I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce you to a dear friend today, Tracie Miles. Tracie’s new book Unsinkable Faith has just released. I have to tell you that I’ve watched Tracie not only write these words but live these words over a very difficult and painful year. She’s the real deal. You’re going to love what she has to say, so please welcome my friend Tracie! (And read to the bottom for a giveaway.)
My thoughts were running rampant, and I knew it.
The room was pitch black dark, 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 laid there thinking about my problems, the bigger those problems seemed to get. New worries began to bubble up and weave themselves into the tangled up details of the problems I was fretting over. Within a short period of time, even little problems I was fretting over became monsters in my head of which I was sure were going to devour me.
I wish I could say this was the first time that had happened, but that would be far from the truth. So many times I’ve laid awake at night, fretting and stressing over difficult situations or problems I was dealing with, my thoughts morphing them into bigger issues than they probably were, and inadvertently letting them rob of me of peace and sanity. Countless hours spent feeding negative thoughts until they grew bigger than I thought I could handle – when in reality they were not only manageable by me with my heavenly Father’s help, but fully manageable by Him all by Himself. Yet the more I worried, the more my peace would vacate my heart and mind, while negativity swooped in and took up permanent residence.
Fortunately, as I journeyed with God through those difficulties, He eventually helped me realize that I could either let my thoughts control me, or I could learn to control them instead. I realized I could either choose to capture my thoughts before they captured my peace, or let them continue running rampant and allow them do exactly that.
Romans 12:2 says, “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. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” This verse holds the fundamental principle for positive thinking and joyful living, which is intentionally changing the way we think by inviting God to start a transformation within.
If we allow our minds to be shaped by negative thoughts about the difficult or trying circumstances we face, instead of them being shaped by God’s way of thinking (thoughts that are true and pleasing in His eyes; thoughts based on His perspective instead of our own), we are headed straight toward a life lacking peace, joy, and hope. But when we invite Christ to renew our minds one thought at a time, and humbly admit our need for change, we will be blessed with the ability to enjoy life, despite life. All because we changed our patterns of thinking, which gradually changed our patterns of living.
Although it might seem difficult, and maybe even impossible, it is possible for all of us to change the way we think if we commit to three God-filled strategies. If we intentionally begin to put these into practice in our daily lives, we usher in the ability for God to equip us to begin the transformation of our thoughts, feelings, and lives. These three easy steps are:
- Notice negative thoughts.
- Reject negative thoughts.
- Replace negative thoughts.
Each time you have a negative thought enter your mind, immediately make note of how you are feeling and how you are thinking. Be aware of your thoughts. Ask yourself things like, Is that thought helping me in any way? Is it making me happy or stealing my peace? Is this a problem God can’t handle, or am I assuming it is too big for Him? Is it even true, according to God’s Word? Asking God to help us start being aware of our negative thoughts is the first step to learning to control them.
Once you learn to be aware of your negative thoughts when they occur, you can begin to combat them and fight back. Each time you notice a negative thought, simple 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 is not really true, don’t allow yourself to entertain it anymore. If that negative thought is stealing your peace, refuse to give that negative thought 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. Replace that negative thought with something more positive, or more true. For example, if something bad happens to us, we don’t have to start believing we have a bad life overall. When we experience something positive in the morning but have to deal with something negative in the afternoon, we have the choice to say whether we’ve had a good day or a 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 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, and we notice our feelings are changing our moods, perspectives, and behavior, we have the authority and the power to choose to reject those negative thoughts and shift them to be more positive. It’s simply a matter of deciding to tap into that power and change our habits. Notice your negative thoughts, reject them, and them replace them with something positive and true. Not always easy, but always possible in Christ.
Might you choose to let today be the first day of your new optimistic life by changing the way you think?
To intentionally make positive living a reality in your life, and to begin experiencing a total life makeover through the transforming and renewing of your mind, consider purchasing Tracie’s newest book, Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies for Transforming the Way You Think, Feel and Live. You can also purchase a Companion Study Guide & Journal and other valuable, faith fueling resources on Tracie’s blog at www.traciemiles.com.
Sign up for Tracie’s free 5 Day Optimist Challenge. Visit her blog for more information at www.traciemiles.com.
Leave a comment today to enter to win a copy of Unsinkable Faith and also the Unsinkable Faith Companion Study Guide and Journal. If your life is moving warp speed, simply leave a comment saying, “I need unsinkable faith!”