I have a junk drawer in my kitchen island. Perhaps you have one that's similar. Honestly, it isn't all junk. There are some pretty important things hiding in there. But, over time I've found an odd assortment of items tend to accumulate in that location. Pens which no longer work, a random key that no one wants to throw away (you know, just in case). A few stray paper clips, a piece that fell off of a piece of furniture, just waiting to be reunited with its larger part.
Every once in awhile, I come to a point of frustration and I know it's time to clean out the drawer. It's too full, too disorganized and littered with things that don't belong. I comb through its contents, checking for things of value, placing items in their rightful place, discarding the pens that no longer contain ink. I typically find things no longer useful to me, so they join the pens' fateful demise.
I've learned that my mind can become a junk drawer all too easily if I'm not continually dealing with the excess negativity. When I let things slide I end up with a thought that turns into a normal reaction, which evolves into a habit. It happens gradually and yet all too quickly.
Just as we should frequently sort out the junk drawer in our home, we must take the time to sort out our thoughts as well. So often there are thought patterns that have no business taking up space. There are beliefs we hold about ourselves and others that are nothing more than blatant lies. They have been allowed to take over.
It's time to root them out.
The rooting out isn't easy, but it's worth it in the end. A mind full of truthful, meaningful thoughts will foster peace and calm. The mind that contains fear, worry, and lies will breed anxiety, discontent and pain.
If you knew it was possible to change, would you want to?
Take a minute and think honestly about that question.
Are you content living in dysfunction, or are you ready for transformation? If you are ready to walk on a new path, read on.
Change requires a choice.
I mean, honestly, when it's time to clean out the junk drawer in my kitchen, it's the last thing I want to be doing. I'd rather sit on the couch and relax than tackle that craziness. It's similar when we go to transform our thought patterns. It might be messy in there, but it's our mess and we are comfortable with it. It may bug us from time to time...like when we open that drawer and rifle through the contents, but we feel like we can deal with it.
We have to make the decision that we won't settle for a kind of dysfunctional comfort zone. If you've felt the pangs of frustration, you know it's not healthy for you to continue in it. So, make the choice to make a change!
Since you aren't able to stop the thoughts from coming into your mind, you have to take the time to tackle them when they arrive.
Say for instance, you find yourself entertaining this idea from time to time: "No one cares about me..."
The next time you hear that thought, write it down. Take a little time and ask yourself where that thought originated from. Is it something you've thought for as long as you can remember? Or, is it a new thought, brought on by a recent experience? Record your observations about your findings.
Next, go to your search bar on your computer and type in the following: "Verses about God's care for me." Click on one of the results. Read the verses. Write down one or two which are particularly meaningful. Keep them close to you, perhaps by your bed, in your car, or taped to your bathroom mirror.
When that thought comes to you again, stop immediately and speak to the thought (in your mind, or out loud...I won't judge).
"I know that there is Someone who cares for me! Isaiah 41:10 says, 'Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.' And furthermore, in Matthew 6 it says that I'm more important to God than the birds of the air, and even they are taken care of!"
Every time that thought comes to steal your joy, replace it with a statement you know to be true. (Even if it doesn't seem true at the time).
You can even think about instances in your life when people cared for you in meaningful ways. Speak about those times and replace that negative thought:
"I know I'm cared for because Carla smiled at me last time she saw me and told me she had been thinking about me this week. And, my neighbor offered to pick up my mail while I was out of town. And I had the nicest conversation with the girl at the checkout stand - she was so friendly!"
The important thing is that you immediately spin that negative thought around to something positive. Do it over and over and over. Every time you entertain a meaningless, negative thought, replace it with a positive affirmation. Before long you will be amazed at how different your thought life is becoming.
If you find yourself continually entertaining thoughts you know to be prideful or impure, stop immediately and confess it to God. There is tremendous power when we agree with Him and admit that it's wrong. Say, "Lord, I know that temptation is trying to get in the way. I want to choose my sinful desires over you in this moment, but I'm choosing You instead." Search for verses about sin and temptation (study the life of David...that's a great place to start). Use those verses in the times of temptation or the moments of failure. Speak life and truth to your mind.
I can't remember where I first heard this statement, but it's a good one: "You have to boss your mind." You have to choose to tell it what to do, or it will tell you what to do.
Just as you order the junk drawer and create calm where chaos once reigned, so you do in your mind. Boss your mind and tell it what it gets to think.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
Philippians 4:8 NLT
*Do you want a relationship with God but don't know where to start? Send me a message. I'd love to talk to you!
Photo: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash