In Others’ Words: The Thoughts That Make Us Strong

Thoughts 2015

My youngest daughter likes to read fantasy and scifi novels. My son writes fantasy novels (and yes, his debut novel releases in April.) I know enough about that genre to tell you that one type of character populating those books is a shape-shifter. A shape shifter appears in one form at first — maybe a human — but can shift to another form — maybe an animal of some sort. One shape … shift … another shape.

I can do my own version of shape shifting — emotional shape shifting, that is. One minute I am feeling fairly balanced, confident — calm, cool and collected. The next minute, I’m second guessing myself and my life choices, dragging myself around by the virtual scruff of the neck and giving myself a real going over.

Why the emotional flip flop?

If I take the time to trace back the path of my mood shift I can figure out the (mis)direction of my thoughts. With a little mental investigation, I discover where I allowed a discouraging word to settle into my mind or where I allowed a bit of disappointing information to lodge in my heart as a judgement against me as a person.

Our thoughts can be so, so devious. Mishandled, our thoughts are the very things that weaken us, like bullets fired from a gun equipped with  silencer. We don’t hear the shots being fired, but we feel the effect of that thought as it explodes in our mind and damages our perspective, our movtivation, our hope.

I really blew it when I said (fill in the blank) to that person.

I wasn’t well prepared for my presentation today. I sounded so stupid.

I’ll never do as well at (fill in the blank) as he does. Why do I even try?

I can’t.

I’m so ashamed.

Nothing I do will change anything.

I’ve had to learn how to stop listening to the thoughts that defeat me. I’ve had to choose what is going to define me: thoughts that I let slip into my unguarded mind or thoughts that I choose to dwell on so that I am strong and resilient — and in my right mind. It’s a deliberate choice — some days it’s a fight. But I am stronger for it.

In Your Words: What thoughts make you strong? What helps you hear them?

 

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10 Comments

  1. February 13, 2015, 7:42 am   /  Reply

    Wow, what’s the date on this blog? Did I miss it? Solid gold–I so relate, and it helps hearing your thoughts, seeing in print, as I know the strength, faith, and beauty you work from in spite of perhaps one torn-petal on the beautiful flower. Thanks, Beth.

    • February 13, 2015, 9:48 am   /  Reply

      Brand new blog post, Dee, just for today. Found this quote and I loved it!

  2. February 13, 2015, 7:59 am   /  Reply

    I don’t really have an answer to this one; I used to, but recent days and weeks have been so physically trying that the old methods don’t work any more. Moto sayings, and moto words, have lost their effectiveness.

    And so has Scripture, at least the individual passages. I believe in God, and that all of this is worth something.

    In the last part of that sentence is, I think, the key to what keeps me positive. I do believe that this is all ‘worth something”, that there is a good that opposes evil, and that I have the choice, every minute, to take sides.

    One can’t be neutral, even if one wanted to, just as one cannot be static in life. You have to do something, and inaction is, in the end, a form of intentional action.

    Does this make sense? It’s nothing that “makes me strong”; it’s just…something. Something that’s still worth doing.

    • February 13, 2015, 9:51 am   /  Reply

      Here’s what I know, Andrew: there are times when we are down to our bedrock — the foundation of who we are and what we believe — stripped of all the frills and niceties. And we have nothing but the “one thing” that drives it all, that drives us. For you it’s your belief in God (for me too).
      That is what makes you strong.
      And that is why this day is worth doing.

  3. February 13, 2015, 8:33 am   /  Reply

    A PS…not necessarily words of strength, but maybe something like that, from the song “I Shall be Released”…I think by Bob Dylan? (I’m quoting from memory)

    They say a man needs protection,
    that every man has got to fall.
    But I swear I see my reflection,
    somewhere high above this wall.
    I see my life come shining,
    from the west down to the east.
    Any day now, any way, now,
    I shall be released.

  4. February 13, 2015, 10:39 am   /  Reply

    Words have so much power over us. Others and our own. And you are so right that we open the door and allow a foothold to the one who accuses and discourages. As I’ve said here before, when I have that sense of doom hanging over me, I start with A and go through the alphabet praising God. Sometimes it takes to go-arounds, but it will change my focus.

    • February 13, 2015, 2:53 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you for the Praise God Alphabetically reminder, Pat. It’s so basic — and yet it’s not.

  5. February 13, 2015, 1:02 pm   /  Reply

    You’ve pressed one of my hot buttons, Beth. I’ve battled inaccurate thoughts for years. Decades. I began praying Philippians 4:8 many years ago. And finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is good, whatever is pure, if anything is lovely, or of good repute, if anything is praiseworthy, think on THESE things. Emphasis is mine, as iOS the paraphrase. When I began praying this daily, and thinking on what this verse means, God began erasing the lies I’d thought on and replacing them with His truth. And His peace.

    I still have days where I struggle, but training myself to think on these things has helped me snap out of the downward spiral more quickly.

    I LOVED this post today. Thank you.

    • February 13, 2015, 1:03 pm   /  Reply

      And actually, “good” should have been “honorable.” 🙂

    • February 13, 2015, 2:55 pm   /  Reply

      I’ve known you for quite a while now, Jeanne — YAY! — and I know you as a woman of faith and one who anchors herself to truth. Thank you for what you shared today.

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