steps to do the work that the Bible instructs us to do and because of a new book I’m reading, I am learning to process my feelings and hurts in a different way now.
The thoughts that we have, if you are like me, are a conversation we have with ourselves. It’s a constant dialogue running and running and just typing that out sounds exhausting, quite honestly, but it’s true! So, how can we train ourselves to have a positive narrative and to re-write the story we continually tell ourselves daily?
Here are some of what I’m trying out for myself:
1. Keeping a journal. Sometimes a good mental ‘dump’ is what you need. Get those thoughts down on paper so that you can get them out of your head. Read them over and then move on. Just because you wrote it down doesn’t mean that you need to pour over it again and again. That defeats the purpose of the mental dump.
2. Hiding God’s word in your heart. The Scripture says specifically in Psalm 119:11 to ...hide God’s word in your heart that you might not sign against Him. That’s paraphrased, but it’s so important. This is where more of the work comes in because you’re retraining your mind to only ponder God’s word. While you’re busy pondering and contemplating, you’re too busy to worry or fret, labor or spin, which are all the things God’s word tells us NOT to do.
3. Have positive self-talk. This is a tough one for me and for a lot of people I know. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to beating ourselves up over mistakes we’ve made, things we did or didn’t do, things we may have said or didn’t say, etc. Stop it already! If you’ve asked for God’s forgiveness for the sin or transgression you’ve committed, you can move on! I’ll let you in on a little secret, God has already forgotten your transgression and He’s removed the sin from you. Remember Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
4. Let it go. Not to sound like the soundtrack to the movie Frozen, but you need to let go of the past: past mistakes, past hurts that were inflicted upon you, past disappointments, deadlines you missed, late payments, burned meals, past arguments and past hurts you inflicted on someone else.
I mentioned a book I’m reading that’s helping me process hurts from the past and really let it go. It’s called Forgive for Good by Dr. Fred Luskin. The cover of the book has the tagline that “holding a grudge is hazardous to your health.” Y’all, it’s so true! He explains what happens to our bodies physiologically and how bad it is for us to continually relive those things from the past. I haven’t even finished the book yet, but so far it has great promise to help me forgive for good.
As we move into a new year, I hope that you’ll take some time to pull the proverbial mental weeds and start cultivating some positivity and some flowers that will grow and flourish each day and throughout the upcoming year. Remember, as Christians, every day is New Year’s Day because His mercies are new every morning!