I could feel the negativity creeping up the back of my neck and landing square in the middle of my brain.
(I know. I know… a bit dramatic!)
But this new feeling now accompanies me every single day as I stand at the sink, washing everyone’s dishes from the last 24 hours.
In fact, the feelings are just part of the nightly routine:
Fill the sink with water, fill my brain with a woe-is-me attitude.
Load the dishwasher, load my own private pity party.
I KNEW I had to interrupt this pattern currently taking up unwelcome residence in my thoughts!
One of my favorite quotes that you’ve seen me reference before is by Natalie Bacon:
Your thoughts create your feelings.
Your feelings create your actions.
Your actions create your results.
My “doing-the-dishes thoughts” were creating all kinds of negative vibes and comments from me, resulting in some not-so-harmonious interactions (okay…RIFFS) with family members.
Not helpful to anyone, including me.
But, again… HOW do you interrupt thoughts so they don’t create unwanted or negative feelings, leading to not helpful actions, which creates results you don’t want?! THAT is the million-dollar question for sure!
For years, a goal of mine has been to manage my thoughts toward faith and away from fear.
More faith. Less fear.
But as I continued to play around with the more/less phrase, all kinds of things were being highlighted in my mind.
More patience. Less anger.
More peace. Less anxiety.
More love. Less passive aggressiveness!
More reconciliation. Less bitterness.
More acceptance. Less feeling like I’m not enough or less comparison.
And in my doing-the-dishes-pity-party example:
More kindness. Less snarkiness!
More speaking up in love, less sulking in negative silence.
It’s important to manage your thoughts for MANY reasons.
- You ARE what you think.
- You are HOW you think. Or in other words… how do you want to feel? Think about it!
Managing our thoughts is implied in the greatest commandment.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with ALL your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Love God with all your mind. This is part of the first and greatest commandment!
It’s important we be intentional about how we are thinking.
Natalie Bacon (who is a podcaster and coach) goes on to say that our thoughts are always optional. She compares the way we think to building highways in our minds, as in a highway of thoughts we default to. Kind of like driving in the same rut!
BUT… you always have the chance to forge a new path. This is like finding a new dirt road going a different way or …off-roading!
We want to interrupt those pre-formed highways in our minds of how our thoughts travel. The dirt road is our way of creating a new way of thinking because we want different results.
So, if our thoughts are always optional, then we have the option to opt in or opt out.
Isn’t that a great way of thinking about it? An unwanted thought pops into your mind and you have the choice to:
–opt-in: think about it more
–opt-out: shut ‘er down
I know, I know… that’s easier said than done!
One way I’m choosing to opt-out of the nightly pity party thoughts and go on my very own off-roading adventure to interrupting the highway rut of thoughts in my mind is by starting a tracking page in my Tracking God journal. Here’s a pic of the opening page to Tracking God in my attitude toward kitchen chores:
Guys! THIS is helping me so much! It’s a crazy, simple, practical way to intentionally change the way I think. I’ve written several more__________/less__________ statements and then pulled out the “more words” which are what I want to focus on because they’re the positive attributes I want to have in my life.
Then, I wrote those words in all the corners of the pages of this section of my journal: kindness, love, boundaries, speaking up in love, and understanding.
It’s managing my thoughts toward kindness, love, boundaries, speaking up in love, and understanding! Kind of like a we interrupt this current programming to bring you a healthier way to think, feel, and act.
Think of a current example in your life where you KNOW you need to manage your thoughts better because you are in a negative rut in the thought highways of your mind.
Could this be something you work through in your Tracking God journal? (or on a nearby piece of scratch paper!)
Brainstorm several more/less statements.
More _________________. Less __________________ .
Choose to focus on the “more words”… rerouting your thought patterns as you create a new dirt road for those thoughts to travel on.
Your journal (or handy scratch paper) can help you create those “dirt roads going a different way.”
As your cleaning your kitchen this week, picture me standing at the sink doing dishes, giving myself an internal pep-talk as I repeat the words:
speaking up in love
I’m in the struggle with you!
Let’s say it this way: Here’s to a new off-roadin’-bushwackin’-dirt road adventure we are deliberately choosing to go on.
Buckle up ‘cause who knew doing dishes could be so exciting!