Recently, I’ve noticed that I have been bombarded with a ton of emails. I have received numerous messages from people I don’t know with ‘trying to reach you’ in the subject line.
Other emails have been from marketers promising that I will drop 30 pounds in 30 days if I try their patented, one-of-a-kind breakthrough weight loss formula.
I can’t even count the number of emails I’ve received from the First National Bank of Scams advising me of yet another critical, time-sensitive issue with my non-existent credit account.
While they are struggling to get in, I’ve found myself fighting just as vigilantly to keep them out!
For some reason, an inbox packed with unread messages stresses me out. In the recent weeks, I’ve done my best to keep my inbox clutter-free by doing a few simple things: Filtering, blocking, deleting and unsubscribing!
Say it with me…filter, block, delete, unsubscribe!
By doing these four simple things, my inbox has been a bit lighter and I’ve noticed that my overall mood has improved.
As I thought about my inbox and how I was able to eliminate a plethora of unwanted messages, I considered my mental space and all of the messages that enter my mind on a daily basis. While you, too, have the option to filter, block, delete and unsubscribe from email, it is in this same way that you have the power to guard your thoughts (Proverbs 4:23).
While it takes work to control the thoughts that enter our minds, we do have God-given thought filters available to us.
God’s standard for what we should be thinking is found in his word in Philippians 4:8. Turn on your thought filter by asking yourself:
- Is it true?
- Is it honorable and worthy of respect?
- Is it right and confirmed by God’s word?
- Is it pure and wholesome?
- Does it bring peace?
- Is it admirable?
- Is it excellent and worthy of praise?
These are the things we should think about. If our thoughts don’t pass the test, it’s time to make a wise move! Keep reading…
If the thoughts that we are meditating on do not measure up to the standard of God’s word and His conditions are not met, then just like spam email – the thought should be blocked.
It will take some practice and diligence to consistently block negative thoughts. Because we have had years of practice not guarding our minds, it does not take much effort to think wrong thoughts. It may be a bit difficult at first, but if we resist the enemy (James 4:7), he will leave. Using the Word of God as our weapon is our most powerful reinforcement.
As a practice, we need to train ourselves to replace the lie of the enemy with the truth of God’s word.
For example, if a negative thought says “I can’t make it, I’m too weak”, the truth of God’s word says His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
If a negative thought says “I’m confused, I can’t figure it out”, the truth of God’s word says He will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6).
If a negative thought says “I am alone, no one understands”, the truth of God’s word says He will never leave your side, nor emotionally abandon you (Hebrews 13:5).
Once we have successfully blocked the thought, we have the option to delete it from our minds. We can literally make a decision to not think about it.
What we starve eventually dies. If we redirect our attention to thinking the way God wants us to think, that damaging thought will wither away.
The Word of the Lord reminds us in Deuteronomy 30:19 that we have a choice, and He urges us to make the right decision, and that is to choose life.
God gives us the free will to pick whatever it is that we want. It is imperative that we continually renew our minds in the word of God (Romans 12:2).
It is in this refreshing of the mind that we can gain the victory we need in our thought lives.
Like an unwanted email from a professional spammer, we have the option to unsubscribe from whatever it is in our lives that no longer serves us or our best interests.
That could be a toxic relationship that drains us emotionally, or it could be an activity or project that we should have never taken on in the first place.
It could be our own negative self-talk or our own self-doubt.
Often when we unsubscribe from an email list, the sender wants to know the reason why we have chosen to do so:
“I no longer want to receive these emails, I did not request this email, this content is not what I expected or I’m receiving more emails than I expected” are just a few of the reasons to unsubscribe.
It is in this same way that we can opt-out of negative thinking and living. Though we don’t have to justify our desire for healthier thoughts, some reasons could include: “We no longer want to meditate on the lies of the enemy. We did not request his torment. We are getting more stress than we bargained for, and it’s dragging us down. No more!”
So, what’s the play call?
Take a good look at your thought life the same way you do your inbox and make a decision:
That’s the beauty and power of choice!