Updated: Jan 19
Positive thinking is one of the most misunderstood concepts today.
I often hear people say, "You just have to think positively," but how much power does positive thinking even have? Can your thoughts truly change a situation?
Learning to think positively is a huge part of my story.
I was always someone who looked on the bright side of things, and I considered myself an optimist, but it wasn't until 4 years ago that I was introduced to the “positive thinking world.”
While building an MLM business, I started attending self-improvement workshops 2-3 times a month and reading every book I could find on success.
I learned a little too much because my ego got big and I become my own god. Self-help was the only help I sought, and I forgot about God. Thankfully, He used circumstances and my family to draw me back to Him.
Now you may disagree with what I'm about to say next, but I'm going to say it anyway...
Your thoughts cannot directly change a situation. No amount of positive thinking is going to make this bottle of water I'm drinking right now become full again.
My man Zig Ziglar said it best, "Positive thinking won't allow you to do anything, but it will allow you to do everything better than negative thinking will."
Thinking positively affects your attitude, character, and how you respond to a situation.
I went to Las Vegas a few years ago for a convention, and while I was in the airport waiting for my luggage, I made a comment to one of my mentors at the time. My bags were taking forever, so I said to her, "I hope my bags didn't get lost!" She responded, "Maggie, you have to think positively."
She was right, I did need to think positively because my thoughts were affecting my attitude—I was getting anxious and annoyed. That's not what she meant, though.
My mentor meant that my negative thinking would send out "bad energy" that would alter whether my bags were lost or not. That might sound crazy to you, but it's what many people believe.
And If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself implying that you can physically manipulate situations with your mind (in real-time), and not even realize how deep that goes.
People today literally believe that they can speak things into existence, and even reference the Bible to back their belief.
Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." I hear the first part of that scripture quoted repeatedly to prove that we have the power to bring life and death to our situations.
Unfortunately, many people make Scriptures in the Bible a cut and paste project. They use them where it'll benefit them, but don't look at the complete context of the Scriptures.
To dive a little deeper into the concept of death and life being in the power of the tongue, Matthew 12:36-37 says, "And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
Words do have power...just not the way the world is leading you to believe they do. Your words will control your destiny because, in the end, you'll be judged by the things that came out your mouth.
The right words can bring peace and joy to situations, and the wrong ones can be hurtful and damaging.
Telling a little boy that he will never amount to anything can cause him to believe it, and as a result, his potential might never be reached.
There's only one person who walked this earth that could literally speak things into existence. His name is Jesus. He healed the sick, cast demons out, and even made the wind obey him.
We are not God.
Have you ever believed without a doubt that something was going to happen, and it didn’t? I have. The concept of positive thinking, where thoughts alone produce results, is flawed.
When you believe you can accomplish something, you're more likely to do what it takes to make it happen. Your action then produces results and is what makes faith, a direct belief of what God says, complete.
Things that God says will always come true with 100% accuracy.
Look, God does want you to think positively. He does want you to affirm and declare truth over your life. He does want you to have faith and believe that good things will happen for you.
I'm all for vision boards, affirmations, and whatever else helps you stay focused on your goals. I love that stuff! But, those things should all be in line with God's will and not your own.
And since we're being honest here, the point of affirmations (scriptural ones) is not to manifest things in your life like magic, but to increase your faith in God and the abilities He’s given you, which in return will affect what you do next.
Faith without works is dead, and will never go against what God wants.
Keep in mind though, God will allow things to happen that aren't a part of His will because He gives you the opportunity to make your own decisions. The law of attraction and all that energy talk is always God at work, whether you acknowledge Him or not.
When you follow your own will and not God’s, things can get ugly. Some of the bad things that we encounter in our lives don't have to happen.
"Let me just go ahead and download that dating app and help God out," I've said to myself before. I admit it…I'm guilty of trying to help God out, but my help has always ended in epic failures.
And no, there's absolutely nothing wrong with dating apps. Many successful relationships have come from them, but I've digressed.
My point is that we don't like to wait on God. His will is perfect though, and He doesn't need you (or me) to “help Him out.”
For ways to identify God’s will, see How To Know If Your Next Decision Is Self-Centered.
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."
— Ephesians 3:20
With the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in all believers, you can accomplish great things. When you wait on God’s provision, you will see amazing things begin to manifest in your life that you couldn’t even imagine.
Staying positive through tough times is what God wants...playing God isn't. There's a thin line between confidence and arrogance.
Affirming Scriptures daily will help you to stay positive. Before you do that though, always…always…always read the complete context of the Scripture(s) you're about to affirm.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," is great, but if you aren't following God's will, He won't bless your mess. Wait on God to show you His will, and don't let your ego step in and Edge God Out. His way is always the best way.
I'm no theologian, but I really hope I clarified this topic a little for you. And if you want some practical ways to quiet negative thoughts, see Quieting Negative Thoughts (the Godly way).
Challenge: I want to hear from you. Is the concept of positive thinking confusing to you? What’s one thing you took away from this message that you can apply to your life today? Talk to me. Reply on the discussions page where interesting convos can happen.
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You were born to do great things. Don't let stinky thinking hold you back.
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