Words. Thoughts. Ideas. Conversations with others. Things to do. The grocery list. They are all there, swirling around in your head, all day long. Sometimes possibly threatening to overwhelm your need for peace and stability. A few months ago my spiritual director mentioned something to me that I have been thinking about on and off since she said it. It is about our thoughts and she heard it in a homily. “We have (about) 60, 000 thoughts a day in our mind; about 45,000 of our thoughts are negative, and 50,000 of our thoughts are repetitive. This means that we are spinning negative thinking.”
Scripture has something to say about our thoughts and I’ll just put one verse forth: “take every thought captive in obedience to Christ,” (2 Cor 5:10b) though to get the full picture I’d read the whole chapter. St. Paul reminds us that we belong to Christ and what others may say against us does not matter. When I say others, I do not mean that in a vague way. I mean it as people who have said things to you that have hurt you and stayed with you and colored your image of yourself. It also means ourselves, because we are our worst critics and know which buttons to push better than anyone else.
Those are the negative thoughts swirling around in our head and after time, we start to believe them about ourselves. We somehow go from, “wow, I really needed to do the laundry today” to “I’m a terrible wife because my husband’s favorite shirt is dirty” in a second when he asks if you’ve seen the shirt. No matter that he shrugs it off and picks a different one. I could go on with examples, but there is no need. I’ve spent enough time with other women to know we do this about many, many things in our life.
The negative thoughts we allow to take up space or residence in our mind need to go. If thoughts are going to repeat themselves over and over in my mind all day, I’d like them to be positive. I find myself stopping when they start and praying, asking, in Jesus’ name, that the thought goes far from me and is replaced with something positive.
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Our thoughts are powerful and what we focus on in our thoughts forms us. How do we want to be formed? I want to be formed in and through Christ. Wow about you?
© 2016 Deanna Bartalini
About the Author
Deanna G. Bartalini, MEd, MPS, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. Her Bible study, invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life, is published by Our Sunday Visitor. Her website, DeannaBartalini.com, is for the Every Day Catholic. There you can find Deanna’s writing, free webinars on Catholicism, her podcast and social media services, and invite her to speak to your group, in person or virtually.