Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two)

Have you seen transformation shows on TV? Isn’t it amazing how they transform people, houses, yards, and furniture?  I refinished a lot of furniture in my time, and the part I hated most was stripping off the old paint.  But it was worth the effort when the project was completed.  Renewing your mind is a similar process.  The mind determines what you think, perceive, feel, and believe, which then influences your decisions and behaviors.  So, when you renew your mind you are transforming your life.

First, gather your supplies, in the case of renewing your mind, you must make sure you have God’s forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ.  Read part one if you haven’t already;  Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One)

Next, find out what you are dealing with, ask God to search your heart and mind to show what sinful and wrong thoughts control your behavior (Jeremiah 17:10; Revelation 2:23; Psalm 139:23-24).  Write them down so you know what to tackle first.  To make this job easier, you need to remove pride first, read  The Core Negative Heart Issue

The two tools you need are Scripture and prayer.  The prayer tool is the binding and loosing principle.  Matthew 16:19b and 18:18 states, “whatever you bind (Greek meaning: knit, tie, fasten) on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (Greek meaning: release, destroy, put off) on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  You loose wrong thoughts the same way you loose and remove rust and old paint, then you bind on truthful thoughts the same way you put on a new coat of paint.  To learn more about authority in prayer read; Four Reasons for Authority in Prayer

Ephesians 4:22-24 explains the instructions, “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (lusts), and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Corrupt in this passage means perverted, which deviates from what is right, natural, or true.  Deceit is the act of representing as true what is false; a lie; a trick.  Lust is an intense desire to gratify the senses; bodily appetite or pleasure.

Do these three exercises to renew your mind and transform your life:

  1. Put off fleshly desires (sin nature).  “For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (see Romans 8:7-8).  Gal 5:19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Colossians 3:5-7 tells us to, “Put to death (crucify); therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  6) On account of these, the wrath of God is coming.  7) In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them.”  We have divine power to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus (see 2Corinthians 10:3-5). Begin by removing one sinful, wrong thought at a time.  Next, put on the corresponding characteristic of the Holy Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness/meekness, faithfulness/truthfulness, and Self-control found on my website.
  1. Put on your new self, which is the image of God, righteous and holy.  Review Ephesians 4:23-24 above.  Colossians 3:10 also states, “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Jesus).”  Wow!  Our new self is in the likeness and image of Jesus, and we are righteous and holy (see Eph. 4:24)!  Our new self does not automatically happen in one instance, but we transform one thought at a time by renewing our minds with the truth of God’s Word.
  1. Now live according to the Spirit by setting your mind on the things of the Spirit, which is truth.  Just as you live, abide, and spend time in your home, live, abide, and spend time in God’s Word.  Read my post called; Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

John 8:31-32 states, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Also, John 15:7 tells us, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  What a great promise.

Romans 8:13-14 states, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons [and daughters] of God.

Gal 5:16 states, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Live and walk according to the Spirit by showing His fruit in your life. – Galatians 5:22-24 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24) And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  You keep your mind on the Spirit by turning every thought into a prayer, praising Him, and pondering Scripture.

You also need to renew your painful memories, explained in my book on my website.  Also, on my website is a worksheet for each characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit.  Each worksheet lists wrong thoughts, beliefs, right thoughts, and transformational truth statements.

I hope the information in this post helps you to be victorious over sin and addictions.  Renewing our inner self is a day by day process.  There is hope for complete healing and victory as you submit your mind to God and His truth in His Word.  I appreciate your comments because I like to learn from others.

RELATED POSTS

WHY HEAL YOUR HEART AND PURIFY YOUR SOUL?

Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul

Begin reading my book: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One)

People are like an iceberg, there is so much more under the surface than what you see.  I knew I was forgiven and saved, but I struggled with wrong thinking for most of my life.  I never had victory over my thoughts and emotions until I learned how to renew my mind and take my thoughts captive and heal my painful memories.  Unfortunately, most people who receive forgiveness and salvation do not live in victory over their sinful thoughts, so they are hypocrites to the rest of the world who then don’t want to be forgiven and saved.  In this post you will learn how to be victorious over your thoughts and sinful behavior, so you can be holy and righteous.

The following two promises define what being forgiven and saved are.  God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sins (Psalms 103:3 and 1John 1:9).  And, you have salvation from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ (John 10:27, 14:6; 28; 3:16 – Romans 5:12; 6:23; 8:2; 10:9 – Ephesians 2:8 – Titus 3:4-7 – 1 John 5:13).

