I come from a long line of negative, self-defeating women. We can turn a beautiful, bright summer day into a dark, dreary afternoon with a few quick, random thoughts. Our minds have an omnipotent power over us that we can’t seem to free ourselves from.
I’m beginning to see traces of this life-draining personality flaw in my innocent children. This has made me want to change my way of thinking more than ever before.
It’s not that I haven’t tried to become one of those positive, happy, content people I always envied. I attempted everything… Affirmations. Seminars. Therapy. Books. Thousands of books…
Nothing could stop the negative thoughts that had engulfed me from shortly after birth. I’m not smart enough, loved enough, disciplined enough, athletic enough… These all lead to their negative statement cousin: So I can’t __________ (fill in the blank).
I have missed out on so many great opportunities and shut a variety of welcoming, open doors because of the fear these thoughts create. I closed down the coffee shop I had always dreamed of opening, and years later withdrew halfway through a Master’s program I loved. I truly believe both of these came from a deep seated belief I could not possibly succeed as a business owner or graduate student. The 4.0 grade point average I carried was, of course, overlooked…
How do we stop the madness?
Joyce Meyer gives 3 steps to help free us from negativity in What Are You Thinking?
- Identify Your Obstacles
- Practice the Positive
- Say What God’s Word Says
First, we must identify those negative thoughts that are consuming us. These are huge obstacles to our true freedom. For me, they mainly revolve around feeling I’m not _____ enough to _____. There are far too many variations to list here, but I plan to spend some time over the next few days coming up with my top 3 to work on.
Second, practice positive thoughts in all situations you are currently facing. Everyone has difficult issues they must deal with. Learn to see the good in each day. I spent yesterday at the children’s hospital with my daughter having her insulin pump set up. Instead of focusing on the frustration I feel from her having to deal with diabetes, I was able to thank God for the amazing technology we are blessed with today.
The final and most important step is to know and believe in God’s Word. This requires obedience and effort on our part. We must read our Bibles, memorize scripture, and spend time meditating on those truths…
Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things.
~Philippians 4:8 (NIRV)