"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7
Have you ever tried to stop thinking about something, but all you could do was continue thinking about it?
That happens to me a lot.
The moment I recognize I'm thinking about something too much, it becomes a challenge to let it go. It's crazy how our mind works.
I’m reminded of a situation that happened a few years ago. I had a disagreement with the guy I worked for and I impulsively quit my job. I’ve never done anything like that before, but I left because I let my emotions get the best of me.
I admit that I made a very irrational decision.
The day I left, I barely made it out of the door before I started tearing. I remember feeling like a failure. My mind was consumed with so much doubt, worry, and negative talk, I just couldn't control my tears.
If there’s ever a time to take a taxi home, it’s when you’re crying. But I went against my better judgment and decided to take the train.
As I was rushing to the train and wiping every tear off my face as quickly as it fell, I remember thinking to myself, "Maggie, stop crying! People are going to stare at you."
And they did.
For the next 20 minutes, I fought hard (and I mean hard) to hold back my tears until I got home.
When I got off the train, I walked passed a GNC and randomly decided to pick up some vitamins. Who does
that—get vitamins while they're trying to stop crying?
Apparently, I do.
In the vitamin store, a sales associate came up to me and asked if he could help me with anything. We started chatting about the different vitamin options, and before I knew it, I wasn't fighting to hold my tears
I’ll add that it helped that he was good looking 😉.
Having a positive conversation with the sales associate helped me to replace my bad thoughts with good ones of a healthy body. And that’s exactly what scripture tells us to do.
"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
God knows that we often have damaging thoughts, which is why He tells us to think about things that are good. Repeating to yourself, “stop thinking about (enter thing),” never works. But, replacing negative thoughts with good, Christ-like ones, does.
I was talking to a friend one day about how another friend believes she has the gift of intercession. In the most humble way possible, she told me that she doesn't know why but God just answers her prayers.
The friend I was talking to asked how much time she spends with God daily? "That girl is always in the Word," I told him. She spends a lot of time with God.
And that's when it hit me ... it's not that God isn't answering my prayers, she's able to discern God's voice easier because she knows Him more intimately.
Intimacy comes from spending time with God.
I'm telling you this story because one of the ways to overcome negative thoughts is by practicing good habits. Daily Bible reading is the best habit you can have. When you spend time with God and read the Word, you can learn and affirm His promises to you.
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."
- Romans 8:37
You are more than a conqueror! However, faith without works is dead. You must do your part.
To consistently combat negative thoughts, you must filter out bad influences and in Godly things. Filter out negative friends, music, YouTube videos, gossip, and ungodly conversations. Filter in prayer meetings, ministry, Bible studies, Christian fellowships, and in any opportunity to spend more time with God and His people.
Overcoming negative thoughts can be a challenge at times, but it is possible. When you’re honest with God with your struggles and ask for help, He will help you to overcome them.
You are more than a conqueror in Christ!
As always, I'd love to hear from you. What are 3 things you’re grateful for today? Focusing on what you're grateful for is a great way to quiet negative thoughts. Comment below, and I look forward to chatting with you 😊.
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You were born to do great things.