Updated: Nov 8, 2021
One Sunday I talked about having the ‘mind of Christ’ as Paul urged the church at Philippi.
He describes it as a mind that is filled with lovely, commendable, truthful, honorable and excellent thoughts. The mind of Christ has peace that surpasses all understanding. How do we do that in a world filled with overwhelming anxiety, fearmongering and political and social unrest?
Use these steps to help you dump the toxic thoughts and have more peace:
1. Gather information
It’s important to gather information and memories that are toxic thoughts. Emotions and words that you keep repeating are clues to your thoughts. Words are powerful. They impact your emotions in powerful ways.
Words feed your emotions and tell you that things will never change. Two of the most toxic emotions are bitterness and resentment that keep you feeling victimized. Forgiveness is a choice. Un-forgiveness are toxic seeds that choke out joy and happiness.
Understanding where these words and emotions come from makes you more conscious of them so that you can let go and thrive.
Here are some questions to ask yourself: How many ‘could have’ ‘should have’ ‘would have’ statements have you uttered today? Do you replay conversations over and over? Is your mind passive? Are you honest with yourself? Do you go through the motions of the day without being committed to a goal, saying one thing and meaning another? Is your thinking distorted?
Are you forming a personal identity around a problem or a disease? “My arthritis” “My heart problem?” “My eczema or psoriasis?” Do you ever make comments like, “Nothing ever goes right for me?” “everything I touch fails”, “I always mess up”. If you answered ‘yes’ to any one of these, then your thought life needs detoxing. It is time to take conscious control of your thoughts.
Ask yourself, what am I thinking about? What am I feeling? What words do I use with others? Take time to sort this out and journal.
What is the actual thought/emotion/word content? Approach this question with prayer and give yourself time to think through this question. Is it fear thoughts such as worry and anxiety that dominate?
Patterns or words that come to mind. Pour out your thoughts on paper. Morning pages that capture your thoughts on paper can be very healing.
Evaluate and sort through what you wrote. Does it line up with higher thought from God or Spirit? Ask: Do I have a responsibility? Who do I need to forgive? Myself? Others? What have I been dreaming about?
Go beyond the toxic thoughts/emotions/words...step out in faith and begin to practice the changes you want. Let Spirit, scripture and holy text come alive in your life. Here you can capture the thoughts before they take hold in your brain.
What happens when you suppress emotions? Eventually buried emotions come pouring out. Emotions bring the whole body into a single purpose which is to integrate systems.
By not overindulging emotions, you can raise your thoughts to a more positive place. With emotions: feel them and release them.
Toxic words are also sneaky. Your words reflect your attitude and express emotions. Speak with honesty and integrity. What you do and say on the outside must reflect what is going on the inside. Repeat the above 5 steps with your thoughts, emotions, and words.
Question to ponder: Why is it important to capture toxic words in a journal?
On the journey