Then, to borrow an ad slogan from Apple Computers, “Think different.” Replace 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. Stinking thinking creates toxic emotions that will eventually poison your mind and your creativity, as well as contaminate your relationships.
Stinking thinking and toxic emotions are a deadly combination. It will steal your precious time and sap your creative energy. Ultimately these mind-melters will soften your brain and harden your heart; they will sabotage your efforts and derail your dreams. So … let it go … all of it. Flush the negative thoughts from your brain with the clean, pure, inspiring, encouraging, uplifting and faith-building water of the Word of God.
This flushing process is called “renewing the mind.” Think of it as washing, repainting, and redecorating an ugly room — like the one some of us keep in our heads. 🙁 First you tear down the dingy drapes, pull up the ratty carpet, and dust every corner; then you bring in beautiful new furnishings that make you feel relaxed, refreshed, and happy to reside there. Now you have a wonderful creative space (in your head) where you can really think … and dream.
We renew our minds by reading and meditating on the Word of God (the Bible). Meditating is just a fancy word for carefully considering what you read; mulling over it throughout the day; and allowing it to penetrate your heart and spirit. We can “chew” on the promises of God much the same way a cow chews its cud: slowly, methodically, thoroughly, and with great contentment — until we’ve extracted all the spiritually nutritious “juice” from it. “Study this Book of Instruction [the Bible] continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8 NLT)
The process of renewing your mind can be aided by memorizing key verses. Once you do, you can speak out these words of comfort and reassurance whenever you’re tempted to entertain a negative thought. For instance, when the thought “You’ll never realize your dream” pops into your head, quickly replace it with the truth “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13) Keeping your mind filled with “the good stuff” will eventually force out all the “junk.” And committing scripture verses to memory guarantees that God’s Good Word takes up permanent residence in your mind. (By the way, once the Word moves in, It doesn’t like messy roomies.)
It’s vital that we creators and dreamers continually renew our minds — because our minds are continuously bombarded with bits of bad information that can accumulate and eat away at our ability to live full lives and successfully pursue our dreams. Imagine your brain as a super-computer. Too many junk files can clutter your memory; and also, malware from the outside world is constantly trying to get in. When it does, your “processing speed” slows. You. May. Even. Crash.
Let all these bits of “negative programming” be overwritten with the truth of God’s Word. Do it daily — because that’s what it takes to keep your creative “hard-drive” running at peak performance. In other words, discipline yourself to renew your mind. And discipline yourself to think positive, faith-filled thoughts. (After all, this is Boot Camp!)
Here’s Step 8 in a nutshell (straight from God Himself): “Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people … or join the company of mockers. Rather, he delights in the teachings of the LORD and reflects on his teachings day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams … that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does.” (Psalm 1:1-3 GW) “You [God] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
“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.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)