Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

We learned in the last two posts that our thoughts control our destiny, and we can control our thoughts. Please read my previous two posts if you haven’t already. In this post, I want to share more specifically how to control your thoughts. In the post called ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL, I explained how I tend to let my thinking go to extremes of anger, and then to worry.  I use the Bible for my inspiration because it is the authority for how to have success in everything, especially how we should think, which affects everything in our lives. How we think dictates how well we relate to people.

To break my negative thought cycle, I change it by practicing the Scripture to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks for this is God’s will” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  To rejoice always is to choose to focus your thoughts continually on things that make you glad, happy, or delighted. Next, praying without ceasing is to turn every thought into a prayer. If you think about someone, pray for them. If you are upset about something, ask God to help you or whatever you need God to do, then think of something praiseworthy. Rejoice in the fact that God is faithful and nothing is impossible with Him. Then give thanks or show gratitude in everything, which does not leave anything out. Imagine, if you rejoice, pray, and be thankful all the time, you would never be depressed, miserable, angry, etc.  When I focus my thoughts on these three things, I do not feel miserable, so I don’t act miserably and make others miserable.  Breaking negative thought cycles takes work and discipline, but it is well worth it.

The Apostle Paul also taught the Philippians how to safeguard their minds. In Philippians 4:4-8 he lays out four ways to create a healthy thought life.

  1. Have an attitude of praise and gratitude. “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NIV) – To rejoice in the Lord always is to worship the Lord and all He is with thanksgiving. Philippians 3:1 also states, Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. …it is a safeguard for you.” A safeguard is a protective stipulation. Rejoicing protects our minds from destructive thoughts of anger, malice, envy, worry, fear, etc. Things to rejoice and be glad for, and be thankful for, can be found in Who God is — Daily A-C-T-S Prayers, I encourage you to add this page to your favorite list and visit this page daily.
  2. Let prayer occupy your thoughts all the time, especially during times of emotional stress. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6 NIV). Also, Ephesians 6:18 states, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions (all the time) with all kinds of prayers and requests.” How do we pray in the Spirit all the time?  It is our spirit with the Holy Spirit in us that prays through our minds to God. Read Four Realities of the Spirit World to understand the interactions of the spirit world. Prayer is a way to productively channel your emotional energy. If you tend to worry or be angry, then read the following posts to learn how to be free to choose different thoughts and break the cycle: Anger Issues Protected by Pride and Judgmental Strongholds and ANXIETY: Protected by Worry and Fear Strongholds
  3. Choose where you let your thoughts dwell. You have control of your thoughts, so use that control to your benefit and the benefit of others.  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble (honorable), whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8 NIV emphasis added) – Be proactive about your thought life! Choose to think true and positive thoughts described in this verse. Write down an example for each type of thought that would pertain to your life. For example:
  • True thoughts are based on what you read in the Bible, so focus on scriptural truths about yourself, others, God, and the world around you.  My short book on this website has over 100 true thoughts to think on.
  • Noble or honorable thoughts could be thoughts about what you can do to help others or to show kindness to a crabby person, or show love to someone who is difficult to love, etc.
  • Right thoughts could be thoughts about what is good and what you like about a person or something. For example, I have to walk a ½ mile to my office building from where I park.  When the weather is crappy, it is hard to have right thoughts.  Right thoughts are to think of the good exercise I am getting that I wouldn’t get otherwise, the fresh air I am breathing to detoxify my lungs and body, more time to pray, etc.
  • Pure thoughts could be thinking good about people and not judgmental thoughts. Choose to think pure thoughts about the opposite sex, instead of obscene thoughts. Choose to view movies and TV shows or read material that generate pure thoughts. In Psalms 101:3a, King David said, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;” Make this verse your priority to protect your mind from wicked and evil words and images, so your thoughts remain pure.
  • Lovely thoughts could be thinking about someone you love or thinking about how much God loves you that He would send His son to die and atone for our sin. And how His son, Jesus, would willingly do this for ungrateful people who reject Him.
  • Admirable thoughts could be thoughts that marvel at God’s creation, goodness, and mercy. Or, think about things that are done excellently, like a beautiful garden or some other good works.
  1. Your thoughts determine the beliefs and attitudes of your heart. When you practice thinking the thoughts listed above your mind is at peace, and you will be at peace with others and life. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NIV) – This verse is conditional and is based on following the previous principles of thinking. So, when you rejoice, pray, be thankful, and think good thoughts, you are inviting God into your thought life and valuing yourself and others.

Thoughts come from all directions, but most thoughts come from the words we read and hear. I wrote two posts about the power of our words.

WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words

WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

#1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution

Let’s explore the reasons people break off a relationship, quite a job, or divorce. When we know a cause then we can find a solution. I was the kind of person that was upset about everything though I wanted peace. I was quick to get angry. Why? After many years of research and thinking deeply about causes, I figured out the solution. After trying the solution I can testify it works.  I chose the picture above as an example of what is destroying relationships today and why,

Think back to a time you were upset about something. Why were you upset? What caused you to get upset?  Does the picture of this post upset you?  In this post I want to challenge you to think deeply about what causes arguments and strife. It is helpful to journal your thoughts concerning causes for strife in your relationships.

Let’s begin our exploration with the following understanding. Most of us are self-centered people, and we live and work with self-centered people, who want our own way.  And, we don’t know how to love well. Would you agree?

Whatever the reasons for strife, it always comes down to someone becoming offended, then getting upset. An offense is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from unfairness, mistreatment, disrespect, betrayal, being ignored or not getting what they want.  Becoming offended can happen many times a day, especially when you have to share the road with other drivers or space with another person or watching the news. So, be mindful of the times you are annoyed, angry, miffed, irritated, frustrated, etc. Why? Really think about why. Why do you think you got offended?

A major cause of strife is pride. Pride caused me to be offended most of the time.  I would think the following thoughts: “How dare someone (fill in the blank).”  “They had no right to do that.”  “Who do they think they are?”  If you were honest as to why you get upset, you too would recognize a pride issue.  Please read my post on pride to learn more: HOW PRIDE DESTROYS

Another cause for strife is when someone says something hurtful that creates an offense in our hearts. Often words hurt our pride. A person’s words reveal the condition of their heart.  Therefore, the person saying the hurtful words is also hurting from offenses they have stored in their hearts. Read the following posts for a better understanding:  WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words  and WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

Another cause for strife is unrealistic expectations. For example, I became upset with my husband because he did not take care of me when I was sick like his father takes care of his mother. This is an unrealistic expectation because my husband is not like his father, and it is not reasonable for me to expect him to be. Once I realized why I was offended, then I could deal with it rationally. But before I rationally thought through why I was irritated with my husband, I said a hurtful things to him. My hurtful words caused him to become offended, then he said hurtful things back. Do you see how this situation could escalate quickly and dissolve the relationship?

Unresolved negative issues also causes strife. For example, I became offended by the words on an anniversary card my wonderful husband gave me.  The card reminded me of an unresolved painful issue with my first husband.  Unfortunately, I allowed the offense to get into my heart and control my feelings, and I became miserable and said hurtful things.  When I dealt with the negative issue with my first husband that caused me to be offended, then I could resolve my offense and live in peace. To become free from the control of our past negative heart issues and painful memories, I invite you to visit my website and read my short book: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

As soon as we recognize we do not have peace, we should ask if we are offended.  When we become offended, we enter the fight-or-flight mode. The fight-or-flight stress response stimulates the lower brain and we enter survival mode. Survival mode stops us from thinking rationally about the situation, which is why relationships dissolve quickly. You know you are in survival mode when you become upset when a goal or expectation is not met.  If you see yourself losing control of your emotions, walk back your emotions and ask, why am I upset? Why is this important to me? What is my part in this disagreement or unexpected negative situation? What solution do I need for a win/win? What am I willing or not willing to do?  Consider if the concern causing you to lose peace is within your circle of influence.  If it is not, then let it go or pray about it.  These are only suggested questions to help you think rationally and not reactively. 

Think about the last argument you were in or the last time you were frustrated. Using the definition of an offense, which is a resentment, hurt feeling, or displeasure from (fill in the blank), can you identify what you or the other person was offended about? As you may have already figured out, being offended is the single most destructive force in any relationship. But, once you discover the cause of the offense then you can work to solve it. My book called “Hope for Complete Healing” on my website identifies many causes for offense and the solution. I encourage you to read it so you can have stronger relationships.

Follow these seven actions for a great relationship; eight for SUPER GREAT!

