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The Power of Your Thoughts

By Kristie Davis
In IBC Stories
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Have you ever started crying in a public setting and felt the need to apologize? Or maybe even hide the fact that you were getting emotional all together?

I know I have, and I’ve witnessed men and women apologizing for getting emotional in public on more than one occasion. Have you ever wondered why we feel the need to hide or apologize for something that is a completely normal part of being human?

I grew up in Christian circles where sometimes preachers and even a few worship songs sent the message that our feelings and emotions were not to be trusted. I also received the message that we shouldn’t make decisions or take actions from our emotions.

About a year ago, I began to wonder why my feelings and emotions were being vilified in certain circles, what was important about that message, and if I even agreed with that way of thinking or not. I decided to look at Jesus when he was in human form on this Earth as a starting point. Jesus felt compassion, anger, frustration, betrayal, grief… and many more emotions. He was fully human.

Did he distrust his emotions, or did he take action and make decisions from his emotions? We will come back to this, but first let’s think about the average everyday person.

Imagine we are firefighters, and our emotions are the fire trucks. Our emotions are the actual vehicle that DRIVES our actions. If we feel discouraged or super sad, our fire trucks are going to be crawling down the street or more likely they will be parked in the safety of the garage. If we feel excited and hopeful, our fire trucks will be wailing and speeding down the road. When I think about human beings in general, I want to say, “Of course we make decisions and take action from our emotions!” Our emotions can really drive our actions. I’m sure you can think of many examples of this in your own life. You feel a deep love and connection with your kids or pets, so you feed and care for them. You have a fear of heights, so you’re a bit hesitant to go up in an elevator with a glass wall.

But where do our emotions come from? Our thoughts. Our thoughts create our emotions. I would like to propose that it is our thoughts that we need to watch out for and question. It’s our thoughts that we need to apprehend, check, and choose wisely.

I can’t know the mind of Christ, but I imagine he had some thoughts about the vendors in the temple that created the anger that led to him overturning the tables in the temple. In fact, we can see it pretty clearly in Matthew 21:13 when Jesus says:

“It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers’.” Here we see what he is thinking because he says it out loud. His thought is that they are making his house a den of robbers. That thought generates a feeling of anger or frustration, I imagine. That anger or frustration is the Fire Truck so to speak, or vehicle, that drives the action of turning over the tables.

We can see examples of this in our own lives as well. For example, if I think my husband is the most amazing man I’ve ever met, and I can’t even believe I get the honor of being his wife, then that thought will generate wonderful feelings of gratitude and love. This applies to your job as well. If you think about how fortunate you are to get to do the job you have and all the great things about your job that you love, it will foster warm and fuzzy feelings.

However, if I choose to think about all the flaws my husband has and how difficult it is to be married with a flawed man, then that will generate completely different feelings and emotions. The same is true with if you choose to focus on all the draining or irritating parts of your job.

The good news is that we get to choose our thoughts! Now, I don’t say this to advocate toxic positivity where we always try to think positive thoughts so we only feel positive emotions. A big part of healing is being able to allow the negative emotions and recognize that they are a part of being human and completely normal. Sometimes we even want to and need to feel the anger or the sadness for a time and that is okay. People want to feel all the emotions sometimes and we know this because of how many sad or scary movies are out there. People want to feel all the feelings.

I do, however, think it is so powerful to know that if we are feeling a certain way and that feeling is holding us back, it’s okay to try and identify the thoughts we are having that are leading to that emotion and question them. What am I thinking that is making me so sad, scared, etc.? Is that thought even true? Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5b, “…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

We can choose our thoughts and that is where the emotion and the power that drives our actions comes from. Emotions are not good or bad, they are human, and they are powerful, so why not use that power for good? We can do this by training our thoughts, by taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ. In Romans 12:2 it says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

The POWER is in your thoughts, and we get to choose our thoughts!

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