Power Thought 7: I Am Content and Emotionally Stable

     I am ready for Power Thought 7:  I am content and emotionally stable.  Tha means I am also half way through the program.  At this point, I think to tweak my methods a little.  I spend a lot of time every week making an abundance of signs with my Crayola markers and the posting the new power thought all over the place.  I don’t really see the signs that much, except for the one that is posted on the fridge, but it’s gotten to be a habit.  The one thing that I really want to do more of and haven’t since the first week, is to take time and meditate and write about the week’s power thought and how I can apply it to my life.

This week’s power thought is:  I am content and emotionally stable.  Joyce Meyer’s shares some practical ways to make this thought a part of your life in her book Power Thoughts  and the chapter devoted to this particular idea. 

One good thing to do is to keep a list of all of your blessings–a long list of everything you are thankful for.  I have started a list, and I hope to reread it and add to it through the week. 

I also can practice the power of “thank you”–that means being thankful in all circumstances, and focusing on the blessings, and what is going right instead of what is going wrong.  This kind of thinking creates contentment and stability. 

I am also thinking about specific areas in my life where I tend to get discontent and instable–for me this happens mainly internally.  I get impatient or frustrated with myself.  I am not content with my progress.  I get down on myself or upset about situations in my life.  I want to be more secure and I want to treat myself kindly, and remain calm in all circumstances!  Yes, those are very big goals.  I am going to begin to work toward them this week, and I will get there.

So, no big markered poster board signs this week; instead I have renewed my committment.  I will renew my mind.  I will renew my mind this week with Power Thought 7 in particular:  I am content and emotinally stable.

My Struggle with Worry/Power Thought #6

 

Today is my last official day of focusing on power thought #6: I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.  Boy did this week ever test me on that power thought.  I was stuck inside Saturday and Sunday, and had to miss a sewing class I had signed up for and already paid for.  We seemed to lose a calf a day for several days—calves that had been born during the previous week’s blizzard.  I hit a friend’s car in the parking lot.  I tried to catch up on a week’s worth of classes and grading.  My teaching was observed.  My step dad was in the hospital.  My mother had a cancer screening to see if she is still cancer free, and I celebrated my hubby’s birthday.  Yes, that really did all happen this week. 

Was tempted to worry?  Oh, yes.  I was tempted to worry about how I was going to get out with the roads so bad, how I would get to work, losing calves and money, making up the sewing class I missed, how to pay for the repairs on the friend’s car, how I would ever have enough time to get caught up on grading, whether I was doing a good job teaching, what was wrong with my step dad, would my mom be cancer free, would the apple cobbler I made hubby taste okay and would he like his birthday presents?

I was far from successful with Power Thought #6.  I think it did help me a lot though—especially if I was having trouble getting my mind calm enough to sleep or I started to dwell on and reason through a situation, I would stop and say, “I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.”  I know this is a thought I will need to work with much, much more, in order to renew my mind, and really believe it.

No Worrying! Trust God & Be Happy!

I always get excited on Friday, knowing that I have a new Power Thought to look forward to on Saturday.  I like to prepare on Friday.  I reread the appropriate chapter in the Joyce Meyer book Power Thoughts and I write out answers to all of the “think about it” questions in the book.  I write down the scriptures that go with the power thought, and I use my Crayola markers to make new signs to post around the house.  It has become a weekly ritual.  My husband always notices when I “change the signs.” 

Last week’s power thought was this:  I love people and I enjoy helping them.  While other power thoughts may help me in overcoming my negative thinking, this one was definitely the most fun so far.  I am trying to put more thought into being a blessing, and I have already learned that when I really set my mind to the idea, I get all kinds of creative inspiration for ways to bless people.  I plan to continue asking God each morning for someone to bless, and what to do for that person.  It’s fun!

Now, it is time to move on to power thought #6:  I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.  This one is huge for me.  I chose “trusting God” as my “word(s) of the year” because I felt that the single thing that robbed my joy most was worry.  I realized that trusting God is the opposite of worry, so that is why it is my theme for 2011.  I am excited to have the opportunity, and the inspiration from the book, to put all of my focus on trusting God instead of worrying.

