3 Ways to Regain Control Of Your Thoughts
“Hey Janae! Did you mean to…?” The answer was, “NO!” I did not mean to send that email to 60 plus people outside of my teams.
Adding insult to injury, I quickly discovered this email also contained wrong times for an upcoming event. The 60 plus people happen to include my boss and his boss and every other boss above me. Insert hand to face emoji followed by a blue stream of tears emoji.
It is these types of “oopsies” and other frustrations like them which drag our day down quickly. The spiral down begins with over analyzation which leads to self-condemnation which eventually leaves us sitting in a puddle of self-pity. These sequence of events often transpire without the help of any other voice than our own voice – except the cases like my messed up email where I received five replies informing me of my mistake. Insert shoulder shrug emoji.
The situations are not the problem, it’s what takes place in our mind afterwards that zaps our joy and sucks the life out of us. The battle of the mind is real, but have you ever considered how our own thought processes affect our hope?
Hope is the silent and subtle force which helps us to move on. It is the wind in our sails and what tips us towards thriving in a situation over surviving it. We need hope, but yet we are the ones who block our own hope.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope” Lamentations 3:21, ESV.
Jeremiah had plenty to obsess about with his beloved city of Jerusalem being in complete disarray, the destruction of its temple and his people scattered. The conquering hands of the Babylonians had left a mark that ripped Jeremiah’s heart apart. The book of Laminations is a result of his emotional mourning from the great loss.
In the middle of Jeremiah’s pain-filled thoughts, he became a role model for us. He showed us how we have more control over our situation than we may think we do. We can influence our own ability to experience hope.
“But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.” The New Living Translation states it this way, “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:”
What do we call to mind? What are we supposed to remember? The answer to these questions is how we can fuel our hope.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (3:21-24, NRSV)
Jeremiah addressed three areas on which we are to focus our thoughts. These things have the power to affect the level of hope we need to move through our situation.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ends. Deliberate on the great lengths at which God’s love has been extended to us. (John 3:16-18) Envision how God’s steadfast love towers over us like a protective tree. Where have you seen God’s love in your life in the past?
God’s mercies never end. Direct your thought to how each day offers a fresh sunrise and sunset. The sky is the sun’s canvas filling it with vibrant colors and some days muted hues. Our lives are the canvas for God’s mercies to be displayed in spectacular ways and in quiet ways. How can I open myself up to the mercies of God?
The LORD is my portion. Dwell on how God is Who we need. Like the perfect amount of food we place on our plate to satisfy our hunger and fuel us for the day’s activities, God is the perfect portion for our soul’s needs. How do you need God to provide for you?
The more we fix our thoughts on God’s amazing love, His mercies toward us and how He is all we need, the less our thoughts can drag us into despair. These three simple redirections give us the ability to gain back control and to not only put a stopper in the drain of our hope, but to restore our hope.
The day I sent that email, at first I laughed it off. “How fascinating!” This is the statement we make around our house when we mess up. But as the day unfolded, my thoughts were drawn back to the how’s and why’s and should have’s.
I took a walk when I got home in attempts to diffuse and reset. At first my efforts were futile and my thoughts wanted to obsess about the email. I asked God to help me think instead about His love and the idea of a childhood game popped into my head – “I spy.”
I spy with my little eye the way God loves me through his amazing creation. As I walked, I thanked God for every different aspect I could spy of the brilliance and assortment of autumn color on display. The layers of green to yellow to orange hanging on one tree and another completely covered in fuchsia rosy red.
As I ended my walk, it began to sprinkle, but a little rain would not dampen my spirits. My mind had been flooded with the goodness of God, bringing back the healthy perspective I needed. Hope was rekindled and I shook off the day’s events like the dirt stuck to my shoes.
We can seal our hope with this last practice.
Verse 21 says we are to “remember” and “call to mind.” Verse 24 tells us we are to repeat these things to ourselves.
“I say to myself…” NIV
“…says my soul…” ESV
“…I have said to myself…” NET
Hope is not based on our situation, but Who and what we choose to think about. We need to clear our mind of the clutter and position ourselves where we can breathe deeply and freely the truth of God’s provision in our lives. Hope is a natural overflow from this type of redirect.
It is my prayer for you as we approach the holiday season with its busyness, potential mess ups, friend and family navigation in the middle of a pandemic and other mind draining events; that you remember to redirect your thoughts to God’s lovingkindness, His fresh new mercies and His ability to provide.
Digging Deeper: Lamentations 3: 21-26; Psalm 63: 2-8; Titus 3:3-6
Meditation: God’s mercies never end
Reflect: What thoughts need redirection in your life today?
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Thank you for reading. Please forward hope to others. Share hope with others on social media.
BLOG SCHEDULE: Please enjoy hope through short Pict Post and revisiting previous blogs every Monday beginning November 23. A new series of hope will begin in January 2021.
(ESV – English Standard Version, NET – New English Translation, NIV – New International Version, NRSV – New Revised Standard Version)
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