A Three day Challenge to Stop Negative Thoughts
How we respond to others …
Negative thoughts are like seeds that get planted into your soul. Once the seed starts to grow, it can take off like a crazy weed that chokes out the life of the healthy plants all around it. Have you ever seen what a weed can do to a healthy garden? The roots get up under the roots of the healthy plant and steal all the nutrients, and basically sucks the life out of it.
That’s what negative thoughts do to your soul. The roots of the thought slowly begin to choke out anything positive. I personally have spent a lifetime allowing negative thoughts to suck away my joy and sense of positivity.
Why Should You Do This?
The main reason you want to stop the negative thoughts is because holding in anger, doubt, fear, and negative self-talk can make you sick .. physically and spiritually. When you have negative feelings towards another person it can create codependency with the person. What they think about you can control you, which can lead to resentment.
Have you ever felt depressed when you have a conflict with someone? Have you ever made yourself sick with worry over what someone else thought of you? Holding grudges, bitterness, anger, and hatred can cause hypertension, headaches, and backaches, just to name a few.
Types Of Negative Thoughts
There are many different ways you can have negative thoughts.
- Negative self talk. This is where you put yourself down or limit yourself. This also stems from a childhood wounding. This is where you get bound up in negative thoughts of yourself.
- What others think of you. This is where you worry about what others think of you .. or don’t. Being caught in this cycle will surly zap your confidence.
- What you think of others. This is a trap as well. Throwing mental darts at someone you are angry with or in a conflict with is only going to boomerange back on you. A lot of times it stems from a lack of self worth. When you put another person down, it can make you feel like you are better. We are all created equally in the eyes of God.
Where Do They Come From?
Negative thoughts can come from a few different sources. One is from yourself, rooted in childhood trauma. Another source is from the prince of the air or Satan. The enemy of God is your enemy as well. As you move along on this challenge you will begin to see his pattern. You will be able to distinguish your voice from the voice of darkness, to the voice of light … God.
It’s really hard to keep the thoughts from entering your mind. I get images of Mr. Spock from Star Trek grimacing and repeating .. no negative thoughts .. no negative thoughts… until his Vulcan mind finds peace. For the mere human, this does not work, because the thoughts are usually rooted in something from our formative years. You can tell yourself not to have that thought till the cows come home, but that is not going to make it go away.
So then how do you rid yourself of these debilitating thoughts? The trick is to capture them when they come in. You can fast them. It takes a bit of diligence and self-awareness, but you have the power to reroute your thoughts. I have a method that I have used for a number of years now.
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How To …
God is not limited …
I set aside a specific time period, say, three days. Every time a negative thought comes into my mind, I ask the Lord to show me another way of looking at it. I will just sit down and speak to God as if he were a trusted friend. I tell him that I am having these thoughts about either myself or another person.
In the example below, I was thinking about a failed relationship. It was a very dysfunctional and abusive experience. I kept dwelling on how he mistreated me and all the arguing and fighting. I even still carried a bit of fear in me that some of the things he said about me were true. They were taking power over me. It was like the thoughts had a life of their own. He said things to me and other mutual friends that I was crazy, among other things. There were a few times when I actually felt he might do something to me when I broke things off. But that is a story for another day ….
Journal it …
The point is I was filled with really negative thoughts about him. These thoughts would rage inside my head. I kept a journal of my feelings in those days as like a conversation with God. God is not limited to only one way of communicating with you. God is the great counselor. He wants to hear what is troubling you. Holding things in and trying to ignore the deep-rooted feelings does not make them go away. By telling God your feelings, it opens the door for healing.
Here is an example of my journaling during that time ….
Thinking about __ today … I felt a tinge of anger in my heart, and I felt this sadness and sense of weight in my body, and in my head as well. Soon, I was thinking negative thoughts about this him. I was remembering the fights we had. I was remembering how painful it was, and the mistakes I made. It was dragging me down and pulling me into a dark place. I was getting stuck in a cycle of these thoughts. I asked God to show me another way to look at this. The response that I got from him was; Be glad you are not in a relationship with this person now. You are released from a life with this person. You can move on.
This released me from being stuck in that dark space. My heart became light. Basically, the thoughts were not controlling me anymore. I was not bound to that past with this person who was not healthy. I also forgave them for their part in the fighting. The Lord showed me that he was wounded, and really wasn’t trying to hurt me on purpose, even though he did want to hurt me out of his own pain. Forgiveness is another huge key in releasing negativity from your mind. More on that another day …
Another example from my journal.
All I had to do was cruise down Facebook to kick off my feasting on negativity. I saw a post from someone that I used to know years ago, who had more then me. My heart became filled with jealousy, causing me to judge, and be critical of others who have things that I want. It brought a feeling of hatred in my heart, and I fealt a dampening in my head. A physical reaction in my body, and my emotions feel dark. When I asked the Lord to show me another way to look at this and he said; Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”
I was totally stuck in the physical things of this life. Once my spirit caught it that my negativity stemmed from a root of jealousy, I was free.
Today’s focus is on your negative thoughts of others …
Now, it’s your turn. As you go about your day today, be aware of negative thoughts that you have towards another person. As you have the thought, ask the Lord to show you another way of looking at this. This is also where journaling is helpful. You may want to write these thoughts down and submit them to God. As he begins to reveal the origins of these thoughts, you may feel a release in your spirit, like a hook coming loose from your soul. Anger, bitterness, and a whole host of other painful feelings will be replaced with joy, peace, and other great fruits from heaven.
I’d love to hear about how this goes for you. If you have a story that you can share, please share it in the comments.
Tomorrow we will tackle the negative self-talk.