When you first open your eyes and turn over to grab your treasured phone and open up to Facebook, what’s the first thing you see? “What’s on your mind?”
That’s a very good question, what is on your mind? Is it the stress and worries that have overtaken and threaten to become “what-if’s”? Do you obsess over your lack of money, lack of job, the fact that you fear your kids are going to hell in a hand basket because of their uncharacteristic and unacceptable behavior? Are you concerned about what your neighbor thinks or worried about a secret getting revealed and how it can ruin your life?
What takes up space in your mind, that you are allowing to live there rent free? What war is raging? Have you crossed a line and now you are worried about the consequences?
What is really on your mind?
Joyce Meyers coined the phrase “The Mind is a Battlefield” and boy is she right! What you spend time thinking about will sooner or later take complete control of you if it hasn’t already.
Most people honestly believe that they can’t help what they think about; that they have no control over their thoughts.
I’m here to tell you (and me) that you do have complete control over what you think about. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I will say from experience that it does get easier with practice. There was a point in my life where I could literally take every thought captive as soon as something negative popped into my head.
I’m not saying that things didn’t happen because they did. Life just happens, but the worry that would try to bombard me was very quickly silenced.
Unfortunately, I have gotten out of that practice, but I know that I can get there again, and I’m hoping that I can take some people on this journey with me, but first I must convince you that it will be worth the trip, as well as how to get there.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 reads “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity.”
That’s pretty powerful right there.
Those verses tell you everything you need to know to win the battle within. How many times have you taken a shower and had arguments in your mind with your boss, your kids, your spouse, your in-laws or whoever? You know you won every fight in your mind. By the time you got out of the shower, you were ready to unload both barrels on them. How did you do that? There is obviously a problem, otherwise, you wouldn’t be playing this argument in your mind. You have either real or imagined perceptions of the character of the person you are arguing with. Somehow, at some point, you bent the details just enough so that in your mind you came out the winner.
That’s good, in a way…I guess, but I bet that you didn’t get out that shower feeling very happy. What if you could get to the point to where the argument doesn’t even exist? It takes practice, but some things to think about before you even begin this argument is, do you have all the facts? Is the problem even an issue? What if you could learn not to worry until there is actually something to worry about? Most conflict happens because of not having all the facts, jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst….and you know what they say that happens when you assume. Ok, so I think we are free to let go of the conflicts now.
So what about other types of worry? Worry about money issues. Yes, I will be the first to say that this is the hardest area to mentally overcome because unfortunately it is a very real and often ongoing issue. First and foremost, I recommend reading anything you can get your hands on by Dave Ramsey. Secondly, you have to take a very real inventory of your current situation and see what is the worst that can happen. Sometimes when you take inventory you realize that although it may be bad, you can bounce back. You may have to find areas you can cut down or cut out altogether and come up with creative, but legal, ideas to get you back on track. Finances are unfortunately one of the biggest demons in most people’s minds, but regardless of the situation, you still have to think on the good things. More than likely you still have a roof over your head and food in your belly, even if it’s not the food you want. Make a list of your blessings and count them. Think about them. As long as there is breath in your body there is still hope.
The point is that whatever you are going through, you cannot allow those negative thoughts to consume you. You have to arrest them, take them captive and think on good things. It starts as a thought, then it becomes an obsession, then you take action on that thought. Next thing you know, you have caused a world of hurt and created your own storm. Keep allowing those negative thoughts to control you and you will become a negative person that nobody wants to be around.
As I mentioned, there was a time in my life when I could guard myself against negativity, starting with myself and my own thoughts. I was very careful about who I would let close enough to me to influence me. I have slipped out of that practice, but I remember the sound mind that I had then. Since I have allowed negative circumstances and people back into my inner circle, I have spiraled out of control mentally. Now every day is a fight to keep going. I literally feel like I am going crazy most days. The good thing is that I recognize it and I have to start kicking some stinking thinking to the curb and once again put that protective wall around my heart to keep negative people out.
Obviously, I have identified those people for myself. There are times when you may not be able to geographically remove those people from your life. You can be friendly and civil to them. It may be your boss or your spouse or your child. You will not be able to fix them and until you can fix yourself, you cannot expect to have any type of positive influence on them. You have to get strong in your mind before you can help others out of that rut. But you can keep conversations on a shallow level. You may even have to put your foot down and explain that you are not able to hear any type of negativity from them. If they insist, then politely walk away.
Mental health has become a big topic these days as more light has been shed. A lot of mental health issues are very real and people are genuinely out of balance chemically. However, there are a lot of mental health issues that can be dealt with by simply taking control of your thoughts. You have to have goals, purpose, vision and drive. It’s within you somewhere.
I want to encourage everyone to reflect inwardly on finding those things. Figure out what your purpose is. What do you like to do? What do you want to do? How can you make it happen…in little bites. Rediscover your vision and find your drive. Then when the onslaught of negative thoughts bombards your mind, think on these things…and remember, you ARE what you THINK.