So, what is sin?

Webster’s dictionary defines sin as the disobedience of the moral principles of the Bible, primarily through a willful act. The definition of moral is to know the distinction between right and wrong conduct or action.  The truths in Deuteronomy 9:18, 1Kings 16:19, 1 Samuel 15:23, and 2Chronicals 12:14 explain that we do evil when we do not seek the LORD with our whole heart.  Evil is to harm or destroy someone.  Evil people are also called wicked and depraved.  When we don’t seek the LORD with our whole heart then we too will do evil.  Some of the sins listed in the Bible are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, evil desires, covetousness, greediness, witchcraft and sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, factions and divisions, dissensions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and orgies, outbursts of anger, hate, resentment, lying,  stealing, and idolatry.

What is salvation?

Romans 3:23-24 explains salvation.

  • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and
  • are justified by His grace as a gift, (see Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8,9)
    • Justified– just as if I did not sin.  Grace – getting what I do not deserve.
  • through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
    • Redemption –payment to restore a right relationship and to transform
  • whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood,
    • Propitiation– to pay a penalty to appease and make right again (reconciliation).
  • to be received by faith.
    • Faith is choosing to believe and trust that what God said He would do, He will do.  Webster dictionary defines faith as believing something is true, real, etc., and to have confidence in a statement or promise.  Though we did not see Jesus die to pay the penalty for our sins, we also do not see our justification by His grace.  But by faith, we are confident we have it.  We believe what is written by the Apostles because they went through the experience and witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They saw the curtain in the temple Holy of Holies being ripped in two and the great earthquake when Jesus died for us.  Then over 500 people saw Jesus ascension into heaven, where he is now making intercession for us (see Hebrews 7:25).

2Thesolonians 2:13b states you are, “saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (The Holy Spirit is truth, see John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; and 1John 5:6).  To be sanctified is to be made holy and consecrated through belief in Jesus Christ and the truth (see John 17:17).  1Corinthians 6:11 explains that you will be “washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Now what?

Though you are forgiven, saved and sanctified you now must renew your thinking to be victorious over sin.  All sin begins in your mind as a temptation.  Temptations are enticements based on lies that generate unhealthy, false beliefs and create thoughts of offense. So, your mind needs renewing and transformed every day by the truth of God’s Word. Romans 12:2 states to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” and Ephesians 4:23 states we are “to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”  Titus 3:5 states, “he [Jesus] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” and 2Corinthians 4:16 states, “our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Renewing your mind is removing sinful, evil desires and lusts by putting off these thoughts through prayer, then putting on the things of the Spirit; truthful thoughts found in the Bible.  Ephesians 4:22-24 explains we are, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (lusts), and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Corrupt in this passage means perverted, which deviates from what is right, natural, or true.  Deceit is the act of representing as true what you know to be false; a lie; a trick.  Lust is an intense desire to gratify the senses; bodily appetite or pleasure.

Next week I will explain three exercises to renew your mind and transform your life.

There is hope to be victorious over wrong thinking and out-of-control emotions.

RELATED TOPICS:

Free from Anger–County Jail Testimony and Teaching

The Core Negative Heart Issue

Bondage to Unseen Controls

Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

EVIL—What is it and what is the remedy?

Define Your Mission in Life

Why is a mission important to have? How does a mission statement help you achieve your heart’s desires?  The following are excerpts from HABIT 2 – BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND—Principles of Personal Leadership by Stephen Covey from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Begin today with the image, picture, or paradigm of the end of your life as your frame of reference or the criterion by which you examine everything else. What do you want people to say at your funeral? (What do you want God to say when you stand before Him?)  By keeping that end clearly in mind, you can make certain that whatever you do on any particular day does not violate the criteria you have defined as supremely important.  Make each day contribute in a meaningful way to the vision you have of your life.  Start with a clear understanding of your destination.  It means to know where you’re going so you better understand where you are now.  So the steps you take are always in the right direction.

A Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based.  It becomes a personal constitution, the basis for making major, life-directing decisions, the basis for making daily decisions in the midst of the circumstances and emotions that affect our lives.  Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behavior with your beliefs.

Identifying Roles and Goals

We each have a number of different roles in our lives–different areas or capacities in which we have responsibility.  I may, for example, have a role as an individual, a spouse, a parent, a teacher, a church member, and a businessman.  And each of these roles is important.  Your mission statement will be much more balanced and easier to work with if you break it down into the specific role areas of your life and the goals you want to accomplish in each area.  An effective goal focuses primarily on results rather than activity.


Mission Statement for my life and how I will accomplish it.

My guiding principle is 2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV), which states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  What I do will have eternal value or contribute to it.

My life will reflect the following passage, 2Corinthians 5:14a,15b, which states, “For the love of Christ controls us (me), … those who live (I) might no longer live for (myself) themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

    1. In my work, I will pray for those I work with and be kind in what I say and do.
    2. In my home, I will give preference to my family’s interests and desires; Philippians 2:3,4Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4) Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
    3. I will encourage my family to love God and to pursue holiness as I show them love and live in peace with them; Ephesians 4:2,3, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  And, Hebrews 12:14,  “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
    4. In my church family, I will value my brothers and sisters in Christ by acknowledging them and saying a kind word or doing a kind deed. I will testify of the power of God’s Word to transform my life and their lives.
  1. I will be heavenly minded and not worldly minded.
    • I will seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and not worry.
    • I will seek to give to Christian efforts to grow the kingdom of God.
    • I will fill my mind with scripture and memorize it so I may not sin: Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I might not sin against You.
    • I will not look at worthless things. I will only look at things that inspire me to do good and love well (see Ps. 119:37, Ps 101:3).
    • I will practice 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 to
      • Rejoice always as I think on heavenly things—Col. 3:1-3;
      • pray without ceasing by turning every thought into a prayer;
      • give thanks in all circumstances and not grumble or complain because I am His workmanship—Ephesians 2:10,11 and Philippians 2:13.
    • I will not seek to fulfill any desires that draws me away from my devotion to God.
    • I will not desire worldly possessions beyond reasonable needs.
  1. I will make my time count for eternity.
    • To bless others through serving them as Christ did when He was on this earth (Matt. 20:28; Phil 2:3-7).
    • Seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) by leading people to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus through my blog, at the County jail and at Quehanna Bootcamp.
    • Teach Sunday School.
    • Hand out New Testament Bibles and being a good witness of the love of Christ.

Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life

Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Abolish New Year’s Resolutions

Abolish New Year’s Resolutions

Every year we resolve to change our eating style, exercise more, lose weight, get in shape, declutter the house, etc. and every year we last maybe a month or two at the most.  There will be advise on how to be intentional and set goals and anything in between.  There is nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions except we don’t have the strength nor the will to see them through.  I found I need God’s help to accomplish my goals.

Instead of resolutions, I can’t resolve to keep, I pick a Bible passage with a spiritual principle I want my life to reflect.  Then I pray for that principle in to my life each day or at least once a week.  My co-worker chooses a word to focus on like, “endure” or “revive,” etc.  Dayle’s blog, called One Word, explains this well.

This past year, I picked 2 Corinthians 5:14a,15b, which states, “For the love of Christ controls us, … those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”  I chose this passage because I struggle with loving people enough to sacrifice my desires and give preference to their desires.  So, I prayed I will be controlled by the love of Christ and not to live for myself but for Jesus.  So, throughout the year, I prayed to be controlled by the love of Jesus.  Then, I imagined being controlled by His love and what Jesus would do.  Christ’s love reached out to the lost, and He had compassion for people.

So, how did I do this past year with this prayer?  I could have done better.  When I prayed this scripture into my life, God led me to repent of my pride and of self-centered living so His love could control me.  Then, God led me to repent of self-control issues so His love can control my reactions.  You can read my transformation testimonies throughout this year in the following posts.

Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

The Core Negative Heart Issue

Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE (anxiety disorder is gone, YEA!)

Relationship and World Changing Kindness

A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER

Self-control and Maturity

The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control

I will continue to practice being controlled by the love of Christ and the previous year’s verses to rejoice always, pray continually, and be thankful in everything (1Theselonians 5:16-18).  In the coming year, I want to pray for God to help me memorize scripture. So, I will focus on praying Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I might not sin against You.”  Knowing God’s Word is vital to fight against the unseen evil forces of the world.  I will hopefully write about the many battles we fight each day and the scriptures we can use to be victorious.  Plus, as I memorize scripture, I am developing right thinking which then creates healthy beliefs and behavior. According to Joshua 1:8, when I meditate on Scripture then I will be prosperous and I will have good success.  Joshua 1:8 states, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

There is hope for complete healing and transforming negative heart issues.  May God bless you richly in the coming year as you abide with Him and meditate on His Word.

Healthy Boundaries for Toxic Emotions and People

What is a toxic person? The answer is simple, a toxic person is someone who has no control over their emotions and thoughts. This person is controlled by subconscious painful memories.  You do not have to be fearful of out-of-control people but put your trust in God.  The Bible says, God has not given you a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (see 1 Timothy 1:7).  In this post you will learn how to have power, love and a sound mind so you can establish healthy boundaries.  In my last post I shared a study that described how felt love improves your well-being.  Read it here: Are Your Relationships Improving Your Well-Being?.  Being around negative, angry, fearful, and insecure people wear down your well-being.

You can find many articles on how to set-up boundaries for out-of-control people, so I won’t teach that here.  I recommend the book called Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud, which I read when I was married to an abusive ex-husband.  The instructions in the Boundaries book was very helpful, but I couldn’t set healthy boundaries because I was toxic and out of control myself.  Then I read a book called Why Should I Be the First to Change?  by Chuck and Nancy Missler, which transformed my victim mentality.  In this post, you will learn why and how to change yourself before you can set healthy boundaries.

  1. Have healthy beliefs about yourself so you can set healthy boundaries.
  2. Love and respect yourself so you will maintain boundaries.
  3. Apply the truths in God’s Word to heal your toxic emotions and your toxic relationships.

You cannot change how a person behaves, you can only change yourself.  As you change, your unhealthy beliefs, then you can set healthy boundaries on the destructive behavior of others.  Boundaries identify the problem, consequences, and the way to reconciliation, which will help the emotionally unhealthy person see their need to change.  You can pray for God to intervene and change the person, but God cannot change a person’s will if they do not want to surrender their lives to Him and do what the Bible says.

1.  First, you must have healthy beliefs about yourself so you can set healthy boundaries.

Understand why you were attracted to a person who is destructive.  For me, I grew up in an abusive home and had no sense of self-worth and no sense of how a healthy person thinks.  When I first went to a psychologist who understood abuse and the damage it does to the soul, I learned I had an unhealthy belief that I did not deserve to be loved.  And, because I did not love myself, I felt I deserved the abuse.  I believed I needed to try harder.  But I couldn’t because I was a toxic person as well.  As a Christian, I saw my relationships were not loving according to the Bible.  The Bible tells us the kind of love we are to have in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (ESV).”  Does your life or relationships reflect this kind of healthy love?

Painful memories cause people to be toxic.  Painful memories generate unhealthy beliefs and wrong thinking, which shows in what we say and do.  To be a healthy, loving person, you need to heal your painful memories and develop healthy beliefs about yourself, others, and even God.  As your memories are healed, oppressive spirits are removed, and unhealthy beliefs are transformed by Biblical truth, then you can set healthy boundaries on your behavior and other’s behavior.  I explain how to do this in my short book called, Hope for Complete Healing.

2. Love and respect yourself so you will maintain boundaries.

When I began to receive the love of God and learn to love myself, I began to see myself as valuable.  I knew I needed to respect myself, but I couldn’t.  So, I began to practice putting boundaries on my thoughts and emotions.  But because I relied on my will-power, these boundaries only worked to a limited extent.  Lasting change came when I healed my painful memories and transformed unhealthy beliefs.  Desiring to love and respect myself forced me to seek God to show me my painful memories and to heal them.  The Bible says I need to forgive those who sin against me as God has forgiven me. So, as I continued to forgive the unkind people in my life and focused on the things I could be thankful for, I felt peace and joy.  When I saw the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, trust, and self-control in my life, then I could respect myself.

The following quote from Eleanore Roosevelt helped me in a hostile work environment, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Meaning, I can choose not to feel inferior by those who do not respect me and say unking things.  My psychologist explained that the things my ex-husband was saying about me did not represent the truth or reality.  This helped me to not internalize the unkind things my ex-husband said to me.  I was able to set a healthy boundary around my heart to not internalize unkind words and actions.

3. Apply the truths in God’s Word to heal your toxic emotions and toxic relationships.

Knowing Biblical truths, help you identify the problem and explain why you must set boundaries.  Let them know you value them and the relationship.  The person may get angry or anxious and will try to manipulate you or make you feel guilty, but don’t be afraid.  Depending on God to help you is the only way to have the power to set boundaries and see lasting change.  Be accountable to an older person who knows the truth of God’s Word and is secure enough to point out your wrong thinking.

