Updated: May 18
Have you ever tried to stop thinking about something, but all you could do was continue thinking about it?
In 2016, I left a freelance job that I had been working at for about 3 years. It was the only gig bringing me consistent income, but I left because I let my emotions get the best of me and I made an erratic decision.
I barely made it out of the door before I started tearing.
I was hurt and felt like a failure. My mind was consumed with so much negative talk and I couldn't change my focus.
As I was rushing to the train to go home and wiping every tear off my face as quickly as it fell, I remember thinking to myself, "Maggie, don't start crying. You're going to draw unwanted attention to yourself if you start crying."
For the next twenty minutes, I fought hard (and I mean hard!) to hold back my tears until I at least got home.
When I got off the train, I walked past a GNC and remembered that I needed some vitamins. So, I went into the store and started chatting to a sales associate about the different options. Before I knew it, I wasn't fighting to hold my tears back anymore.
My focus just needed a little re-routing.
God knows that we constantly have damaging thoughts, which is why He gave us scriptures to speak the truth over our lives when our thoughts lie to us.
Repeating to yourself, “Don’t think about (enter thing),” never works. But, replacing negative thoughts with good, Christ-like ones, does.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. —Philippians 4:8
Even when faced with tough situations, God wants you to have edifying thoughts. When you practice keeping your mind on Christ and praiseworthy things, you'll find yourself smiling more and experiencing joy during challenging times.
Training your mind to quiet bad thoughts won't happen overnight though. But just as you learn to ride a bike, when you practice replacing negative thoughts with good ones, it will soon become second nature.
Your mind is like a sponge—everything that you put in it (intentionally and unintentionally) is absorbed.
If you struggle with quieting your negative thoughts, I strongly suggest you filter what you watch, read, and listen to. Yes, that even means those juicy, drama-filled shows that you can’t wait to watch every week and your gossiping best friend.
Filtering what you expose yourself to will bring you peace. Read, watch, and listen to things that uplift and empower you. Stay focused on Godly things, and soon you’ll be saying, “Adios,” to stinking thinking.
Challenge: God has blessed you, whether you acknowledge Him or not. What are 3 things you’re grateful for today? Focusing on what you're grateful for is a sure way to quiet negative thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. Reply to this email or on the discussion page, and I’ll share with you how gratitude helped me change my life.
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You were born to do great things. Keep moving forward. You got this!