How to Win the Mind Battle Once & For All - Devotional on Philippians 4: 4-8

 

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.

Should be.

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….

 

#philippians4:8 :: How to Win the Mind Battle :: Scripture Photo Quote

 

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…

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?

 

 Joy Day! #countourblessings

 

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]

I’ll start…

Thank you God for…

  1. my birthday flowers and the “star gazers” that are fully blooming a week later.
  2. hard days that remind me of my great need for you.
  3. for my marriage, our anniversary, and the joys and hardships that come with saying, “I do.”
  4. protection during the big storm.
  5. giving my friend healing through an amazing surgeon after being so crippled.
  6. waking me up early and the joy of seeing the beauty of the fog rising over the lake.
  7. 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.

Joyfully!

Diane

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Comments

  1. Debbi Saunders says:

    Good Morning Diane, The Blog Topic today was perfect timing for me…my mind has been on the Roller Coaster a few times this week!
    Here are my seven things to thank God for from this last week…..

    1. For His Guide Book for life and all it’s many promises….
    2. For Freedom…
    3. For the opportunity to learn…
    4. That I work in a Christian environment…
    5. This is the hardest to be thankful for; the huge life altering challenge I am facing in one week..
    6. That a Dear Friend has found spiritual confidence to stand up for herself against a sometimes verbally abusive
    boss!!!
    7. For my Son’s continued reliance on the Lord’s guidance in his life…

    • My dear friend….I am still standing and believing with you for #5. I truly believe God will make a way for you.
      I also pray that you can walk in HIS power and HIS confidence in the days ahead. [[[hugs]]]

      (I’m such a rookie….I replied early afternoon and just discovered that my reply was a separate comment. LOL)

  2. 1. Antibiotics to rid my stomach of an infection I didn’t know I had.
    2. A capable doctor who takes care of me. He’s new to me, but so far, I think he’s great. Thanks, God. Ultimately You are my Great Physician & You are the One Who is really taking care of me!
    3. Being well enough to accompany my hubby on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic recently where we …worked with a great team from Houston!
    4. Friends who paid my way! I don’t often get to go because 2 people = double expense.
    5. Wellness for the first time since late winter!
    6. Seeing the appreciation in the people when we installed libraries in a Bible School & day school of a local
    church there.
    7. Attended an inspiring missionary retreat at a resort on the island where God blessed us so very much!

    • Dear Carolyn, I’m so glad that you are better. You’ve had a very long haul. Praise God that you were able to travel and bless so many on your mission trip. God is good.
      Thanks for taking the time to share you ‘seven.’ May your new week overflow with God’s amazing goodness and joy! [hugs]

  3. Oh my goodness, I had no idea, Diane! Congratulations and Belated Happy Birthday!

    Joy Day – I’m grateful for/that:
    1. whoever figured out we could always wish people a belated “Happy Birthday”, cause if they got royalties, I’d be BROKE!
    2. we’ve finally stopped passing the cold around in my family.
    3. inspiration concerning how to work more efficiently as a writer.
    4. $4 prescriptions.
    5. being able to help out my husband’s family i/o the other way around for once.
    6. money saved by making minor repairs/remodels ourselves.
    7. for my 11 year old daughter’s interest in writing stories!

    • My sweet friend….thank you for the birthday wishes…they are warm and genuine no matter the date they arrive. [hugs]
      I love your ‘seven,’ LuAnn, and you must share your secret to efficient writing. My posts take forever.
      May you sense God’s grace this week in overwhelming measure!

  4. I learned the importance of controlling my mind after I lost my husband of 25 years. I found that I could have a horrible day if I would let my thoughts drift to negative places, and so I learned to turn those thoughts around. I guess I’d never considered how much my mind can affect me until this time.

    • I am so very sorry, Sharon. I can only imagine how challenging it would be to keep your mind in a good place. You are definitely a wise woman.
      May you be overwhelmed with God’s love and grace in the week ahead. [hugs]

  5. I love this idea, Diane! This would really help focus on Him rather than our problems. I’m prraying for you daily, my friend. 🙂

  6. Hi Diane,
    This is my first visit to your blog, and I loved this post. I do a Thankful Thursday post every Thursday and have been
    doing it for over 5 years and it has truly revolutionized my life, and I hardly see the bad things any more, and I am
    able to look for something good to think about much more than I used to……….but love this exercise you suggested
    by using the words in the verse. Great idea………..and will sure be trying it.
    and praise is sure a big key too. Thank you for sharing this…….
    Blessings, Nellie

    • Nellie…thank you so much for your warm and encouraging words.
      About two years ago I read Ann Voskamp’s book 1000 Gifts and it was pivotal in my purposeful gratitude. You are right…it is life-changing.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. What a blessing!
      Best wishes for a joy-filled week!

  7. Oh forgot to tell you how gorgeous these pics are as well.
    Enough to take your breathe away!
    Blessings, Nellie

    • Thank you Nellie! I was sitting outside….enjoying God’s “light show” and I thought I needed to run in to get my camera. I was able to capture these three and then my battery was exhausted. Whew! What a blessing to get them. Again…thank you for your kind words! [hugs]

  8. Somehow when I saw the title of your post, I knew you had to be using this verse. The only way we keep the negative thoughts from taking over is by filling our mind with His word. He tells us to hide His word in hearts for a reason. Thanks so much for sharing today.

    • You are so right, Beth. 🙂 Sometimes we have a disconnect between knowing the truth and living out the truth. Hopefully this little exercise will help us live out God’s truth victoriously. 🙂 Thank you for taking time to stop by today and blessing us with your thoughtful words.
      May your day overflow with JOY!

  9. Oh have I ever been on a roller coaster these last couple of weeks. With being laid off, and still having no new permanent position, my mind has been doing all sorts of negative thinking. BUT, I know that God is with me! He will not fail me.
    Today, I am thankful for:
    1. God’s plan for my life. It’s bigger than mine!
    2. Snail Mail encouragement from bloggers that have made my heart full.
    3. A small gift in the mail, letting me know He cares.
    4. A new Coffee Machine to review on my blog.
    5. Reminders of His faithfulness.
    6. Book sales!
    7. Hugs from friends.

    • My heart hurts for you Barbie. Oh how we want a break…to have things on an even keel…and to feel like we live normal lives…not hanging on by dear life to the bar on the roller coaster. Yes? Won’t it be good to be able to look back in a year and see how God has not only been faithful, but to see how we’ve grown?
      Thanks for taking time to share your ‘seven.’ All blessings from the Lord. Yay God!
      May your week be filled with extraordinary God moments!

  10. Diane,
    What a great post! I love this idea and will be featuring you over at Fridays Unfolded. 🙂 It is so easy to fix our eyes on the here and now, the problems and troubles of this world. Thankful that we can find JOY in the midst. I will list my 7 right now:
    1. That God took a Sabbath day, not because he needed it but to be an example for us!
    2. My cold which made me realize my need for a Sabbath.
    3. That my husband works from home and we can have lunch dates
    4. The sunshine! It not only physically warms me but it warms my spirit too.
    5. That God created such beauty for us to enjoy! I love Fall!
    6. All my senses, having a stuffy nose you don’t realize how much you use your sniffer until it’s plugged.
    7. That we can blog and share JOY with people we’ve never “met” and inspire one another!

    • Ange…you are a joy and a blessing!!
      Thank you for not only taking the time to share your ‘seven,’ but for splashing all of us here with your joyful spirit.
      Heal quickly, so you can start enjoying the aromas of fall, like fresh apples, pumpkin candles, and…dare I say it…falling leaves.

      May your weekend overflow with HIS joy!

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