Fix Your Thoughts

by Twila Belk

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 4:8–9 NLT

Be still. That’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Sometimes I wish I could flip on a little “be still” switch to pacify myself, especially when I have days like today. Right now I’m struggling to gain control of my churning insides.

I’m currently dealing with several major life stressors—undergoing treatment for an aggressive breast cancer, caregiving for my husband who has a rare and progressive muscle disease, carrying a huge burden of financial responsibilities, handling concerns about my youngest son’s circumstances, and facing a looming book deadline. Add to that, in the last couple of days, both vehicles stopped working, my faithful recliner broke, and wasps are entering the house through the bathroom vent.

Then this morning, after putting in many hours on a special project for a person I greatly respect, I received a harsh email rather than a thank-you for my hard work. Reading that email, while being physically and mentally exhausted, pushed me into a not-so-good place. I turned into an emotional mess. Although the person apologized a few hours after sending it, my memory naturally wants to replay the narrative again and again, which agitates my spirit more and more.

And here I am with the task of telling people how to be still. Seriously?

I’ve learned over the years that God likes to give me plenty of opportunities to become well-versed in my topic. And this is one of those times. So after much consideration, I decided I need to change topics. I want to be well-versed in something else! (Perhaps I’ll change it to “How to be happy with a million dollars while living in the Caribbean and looking great in a bikini.”)

For now, I’m reverting to self-talk mode. “Breathe in. Breathe out. Calm down, Twila. It’s time to remind yourself of the sermons you so readily give to others.” In other words, I’m giving myself a pep talk to practice what I preach.

And one of the important truths I like to remind people of is this: whatever we focus on becomes magnified.

If I keep my attention on my problems and heartaches (or hurtful words), they become overwhelming to me and tend to control my life. But if I fix my thoughts on God, he becomes magnified in my heart and mind, and I’m reminded of who he is and what he’s able to do. My attitude changes, and my unsettled spirit quiets down. It takes resolve, but it’s so worthwhile.

Philippians 4:8–9 encourages us to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. If we put that kind of thinking into practice, peace will be ours.

Lord, when the pressures of life become too much for me, and my circumstances are the foremost thing on my mind, I become stressed and overwhelmed. Would you help me to fix my thoughts on you? I want you to be magnified, not the stuff I’m going through. You are excellent and worthy of praise. You are able to calm my agitated spirit. You are the giver of peace. Thank you for being with me.

(This devotion is an excerpt from The Power to Be, (c) 2018 Twila Belk. Used by permission of BroadStreet Publishing.)

twila belkAbout the Author: Also known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, Twila Belk  loves braggin’ on God. Whether she’s writing, speaking, or teaching, she offers hope and encouragement for people to fix their eyes on him. Twila is the author of The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous and Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose as well as five other books. Mom to three grown children and Grandma to three precious little boys, Twila lives with her husband in Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River and the home of American Pickers, John Deere tractors, and Whitey’s ice cream.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner 51veIj1tu+L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Twila’s new devotional book,  The Power to Be, please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (NLT). What have your thoughts been fixed on lately? What current issues are keeping you from being still?

 


 

26 thoughts on “Fix Your Thoughts

  1. I got a new job that created a new schedule for my entire family. I have been feeling overwhelmed with things that I am not able to get done rather than on the blessings of the opportunities. I worked myself into physical exhaustion. I am working on being still, daily.

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    1. When we have so many responsibilities, we can easily get overwhelmed, and it’s hard to think about anything but our circumstances. Turning our thoughts to God takes resolve, but it’s so worthwhile. I pray you’re able to rest in Him.

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    1. I’m glad you found it helpful to you, Kristine. When I wrote the devotions for my book, I prayed that God would speak to readers in specific ways on specific days. Your comments blessed me.

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  2. Since the recent FL shootings, my heart has been so heavy for school age children and educators. I have crowning glories in college/school and can’t imagine how traumatized they are as they learn “bad guy”drills. I pray more fervently from my grandmother’s heart. Thanks for the reminder to fix my heart on Him. And turn off the news!

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    1. Melynda, thanks for your comments. It’s so easy to get a heavy heart and consumed with negative things when we’re bombarded with those kinds of messages all the time. Praying and focusing on our big God is the best thing to do.

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  3. This was just what I needed to hear today. I let the little stresses of life overwhelm me.

    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 4:8–9 NLT

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    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful, Julie. Yes, the stresses of life can pile up and become overwhelming to us. If we let them, they can control our lives. That’s why turning our thoughts to God is the best thing to do.

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    1. Linda, that’s a great verse and one that God brings to my mind often. When I think about that verse, I automatically translate it this way: “Be still and know I AM.” I AM is my favorite name for God.

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  4. I so needed to hear this! We lost my sister 6 mos ago to breast cancer. My Mother who was 90, was hospitalize with the flu last month. A few days later, my older sister passed. We thought Mom was doing better, but finally said she was done fighting and was tired. All she wanted was to see Jesus, her mother and my Dad. Within about 24hrs she was gone. I am stressed, tired and fighting my own battles physically.
    No matter what He is Good!

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    1. Yes, Sue, no matter what, God is good. Yet life can be so hard at times. I’m sorry for your losses. Praying for you right now that God would comfort you, strengthen you, and give you rest. I wish I could give you a big hug.

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  5. This last year has been very trying for us. My thoughts have been consumed with our living situation on top of our day to day issues and stresses. We seem to get over one hurdle just to face another. Things have calmed down a bit, but I’m waiting for the next situation to come up. I spend all day worrying and then spend all night with insomnia worrying some more. I need a daily reminder to “Be Still” and that it’s ok to be.

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    1. Sometimes life stinks, doesn’t it, Nicole? One important lesson I’ve learned is that our circumstances don’t change who God is; they show us who God is. As you cling to Him, you will experience His grace and see what He’s able to do in your situation. One thing I do a lot when I can’t sleep is go through the alphabet and come up with attributes of God and things I’m grateful for for every letter. It helps me turn my thoughts to God rather than my circumstances, and eventually I’ll fall asleep.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your life struggles, with us. We can all relate in some manner. My prayers go up for you and your family. God is good Thank you for sharing your resolution, with us. It reminds us to Be Still and put into practice what we know. We do need a daily reminder to keep our eyes not on our circumstances, but rather on God. This world is great at creeping up and tying to swallow us.
    Thank you for sharing your gift of writing. It is a welcomed blessing to read.

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