How to win the mind battle. Once and for all.
Today I’m sharing a simple, doable exercise to help you win that battle going on in your mind.
“Once and for all?” you ask.
I know…is that really possible?
And then I wonder, “Who am I to suggest that this battle can be conquered once and for all?”
After all, I just spent the better part of a week on the roller coaster of positive/negative thoughts.
Speaking of roller coasters…
I’m sure there are a number of reasons that people get on roller coasters. Many ride because it’s fun. They love the exhilaration of the speed, the terror of the drop, or maybe they’re riding it because it scares them to death. Maybe it’s something else entirely.
Whether we choose to admit it or not, many of us ride a thought roller coaster. We might go from the positive to the negative and back to the positive in mere minutes. Others of us may go through those ups and downs over a week or a month. Or maybe it’s a combination based on what life is dishing out at given time.
One thing I know for sure, we are capable of controlling our thoughts and putting them on the positive road, or letting them wildly ride that crazy, rickety roller coaster with those heart-stopping drops.
It’s time to get off the roller coaster.
Here’s how to get off and stay off….
…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 NIV
That’s it? Yup that’s it.
It all boils down to what are we thinking.
A few days ago, we left the house, jumped in the car and turned the key in the ignition. There was a pause and nothing happened. Again, the key was turned and there was a faint sound, but nothing happened. Another turn of the key and an odd sound and the engine fired to life. Hmmm…that was a bit un-nerving. We drove a few miles to our destination, parked the car, went about our business and didn’t think anything of it until we got back in the car a few hours later. This time, it was a repeat….expect the car didn’t start. We prayed and asked God to heal our car. A short while later, it made another unusual sound and started up. Just before we got home, I had the idea that the last time I drove I might not have turned the ignition thingy completely to its off position. Our car is older and for some reason, we can pull the key out and over rotate the ignition thingy. If it was over rotated, the car would have had a battery drain for some time, which could have resulted in a starting problem.
I have no idea what the issue is with the car. I also don’t want to use my limited resources visiting the mechanic. But, one thing I find myself doing is letting my thoughts go to all kinds of crazy places. I jump on the roller coaster of fear and negativity. Not a good choice.
I’m sure you have a story to share of your most recent trip on that same roller coaster. Yes?
Let’s save our roller coaster rides for the amusement park and take a look at how we can control those negative thoughts.
Paul gave us some important tips for living a rich life in the Book of Philippians…
Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice! Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.
Philippians 4:4-7 – Voice
In a nutshell, Paul is telling us to…
- Be joyful…
- Remember God is always with us…
- Don’t worry and fret….
- Pray and tell God all our needs…
- Thank God for his answers…
- And….for doing this…receive God’s peace.
If we do those things we should be in a good place in our minds, live a victorious life, and impact those around us with God’s goodness and grace.
Paul knows that our minds are the place where all of this can take a deep plunge.
So…to prevent us from hopping on the roller coaster of negativity he tells us this….
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT
“Fix your thoughts.”
Here’s what we can do to fix our thoughts.
Get out a notebook, or paper, or index cards (handy for caring around with you), and write down…
“I will fix my thoughts on what is…”
Under it write, True, and then leave a space below for writing….or put a single word on a single index card with the title.
Next write, Honorable. Then, Right. Then Pure. Then, Lovely. Then, Admirable. Then, Things that are Excellent. Then, Things that are Worthy of Praise. Again, for each of these, leaving space below to write or place each one on an individual index card.
I’m not going to tell you what to list for each of these. But, I will get you started.
Under True, I would write…
- God is my ever present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
- God loves me with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
- I can depend on God’s promises. (Luke 1:37)
- Christ Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
If you know the scripture verse for the different truths, etc., which you write down…add those.
Ask God to guide you in your thoughts as you go through this exercise.
The beauty of taking the time to do this…
We remember in the writing, the scratching of the pen.
When we find ourselves hopping on the roller coaster, we can pull out the paper, notebook, or cards and use the verse and words we’ve already written to direct our thoughts.
When we train our minds to think in this way, it not only controls our thoughts, but it shapes our character.
And ultimately, we will live in a more God-honoring way, and positively impact those around us.
Benefits include sleeping better at night and thus better health, improved relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, sharper decisions being made, and so on. And best of all….getting off that ridiculous roller coaster of negativity.
Keep in mind, this is a process.
We move forward, we fall back, we step ahead, and so on. If you mess up…don’t beat yourself up…ask God to forgive you, forgive yourself, and then take the next right step. That next right step might be deciding to have the mind of Christ, thinking on these scriptures we discussed, or keeping your cards nearby and training your mind.
Some day, we’ll all look back and see how far we’ve come and how we rarely are even near that roller coaster of negativity. I’m looking forward to the day I win the mind battle. How about you?
It’s Joy Day!
One way to stay off that roller coaster of negativity is to have a thankful heart.
Won’t you join me in thinking back over the past week and counting seven things for which you are thankful. Because God’s word tells us that we are to give thanks in all things we need to include a bit of the unpleasant as well. It’s an amazing exercise.
The best part of doing this….we get JOY! And I just know you need some joy. [wink]
Thank you God for…
- my birthday flowers and the “star gazers” that are fully blooming a week later.
- hard days that remind me of my great need for you.
- for my marriage, our anniversary, and the joys and hardships that come with saying, “I do.”
- protection during the big storm.
- giving my friend healing through an amazing surgeon after being so crippled.
- waking me up early and the joy of seeing the beauty of the fog rising over the lake.
- being my constant guide and companion.
Now…it’s YOUR turn!
List your ‘seven’ in the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts’ section below. You’ll be glad you did.
Want even more joy? Take the Joy Dare here.
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