“I can’t control my thoughts.” If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that excuse, I’d never work again.
I beg to differ.
Our problem isn’t that we can’t control our thoughts, but rather that we don’t know how. Dare I say it, perhaps we do know how but we don’t want to do what’s necessary to get it under control.
So be honest with yourself. Which are you?
A. I don’t know how to control my thoughts.
B. It’s too much work to control my thoughts.
When things are hard, we tend to give up before we start. The idea that we can’t do something is often easier to accept than the possibility that we could with a hefty load of work. Millennials like myself, have a bad wrap for wanting the prize without the payment. We want results without the workout plan.
Next we need to identify honestly what kind of wrong thoughts are we having. Are you thinking lustful thoughts? Jealous thoughts? Hateful thoughts? Do you deal with pornography addiction, eating disorders or depression?
Here’s a thought. Go through your social media and press the unfollow button… a lot! If you feel like you are struggling to control your thoughts, take a look at what you are feeding your mind. Why are you following the people you are? If someone you are following doesn’t make you a better person on the inside, what and where are they leading you? Fashion ideas are cool but the Lord is way more impressed with how you care for others than how you coordinate your outfits. If watching someone else makes you devalue what’s in your life, want material things, feel insecure, think inappropriate thoughts, lust after a body, speak words that aren’t edifying or simply just waste your time… UNFOLLOW. It’s really simple. You have the power in choosing, choose well.
Did you know that statistically people spend over 2 hrs a day now just on social media apps? Thats a huge chunk of our waking hours, especially considering we also have work and friends and families that share that time.
The reality is, we have the opportunity and availability to spend more time with people via social media than we do in real life. So our response to this needs to be taken with great care. You are choosing your friends and influences. Essentially, the people you are “surrounding” yourself with on social media will determine and effect the trajectory of who you are becoming. You will start to value the things they value, you’ll start to want what they want & you’ll start to talk like they talk. As a matter of fact, the Instagram algorithm suggests people for you to follow or photos/videos for you to see in your explore page based on who you are choosing to associate with. So if you are seeing half naked girls in your explore page, go weed through who you are following that is associating with them!
Controlling our thoughts takes practice. It takes effort. It takes action. It doesn’t always happen overnight. Its not always fixed after one good decision but is steadily transformed over time and lots of consistent decisions. Decisions to close your computer or turn off your notifications… decisions to follow and unfollow based on appropriate convictions. If following someone (i.e. a fitness guru or fashion blogger) makes you feel inadequate, thats not inspiring you to greatness, its depleting your spirit of gratefulness. There is a fine line between someone inspiring you and creating insecurities in you. Its your job to tell the difference and be diligent in protecting your mind. Maybe it’s someone you know that you need to unfollow, a fellow mom or friend who only shows the highlight reel of their life. If their perfectly clean house or fancy name brands make you love your life or family less, GIRL, BYE. If the dude “humble brags” about his status, wardrobe, gear, car, working out, travel or grind non-stop… stop unknowingly letting that be the standard you are measuring your life to. If their success is your motivation, that’s competition in disguise.
Instead, let’s do the dirty work of guarding our hearts. Let’s follow people who celebrate family, who love others well and who are making the world better. Let’s allow our hearts to be influenced by people who remind us what’s important and what truly matters in this life. Let’s celebrate friends who keep it real and we can laugh together with about the not-so-sexy sides of life. In short, if someone’s posts make you dislike them or your life more than before you viewed it, its not healthy for your heart.
We cannot continue to be naive in this area of our life. Let’s not play dumb, let’s own our choices. We have to take responsibility for what we are allowing to effect us throughout our day, because it is steering our thought life. And our thoughts produce fruit in our life. Seeds that bloom into turmoil or peace .
But don’t take my word for it, the Bible gives us a great guide to go off of. In fact, it gives us a checklist of what kind of things we should be allowing our minds to think on.
8 And now, dear friends, let me say one more thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
I memorized that scripture as a kid and I cannot even begin to tell you how often I replay it my mind as a reminder. Its like a formula for success. I want my feed to be full of posts that are true and honorable. I want to follow folks that are admiral and praise worthy. Is it possible that social media could actually be a place of peace in our lives?
I am committed to being a better gatekeeper of my mind. That I will continue to learn how to better protect my hearts condition by dwelling on the right thoughts. Cheers to healthy thoughts and happy hearts!