by Cynthia Cavanaugh @CavCynthia
I am typically not your jump out of bed and greet the morning with a smile kind of person. I am what you might call a slow wake: a put my feet on the ground and get my tea before talking kind of individual. I’ve tried all sorts of things to change that disposition, but my hard wiring works against me. Having children has helped. I have learned that it is only possible to greet them with half a brain if I force myself to get up earlier than them.
Because I am not a morning person, it is a very bad idea to try get my mindset going in the right direction. That can make or break the tone for the day and impact my relationships. It’s all too easy to allow leftover negative thoughts from the day before to impact a new day. No matter how I try to control them, they continue to plague me.
Lately, I have been working on how to get rid of those persistent negative thoughts. Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of Who Switched Off My Brain. advises, “Whatever you think about grows. Don’t focus on what you are going through but what you are going to.” I’ve been relearning a valuable truth: when I continue dwelling on the wrong thing, that focus will grow into bad behaviors and turn into toxic words.
So what can we do when toxic thoughts persist?
There is a reason that the Romans says “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV). In other words, we can change how we think by renewing our thoughts.
When those negative thoughts come calling, we can decide to surrender them to Jesus. A great way to symbolize that decision is to write them down, then tear up the paper on which they are written. Then find a verse in the Bible to specifically counteract what you are struggling not to think, and when they threaten to sneak back, say that Scripture right out loud. The Word of God has the power to stop those nasty thoughts in their tracks.
If we aren’t careful, those toxic thoughts can…
- Rob our joy – the toxicity can block our seeing the little things in life that can make us smile
- Poison relationships – those poisonous thoughts can turn into small barbs of unkindness to others
- Kill productivity – focusing on the negative can block our creativity and stop us from moving forward
- Allow despair to reign – obsessing over situations that we can’t control keeps us from trusting in God. The enemy is all about disappointment and hopelessness.
I have experienced all of the above when I’ve chewed and chewed on toxic thoughts. It’s a habit that I am working to break with God’s help. There is too much at stake, not just for us, but for those lives we influence.
Will you join me? Let’s make a strategic plan to make sure we reclaim this ground in our mind for good!
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB
About the author: Cynthia Cavanaugh is the author of five books, including Anchored, and is a speaker, life coach, and leadership professor at Trinity Western University. She knows nothing about coffee and is a self-proclaimed tea addict who loves connecting with women helping them to flourish.
Join the conversation: What kinds of negative thoughts plague you?