If you are like me there are lots of things that enter my mind during the day many of which make me glad that no one can read my thoughts. However, God knows what is on our minds and wants to renew our mind and our thoughts. But how can we improve our thoughts? Isn't it beyond our control?
Thoughts can be a big struggle in anyone's mind. The past isn't the past when it is played out daily maybe hourly to remind us of our short comings and sin. The guilt can also get to the point where we feel we are chained down. There is HOPE however that this will not always be the case and the bible gives us some clear direction on how to proceed to clean up our thoughts.
Matthew 15:18: But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
Ephesians 4:22: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
How do you sit things right in your mind and have peace? After repentance and the acceptance of God forgiveness there is a war we must fight within our own minds. Part of that is only allowing certain types of thoughts to stay with and in our mind.
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
- Acknowledge the thought that is not True, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable or praiseworthy. Why does it not meet the above criteria?
- Ask God to help you remove it from your mind.
- Think of something else that meets the categories above.
Sure this seems time consuming and a little weird but as you constantly practice this it becomes quicker and more effective. It is not to make us feel guilty that the thought crossed our mind but to clean them out. Don't let it remind you of the short coming of your thoughts but let it remind you that you are working to change them with God's help. This is a good thing don't expect to master it, this will be a continuing process probably for the rest of your life. It will get easier it may however require a little help from a professional to talk through your past hurts and anxiety. There is nothing wrong with getting help. Often some of your sisters and brothers in Christ can help by coming along side you as well you just have to allow yourself to be vulnerable to them and discuss the problem.
My favorite things to think of are animals. Horses running in an open field or me riding them. A deer by a stream. A walk in the woods and looking up at leaves gently moving with the wind. I choose these when the thoughts enter my mind to change them to something much better. These are times I felt the closest to God, try using times like these. It's like the remembering stones that Israel set up. It reminds us of who's child we are. Often a song will fill my heart and I allow the melody to rise up in praise to God. The song "worn" by tenth avenue north is one of them.
My friends and I have often struggled with what our children are doing when they are out of our site. So I have this truth that I think of when those "What If's" plague my mind.
Matthew 18:10: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.I sometimes repeat this over and over just to calm myself. Remembering that God is their father and I am just borrowing them.
Nightmares can also be controlled too. I have probably watched every member of my family die in my nightmares. These are my worries and maybe a little spiritual warfare that happens when I am asleep. By learning the steps on thoughts that happen during the day I can often calm myself down in my sleep. One way is I think past the hurt to the renewal that would happen afterwards and how God would meet my needs. How I could survive past the whatever that happened in the dream. I'm still learning how to stop it completely by changing my thoughts while I dream to something else.
Remember this is a practice so it will take time. If you have never thought about controlling your thoughts this would be a great practice to start. Remember to control what you are viewing and seeing those also contribute to your thoughts. I would love to hear your experience with controlling your thoughts. You are welcome to email me or leave a message in the comments below.