This has been a challenging week for those with a tendency to worry (me).  We had a blizzard, new heifers calving during the blizzard, impassable roads, and lots of work/classes missed.  In fact today is my fourth snow day/full day in the house.  I had to cancel my classes again today because I simply cannot get out.  Our roads have not been plowed.  Clearly, there is nothing in my power to change the situation, and yet, there is still a temptation to worry about my classes, my job, missing school, falling behind, etc.  Instead, I keep reminding myself that I have done everything I can do.  This one is beyond my control.  I just keep saying over and over again, “Lord, I trust you with ____________,” according to the specific situation.  This practice is restoring my peace of mind, and enabling me to enjoy the day that I have, at home in the house.

This week, let’s all practice saying and thinking:  I trust God completely; there is no need to worry.

Being a Blessing on Purpose

“Be mindful to be a blessing…(Galatians 6:10).

     What does it mean to be a blessing “on purpose”?  I thought this was a little strange at first.  I thought that once I decided that I wanted to be a blessing, that kindness would just sort of flow out of me like big beams of sunshine.  It doesn’t happen that way.  I will explain by giving you a few examples.

     My drive from my house to my parents’ is almost two hours.  About mid-way through the journey, I pass a very wonderful bakery.  Many times as I have driven the route, I have thought I should stop and get something for my step dad.  He loves sweets.  And yet, I never stopped.  I was always in a hurry, and the thought never developed into an action.  Then, after reading about the power thought I love people and I enjoy helping them, on my next visit home, I was mindful, and I stopped.  I set my intention to bless, and I stopped.  I bought my step dad a big piece of pie, and decided to get my grandma (who has been ill), a half-dozen fresh, baked cookies.  I enjoyed their delight in the unexpected gifts, but you see, I had to do it on purpose.  That drive could have been like so many others, when I just kept driving.

Later that day, I was shopping with my mother, and still trying to think of ways to bless people.  She was going to buy something in a certain store, when I remembered that I had a gift card for that store.  I didn’t have a lot of money left on it, but I gave it to her to use toward her purchase.  If I had not been consciously brainstorming about how I could help her, I probably would have forgotten the gift card.

Here is one more example.  Sometimes, I save up magazines to pass on to people who enjoy them, but I am very lazy and haphazard about getting the magazines to the people I think might like them.  Yesterday, I made a note on my “to do” list to have my husband deliver a pile of magazines to my mother-in-law.  He had to get out, and the weather was too bad for her to go to work, so I made a point to get the magazines to her on a day when she would most likely be stuck inside and enjoy having some reading material.  I included a thank you note to her for all of the things that she does for us.  If I had not been thinking about how I could bless someone, those magazines probably would have stayed where they were indefinitely. 

What’s the lesson I’ve learned? 

  • Being a blessing isn’t hard & it doesn’t have to cost money.
  • It requires conscious thought and setting an intent to bless.
  • Blessing might be a challenge during a blizzard when you don’t have a lot of contact with people, but there is something you can do.  God will show you and give you all kinds of creative ideas, if you just ask.

A New Focus: Loving and Helping People

     It’s that time.  It’s time to shift my focus from Power Thought #4 “I am difficult to offend,” to Power Thought #5.  Let me just say that I am glad that I will be revisiting Power Thought #4 later this year.  I thought I did pretty well at not getting offended until Friday.  I said “Hi” to someone on campus, and he did not return my greeting.  Then, today at Target, one of the workers cut in front of me with a huge cart, and did not say excuse me.  My immediate response to both of these instances was offense.  So, yes, I need to work on being difficult to offend, and letting go of all resentment.  I need to practice thinking the best of everyone in every situation.  So, even though I see lots of room for improvement with Power Thought #4, I am ready to move on to a new focus this week. 