1) Always stay in forgiveness and do not hold grudges. Expect that your partner/spouse/friend will let you down and may not meet your expectations from time to time. Being offended blocks love, kindness, peace, joy, and patience.
2) Be thankful for strengths and abilities and focus on these. It is easy to focus on what you don’t like and tell them about it.
3) Be committed. Genuine commitment is to be wholly focused on what is best and what will strengthen the relationship.
4) Communicate complete thoughts.  Don’t assume the other person heard you or understands. Have a respectful discussion to help you convey your meaning and expectations.  Don’t mind read and make assumptions.  Seek to understand what the other person is thinking without being critical.
5) Resolve conflicts using the “pen method.” The person holding the pen explains their perspective and logic. Then hand the pen to the other person, and they reflect on what they heard you say and explains their perspective and rationale. Go back and forth until you come to a win/win for both people.
6) Create a relationship vision or mission statement. Ask yourself and each other this question: “How do I want our relationship to be in 5, 10, 15, or 30 years. Write out a plan to accomplish your vision or mission.
7) Work through past issues, so your reactions and expectations are not controlled by your past.
8) Make the Lord and the Word of God a priority in your life and relationships.  The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so if you want to be wise, then God needs to be your source.

If you ever get a chance, go to a Mark Gungor marriage seminar called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.”  My husband and I went to one of Mark’s seminars and he is funny and to the point. https://markgungor.com/.  On this website is a test that determines what motivates you the most.  He calls it the Flag Page, because it determines what country you are from: Control, Perfect, Peace, or Fun.  Finding out what motivates me is very helpful to understand why I do what I do.  It was also very helpful to know what motivates my husband.

I also encourage you to read about the adapted summary of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21a). The subject of words having power is not a new idea, but so often we forget that our words have power.  What happens when someone says hurtful things to you?  How do you respond?  How about when someone encourages you?  How does that make you feel?   Words can cripple us or help us soar and accomplish great things.

Consider the following; anytime we speak a unloving, hurtful word to someone, we are wounding the other person and bringing death to that relationship. Would you agree? Also, anytime we speak a negative word about ourselves and our ability; it produces death to our potential. For example, when I believe and say, “I cannot do this;” well then, I won’t be able to do it. If I believe and say “I’m too stupid,” “I’ll never get this;” well then, I have destroyed my potential ability.

For example, when I told my mother I was going to college, she told me I was too stupid. This comment affected me for several decades. I went to college anyway and graduated.  I struggled, but I more than compensated with my other abilities and God’s help. Thirty years later, I contemplated taking graduate-level classes. I was speaking death into my ability because of the words my mother spoke over me many years earlier. First, I forgave her and asked God to take that word curse off me.  Second, I was encouraged by the truth in 1 Corinthians 2:16b which states, But we have the mind of Christ.”  This encouragement gave me hope, and I immediately said, yes, I can go to graduate school because with Christ’s mind I could do it. I spoke this truth and it changed my thinking, which affected the course of my life. I applied to graduate school and was accepted. And, because I relied on Christ’s ability and not my insecurity, I did very well.

Can our words bring literal death to a person? I believe it could, especially when we speak words like, I wish you were dead, or it would be better if you would be gone. If you are struggling with these types of word curses, please visit my website to learn how to overcome them. Often these people, who hear these words, commit suicide because of the spirit of rejection is so heavy on them.  We need words of encouragement that give hope and empowerment.  The Word of God is full of encouragement and words of hope.  Read through the nine “Issues Worksheets” on my website to fill your mind with empowering truth and hope.  Go to hopeforcompletehealing.com

Furthermore, we all want to be loved and to love, so when you speak destructive words of rejection to or about someone, you release the negative energy of that word. For example, one inmate in my bible study said that she was told she would be a failure.  Being adopted, she already felt rejection, then her adopted mother who believed in her died when she was young.  She believed she would be a failure and the feelings of rejection influenced her to make many wrong decisions, which ultimately caused her to end up in jail. Once she became aware of the curses put on her, she forgave the people and put off the curses.  She transformed right in front of me, and I saw a tremendous peace and joy come over her. Once we become aware of curses spoken to us by others, we too can verbally loose and put them off and then bind in the truth of God’s Word.

Remember the saying “Sticks and stones will hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This saying is a lie. What is true is hurt people, who have been offended by unloving words and deeds, continue to hurt people. My first husband would speak words of death over me all the time, and I became very depressed and suicidal. My psychologist told me that his opinion was not the truth. My ex-husband was a hurting little boy from an alcoholic family, that generated painful memories. Therefore, his opinion was shaped by the hurt in his heart, which came out of his mouth and created death energy in my soul.

The following verses explain the connection between our thoughts, heart, and words.