Recently, I had to establish a separation boundary with a person I thought was my friend but who did not respect or honor me.  This was hard to do because I thought I could help her. Helping hurting people is not a bad thing if they submit to God’s work in their hearts and minds and obey Him.  Feeling the need to support and be loyal to unloving people makes a person co-dependent to that person.  You can read many articles about co-dependency, so I will not cover that hot topic.

You can read how I trusted the promises of God during my divorce and custody battle. Read Trust God to Keep His Promises

OTHER RELATED POSTS:

How to be Self-controlled in What We Say (updated)

Relationship and World Changing Kindness

The Core Negative Heart Issue

Identify and Replace False Beliefs

Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul

WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words Produce Death or Life Energy

Are Your Relationships Improving Your Well-Being?

So, what is well-being and how do you improve it?  Dictionary.com explains it as a state (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity.  I told you in my last post, I was going to write about abusive relationships.  This is a very hard topic to write, and though I have the experience, it is still very emotional and hard.  Abuse destroys a person’s well-being.  The opposite of abuse is love and not just love for the sake of love but felt love.  I care about your well-being and the well-being of your family, which is why I have written a lot of posts on how to have a healthy relationship, see POSTS Related to Relationships.  Also, read what healthy love is in Love From a Pure Heart.

So, what is felt love and how does it affect our well-being?  I came across a research article about this topic, and I share it below.


Feeling loved in everyday life linked with improved well-being

Research suggests that those small, but important daily gestures of love and support may be connected with improved well-being.   By Matt Swayne

November 25, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Poets and songwriters may tend to focus their artistry on passion and romance, but it may be those unsung, brief feelings of love throughout the day that are connected with psychological well-being, according to a team of researchers led by two Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS) researchers. They added that the findings could one day lead to interventions aimed at boosting well-being.

In two studies, the researchers found that people who experienced higher “felt love” — brief experiences of love and connection in everyday life — also had significantly higher levels of psychological well-being, which includes feelings of purpose and optimism, compared to those who had lower felt love scores. They also found that people with higher felt love tended to have higher extroversion personality scores, while people with lower felt love scores were more likely to show signs of neuroticism.

“We took a very broad approach when we looked at love,” said Zita Oravecz, assistant professor of human development and family studies and ICDS faculty co-hire. “Everyday felt love is conceptually much broader than romantic love. It’s those micro-moments in your life when you experience resonance with someone. For example, if you’re talking to a neighbor and they express concern for your well-being, then you might resonate with that and experience it as a feeling of love, and that might improve your well-being.”

According to the researchers, the baseline of the subjects’ felt love experiences, in general, rose throughout the study, suggesting that the nudges to recognize examples of love and connection during the study may also have gradually increased the subjects’ overall sense of being loved.  Stronger experiences of felt love, in turn, are associated with improvements in psychological well-being.

“It’s something that we’ve seen in the literature on mindfulness, when people are reminded to focus attention on positive things, their overall awareness of those positive things begins to rise,” said Oravecz. “Similarly, just by paying attention to those everyday moments of felt love, we may also increase our awareness of the overall positive aspects of love in our daily lives. This effect replicates in both studies, implying that raising awareness of felt love in day-to-day life may itself be an intervention that raises levels of felt love over a longer period of time.”

The researchers, who report their findings in the current issue of Personality and Individual Differences, added that because the studies have only shown a correlation between felt love and well-being, more research would be needed to establish a causal relationship. If a firmer connection is established, the researchers said possible interventions could be designed, such as sending regular reminders to a person’s smartphone to draw attention to the felt love that they may be experiencing in that moment to raise psychological well-being. Similar interventions have been designed for mindfulness and gratitude.

The team relied on smartphone technology to gather data from participants throughout their everyday lives. In the first study, they recruited 52 people of various ages. The second study consisted of 160 undergraduate students. Participants received six random prompts throughout the day over a four-week period to assess felt love and well-being, according to Timothy Brick, assistant professor of human development and family studies and ICDS co-hire. He added that sending these messages randomly throughout the day was critical to manage the possible effects of expectation bias.

“It’s important from a research point-of-view,” said Brick. “If the participants expect a call or a text at a certain time of day, they are no longer reacting to what’s going on in their daily life but are expecting the prompt and reacting to that expectation.”

Gathering data multiple times throughout the day from more than 200 subjects over a month can produce a lot of data, said Brick. Also, these everyday experiences of love tend to fluctuate during the study, which can result in what the researchers termed “noisy” data.

