How to Think Through Your Own Thoughts

We love fall at our house.  My Little Man in particular loves fall because of an awesome event called Touch a Truck.  Kids of all ages pretend to be construction workers, police men, farmers, and truck drivers by sitting in all of their vehicles…and honking all of their horns.  It’s an incredibly LOUD and festive day.  Festive until I started to notice the hazard signs on the vehicles.  Like this one

054Talk about a work hazard!  Nearly every vehicle had a similar warning sign posted somewhere to remind drivers how they could be maimed, decapitated, die, while working.

051

Not my kind of swing!

Drowning in grain :(

Drowning in grain 😦

Electrocution!

Electrocution!

Watch your hands

Watch your hand…and arm…

Not exactly sure what's happening here but it looks painful

Not exactly sure what’s happening here but it looks painful

Umm, OUCH!

Umm, OUCH!

And in my humble opinion, the one I would not want to get tangled in…

What?

What?

We left that day with ringing ears, fun memories, and a new appreciation for all of the construction workers, farmers, and truck drivers who operate machines that could kill them (or twist them into a pretzel).  These men and women face some pretty serious work hazards.

If you think about it, every job has some kind of hazard, a chance of being injured or harmed.  Most just don’t have vivid pictures to go with them.

  • Police officers and firemen risk their lives to protect and serve.
  • Doctors carry malpractice insurance in case they get sued.
  • Factory workers can get carpal tunnel.
  • Government employees sometimes receive bomb threats.

Work hazards occur anywhere people work.  I’m not suggesting they’re all equal…but all are painful and harmful.

I look at my life and see some work hazards that I deal with everyday.  But mine aren’t the physical hazards; they’re the mental and emotional hazards.  And it seems that while physical hazards happen quickly, mental ones can drag out over time, slowly inflicting injury and harm.

Worry of course is at the top of my hazard list, followed by insecurity and sometimes depression.  These are very real things that cause injury and harm to me.  The toughest part is that they’re in my mind…and self-inflicted.

You can bet your bottom dollar at Touch a Truck that I made sure Little Man avoided the parts of the vehicles where he could get twisted like a pretzel!  And construction workers learn to do just that – take caution around the hazards.

But how do you deal with hazards in your own mind?

My own mind can be a dangerous place!

My own mind can be a dangerous place!

God, in His infinite wisdom, has given us plenty of thoughts on Mind Hazards.  Here’s a few:

  • Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
  • Philippians 4:6 -8 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5  We take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

Clearly the work is in retraining our minds.  And that is no easy task.  In light of these passages, here are some things I’m trying to do more regularly:

  1. Recognize my feelings.  I have had days where I am worrisome and melancholy and have no idea why!  I know I’m not happy, but not completely clear on what I’m feeling.  That’s why I love feeling charts.  They help me put words to my feelings.  Just recognizing that I’m worrying or feeling a certain way is half the battle.
  2. Retrace my steps.  It seems we automatically have certain feelings, like worry.  But they all start somewhere.   Once I realize I’m worrying, I can retrace my steps and ask, “When did I start feeling this way?  When did I start worrying?”  Usually I’m able to follow the breadcrumbs back to the start of my feelings.
  3. Realize my thought pattern.  Once I retrace my feelings to the starting point, I can see it’s always tied to a thought pattern.  For example, if I’m lying in bed at night worrying about a home invasion, I can retrace my steps…and it’s usually because I’ve heard a story during the day about burglars on the news or from a friend.  The thoughts started way back when I heard the burglar story – thoughts like, “I hope that doesn’t happen to me.  It could happen to me.  What if it does happen to me?  etc.”  My worry has been simmering all day and bubbles over while I’m lying in bed.
  4. Change my thought pattern.  This is the toughest part.  And I think this is where we take our lead from Scripture to take every thought captive.   I picture myself grabbing my thought and interrogating it.  “Are you telling me the truth?  What are your intentions here?”  And if it’s not the truth, then kick it out…and renew my thoughts with whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable.  We need to create a new pattern of thinking, a new way of reacting.
  5. Call on the Father.  We cannot transform our mind by ourselves.  We are weak.  And the hazards are strong.  But Philippians 4 reminds us to let our requests be known to Him.  Let Him know that you need help renewing your mind.  Ask for wisdom as you consider new thought patterns.  Lean on Him for patience, strength, and forgiveness as you, once again, fail to renew.  And trust the promise from Philippians that He will give you peace that will guard your heart and mind.

Up to this point, I’ve done #1 regularly…and working on the rest.  But it’s a process to deal with Mind Hazards.  Construction workers have to go through hazard training to learn how to safely operate their vehicles.  I guess I have to go through hazard training too!

How about you?  How are you dealing with Mind Hazards?

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One thought on “How to Think Through Your Own Thoughts

  1. Great post! Those were very helpful and applicable suggestions and strategies! I have found the book, Learning to Tell Myself the Truth, by William Backus to be helpful in redirecting and redefining my thought process.

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