A few years ago, I hung those words in a prominent spot in our home. It has become a reminder for myself, as well as anyone who comes for a visit.
I’ve found that sometimes we make ourselves anxious because of the thoughts spiraling around in our minds, but not all of them are true. We make assumptions about a person, an event, or even ourselves, and soon our thought life is out of control.
Thoughts, if left to run wild, can hold us captive. They can make us anxious. And holding onto negative thoughts can affect us at work and in our relationships.
If you think about something long enough, you begin to believe it. Maybe you’ve thought…
“I’m a failure.”
“No one needs me.”
“Everyone has it figured out but me.”
When I was at my lowest point with depression, these negative thoughts were constant. I couldn’t escape them. My “inner critic” was constantly pointing out my flaws and telling me what I could be doing better. It followed me around relentlessly–in every circumstance and situation. It was exhausting and defeating.
But we don’t have to give our thoughts that much power. By intentionally digging into our ideations and reasonings, we can find out the validity, or lack thereof. We can fight back with Truth.
When the enemy is attacking us with lies that we are prone to believe, we can look to the hope in Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NASB)
Another word for dwell is to exist. It’s not about briefly visiting these types of thoughts listed – honorable, right, pure – and then leaving them for less desirable thoughts. Instead, we are called to exist, to dwell on these things. Dwelling means putting down roots, establishing ourselves, settling in, and resting. These thoughts of honorable and lovely are meant to be permanent, not just rest stops along the way.
Creating a thought life like this takes intention.
Our minds gravitate towards self-focus instead of upward focus. When we continue to be wrapped up in our own thoughts and don’t establish ourselves in truth, we will only spiral downward from there. We need to be intentional with lifting our gaze to Christ, the One who embodies right, pure, and lovely.
But dwelling on thoughts that are true, honorable, and right is easier said than done. Thought patterns that have been there for years are like deep furrows, they can be tough to get out of. I have found three actions that have helped turn my thought patterns around.
The whole article can be found at Kingdom Edge Magazine.