Sometimes I can get beyond my thoughts through prayer alone; other times, I have to rely on these questions to help.
by Peola Hicks — Posted on Jul 5, 2012
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a catchy phrase, but I find it far from the truth.
Words can be just as dangerous as physical pain. They have the potential to form thought patterns, and those thoughts can plunge us forward toward our destiny or they can cause us to give up and stop moving forward. Words spoken by people in authority or those we respect can leave an indelible mark.
I remember both positive and negative words that have been pointed in my direction. Positive words are always welcome. The key to how much damage negative words can inflict is whether or not I accept them and they take up residence, staying on my mind longer than they should. There must be some standard of measuring what to accept and what to reject. For me it is Philippians 4:8, “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.”
I like the use of the words “fix your thoughts.” This gives me the tool that I need whenever I am stuck on a thought that tries to bring my spirit down to a low place. Sometimes I can get beyond my current thoughts through prayer; other times, I have to be intentional about asking myself the question, “What are my thoughts fixed upon?”
To answer my own question I use the guidelines in the scripture above to create a checklist for my thoughts:
When I have been preoccupied with statements that are not true, I don’t need to consider the remaining items on the checklist. The next thing for me is to replace the false statement that I have been focusing on with a statement of truth. This is a repetitive process and not a one-time solution.
If what I am fixed on is true, such as in hearing a bad report from a doctor or a bad report from a teacher, rather than letting it dominate my thoughts, I still refer to my checklist to see if there is anything beyond the truth that I can focus on. I am constantly looking for the good in every situation. The good may not be on the surface, but as I go deeper, I can find it.
My prayer point today is to look for and intentional seek something good in every situation, and to watch over the words that we speak to others. Pray and ask God to help you. Words have power and can make or break someone’s day.
God bless you!