By: Marissa Hochstedler
Have you ever stopped to think about thoughts before—to consider how many thoughts go through the human brain in a single day? According to a study published by Nature Communications, the human brain has an average of 6,000 thoughts per day.
When was the last time you stopped to consider your thought patterns?
We engage our minds with endless negative thought patterns without even realizing it. Thoughts about the way we look, bitterness harbored against those who’ve hurt us, feelings of helplessness in certain situations, are just a few of the thoughts which run through our minds.
If I have learned anything throughout the global pandemic, it’s the importance of my thoughts and the large role they play in my life. As Christians, we should pay close attention to our thoughts, because our thoughts give us a glimpse of what’s going on inside our hearts—they dictate the way we feel and the way we live.
Luke 6:45 says, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. And it all begins with our thoughts.
Thoughts → Feelings → Actions
We begin to believe the lies our negative thoughts convey if we are not careful. As followers of Jesus, we have the ability to bring our thoughts to God during our quiet time. We can ask him to bring light to our negative thought patterns and transform our hearts.
A quote from my favorite devotional, My Utmost for His Highest*, states: “Jesus can expound nothing until we get through all the noisy questions of the head and are alone with Him”.
So, how can we be aware of our thoughts during quiet time and allow Jesus to transform our minds?
Through prayer, journaling and meditating on truth.
Prayer: One of my favorite ways to pray is through the Psalms. I lovePsalm 51, in which David is begging God to give him a clean and pure heart. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” Psalm 51:10.
In order to have a pure heart, we must first submit our thoughts to God through prayer.
Journaling: I have stacks of journals tucked away in my closet. God has used journaling in beautiful ways throughout my walk with him. I find it helpful to write out the thoughts in my mind and allow God to help me untangle the (sometimes) mess in my mind.
In writing out our thoughts, we are able to see more clearly what is going on.
Meditating on truth from Scripture: Lastly, I have learned the importance of meditating on truth. Meditation is when we focus our minds on the truth of God; to think carefully and often about God’s characteristics or God’s goodness. Knowing the truth Scripture provides about God enables us to quickly turn from negative thought patterns and rest in the promises of God.
In order to combat negative thought patterns, we must know the truth of the Bible.
It is good and necessary for our sanctification and growth to be aware of our thoughts and surrender the negative ones to Christ. We will be made more like him in the process!
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war against the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience when your obedience is complete.”
*Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. Discovery House, 2018
Marissa was born and raised in small town Indiana and has grown to love living between cornfields and down country back roads. Marissa gave her life to Jesus while she was in college and has walked with Him ever since. Marissa is newly married to her husband, Cameron, and enjoys baking homemade bread, reading books and drinking coffee. Marissa has a heart for spreading the good news of Jesus through writing.