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Choose the Good Thoughts

Choose the Good Thoughts

If I had to choose a single idea (or perhaps the first idea) that helped me to change my life, it would be that my thoughts are powerful. Anthony De Mello says that you are what you think. When your thinking changes, you change. I know that this is true. Thoughts are how I create my world and because I am constantly experiencing thoughts, I am continually re-inventing my world. Mike Dooly, author and motivational speaker says, ?Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones.?

This is an excellent reminder to me that my mind is my territory. I do have total control over what I think. I had abdicated that seat of power for a long time, but now I have reclaimed it. For many years I acted as if someone else was in charge of my thoughts. For instance, I decided that the reason I used to suffer from low self esteem was because of the way I was raised, because of the things that were said to me when I was young and impressionable. I could recall plenty of evidence to support this theory. I accepted this evidence as proof that I was unalterably lacking in some fundamental way.

When I began to grasp this brilliant new idea, that I had control of my thoughts and that my thoughts are powerful, I started to question the long held belief that who I had become up to this point was unchangeable. I started using my thoughts to change who I was. When I showed signs of low self esteem such as thinking I couldn?t accomplish a task or that I wasn?t as good as other people, I would stop myself. These thoughts and emotions are based on beliefs that I formed growing up. They are just beliefs, not facts. Even the so called facts they seemed to be based on were really just someone else?s perceptions; their way of seeing things, not really facts at all.

I learned that my low self esteem was caused not from what was said to me, but rather, because of my belief that they were right in what they said. That belief was a choice, and I could change my mind about it. I did not have to use someone else?s thoughts as my own. I could choose new thoughts; thoughts that would serve me.

So, what were those new thoughts to be? I needed thoughts that were more in line with the truth of who I am. I know that God created me perfect. I know that I am a thought in the Mind of God. I know that God is all there is, so I am part of God. I live and move and have my being in God. I know that in my creation God looked at me and said I was good. I know that God created me like Himself in His own image and after His likeness. I know that what God has done cannot be undone. I know that my mind is part of God. I am very holy. I am God’s Son, complete and healed and whole. These are facts!

There, does that sound like someone who can?t accomplish? Does that sound like someone who needs to feel less than others? I think that?s a pretty impressive resume in anyone?s book! My everyday thoughts about myself, however, were not always so lofty. Still, they were my thoughts and so I could change them. I learned to turn to the Holy Spirit to be my guide in this. After all, I was the one who had gotten myself into this state and so I hardly seemed to be a good choice for getting me out of it. I was like an explorer wandering lost in the jungle. If I wanted out, I would need a guide. Since God placed His Voice in me to guide me back to Him, I would be foolish not to use it.

So, how did I get started on this? Well, to be honest, pretty slowly; in stuttering fits of starting and stopping. After all, I had spent most of my life like a balloon in an air current. My emotions were up, then down, pulled here and there; all seemingly with no control from me. I didn?t just change that over night.

I started with easy stuff, using my thoughts to manipulate form. I would choose some goal that seemed beyond my reach. At one time, we owed the IRS a lot of money. I chose paying off the IRS and never owing them again as one of my first big tests of this theory. I can?t say that I really believed in it. I owed them so much money and I had so little with which to pay. But, I did believe in the idea that it might be possible. God met me where I was. He sent me lots of good ideas through other people and through books by people who had already accomplished what was brand new to me.

I was new at going to the Holy Spirit for guidance, but I did the best I could and that was all that was necessary. Every time I would be tempted to look at that crushing debt and think that I would never get free of it, I would recognize that thought as self defeating. I would give it to the Holy Spirit and ask him for a new thought to use instead. He gave me thoughts like, ?I am so excited to finally see the end of this debt.? Or, ?I am glad that soon I can use this money for things my family needs, instead of paying it to the IRS.? I did get that debt taken care of much more quickly than I had any right to expect. What was really neat about it though, is that all the time I was working on it I was learning that my thoughts are truly under my own control. When I would feel helpless and hopeless, I would stop those thoughts in their tracks. It required persistence, but that?s OK. I can do persistence.

I practiced controlling my thoughts through working with form for awhile. I would think of something I wanted or thought I needed and I would visualize having it. I would practice going to the Holy Spirit for inspiration. I would bring him my discouraged thoughts and my fearful thoughts and let Him heal them for me. It was a good way to practice because I was able to break it down into little easy steps, and to see the end result so readily. It helped me to make choosing good thoughts a habit in my life.

