“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2a (NLT)
My thoughts were running rampant, and I knew it.
The room was pitch black except for a trickle of moonlight peeking through the window blinds. It was the middle of the night, but my mind apparently thought it was the middle of the day. The more I thought about my problems, the bigger they seemed to get.
New worries began to entangle themselves with old worries; both of which I was sure would devour me.
I’ve tossed and turned too many nights, stressing over difficult situations or problems, feeding negative thoughts until they grew bigger than I could handle. Maybe you can relate?
Today’s key verse is a popular one, but what many of us don’t consider is that God is not only telling us to transform our minds, but He’s also assuring us it is possible. In fact, many scientific studies have proven the way we habitually think forms physiological patterns, or paths, in our brains. So, when we change the way we think, we also change the physiological makeup of our brains. Amazing! Science has finally caught up with Scripture!
If we allow our minds to be shaped by negative thoughts, we are headed straight toward a life lacking peace, joy and hope. But, when we humbly admit our need for change and invite Christ to renew our minds — one thought at a time — we are blessed with the ability to enjoy life, despite its challenges.
Although it might seem difficult at first, it is possible to change the way we think if we commit to three easy steps:
1. Recognize negative thoughts.
Each time a negative thought enters your mind, make note of how you’re feeling. Ask yourself things like: Does this thought help me in any way? Does it make me happy, or does it steal my peace? Is this a problem God can’t handle, or am I assuming it’s too big for Him? (Trick question: Nothing is too big for God!) Is it even true according to God’s Word? Asking God to make us aware of our negative thoughts is the first step to learning to control them.
2. Reject negative thoughts.
Once you learn to be aware of your negative thoughts, you can begin to combat them and fight back. Each time you notice a negative thought, aim to pause and reject it. Remind yourself not to focus on the negativity, and instead, try to focus on something positive. If you’ve decided it’s not really true, don’t allow yourself to entertain it anymore. If that negative thought is stealing your peace, refuse to give it power over your joy, peace or happiness, much less your life. Take control of what you’re thinking, rather than letting your thoughts run rampant. Then, turn that negative thought around.
3. Replace negative thoughts.
If something bad happens to us, we don’t have to believe we have a bad life. When we experience something positive in the morning but have to deal with something negative in the afternoon, we have the choice to decide whether we’ve had a good or bad day overall. If someone hurts our feelings, we can forgive and refuse to let it fester in our thoughts and steal our confidence. If someone insults us, we can focus on our positive attributes and remember what God’s Word says about us is most important.
Each time we notice our minds are wandering to a place where discouragement, sadness, fear, anger or negativity reside, we have the authority and the power to choose to reject those negative thoughts and shift them to be more positive.
Friend, I’m convinced our lives would take a turn for the better if we were intentional to change the way we think.
Lord, how I long to break free from negative thinking and embrace peace and joy and optimism. I invite You to begin transforming my thought patterns and help me recognize, reject and replace thoughts that are not pleasing to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 4:23, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” (NLT)
For more tips and inspiration on changing the way you think, purchase Tracie Miles’ new book Unsinkable Faith: God-filled Strategies for Transforming the Way You Think, Feel and Live.
Visit Tracie’s blog to read examples of real life women who have already implemented these three steps and experienced radical change in their lives as a result.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Is it possible negative thoughts have taken over your thought life?
Think of a situation that causes you to feel pessimistic or discouraged. Ask God to help you recognize, reject and replace those thoughts today. You’ll soon see a change in your heart, mind and life.
© 2017 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.