At the last women’s group I went to, the chapter discussed “taking our thoughts captive”. Taking charge of them. I like this idea, but it almost seems unattainable to me. Often for me, it is the other way around – my thoughts take ME captive. They drag me down and, in a way, I go willingly, because I’m not trying hard enough to stop or control them. I can control my tongue, I can control my actions, but sometimes my thoughts literally have a mind of their own. They take off, (often NOT in a good direction), without my even being aware of it. Suddenly this spirit of negativity comes over me, and my mood darkens, and I’m not even sure why, or how I arrived at this cloudy dreary place.
So while I like this idea of US being in control of our thoughts, not our thoughts being in control of us, I have trouble figuring out how to achieve that. Often I have found, particularly in times of trial, I cannot escape the downward spiral my thoughts take me on. As I pay closer attention to why my thoughts end up where they do, I realize that I am often having a dialogue in my head. Sometimes with a person who has offended me, and sometimes with myself, but always a lament on some sort of injustice.
I think I have misidentified the other “voice” I hear, the voice justifying my anger or agreeing with my victimization. In the past I’ve thought of this other voice as somewhat of a friend, a confidant, (ie “Yeah, you’re right! That was terrible how he talked down to you like that! He was out of line! He’s trying to undermine you…” But can a voice that fuels my anger and encourages my thoughts further into a dark, downward spiral be of God? And if it’s not of God, I shutter to think whose voice it might really be, disguising itself as a friend or confidant.
I read once that it’s like a dirt road. With grooves down it from a path previously traveled. If you’ve previously traveled down a negative path, and if you revisit that path often, the grooves will be so deep that it’s hard to steer your thoughts off that path and onto a better one. To get out of that rut and onto the lesser traveled positive path, you will need not only a real intentional effort, but a lot of strength for the fight. It is a real uphill battle to be sure, but I think once I travel it enough, some new grooves will develop and deepen. A new positive outlook, like a new pair of glasses, that changes the way I look at everything. I love to imagine something that was once hard work, becoming second nature. Positive thinking being a habit; something I can’t help myself from doing. And I love to picture how my life could be changed if, with no effort at all, my thoughts naturally flow down the positive path. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I had to WORK to get down a negative path because I was so used to looking at the bright side? How wonderful if my thoughts just instantly saw the silver lining and dwelled on that instead of the storm? If perception is reality, then this could literally change the reality of my life!
Hahaha, I know. That will never happen.
(oops, negative rut, I guess old habits die hard.)