If we don’t pay attention to where our headspace is at, it’s easy to find ourselves ‘fallen down a rabbit hole’ of negative thinking. This spirals our mood downwards and often leads us to making poor decisions and living less than successful lives. This phenomenon can be particularly noticeable when we face challenge, change or uncertainty.
I believe that God knows we’ll face such times, and He doesn’t want them to sideswipe us and take us out. Thus, He reminds us to, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (New Century Version) or as the Passion Translation puts it, “…Pay attention to the welfare of your inmost being, for from there flows the wellsprings of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
In other words, we’re talking about ‘self-care’ from a biblical perspective.
A few simple ways to do this:
* feed yourself on the Word of God and take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Trace, face and replace.
The Bible doesn’t tell us that we won’t have negative thoughts. Instead, it directs us to take these thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. A simple way I like to think of it is, ‘The thought in my head is… God says…’
Also, we can ask of the thoughts, “Who said that?” (If it’s not God, then it’s likely not true). Remember, just because you’ve heard something or thought something for a long time, doesn’t mean it is true or valid in your life. A simple example, some people grow up being told that they are stupid, ugly or will never amount to anything… That’s simply untrue. It is one person’s perspective (a very wrong, damaging perspective), and it’s entirely untrue. The person who has heard that, can trace (oh yes, my parents always told me that), face (identify that it’s untrue) and replace (God says I have the mind of Christ, I’m beautiful and created in the image of God, and I have a hope and a future).
* keep a gratitude journal – this causes us to consciously focus on the goodness of God, which dispels the lies of the devil that tell us that our life is a hopeless mess.
A grateful heart sees many blessings.
* guard your ears and eyes – be selective about what you listen to and watch (if it’s going to breed discontent etc., ditch it. If it grows your God-focus, tune into it).
Garbage in, garbage out.
* keep a check on your social media.
You breed what you feed…
so make sure that what you’re feeding on is healthy and wholesome.
* be choosy with your friendships, as we tend to become like those we hang around. If your closest friends are always negative, chances are this will rub off on you. Surround yourself with positive people and your outlook on life will become brighter.
A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs 27:9.
* worship – take your eyes off yourself and your circumstances, or those of the world, and focus on our good, good Father.
Worship is a way of seeing the world in the light of God (Abraham Joshua Heschel).
* serve others – when we help others we bless ourselves too
If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else (Booker T. Washington).
* position encouragement before your eyes (I like to choose an encouraging scripture to use as my lockscreen on my phone, so that each time I open it up, I’m reminded of truth. If I’m struggling in a particular area, I use a verse that speaks God’s truth about that particular thing, so I get a frequent reminder of what is right and true).
You’ve got to nourish to flourish!
* repent and rest – ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas in your life where sin exists, repent (tell God that you’re sorry and turn away from this – that is, choose to live righteously rather than doing that sinful thing again) and then rest in the knowledge that you are forgiven, loved and free from shame and condemnation (the slate has been wiped clean! You don’t need to carry that burden around anymore).
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19).
Take care of yourselves, friends! Remember…
“… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8),
and you’ll set yourself up for success!
xx A girl growing
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (various translations)
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