If you are familiar at all with the Word program on a PC, you will notice in the top right hand corner under “home”, an icon called “replace”. This little handy dandy feature allows you to locate an existing word in your document and exchange it for a more suitable word or phrase. Pretty cool right?
What would the result be if we used this feature in our own personal Christian life?
There are times when I veer off towards negative thinking, especially when life isn’t going as I had expected. I have a vivid imagination that can drive my mind furiously like Jehu (see 2 Kings 9:20 if you don’t get the reference) – an accident waiting to happen.
I find at these times there are words/phrases that creep into my thoughts, permeating every aspect of my living and conversation. It’s as if I have pressed the default button of my mind to automatically go there. My negative thinking distorts my perception – distorts the truth. I begin to act out of my fears and assumptions. I have no real evidence in front of me to make me believe what I am imaging, but I go there anyway.
- “This is going to end badly”….
- “What if”…….
- “I can’t handle this”…..
- “I don’t want to think about it”….
- “Everything is going wrong”….
- “I’m going to fail completely”…..
- “I can’t see the end of this”….
- “When will it end?”….
- “Where is God in this?”….
- “But I prayed”…..
- “How could this happen?”….
- “I’m not young anymore”….
- “I can’t think”…..
I had to get into the habit of putting the brakes on and saying “wait a minute here, slow down Jehu” and come to a screeching halt.
In my thinking, I had to accentuate the positive. Even if it was only one or two positives. It’s not easy when you are in the middle of your emotions, but it can be done. Trust me on this.
I had to stop thinking in extremes, stop locking myself into no way out, stop assuming what might happen when it hasn’t even happened yet, which negative thinking can do.
I had to learn to replace those phrases with courageous ones. Many times, I have just replaced it with “Stop it…that’s not true”, suspending the function of the imagination to go where no man has gone before.
I can replace my negative phrases with:
- “No….that’s not true”
- “But God says”
- “I can do this”
- “What’s done is done, let’s just move on”
- “I’m going into fighting prayer”
- “Everything will be okay”
- “I will see the light at the end of this”
- “God has this”
- “I will not fear”
- “Something good is going to come out of this”
- “I may be getting older, but I have a lot of experience to add”
Questions to ask Ourselves
Do we veer off into the negative when life is difficult, or even when things are going well? Do we have a tendency to be a negative person in general? What steps can we take to replace some words and phrases in our vocabulary that tend towards the negative?
What Can We Do?
A habit can be broken. It’s not impossible, but we have to do it on purpose. It doesn’t change overnight. We must refuse to live with those negative thoughts and expectations. It is a choice. God longs for us to live in hope and with faith expectations.
So…..let’s click on that “replace” feature and start the process.