Much can be said about your environment and what you choose to live in each day. Some environments are healthy and serve to promote growth. Other environments are toxic and slowly eat away at your core. Dark and dreary spaces rob your heart of the sunshine of living. While bright and cheerful abodes freely admit fresh air and revitalization into your soul. Clutter and unattended to accumulation choke and stifle. Well placed and well intentioned objects promote peace.
Human minds, like your living room, must be meticulously maintained and well cared for. Failure to do so will eventually lead to anarchy. Every non-beneficial thought you let go of will soon gain ascendancy over your life. Every un-confronted criticism, every darkening shadow, every unaddressed burden, every threat to your future will work together against you to suffocate your heart, rendering it callused and useless. Yet, most people only render a half consciousness regarding their thoughts and even less confidence in their ability to control them. Worse still, only a tiny majority recognize that the space in their heads is theirs and theirs alone to manage and if necessary, clean up.
I know it sounds trite and the expression is completely worn out, but you are the only you, you have got. Your mind is the command center of your life. Out from your mind, your heart come the issues of your life. I’ll say it another way. That which you think about the most; that which you dwell upon; that which you choose to faithfully consider is how your life turns out. That person you pity at your high school reunion who seems as if life has gotten the better of him isn’t so because of fate or bad luck, but rather because of a failure to protect his mental environment. If you knew how much your thoughts impacted your life, you wouldn’t be so frivolous concerning them. Every negative seed “the wind” blows in will, if left unattended, produce a weed. And like every good weed seeks to do, will eventually ruin your garden. Your lack of energy, your absence of enthusiasm, your perpetual feelings of fatigue are more from your mental environment than any lack of sleep.
The circumstances you encounter, the trials and the difficulties, the weighty burdens come not first but after. Your thinking is the primary cause. And while the world may be engulfed in evil, irritation, suffering and annoyance, you don’t have to be engulfed or submerged in it. There is a way out and that way out is found in changing your thoughts. Feeling negative and frustrated and futile are temptations which must be fought against. Submission to the negatives in life is like settling down in a filthy home that you have the capability to clean up. Clean up your environment. Locate the unwelcome guests one at a time and replace them one at a time. Your goal isn’t a vacuum (though you may need to vacuum). Your goal is replacement. You have to locate something that is wholesome, edifying and true to replace that which is unhealthy, damaging and false. But, do it you must!
It may seem like controlling your thoughts is an impossible task given the sheer speed and volume with which we think. But your task isn’t all of your thoughts, it is your next thoughts. When it comes to life, when it comes to your existence, when it comes to your personal experience, what are you saying to yourself? Are you being kind to yourself like you are to a dear friend, though despite his foibles, you continue to love? Are you exhibiting patience like you would offer to a child? Are you extending to yourself a new beginning; a thousand new beginnings, like you would to someone that you’ve determine to forgive? Are you? Or are you faithfully engaged in berating yourself, criticizing yourself, comparing and weighing yourself against others? The Instagram model whose body you have been coveting may have spent a lifetime cultivating it, yet there you are actually hating your own wonderful flesh in response to it. You see, the beginning of healthy thought begins with the things you think about yourself. Are you really such a bad person or are you perhaps much like everyone else; battling absurdities and weakness and errors, yet continuing on in spite of them?
Building up your mind, building up your heart takes time. You can’t expect to change a lifetime of wrong thinking overnight, just as you wouldn’t expect your body to show signs of change after the first few days of exercising. But persistence in controlling your mind will produce a lifetime of results. Controlling your thoughts doesn’t just consist of the things you say about yourself, but also comprises the things you say about your life, your relationships, your job, your boss, you name it. Every negative viewpoint, every false assumption, every rehearsed and expected failure you envision cannot help but to produce more after its kind. Maybe, just maybe your life sucks because that’s what you have been confessing for the past twenty years. Maybe you can’t catch a break because you don’t expect to catch a break and then somehow that is God’s fault. Your life is far, far from being destined or predetermined with our wonderful God having supplied you with the one thing you can control, if you really want to!
If you take nothing away from this but one solitary thing, know that your thinking is vitally and crucially important in determining how your life turns out. Clean up your environment. Don’t allow anything to remain that pains you or causes you to feel unrest. Banish fear and worry as both have failed miserably in preventing anything from happening. Cleanse and purify your estimation of yourself by refusing anything that makes you feel bad about yourself or lessens you in your own sight. Thinking good things, expecting good things, envisioning good things is no harder than doing the opposite with the only exception being breaking out of the things you have habitually practiced. It’s all right there for you folks if you will only take heed and do it… Clean up your mental environment!
Just some good thoughts…