“It’s often very difficult to measure psychological quantities because we don’t always have a great idea about what’s going on in our own heads,” said Brick.

Oravecz added, “But with the right statistical methods, we can start to get at questions about difficult constructs like love or compassion, and hopefully build interventions to promote them.”

To analyze this large amount of noisy data, the researchers used nuanced statistical tools. According to Oravecz, the researchers specifically used a Bayesian latent stochastic differential equations model to cut through the noise in the data and identify processes happening underneath. This method is especially suited to help scientists investigate intricate social systems, which often involve relationships that generate complex, highly variable data, she said.

According to the researchers, this statistical method may be used more as social scientists begin to gather large amounts of real-world data from sensors on wearable devices. The researchers used computational resources of ICDS’s advanced computer infrastructure for their analysis.

The team also included Jessica Dirsmith, clinical assistant professor of education, Duquesne University; Saeideh Heshmati, assistant professor of psychology, Claremont Graduate University; and Joachim Vandekerckhove, associate professor of cognitive sciences, University of California Irvine.

This research was supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

 

Being Thankful During Hardships

How does being thankful help me?  No one can escape hardships, it is part of living in an imperfect world.  We can’t choose our hardships either, but we can choose how we respond.  Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning.  The following is a quote, “Even in the degradation and abject misery of a concentration camp, Frankl was able to exercise the most important freedom of all – the freedom to determine one’s own attitude and spiritual well-being. No sadistic Nazi SS guard was able to take that away from him or control the inner-life of Frankl’s soul.”  Though your hardship may not compare to torture in a concentration camp, hardships cause you to focus on your loss, which causes stress on your mind and body.  I must admit, it is hard to be thankful if you are in an abusive relationship.  I will write more concerning this in the next post.  Please understand, Satan wants you to stay focused on your hardship and bring destruction in your life (see John 10:10).  To learn more, read: Four Realities of the Spirit World

No matter the hardship, we can be thankful for something.  Being thankful is an inner-life attitude that determines if we rise above our problems or sink deeper into despair.  You see, it is God’s will for you to be thankful in all circumstances (see 1Thes. 5:18 and Eph. 5:20).  If you find it hard to be thankful, call out to God for help (see Hebrews 4:14-16).  If you want to experience peace in the midst of your hardship, then do what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6,7Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When I am thankful for God’s love, provision, mercy, and grace and trust Him to take care of my problems, I feel peace and joy. When I focus on my negative thoughts, I became anxious and stressed again.  The bible says God gives us hope, Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  Also, peace and joy remove the effects of stress in our bodies and minds.

Hardships are the main cause of offenses and resentments, which come from wrong thoughts of unfairness. If you don’t capture and loose these wrong thoughts, they will generate negative feelings and your negative feelings will produce false beliefs, which then direct destructive behaviors like anger fits, drinking, doing drugs, hurting others or yourself, depression, etc.  Being thankful transforms wrong thoughts and results in peace and joy despite the hardship.  I heard from a missionary to China, that the Christian Chinese people are joyful despite their hardships when many times everything is taken from them and they are put in jail.

During my job loss, I focused on God’s goodness, faithfulness, lovingkindness, and how He will cause all things to work together for my good. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   Abuse and loss through death is different because that involves a loss of love, which I will cover in the next post.  Being thankful and focused on God and not your loss will fill you with peace and joy.  Read my story called Trust God to Keep His Promises  and how I experienced many miracles despite my loss in my divorce.

So, what can we be thankful for?  You can begin with the following 15 promises.  To learn more about each promise read 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

  1. We are saved from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life.
  2. God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sin.
  3. God will never leave you nor forsake you because He loves you.
  4. You are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you, and nothing will separate you from His love.
  5. God’s plans for you are for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
  6. God will cause all things to work together for good according to His purpose for those that love Him.
  7. God will supply all your needs according to His riches.
  8. When we come to God and do what He says, we will dwell secure and will find rest, without the dread of disaster.
  9. God is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
  10. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to bear it.  With the temptation, He will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
  11. God gives power and strength and helps us when we trust Him.
  12. God is doing a new thing in your life, and He will make a way where there is no way.
  13. God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind when you trust Him in every situation and pray with thanksgiving as you present your requests to Him.
  14. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know He hears us in whatever we ask; we know we have the requests we have asked of Him.
  15. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Practice makes perfect.  Practice being thankful every day so when hardships come you can be thankful and not let the hardship steal your peace and joy.

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