     I am very excited about Power Thought #5.  I have been looking forward to this one.  This week’s Power Thought is:  “I love people and I enjoy helping them.”  The fun and challenge with this thought is that I make it my goal to be a blessing.  With this thought, I look for ways to bless people on purpose.  In the book, Power Thoughts, Joyce Meyer suggests asking God every morning to show you someone to bless and what to do for that person.  Then, in the evening, you can take “inventory” and check to see if you did what God impressed upon you.  Loving people and helping them can take on many forms—from donating time, money, giving an unexpected gift, to being encouraging and complimentary in your words.  Every human being who crosses our paths is an opportunity for us to show love and kindness. 

     Living this way means filling my mind with thoughts of others.  What would she like?  What would bless him?  What would make her life better this week?  What would ease his burden?  I am going to confess that this is not my normal way of thinking.  Perhaps like many Americans, even many Christians, I am a little bit too focused on myself—what would I like?  What would bless me?  What would make my life better this week?  What can I do to make my life easier?  As I begin to focus on the needs and interests of others, I am trusting God to meet my own needs and look out for my interests.  I think incorporating this Power Thought and practice into my life is going to be life changing!  I am excited!

     One more thing—this loving and helping others must be mindful and on purpose, because I cannot count on feeling like it.  I might feel like helping someone occasionally, but many days, I feel like lounging around on the couch drinking coffee and reading books.  Thank God we don’t live life based on what our feelings tell us to do.

Power Thought #4: I am difficult to offend.

     I love this one.  Power thought #4 from Joyce Meyer’s book is I am difficult to offend.  I made my signs and hung them all over the house.  I enjoyed writing “I am difficult to offend.”  I was tempted to write,   “I am very darned near impossible to upset, and I love to overlook an offense.” 

 Just thinking about this one makes me happy.  Overlooking an offense or being difficult to offend means that you are 1.  a wise and discerning person–and who doesn’t want to be that?  2.  not going to let other people alter your mood and upset you and 3. not going to swallow the bait.  Offense is the first step to a bunch of other negative emotions and thoughts including bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness. 

     It is very important to become a person who is difficult to offend.  If I fall easily into offense, I open myself up to all kinds of wicked thoughts and lies from the devil.  I then focus on myself and reliving the offense and dealing with it, being angry about it, etc. and stay stuck.  If I am difficult to offend that means I get to believe good things about people.  I refuse to allow how someone treats me or (my perception of their treatment) to get me upset and ruin my day or my peace.  When someone says or does something that would normally hurt, anger or upset me, I must repeat in my mind, “I am difficult to offend.”  Then, instead of taking up the hurt, I release forgiveness and grace to that person and move on.

Final Thoughts on #3: I will not live in fear.

     As I am preparing for week #4 of Joyce Meyer’s Power Thoughts  and a brand new thought to get wedged in my brain, I want to share a few parting thoughts about Power Thought #3:  I will not live in fear.

1.  I sleep much, much better since I have been focusing on the fact that I will not live in fear.  I used to go to bed and start worrying about things that I feared might happen the next day or the next week at work–how so and so might respond to something I did, or what someone might think or say….Now, I am really able to let it go.  It’s nice not dreading the coming day!

2.  Other than that, I don’t have a tremendous amount of awareness about the areas where I am prone to let fear hold me back.  I don’t think this is because fear isn’t in my life—I think it’s because I am a bit asleep to its influence.  So, I have started thinking throughout the day of doing One brave thing.  I will ask myself, What is the most fearless thing I could do in this situation?  It is very exciting and freeing stuff.  Thinking this way brought on the realization that while I desperately want positive change in my life, I am also afraid of upsetting the status quo.  Not sure why, and it doesn’t matter.  I am practicing doing one brave thing each day.  It may be as simple as exercising for 30 minutes–but, I have realized that fear keeps me in ruts, so any change or movement forward is an expression of courage.  Woohoo!

Grateful for What Is

     I think one of the many benefits of practicing gratitude is the fact that it shuts down a lot of other negative thought processes.

     On my quest of positive change and mind renewal, I have been faithfully repeating my mantra for the year–TRUSTING GOD,  and also meditating on this week’s power thought, I will not live in fear.  And…nothing seems to be happening.  Nothing seems to be changing.  If anything, I see myself becoming less motivated, and wondering How did that happen?

