Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.
In the beginning there was a thought. It wasn’t much really. Just thinking about what someone said to me that I thought was hurtful. All day I tried to push that thought away, but it kept knocking at my door.
Pretty soon a friend called, and I told her about that thought. I thought just having someone else empathize with me would make me feel better and I could let the thought go. But it didn’t help.
Then a few days passed and someone else said something to me that I thought was hurtful. This time I skipped past talking to a friend about it. I took that thought and tied it around my neck, as if it were a necklace, with the two hurtful thoughts hanging down the front.
Yet, as I went through the next few days, I found myself avoiding people. I didn’t want anyone else to hurt me. I thought I was protecting myself. Soon it’s what I did every time I was around other people. A week or two later, with those thoughts around my neck, I found myself angry and resentful of other people walking around looking so happy.
Everything inside began to harden like cement. I stood there stuck. My heart became hard. No longer was I known as the person who smiled no matter what happened, who could find the bright side even in the darkness. What had happened to me? Well here’s a possible answer:
Watch your thoughts;
they become your words.
Watch your words;
they become your actions.
Watch your actions;
they become your habits.
Watch your habits;
they become your character.
Watch your character;
it becomes your destiny.
--- Chinese Proverb, author unknown
Take a look at the article on huffpost.com titled, “Be Careful of Your Thoughts: They Control Your Destiny.” In the article, it describes the progression of how our negative thoughts affect our lives. It is true that our thoughts can control our destiny by causing our hearts to harden.
I did some soul searching and prayed that I would be released from who I had become. And though it still grieves my spirit when someone says something hurtful to me, I don’t let the thought take control of even one day. There’s so much in this world that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
We can’t let negative thoughts take over our lives and harden our hearts. When something difficult happens, acknowledge that it happened, but also try to see something else around you that can bring beauty to your life. I have and hope that you can, too.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.