Fix Your Thoughts on What is True
If you've ever experienced negative thinking, you may know what it feels like when a single negative thought can lead to despair after fixating your mind on that thought for so long. It can end with crippling effects.
I am taken back to this powerful analogy shared with me by a friend. You can read the excerpt below, it is such a powerful depiction of the weight our thoughts can carry and the effects it can have on our lives.
“A lecturer walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the ‘half empty or half full’ question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: ‘How heavy is this glass of water?’ Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, ‘The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.’
She continued, ‘The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.’
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!”
The more you focus on a thought it can either propel you to greatness or bury you in misery. Be careful what you think upon because it will often determine the trajectory of your life.
It's not necessarily about the thought itself that has such power over us, but our decision whether to dwell on that thought. It could be a negative or a positive thought but how we respond to the thought is what matters. The more we dwell on a negative thought the more crippling it will become. I have often dwelt upon a thought for so long that it has led to confusion and inactivity. But eventually, I remember I have a choice whether to think on those thoughts or not.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (New King James Version)
Life and death lie in the power of the tongue - choose life. Remember you have a choice, choose thoughts that give you life. I have realized that choosing life is easier said than done because the thoughts you think can seem so real, especially if the feelings that come with them feel so real too. A method that has helped me to overcome negative thinking is to speak positive affirmations opposite to the negative thoughts I'm thinking. The positive affirmations will usually be scriptures and quotes that counteract the negative thoughts I'm thinking and feeling.
For example, I may not be feeling pretty on one day and because of how I feel I might say “ahh I don't like how I look today,” I might think in my mind “you look ugly.” I would quickly try to counteract the thought and begin to repeat an affirmation or a scripture. “I am not ugly, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am beautiful by God's standard because He made me in his image and He said 'it is good' when he made me.” I continue to repeat this until I no longer allow myself to settle into the thought. Try it next time.
Our minds are a battlefield - it is important to be intentional about the state of our mind as its the most powerful tool we have. We must remember to renew our minds on a daily basis. We are to ensure that we continue to feed our minds with the goodness of the word, to keep it firmly rooted in truth. When we know the truth, we leave no room for lies to dwell. We are easily able to identify the lies when they come about. We can easily filter them out before they have opportunity to take affect.
Remember to put the glass down! Next time you get a thought weigh it up against the word of God and see if you can allow it to settle in your mind. Is it edifying your spirit, is it good, is it truthful, is it lovely, is it pure? If it’s not lifting you up, put it down!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.