Matthew 15:18-19 states, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”

Luke 6:45 states, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

The first step to change the hurt revealed by what we say is to change our negative heart issues from painful memories. Pay attention to your words, because they reveal what is in your heart. If you hear yourself saying unloving things or unloving things have been said to you, then please visit my website and read how you can discover a new reality for your life. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

If you haven’t read my first post on the power of our words, I invite you to read it now: WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Power of Offensive Words

WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words

Have you ever considered the power of the spoken or written word?  When someone says something hurtful, it creates an offense in our hearts.   A person’s words reveal the condition of their heart.  Therefore, the person saying the hurtful words is also hurting from the offenses they have stored in their hearts from painful memories.  This post explains how to overcome the power of offensive words and actions.  But first, let’s review the power of words.  Imagine how the progression below is influenced by negative words, then imagine how the progression is influenced by positive words.

Words (positive or negative) create the same thoughts.

Thoughts create feelings.

Feelings create beliefs.

Beliefs create attitudes.

Attitudes influence decisions for behavior.

 Decisions directs the course of our life.

When people become offended, it is because the words or action triggered a painful memory of an unmet need or expectation.  All of humanity struggles with being self-centered.  For instance, someone does something to you or says something about you that was unloving; your first response is to think; that wasn’t right; I didn’t like that.  Or you weren’t acknowledged for an achievement, or accepted into a group, or ignored, etc.   So, when we become offended we open the door to the temptation to be angry, bitter, depressed, then to slander, gossip, and say hurtful things.  Our thoughts and feelings become controlled by the offense, and we do and say hurtful things.  Have you seen this happen?

The only way to overcome offensive words and actions is to forgive.  I know this may sounds impossible to do, but it sets you free from the negative energy of hurtful words and the offenses in your heart.  We rarely realize that we have taken an offense until hurtful or negative words spill out of our mouth.  It happens to the best of us.

Sometimes though, you need to set boundaries for people who continue to spew hurtful words, after you have spoken to them about how their unloving words made you feel.  You need not let their words control your thinking, feelings, beliefs, and attitude, which is hard to do, but possible when you are quick to forgive.

For example, I became offended by the words on an anniversary card my wonderful husband gave me.  He did not intend to offend me, but when I explained why I was offended, he apologized and tried to make it right.  Unfortunately, I allowed the offense to get into my heart and control my feelings, and I became miserable and said hurtful things.  I’m sure no one else has done that.

When I had enough of feeling sorry for myself, I remembered that I needed to forgive the offense, even though it was not intentional.  Then I asked God to forgive me for being hurtful, and to take the power of that memory and negative energy of the offense from my mind and heart.  I felt so much better.  So often relationships are ruined by hurtful words and holding onto offenses.  I realized the quicker I forgave, the more love, peace, and joy I would experience, and the more love, peace, and joy others would experience when they were in my presence.

The anniversary card situation caused me to ask myself, why did that card offend me?  I knew from my research that it had triggered a painful memory.  So, I asked God to show me what the offense was.  He showed me that I was still offended by a hurt from my first marriage.  I went through the “Kindness Issues” worksheet on my website to release the offenses I was feeling.  Next, I forgave my ex-husband for the hurtful words he had spoken to me, and I asked God to lose and remove the power of that memory and all negative energies from my mind and heart. I also applied the right thinking and truths from the “Joy” and “Peace Issues” worksheets to transform the feelings of hurt and anguish in my heart and mind.  After going through the process of healing these negative heart issues, I felt so much peace and joy.

To learn more, please visit my site and read a short book I wrote about how I transformed many negative heart issues and discovered a new reality. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you found this helpful.  May God Bless you richly.

To understand the power of forgiving, read: WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE

You may enjoy reading my next post called: WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

 

Freedom from the Snares of Disrespect, Unworthiness, and Failure

Have you been disrespected, demeaned, and feel like a failure?  Do you feel unworthy to be respected?  Do you find yourself being disrespectful when others fail to meet your expectations or know someone who is disrespectful to you when you fail? Do you bad mouth people and treat them as lower than yourself? Do you feel unworthy of respect, or are you treating others as unworthy of respect? All bad behavior has a source. So, don’t make excuses, but ask God, “Why am I behaving this way?” “What is the root or source behind my behavior?” “Why am I being disrespected and am I attracting disrespectful behavior?

The following example shows the connection between disrespect, unworthiness, and failure.  If my husband or anyone else did not meet my expectations, then I would demean them, which is not godly behavior. To be godly is basically to be like God.  And, God wants us to value others and to honor them; therefore, being disrespectful is not loving and is a sin. So, I asked God to show me the root of why I was being irritated. He revealed that I had unresolved painful memories of not being valued as a child or by my first husband.  God showed me that I had disdain for my first husband because of his abusiveness. Additionally, I was influenced by my mother’s disrespect and contempt for my father. Therefore, I developed unhealthy beliefs and wrong thinking that caused my sinful behavior of disrespect.

God also revealed that I felt like a failure as a child, especially with schoolwork and reading. I was told I should have been in special education classes, but my mother fought against it. I’m sure, you can think of the times when you failed, and others may have treated you as unworthy and disrespected you as well. Failure was the outer mental stronghold that reinforced the inner stronghold of unworthiness. Both mental strongholds protected the authority seat of disrespect, which held the memories of the offenses I had of disdain, dishonor, and rude behaviors. I also realized that disrespect was a generational sin because I observed the same responses in other family members.  To understand the role of strongholds and authority seats read this post: STRONGHOLDS PART I—What are they and how do they affect us?

The following are some of the unhealthy beliefs I had. “I am not worthy of respect, and no one else is worthy of my respect.” “I am inferior to others and deserve to be treated as inferior.” “I have no value and what I have to say is not valued.” “Men are not worthy of respect because they fail to meet expectations.” There are many other unhealthy beliefs associated with these two strongholds.  I replaced these unhealthy beliefs with the truths found in the section on my website called MEEKNESS/HUMILITY ISSUES.  Can you see the connection now between failure, feeling unworthy, and disrespect for yourself and others?

There is hope for complete healing and transformation, please read the pages on my website to learn how.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

 

Anger Issues Protected by Pride and Judgmental Strongholds

The pride and judgmental strongholds in my life protected many issues of anger generated from the humiliation, shame, injustices, betrayals, disappointments, and rejections throughout my life.  If you are unfamiliar with what mental strongholds are and my castle illustration, please read the following post first; STRONGHOLDS PART I—What are they and how do they affect us?

The reason why we need to deal with this stronghold combination is to love as God loves. To love well, we need to eliminate the sins of anger, bitterness, resentment, hatred, judging, and pride.  These sins prevent God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness (humility), faithfulness (trust), and self-control from flowing out of us to others.

People with this stronghold combination typically were either bullied or come from dysfunctional or abusive families/marriages.  I experienced all the above.  I found that broken trust is the main force that generates pride and being judgmental.  Broken trust comes from betrayal by those who you expected would love and protect you.  My pride issues were created by damaged self-worth and low self-esteem and are often revealed by over-sensitivity and over-reaction.   You can learn how to heal betrayal issues and repair your damaged self-worth by reading my short book on my website.

For example, I was hurt and offended when my younger sister demeaned me and put me down continually as we were growing up. I stored that hurt and offense in my heart, and every time I was demeaned or felt demeaned as an adult, I would become angry. When I asked God to show me why I was getting so angry, He showed me how my younger sister had offended me. I then forgave my sister, because I know she demeaned me because she was hurting too. I then confessed any sin on my part to God, which is very important for overcoming anger issues.  Our sin needs forgiving because it has negative, oppressive, stress energy and will re-establish the offenses.  For instance, I confessed and asked for forgiveness of the sin of wanting to harm my sister and for demeaning and disgracing her in return.

The pride stronghold wall protects unhealthy beliefs such as—I am better than you. Don’t tell me I am wrong. Don’t tell me what to do but do what I want.  The pride wall protects the inner judgmental wall that protects unhealthy beliefs of—I have the right to determine if you are right, wrong, or insincere. I have the right to be angry, bitter, resentful, and hateful. I don’t trust you or value you. The judgmental stronghold wall then protects the anger seat of authority, which holds all our memories of hurts, disappointments, unmet needs and desires, offenses, soul wounds, bitterness, resentments, and hatred.  These memories produce unhealthy beliefs, which control our thoughts, and our thoughts dictate what we say and do.

Another reason why we need to deal with this stronghold is because God hates pride (Prov. 8:13; James 4:6), and anger does not achieve the righteousness of God, only peace and humility does (James 1:20; 3:18), which is why I wanted to be free.  We are also instructed to not be judgmental (Matthew 7:1).  I hope and pray that if you have this same issue that you too will find freedom, so you can love from a pure heart.  To learn how to be free from anger and this stronghold combination, please visit my website, you will be glad you did.  https://hopeforcompletehealing.com/

Anger issues are also entwined in the Impatience stronghold combination;  read the following post: Freedom from Impatience and Strongholds of Injustice and Unfairness