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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Think About What You’re Thinking

“Just give me a minute to think about how to think about that.”

It’s a statement my wife makes frequently. She’s not attempting to avoid a subject or a conversation. But she is aware of how essential it is to process our thoughts before responding.

Not every thought is accurate, pure, or beneficial. Some impressions are random. Others are informed by culture, family, or good and bad experiences. “How,” we think about what we think is vital if we are to develop—and maintain—a healthy perspective in life.

The more we observe pandemic delirium, the more we recognize not everyone processes problems (or pandemics) the same. It’s been interesting to watch the varied responses—and behaviors—of fellow citizens these past few weeks.

Cabin fever can encourage risky behavior. “I think the media is making more of this than what it is.” “I’m not contaminated, so it’s okay for me to return to normal behavior.”

Some confined to their homes have a noticeably different response. “I’m enjoying being at home. Even if the restrictions lift, I think I’ll choose to stay in.”

Maintaining a healthy perspective is not just required in a pandemic.

Most of my life, I have had to deal with my inner critic. You’re not good enough. You don’t have what it takes. Who do you think you are? It’s a familiar voice that echos in my mind. Others may also struggle with thoughts of fear, rejection, and identity issues.

I’ve always admired those whose appearance and demeanor seem positive and upbeat. However, people who see a glass as half-full rather than half-empty must also pay attention to their thoughts.

How we think about what we “think” is critical for each of us — despite our behavioral orientation. Why?

Because how we think shapes our conduct.

Our mind is the place of our intellect, reasoning, and intentions. Positive or negative behavior begins in our minds.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the adage: “Some think they can. Some think they can’t. They are both right.” Our thoughts persuade our decisions, provoke our emotions, and prompt our responses.

Changing how we think requires more than human will.

Healthy positive thinking requires my determination AND surrender to God’s purpose. I’m incapable of overcoming my thoughts by my strength alone.

A healthy perspective is always shaped by God’s perspective, not by an earthly worldview. Paul writes to the Romans (and us):

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.⁠[1]”

Transformed behavior is the result of a renewed mind.

When something is “renewed,” it becomes new and different. The renewal of our mind begins as we willingly and purposefully submit every thought to the purpose of God.

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,⁠[2]” [Emphasis mine]

The voice of my inner critic has no volume when I submit it to God. Self-deprecating messages lose their power when they yield to God. Fear of rejection, and voices that insist I’m not loved, fade when I give them to God.

A thought like: “It’s impossible” is replaced by “all things are possible with God.” “I’m not worthy” is transformed to awe and beauty as I discover that “I am God’s beloved child.”

Taking time to think about what we think—and how we think about it,—creates space where the renewing of our mind can transform our thoughts. Developing—and maintaining—a healthy perspective requires deep reflection —not an instant reaction.

Are you struggling with your thoughts? Here are six steps that I’ve found helpful:

  1. Remember, a thought is only a thought. It is not an accurate indication of reality.

  2. Relinquish your thoughts to God. Ask God: Does this thought conform to your purpose? If it is clear that the impression is not God’s thinking, then:

  3. Recognize the source. Our adversary wants to mess with our minds. Our mind is the only place where our enemy can get to us.

  4. Request God to transform your thought to conform to God’s thinking.

  5. Rest in the reality that God wholeheartedly loves you.

  6. Repeat steps 1-5.

Developing a healthy perspective requires deep reflection and avoiding instant reactions.

“Even 60-seconds gives us time to think about how to think about that.”

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 12:2.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 2 Co 10:5.

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