I found myself doing it again—repeating the same negative thoughts over and over like a broken record. Have you ever caught yourself doing that?
Or maybe you suddenly become aware of ugly subconscious thoughts. Those are the sneaky insidious ones.
Recently, out of the blue, I found myself singing that 80’s “one hit wonder” called Hey Mickey. Just in case you don’t remember this song (I bet you do though!), it goes like this: “Oh, Mickey you’re so fine. You’re so fine, you blow my mind. Hey Mickey!”
After singing it several times, I asked myself why that song was stuck in my head. I determined that I had heard the song playing in the grocery store earlier—several hours earlier. It was just background music. I don’t even remember thinking about. When I was in the store, I was thinking about my grocery list, the coupons that I had, and comparing prices etc. I didn’t even realize that I was also thinking, “Hey Mickey!”
Our minds are incredible like that, aren’t they?
Subconscious – defines all reactions and automatic actions we can become aware of if we think about them. For example, our ability to ride a bike: once we get skilled we stop thinking about our balance, peddling, using the gears and brakes. Yet, we can always become aware of what was done when we think about it.
My point is, negative thinking can become so ingrained that it becomes the background music of our thoughts.
But whether or not our thoughts are conscious or subconscious, they are still impacting.
The thoughts we think matter. A lot.
“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)
Negative thoughts are draining. Thoughts containing words like “never,” “should,” and “can’t,” complaints, whining or thoughts that diminish our own or another’s sense of self-worth literally deplete us mentally as well as physically. It’s no wonder we are exhausted by the end of the day!
I recently read online that each person has anywhere from 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day. According to some research, 80 percent of our thoughts are negative and as much as 90 percent are repetitive thoughts from the day before. YIKES!
The brain has been referred to as the “command center” of the body. Therefore,
What we think about influences our actions.
Advertisers are banking on it—literally! A lot is going on in our minds subconsciously, and consciously. Think about those TV jingles that get stuck in our heads. I’ll name a popular one for you: “The Best Part of Waking Up, Is Folgers in Your Cup.” I bet you can think of a few right now!
Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
And watch your character for it becomes your destiny. ~Margaret Thatcher
So, how do we get ourselves out of these negative thinking patterns and replace them with more useful thoughts? Here are four tips.
1. Invite God into your thoughts.
Tell God to reveal to you negative, unholy, untrue thoughts, patterns, and triggers. King David did it, and we can too!
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
2. Practice Mindfulness
Ask the Lord to help you stay mindful of your thoughts. In other words, think about what you’re thinking about. By practicing mindfulness, you can acknowledge and identify the thinking patterns that have become habitual, then decide whether or not they are founded on the truth of God’s Word.
3. Allow God to Transform Your Mind
“. . .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.” (emphasis added) Romans 12:2 NLT
The Greek word for transform is metamorphosis. Sound familiar? It is used today to describe the amazing change a caterpillar goes through when changing into a butterfly. What a beautiful picture of what happens to us spiritually when we allow God to get personal with us and redirect our thoughts and attitudes. It’s a transformation from the inside out.
4. Live Out the Transformed Thoughts
We need to put on the new godly character the Lord is teaching us through His Word, prayer, and daily relationship with Him.
Our character is essentially the sum of our habits. We must choose to make it a habit to get rid of negative thoughts and attitudes and replace them with godly ones found only in the Bible.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me.” Philippians 4:8-9
Read the underlined portion of the verse above from Philippians. The Bible is full of examples of practice, persistence, perseverance, and hard work. Our minds have collected a lot of negative thoughts through the years. We must persist in the efforts to exchange those old negative thoughts and attitudes for God’s new ones.
With God’s help, YOU CAN CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK! I know because He has done it for me 🙂
The metamorphosis will be beautiful!
We all have thoughts playing in our minds like background music. What is your background music saying?
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I so agree, Beckie! What we think about influences our actions and reactions. This is great, “Our character is essentially the sum of our habits. We must choose to make it a habit to get rid of negative thoughts and attitudes and replace them with godly ones found only in the Bible.” Amen, my friend.
Thanks, Karen! It’s so easy to get trapped in a negative thought cycle. I’m so glad God provides help! His Word is so amazing.
Beckie, as my mother recently turned 90, and I’m dealing with our not-so-great relationship over the years, I’m coming to understand that I need to lean upon the positive, not the negative, when it relates to her. As she is aging, she is relying more and more upon my brother and me to be there for her. When I’m with her, I need to check my negative feelings at the door, and simply be an emissary of love.
Blessings, and thanks for the inspiration!
Martha, we are going to be growing until the day we finally see the Lord face-to-face. I’m so grateful for his patience with us. Certain situations (and people) seem to bring out the “complainer” in me. When I release that nasty attitude to Jesus and receive in return His grace for myself, I find it much easier to give grace back to others 🙂
I’m lifting you up in prayer, dear sister!
Perfect timing. I was just thinking to myself today “how did I get back to this negative mindset ” what happened? I need to be more intentional. The devil see’s us “comfortable” and digs right in.
Abagwellx4, you are so right about the devil digging in when we are in a bad spot. I’m so grateful for the tools the Lord has given us. Our job is to learn them AND use them.
Blessings to you as you move forward with growing in God’s Word.
So good Beckie thank you!
I find myself in a repetitative motion of laying my thoughts at the Cross! When a negative thought crosses my mind I rebuke and speak truth laying the thought down and walking in the truth.
This has helped me immensely step away from the negative thought train!
Such wise advice! Thank you for sharing.
So you’re telling me that walking around all day humming Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is not a good thing even though it seems to fit me so well these days, right? OK… you’ve convinced me. I’m going to heed your advice and trade it in for that “High Hopes” song about ants and rubbery vegetation even though it won’t feel like me. 🙂
As always, Beckie, your insights and Scriptural connections are relevant and inspiring. My free-wheeling mind has gotten me in more trouble than I ever want to fully know. It’s challenging to realize that made us responsible for what we think, but wonderfully encouraging to know that He gave us His Spirit to keep us on track. Your exposition of relevant truth and practical application is always uplifting. Writers and friends like you are like that stuff people spray on a musty room to make it smell better. One of California’s few remaining bright spots strikes again.
Ron, as always, you brought a smile to my face. Please note: I certainly don’t have this “think positive” thing down pat! God is growing me regularly. It’s so easy to slip right back into negative mode when the heat turns up. I’m learning to see the heat as an opportunity for growth. Well, every single day is an opportunity for growth 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Many blessings to you and yours!
Oh, Beckie! I’ve been struggling with negative thoughts recently, too. In fact, my blog this week also points out that when we have a rotten attitude, we’re not honoring God.Your strategies for having a positive focus are right on target and the accompanying scripture is so helpful. I needed this reinforcement keep working toward those “right and pure” thoughts. Thank you!
Katherine, I read your post and it served to strengthen what the Lord is teaching me! Thank you, dear sister!
Readers, here is the link to Katherine’s article: