Replace the Negative

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

Think about every thought that goes through your head on a daily basis. How many of those thoughts are negative?

I was interested in the answer to this question after Breakfast Club one day. I decided to notice every time I had a mental complaint: I’m hungry, I’m tired, I wish I could do that synchro move better, she has a cooler animal print t-shirt than me or why isn’t there Oreo Cream Pie for dessert?

What would the world be like if we transformed every negative we thought into something constructive or positive? It’s hard to do, but I started catching myself thinking something negative and I would try to focus on something I was thankful for or proud of in my life. I know someone who recites scripture in her head if she starts to feel herself mentally complaining.

It seems almost impossible to do this all of the time, but in Philippians 3, God shows us that He made us just the way He wanted us. So we do not have to dwell on past regrets or the negatives in life; instead, we are able to strain forward to what lies ahead. We can work each day to live for God, the life that He would want us to live. Instead of focusing on what we are not happy with, we are able to put our thoughts towards doing good in this world.

When we push out the negatives, we are thrown into a life of joy. Where we used to think, “I wish it was sunny” we can now say, “Wow, look at the beautiful fog over the lake.” Instead of focusing on what we are not good at, we can find our strengths and develop these abilities to serve Christ. Paul writes that this goal of positive thought processes is difficult, and he had not reached this goal. God does not expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to try to focus on how we can be better in the future.

Therefore, ask for forgiveness on the things that make you less than perfect. God will forgive you of these bad habits and will only ask that you try with all your might to do better in the future.

I encourage you to think about your thoughts (this is called ‘metacognition’ for those psychology nerds out there). When you think about changing negative woes into positive goals, you might be surprised with how much better you feel.

What lies in the future for us is an eternal life of love and joy. How exciting! The minor earthly complaints we have now will not compare to how great heaven will be one day. So, together, let’s try to think about how great our God is and to appreciate this abundant life He has given us.

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