We dreamers and creators are always working toward a goal or dealing with a problem; waiting and hoping for answers and breakthroughs. Along the journey to realizing our hopes and aspirations we’ll encounter opposition and setbacks, and we’ll need to be able to endure delays and disappointments. Sadly, when “life happens,” it’s tempting to give up on our dreams and creative pursuits. If we want to stay the course and fulfill our destinies, we’ll need the backing, encouragement, comfort, strength, and reassurance that comes from One greater than ourselves. To get this Divine support, we’ll need some basic training … to follow several important spiritual steps.
8. Manage your Mind
Nutritionists remind us, “You are what you eat.” But just ask any of the leading motivational speakers and they’ll tell you, “No, you are what you THINK.” Of course, these highly-paid consultants are simply following in the footsteps of the Biblical King Solomon, who wrote that as a person “thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7 NASB)
If you think you’re a failure, then that’s probably all you’ll ever be. If you think your dreams will never come true, then there’s a good chance they won’t. Face facts, it’s impossible to have hope when your head is full of hopelessness; or to be positive about life and all the possibilities your future holds if you continually feed your mind with negative thoughts.
Researchers have discovered that the average person processes as many as 50,000 thoughts a day. And, unfortunately, many (if not most) of these thoughts are negative. Yech! This unpleasant truth brings to memory a worn-out comedy sketch from an old TV show called Hee Haw! Four ragged-looking hillbillies sitting in a dirty barnyard look up at the sky with piteous eyes, and croon woefully, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me! Deep dark depression, excessive misery! If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all — gloom, despair, and agony on me!”
If we had that outlook on life, we’d probably never get out of bed, let alone dabble in the rewarding pursuits of our God-given creativity, or follow all our hopes and dreams. (Instead, we’d groan, “Please go away! Wake me when the world’s over.”) And we warn you, dear reader, if you’re going to create something of lasting (eternal) value; if you’re serious about wanting to achieve your goals; if you simply want to live the “abundant life” the Lord promised (John 10:10), then you’d do well to properly manage your mind. Negative thoughts, such as fear, worry, pessimism, and a critical spirit, can kill hope and creativity.
Keeping your mind free of negative thoughts isn’t always easy: because we live in a “fallen” — and hence, imperfect — world; and also because we inherited from our ancestors Adam and Eve, a predisposition to do all the wrong things in life. It’s called the “sin nature,” but it’s just another way of saying that, when left to their own devices, people will always be selfish, self-centered, and self-serving. Collectively, such people have a tremendous negative impact on our world, helping to create a harsh, often cold environment that is hostile to dreamers and their dreams, and critical of just about any creative endeavor.
The best we can do to improve the world is to refuse to contribute to the cesspool of hostility and negativity. But in regards to our own hopes and dreams, we can take steps to keep this cesspool from poisoning our spirits … and our MINDS. The Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Don’t become like the people of this world [cruel, pessimistic, critical, spiteful]. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants — what is good, pleasing, and perfect. (Romans 12:2 GOD’S WORD) Another way of putting it: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person….” (Romans 12:2 NLT)
Want to manage your mind? Then, to borrow an ad slogan from Apple Computers, “Think different.” Replace any negative thoughts (including spiritual doubts) with positive (faith-filled) thoughts. Be hopeful (optimistic), not cynical (pessimistic). Flush away the “stinking thinking” (thoughts of fear, failure, regrets, hurts, disappointments, and doubts); stop dwelling on the past; stop replaying unpleasant memories of painful events and disparaging words that were spoken to you (or about you). Stop rehearsing any worst-case scenarios regarding your future. And stop nursing any grudges you may be holding. Such stinking thinking creates toxic emotions that will eventually poison your mind and your creativity, as well as contaminate your relationships.
TO BE CONTINUED….
Join us tomorrow for THINK DIFFERENT. We’ll discuss how to flush out negative thoughts and replace stinking thinking.