“Whatever you do before you go to bed, hums in your head all night.” ~Kevin Korver
“You are what you eat” is a well understood maxim.
“You are what you think” follows the same principles.
Whatever you put in (your mouth or your brain) forms the shape you’re in.
So let’s take a minute to count the calories that filled our minds today. Make your own list like the sample below (calories are calculated at 100c per ½-hour).
- News feed throughout the day (150c)
- Calmed an angry customer (100c)
- Gossiped about a coworker at lunch (100c)
- Talk Radio on your commute, lots of ranting adds 50 calories (150c)
- Added forgotten items to your to-do list and felt overwhelmed (50c)
- Vegged out in front of an action movie, random violence, sex, and too many commercials add calories (650c)
- Twitter and Instagram Feeds (150c)
- Read Psalm 137 (Beside the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Jerusalem…) and prayed (50c)
Where did most of your calories come from? How did they affect your mind? How did these thoughts make you feel emotionally and physically? Do the negative calories outweigh the positive ones?
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. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8, NLT
How am I supposed to do that? It sounds like one of those impossible diets you can’t follow. Am I supposed to sit around reading the Bible all day and only listening to Christian music stations? I have a life to live—and #@!^# happens.
The first question you need to answer is: Do I want to think differently?
If the answer is no, quit reading now. If the answer is yes, read on.
Learning to cultivate optimism and hopeful thinking requires choice and persistence.
- Take moments throughout the day to focus on God, blessings, praise, and grace.
- Look for God sightings; he’s all around if you just take the time to look.
- Keep reminders visible (Bible verses, a rock in your pocket (God is my rock), a shell with Ebenezer written on it (all my life God has been with me), a ring that reminds you that God is never ending, etc.
- You need to practice the way you want to think. (Get a free introduction to this process here.)
- Study the Scriptures. Go deep enough to understand and practice telling what you learn to someone else. This cements God’s words into your and heart.
- Know that you are empowered in the journey by the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to do it on your own.
- Make lists of the day’s positives rather than the day’s negatives. Read it over out loud before you go to sleep. (If “positive” is too big of a stretch, try making a list of “things I have not lost.”
- Find others who want to go on this “diet” with you for accountability and encouragement.
- Pray about it. Listen for the Holy Spirit’s whispers.