I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” It often amazes me how miserable I can make myself feel by what I think. That’s why I love this clip from an old Bob Newhart show. It it could be that simple?! Maybe it is! With two simple words, awareness and dedication with practice I can create less misery and fear in my life?!
So, whenever a thought comes into my mind that makes me anxious or afraid I can stop it. It seems difficult, but what if it was easier than I make it out to be. That I will just not entertain any fear based thought in my mind. It saps my energy, takes away my joy and as I’ve said makes me miserable. (“Misery” – that word seems to capture well the depth of what we do to ourselves and the hell we create for ourselves by our own thoughts.)
I’ve heard Eddie Murphy has a practice of not entertaining any negative thought or anything negative. A good practice. Any negative feeling signals a negative thought . How can I tell if I’m living in the world of fear or love? By how I feel. It’s that simple. Any negative feeling signals where I’m living – in love or fear, in light or darkness.
Spiritual mind training is needed. And I think this is what is written about in many instances in the NT. And these are themes I keep coming back to and keep calling me and inviting me to practice.
“Do not fear.” “Do not be afraid.”
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
“Take every thought captive.”
“Whatever is true and lovely think about these things.”
“Set your mind on things above.”
“Do not be anxious.”
“Let the mind of Christ be in you.”
So that’s the key today “Take every thought captive.” Simple translation – Stop it. But I worry! But I’m afraid! And there’s so much to be worried or afraid about isn’t there? That’s the problem. My sadness comes from regret about the past or fear of the future, even if that is just a moment away. So solution – Stop it. Just notice the thought, choose to not entertain it no matter what and come back to this moment where all is well.
Be aware of your thoughts.
Say “stop it.”
Ask God for help to see this differently.
Replace it with a truthful thought.
Come back to this moment.
So, what if you and I made “Stop It” a spiritual practice for today and the rest of our lives!? More joy awaits. We’re more powerful than we realize, for we can change our minds.