      I am clinging to my intentions here.  I am trusting that God is renewing my mind, and that I am on the right path, even if I don’t think I am seeing results.  I have been thinking a certain way, according to a certain pattern for an awfully long time–I must give the new thoughts time to take hold.  I will not live in fear that my motivation is gone forever.  I will not live in fear of being in a rut.  After all, that is just my perception of things today.  Perception changes.

     I have been helped tremendously by focusing on the many beautiful and rich moments I have enjoyed this day, and feeling gratitude for all that is, instead of fretting about what has not yet manifested.  AFter all, I can worry, or I can enjoy my life right now.  I am choosing to enjoy this precious life I have been given right now.

      Here’s a random list of what I am grateful for right at this moment:

  • I just want to scream from the rooftops how happy I am to have friends.
  • How happy I am to be able to read, how grateful I am for stories, and songs, and musical instruments
  • How I love tomato sauces
  • Scented lotions
  • And the different times of day—doesn’t each part of the day have its own beauty and special feel?  I love early morning, starting to work, midmorning-almost lunch, the noon hour, early afternoon, mid-afternoon, late afternoon, dusk and early evening, mid to lat evening, late evening.  
  • I know this will sound very old-ladyish, but I don’t care:  one of the most amazing luxuries I experience every day, is the pleasure I feel at going to bed.  I am tired when I go to bed, and when I lie down on that soft mattress and feel the flannel sheets and down comforter on my bare feet and legs, I relax and the tension leaves.  There are few things more pleasant than a comfortable bed when you’re tired, and the wonderful anticipation of a full night of sleep and rest and sweet dreams and the knowledge that a brand new day is coming soon.

6 Ways to Stop Fearing and Fighting Your List

     Dealing with this week’s Power Thought, “I will not live in fear,” has revealed to me one of my fears.  Most days, I work through the day in fear of not getting everything done.  As you can imagine, this makes it very difficult to enjoy the day because I end up feeling like I am in a race against the clock to get all of my work finished.  I am working on overcoming this thinking, and taking on an attitude of faith.  My method of overcoming is a combination of acknowledging the truth and some practical changes in the way I set up my days.

  1. I acknowledge that my times are in God’s hands.  He does not expect me to do the impossible in a day, and he wants me to enjoy my life.
  2. In the morning, I pray for wisdom about my day.  I pray for God to help me to understand what the right priorities are.
  3. I pray that I will not be so rigid in my scheduling that I can’t enjoy an unexpected visit or conversation, or help someone out with a favor or joining a friend in a spontaneous errand or lunch.
  4. Practically speaking, I am disciplining myself to keep shorter to do lists.  This is a process.  I usually make a list the night before of everything I want to accomplish the next day.  Then, I mark out the things that aren’t true priorities.  Sometimes, the next morning, I mark things out.  I have a tendency to overload the list—so it takes a lot of paring down to get a manageable list. 
  5. Finally, I am making an effort to plan something joyful into each day.  This is hard—I know it shouldn’t be, but I struggle to come up with ideas.  And of course, just as with the “work” type tasks, sometimes I plan something fun, and the circumstances to make it happen just aren’t right.  Today, I gave myself an at-home pedicure, and I planned to being watching Glee.  I received the first season for Christmas.  Sadly, the picture kept messing up, and it actually cut out in the middle of an episode…with that in mind…
  6. Have a back-up plan, and be flexible.

I Will Not Live in Fear

     The third power thought is this:  I will not live in fear.  I am very excited about this one, because I believe that all stress, all worry, and maybe even “being stuck” can be linked back to fear.  Fear is part of life.  We can’t avoid feeling it–but, we can control how we react to it.  If fear keeps us from doing what we need and want to do in life, it is controlling us.  If we are able to “do things afraid,” or acknowledge the fear, and then move forward anyway, that is the best way to deal.  Fear can also prevent a person from enjoying today because he or she is fearful of tomorrow, or a person, or a circumstance, or sudden disaster, success, failure…the fears people face vary tremendously.  While fear may attack us, we must set our minds to be people of faith, and make up our minds not to be moved by fear.

I will not live in fear!

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