One thing I’m slowly coming to realize is that when discontent, discouragement or thoughts of despair want to come, it’s often because I’m not thinking the greatest thoughts. As in, nothing all that positive. (I might be a bit slow but hey, at least I’m making baby steps!)
I’m also learning that writing out the negative thoughts and really taking time to ‘hear’ them – even the subconscious ones – and then replacing them with positive ones can have a big impact and helps so much to improve thought patterns.
Some time ago when I felt like I particularly needed to improve my attitude, I took a few moments in the morning for several weeks to purposefully do this little exercise. Guess what? It really helped! 🙂
I’ve also used it for specific situations by listing as many of the conscious and subconscious negatives regarding it that I could think of. (Want to test this out on a no-brainer negative thought spiral? Try Ways I Suck at Being a Mom!) I then listed all the truths about that same situation and wrote down new statements that changed each negative to something true and faith-based. So enlightening! 🙂
Following is a sampling of some negatives replaced with positives. There are many more areas (and these could also be more specifically targeted) that I’ve needed to address sometimes. Every day brings new challenges of course but this is one tried-and-true remedy to dramatically improve the downward spiral of thoughts that happens to us all sometimes!
I may never travel the world.
But I can choose to be grateful for my life, my home and my community.
Traveling even in my home country may not be in our budget right now.
But I can teach my children about contentment and true wealth and I can show them the world through books, through hospitality and through adventures in our local community seen through new eyes.
I may never have an unlimited budget.
But I can be grateful for the temptations that will keep me from and for the fact that we have always had all our needs generously supplied.
I may never live in a house that’s perfect, new or spacious.
But I know that I am blessed bountifully, that I have all I need, that my home is adequate for us and that I can indeed make it a beautiful haven for my family.
I may never be the perfect mom.
But I can be a mom who loves her children fiercely, who leans on Jesus for help, who gives herself grace and freedom from perfectionism and who gets up again when she falls.
I may not be the perfect wife.
But I can do my best, ask Jesus for wisdom and guidance, forgive myself for my mistakes, ask forgiveness from God and my husband and try again each day.
I may not be able to do all the things I’d like to.
But I can be grateful for health, for the gift of today and for the blessings that come my way, choosing to see and be grateful for the things I did accomplish.
I may not be the best house keeper ever.
But I can remind myself that my family is happy, that trials are part of life, that life is for living, that one day I won’t have small children and that someday my heavenly mansion won’t need cleaning.
I may not have amazing talents or outstanding abilities.
But I know that God made me with a purpose and designed me the way I am for a reason. I know that I am fully equipped and able to bring Him glory with the talents and abilities I do possess and so I will strive to humbly do so.
Perhaps I’ll never have many friends all across the world.
But I can certainly be so grateful for the dear friends I have and for the courage and inspiration they give me and I can do my best to be a friend to them and others.
I may not enjoy good health all my life.
But I know that God will be there to hold my hand through the trials and I will try to consciously choose thankfulness for the health I now have.
There may be times when I will be overwhelmed with the demands placed upon me.
But I can practice placing my trust in the Lord and leaning on Him for the strength I need, one moment at a time.
I may always have more questions than answers.
But I can rest even with my questions, knowing that God sees and knows all and that the answers will be revealed in Heaven, that home where all these earthly problems will be so insignificant.
Have you ever taken time to write out negatives and replace them with positives? What works for you when you’re discouraged or disillusioned?