daily devotional

The key to you having a good day or a bad day isn’t in the weather, it’s not in your circumstance, it’s not in the actions or mood of others. The one key to your day is all in your head. Your THOUGHTS write the definition of this day.

Your thoughts are either lifting you up, or dragging you down a dark alley to be beat. Your thoughts are either highlighting all that is good and right, or they’re underlining all that’s bad and wrong.

Have you ever tried to reason with a 13 year old boy or a 17 year old girl? After having raised a few kids, I’ve discovered those are the key ages for each. It’s at the point of 13 in a boy’s life, and 17 in a girl’s life, that you thoroughly understand why some animals eat their young. I’ve always loved my children, but this stage really pushed the limits of me liking them. Their thoughts get all infected with hormones and they go temporarily crazy. Everything becomes an argument. Everything is made harder than it has to be. Everything is a battle.

They’re not thinking rationally. Every thought they think is solely focused on them being right and everyone else being wrong. Their thoughts are anchored to all things being unfairly against them, so the simplest of things erupt in a full blown war. Now, here’s the good news parents of 13 year old boys and 17 year old girls, as quickly as they changed into this difficult, irritable being, they will change back to a somewhat tolerable individual in your house at some point. I can’t promise when, but eventually their thoughts change and they calm the heck down.

If you’ve lived through this stage with your children, you know. You know everything can be right, but they can make it so totally wrong.

Well girlfriend, we are no different. Everything can be reasonably right in your life and you can be responsible for making it totally wrong. If your thoughts are focused on how unfair things are for you, how unappreciated you are, and how hard things are for you, every day starts lining up to meet your expectations. You’re seeking … and surprise …. you’re finding!

Just like the 13 year old boy looking for an argument always finds one, your search for things being unfair will always bring you to evidence your thoughts were correct. It’s all unfair for you. But then what? What is your reward? Now this day is foundationally unfair. Everyone has it better than you. Your life is unfairly hard, so you drag your butt through the torture of another day where you get a whole lot less than you feel you deserve.

But guess what … your thoughts ordered that for you. How about you don’t order than anymore?

The 17 year old girl looking for a battle always finds one. It’s as if she hand selects the clothes to start the battle. She plants the evidence for you to find just so the battle rages. Things can’t just stay calm … no, there’s always a battle because she’s looking for one. And you always find something to be stressed about when you look for it.

Look at your schedule, the long list of all you have to get done. That’s stressful. Look at how far you still have to go. That’s stressful. Think about what could happen next, all that could go wrong, the disaster that could be waiting just around the corner. That’s stressful. Your thoughts have stressed you the heck out and not a darn thing has even happened.

But, what you look for you will find. And if you think about it, your body responds as if it’s happening. You can think yourself into a full blown anxiety attack. You can also think yourself into a state of absolute bliss and peace. You choose.

I’ve seen peace in a hospital room when a loved one is dying. I’ve seen bliss in the middle of the biggest mess that doesn’t seem like it will ever be fixed. I’ve seen it and lived it because I’ve chosen those thoughts. I’ve sought it and found it. I’ve learned to control my thoughts and make them obedient, regardless of circumstances.

2 Corinthians 10:5 “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

You, and only you, get to choose your thoughts. You think about what you chose to think about. And those thoughts have power and create a ripple effect in your life. They’re either causing you to feel good or feel bad. Those feelings then impact your attitude and actions. And this is how your entire life changes directions. Your thoughts are like the rudder on a boat, steering you right into chaos or peace.

Let me give you a practical example. I’ve been married for 26 years to a truly amazing human being. My husband loves me and every day his love for me is on full display. I chose whether I see it or not. I can talk myself into feeling totally unloved. That’s not his doing, it’s my own thoughts.

If you’ve studied love languages, you understand most couples are the result of opposites that attract. You may have a love language of quality time and all you desire is one on one time together to feel loved, but he may have a love language of physical touch that comes across as a physical desire that exhausts you. What you don’t understand is that as a physical touch person, his continual touching, groping, and advances, is his love on display. This is how he speaks love. And if it’s not your own love language it just annoys you.

I’m primarily a words of affirmation girl. Just say something nice to me. Silence is brutal. Criticism cuts me. Negativity crushes me. I could count on one hand the number of times this year my husband has told me I am doing a good job. ONE HAND. If my thoughts focus on this, I feel totally unloved. I feel unappreciated. I feel neglected.

If I choose to do that what I’m missing is the fact that my husband is an Acts of Service guy. This man spent hours cooking sausage, chicken and ribs over charcoal for me yesterday. He plans our meals, ensures they meet my chosen regiment, then plates my meals perfectly and serves them to me. Why? Because he loves me hard.

Yet, if I don’t take my thoughts captive and make them obedient, I will feel unloved.

Where have your thoughts been running wild and causing you to feel ways you don’t have to feel? I promise there is someone waking up today to circumstances less favorable than your own, and they’re waking up with gratitude and energy. The only difference is their thoughts have been harnessed and tamed, and as a result those thoughts are now obedient.

Where are your thoughts taking you? They’re running off in some direction … make sure it’s a direction you want to go.

If I want to feel loved, I only need to get my thoughts in alignment with a different perspective. He may not have called me beautiful this morning, but at this moment he’s out walking our dog praying for me. It’s up to me whether or not I’m grateful.

You may be breaking good relationships with untamed thoughts. You may be ruining a job that could be a pure blessing with negative thoughts on a rampage. You may be taking perfectly good days of life and making them feel overwhelming and stressful all with thoughts seeking the negative.

God has given you the power to change that. You, and you alone, control your thoughts. Check the trajectory of your thoughts. Where are they trying to take you? Is that where you want to go? Don’t blindly follow every thought that pops in your mind. Honey, your thoughts can’t be trusted.

Philippians 4:8 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”