There’s a saying out there that the average person has about 50,000 thoughts per day. Some say that number is too high.
But many neuroscientists who have investigated the issue believe that most people have about 35 thoughts per minute, or one thought every other second. So assuming you take time for sleep … most people average about 20,000 thoughts in a 24 hour period. Of course, on those sleepless nights when your you can’t quiet your thoughts to rest … that number goes up!
Is it any wonder that our thoughts have a huge influence on the way our days seem to go.
We filter every little thing through the lens of our personal perception. A lens that is shaped by our thoughts.
Let’s face it – you and I are happier on the days we’re thinking positive thoughts and we’re … well, NOT on days that we don’t.
As water reflects your face, so your mind shows what kind of person you are.Proverbs 27:19 (NCV)
This quote made me stop and think…
“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” ~ Ernest Holmes
And then ask myself … what are you thinking about today?
Maybe you’d like to join me…
- Are you focused on what is or what isn’t?
- Are you thankful or dissatisfied?
- Are you anxious or courageous?
- Are you patient or annoyed?
- Are you angry or contented?
- Are you filled with regret or forgiveness?
If you’re like me, you’ve been guilty of thinking – “Well, I can’t help how I feel.”
But, what if we can?
I like the way The Message states the following words of Paul:
The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.2 Corinthians 10:3–6
Based on this … maybe we do have the God-given tools we need to control our thoughts!
And even if we’re not focused on what the Bible says about controlling our thoughts, take a look at the following quote…
“Watch your thoughts; they become words.~ Frank Outlaw, Late President of Bi-Lo Stores
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habit.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
Maybe this whole thing is more important than we think.
You are and I constantly being bombarded by the negative thoughts, comment, and actions of grumpy people. If you watch the news … you don’t know what to believe and what to toss as fake.
All of that “dog-eat-dog unfair fighting and manipulation” leaves a mark on our thought life.
So, what are we supposed to do … especially when those thoughts are popping up every other second.
“We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God!”
Because even though our thoughts and feelings can come on quickly and unexpectedly, you and I can choose the length of time we let them hang around. The length of time we think about things, positive or negative, is up to us. Thoughts don’t have to control us, if you decide to, with God’s help, you can control them. He has given us the TOOLS we need to fight the battle.
Let’s take a closer look and check them out.
How to Control Your Thoughts and Bless Your Life
1. Identify the emotion.
It sometimes takes a gentle word from Rev to make me aware that I’ve let negative thoughts take over. Thankfully he really is kind about the way he lets me know. There would probably a few more negative thoughts and words if he didn’t. I know I’m not proud of it. But back to the point…
It’s healthy to do a thought assessment throughout the day. Because the truth is our thoughts affect our attitudes and then they become our words and our actions and it goes on and on from there.
2. Identify what you were thinking about when the feelings began.
Stop for a minute and do your best to identify what started these thoughts and feelings. Was it a memory, a news report, a phone call, an angry comment, a loss, a pain, fatigue, etc.
3. Determine whether your thoughts were truth or lies.
Then question – are these thoughts true or not? Can I really do something about this thing that’s frustrating me or not?
If your negative thoughts begin with the words always or never … they are probably not true.
For example: They’re out to get me. Everyone picks on me. No one ever helps me. I’m a failure. I never…
The truth may be as simple as you need a break from the noise or you need a nap. Maybe you need to ask for help or you need to sit down and have a good cry.
I’ve learned to do something that really helps me and that’s to simply share what I’m feeling out loud. Just expressing the feelings out loud to Rev, a counselor, or a friend helps them to lose some of their power over me.
And now finally we get to the most important ways to control our thoughts!
4. Pray to change your thoughts and perspective.
Because the best person you and I can talk to about our thoughts and feelings is our VERY BEST FRIEND – the One who loves us most and best. He cares and wants us to come to Him with every negative thought that is burdening us.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”Matthew 11:28
I truly believe the first part of learning to control our thoughts is to KNOW we can honestly and openly take them to Jesus. He cares. He already knows what we’re thinking. You won’t surprise Him or upset Him. He loves you and He wants to help You carry your burdens.
He says, “Let me help you. Let me teach you.”
5. Memorize God’s truth.
And that’s when we turn to God’s Word for truth.
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
So let’s do that for a minute…
God loves you.
God so loved _____________ (your name) that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
You are His child.
But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.John 1:12
You are forgiven.
“Everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through His name.”Acts 10:43
You can do everything through His strength.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13
I feel so much better! I hope you do, too!
What are you going to do with your 20,000 thoughts today?
Are your thoughts making you sad, anxious, frustrated, or angry? Or are they filling you with gratitude, peace, and joy? Do your thoughts fill you with doubt or increase your faith?
Take some time over the next few days to write down your thoughts and feelings throughout the day; then spend a little time each evening looking over your notes and praying about them.
I’m starting today. I’ll get back with you and let you know what happens. Honestly, I’m a little nervous. I’m afraid I’m going to find a little more “stinkin’ thinkin'” than I’d like to admit. Which may be the very reason why I need this.
Care to join me?
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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