Dave and I have four kids. While they were growing up-and sometimes even now-it seemed like one would have something going wrong at any given time and the others would be doing fine. Guess which one would enter my mind in the middle of the night? Which one was I thinking about when I woke up in the morning? You got it right: the one who needed help.
Why did I have to dwell on the one negative thing that was happening? Why don’t I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about good things? In other words, why do we all have to fight negative thoughts? Because Satan is always tempting us to doubt God’s power-and too often, we give in to his deception.
We may think we trust God, but if our minds are filled with worry, it shows we have room to grow. See, we like to have a backup plan just in case God doesn’t come through for us, but that’s exactly what the devil wants. He wants us to act like God doesn’t exist.
Who’s in Control of Your Thoughts?
Whenever one of my kids was in trouble, I would constantly be thinking of ways to solve their problems, all the while forgetting that God was in control. Satan loved that. I allowed him to control my thoughts-and my negative attitude did more harm than good.
Dave, on the other hand, was concerned but still maintained his calm demeanor while I fretted about things I couldn’t control. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be concerned about people who are in need, but we can’t let negative circumstances control our thoughts or emotions. What we need to do is learn to trust God.
What Good Is Worrying, Anyway?
When we lose our faith connection to God, we’re powerless to help anyone. No one is ever helped by our worry or fear-based emotions. Actually, when you think about it, worry is a sin because it separates us from God-and it causes us to play right into the devil’s hand.
I used to let other people’s struggles affect my happiness. If they weren’t happy, there was no way I was going to be happy. The opposite was also true: If I wasn’t happy, I didn’t want anyone around me to be happy. I remember getting so angry with Dave because when I was upset, he would not feel sorry for me!
I finally learned that everyone is responsible for their own attitude.
If someone decides they’re not going to be happy, it’s not your problem. You don’t have to spend your time and energy trying to cheer up someone who has already decided to stay in a bad mood. Believe it or not, you can actually hurt people by playing into their self-pity.
Practical Steps to a Positive Attitude
Think positively about every situation. Decide that no matter what happens, you will have a positive outlook. Apply what the Bible says in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”
I may never be the kind of person who is positive about everything, but I know I can choose my thoughts and attitudes-and so can you.
You can choose to not be offended. You can choose to be content. You can choose to forgive people. You can choose not to stay angry or upset. And, one of the most important things I have ever discovered, you can choose to press past your feelings and do what the Word of God says you can do, whether you feel able to or not.
Reasons to Keep On Learning
Adopting a positive mindset is like sowing a seed that will grow to be fruitful because of God’s faithfulness.
Think of all your bad attitudes and the blessings they have kept you from receiving!
Negative thinking limits God, and it limits your potential to grow in Christ. But when you open up your mind to a positive, “can do” attitude, you are essentially telling God that He can begin to move in your life.
Don’t let negative thoughts get in the way of your faith. Trust God to get you through everything the devil throws at you. Your attitude of trust will strengthen your relationship with God and help you move forward in His plans for your life.
© 2010 Printed with permission of Joyce Meyer Ministries