It has become such a good and permanent habit now that I use it all the time. I don?t use it just when I need something specific. It?s like house cleaning. My mind has many rooms and like my home they tend to get cluttered if I don?t keep them cleaned out. Sometimes I just sit with God. I imagine in these quiet moments that He is washing the rooms of my mind clean of all the thoughts that do not serve Him. Sometimes there will be specific thoughts that I take to His Voice and ask that they be healed.

When I sit down to compose a message to share with you, there is sometimes the little voice from childhood trying to undermine my efforts with doubts and fears. Perhaps you?ve heard that little voice in your head sometimes. You know the one; it says, ?You can?t do this. What do you think you are doing? What if you fail? What if you say the wrong thing?? These thoughts don?t mean anything anymore. They are just echoes from a time when I didn?t know who I was. I have cast them out and stripped them of their power. Anytime they try to get back in, I give them back to the Holy Spirit; silly thoughts, foolish thoughts, meaningless thoughts.

My thoughts are my own. I will choose the good ones. I choose thoughts that support love. Fear doesn?t support love. If I feel fearful I know that behind that fear is a thought that is causing that emotion and so I look in my mind for that thought. Perhaps I am afraid of failure. Perhaps I am afraid of a compulsion I think I cannot control. Maybe I am afraid of not being accepted. I look for the thought causing the fear. It is at this level that I have control. I then look behind the thought to the belief. I think I can?t succeed because I believe I am unworthy of success. I am strangled by my compulsions because I believe I am weak. I am afraid of being rejected because I don?t believe I am loveable. It is at this level that the Holy Spirit heals my mind. He teaches me that none of these things is true because none of them is in accord with the Will of God.

If I want to take conscious control of where my thoughts are taking my life I must watch my focus. I must think about what I want, not what I am afraid of. Remember the passage from Philippians 4:8? It says: Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.

So, I am encouraged to focus my thoughts on the good things in life. Does this mean that I should deny that something troubling is happening? Should I pretend that terrorists didn?t attack? Should I act as if it didn?t happen? No, of course not, but neither should I spend hours scouring CNN for possible threats. I know that it happened once. I know that it can happen again. I do not, however, need to keep my focus there. I can choose, instead to think of other things, useful and lovely things. What? Do I think that the terrorists are just waiting for me to quit looking so that they can attack again? I doubt it. It is tempting to look at what I am afraid of. But, as the Bible says, that which I fear is what will happen.

I remember a story I heard from Tony Robbins. He was telling about his experience with race car driving. Tony had always wanted to race cars, but had not been able to do so. Finally, he decided that, while he couldn?t do it for a living, he wanted to at lease experience it once. So, he took lessons because he didn?t want it to be the last thing he experienced! The driver who was instructing him, had Tony get his speed up pretty good. Then he took him around the track, next to the wall. It seemed to Tony that the faster he went, the closer he got to the wall. He began to think that the wall was going to be the last thing he saw in this life. He just couldn?t take his eyes off it and it was looming larger and larger as he moved closer to it. Finally, the instructor got through to him and Tony heard him say, ?Don?t look at the wall!? It was very hard for Tony to take his eyes off of the wall, but at the last moment, he did look away and when he did, his hands automatically followed his eyes and he moved away from the wall and into the middle of the track. Tony said he never forgot that lesson and neither did I.

It matters where I focus my attention. I will focus my thoughts on what I want, not what I am afraid of. If I sat around thinking all of the time about what could happen if the terrorists strike again, they may as well save their time. They don?t need to strike in order to ruin my life. I have done it for them by focusing on the fearful and frightening, and so I make my life a fearful and frightening thing.

I was reading an article by Alan Cohen. He told this story. A man went to visit a friend in his country home. In the middle of the night, the man got up to go the bathroom and found a huge deadly snake coiled up on the floor ready to strike him. The next morning his host found his guest dead on the floor next to a coiled up piece of large rope. The fellow died not of a snakebite, but of fright. He was just as dead as if the snake had been real. His murderer was not the snake, but his own mind.

Nothing can hurt you unless you give it power with your thoughts.

Another example of how focus works is when an addict wants a drink. If he sits around thinking about how badly he wants to drink and how hard it is not to drink, what do you think will happen? If, on the other hand, he chooses to go to a meeting he will change his focus. Now his thoughts are on not drinking. Changing his focus can make all the difference in his life.

Thoughts are powerful. We have total control over our thoughts and so we have total control over our lives. We can use this powerful force for good if we so choose. One step at a time we turn our lives around as we take conscious control of our thoughts and place that contol under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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