Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Negativity Fast: A Recap

^^^I was like this for awhile there^^^
My thoughts and words were so caught in a web of negativity that I couldn't even see it anymore. I had a complaint for everything, and those that I didn't voice I would dwell on mentally. We have all been there I think. You just get in a funk and you can't get out of it. 
Well, I was complaining about a friend that is always so negative on Facebook. I was saying that I was going to delete her if I saw one more status about how bad things are in her life. Then I realized, Facebook statuses aside, that I myself have grown into such a negative person lately. I hate to see myself in that way and I really hate to examine how I had been feeling. The truth was, and is, that my greatest spiritual struggle is with negative thinking. In my opinion, our thoughts are so much more difficult to control than our actions. A thought happens instantly, and so to bring it under control is a very different battle. Yet the Bible is clear on this. 
"...take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5 
"...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 on such things."
Philippians 4:8
The key is to figure out how. How do I take every thought captive to Christ? How do I think only of that which is lovely? I think that the real trick, the real secret, is to admit to myself and to God that I can't do it. I simply can't. The beautiful thing is that admitting that I can't is exactly what He wants me to do so that He can start working in my life. So I did that daily. I stopped trying to do it on my own and I gave it over to Him.
 I decided that I needed to devote some time to focus on this particular area of my life. I decided to begin on a Monday and for seven days I would avoid saying anything negative out loud. You might be wondering why I fasted from saying anything negative when my real struggle is with thinking negatively. The reason is, as I said, that behavior is much easier to control than thoughts are. I knew that purposely controlling my tongue would bring my attention to how often I think negative thoughts. It would take a great deal of reliance on God to go a whole week without saying negative words and I could use all of those opportunities to grow in my thought life as well. Essentially, I was practicing "taking every thought captive" by taking my words captive.
In the seven days, I failed many times. Imagine taking every single negative word out of your interactions with your husband and children. It is a challenge to say the least. If you have ever tried to eliminate a bad habit, you know that you will be tested so much harder during those times. My family went through some serious struggles the very same week that I was avoiding negativity. Each time a negative sentence slipped out of my mouth I was tempted to give up. I would quickly think I just cannot do this, it's impossible, this is just the way I am! I had to continue to remind myself that God does not want me to excuse my behavior, He wants to change me and grow me into someone that is like Jesus. 
I challenge you to try giving up negativity for a time. Maybe a day is a good start, maybe you will go for a week. Overall, even though I cannot say that I made it a whole week without negativity, the time that I devoted to focusing on this issue was fruitful. It gave me a greater awareness and began the process of eliminating negativity for good.
I highly recommend the book Every Thought Captive by Jerusha Clark.
It addresses many areas in which women fall prey to unhealthy, ungodly thought patterns and shares great wisdom in how to defeat those thought patterns which separate us from an abundant life in Christ. Check it out!

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1 comment:

  1. Justine, I love this. I think I am going to issue this challenge to my youth group tomorrow and see what happens!