Who doesn’t have ugly thoughts, at least once in a while? Good news: You can replace ugly thoughts with truthful thoughts and renew your mind. Here’s a tool for you.
So today you learn how to:
1. Identify an ugly thought you believe that’s true about you or your circumstance.
2. Recognize the link between your thoughts and your feelings and replace your ugly thought with a new thought.
3. See change in your emotions and actions as you renew your thoughts. A helpful tool is my Transform Your Thoughts Journal. See it here. Click & Tweet!
What’s better, this process has helped hundreds of my counselees renew their thinking. It is based on scripture verses like Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 4:22-24:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Step 1: Identify
First, on notebook paper, set up your categories like this:
UGLY THOUGHT. . .EMOTIONS. . .ACTIONS
Then under “Ugly Thought” write your current or recurring negative, ungodly thought. Then jot down the resulting emotions under “Emotions.” Now, list your behaviors under “Actions.” Here’s an example.
UGLY THOUGHT: “I’m stupid”
EMOTION(s): Anger, depression, loneliness
ACTION(s): Yell at the kids, slam the door, eat a bag of chips
Step 2: Replace
Now write three new categories. Under “Truthful Thought” replace the ugly thought with a biblical truth or a scripture verse. Then write the likely resulting feelings under “New Emotion” and likely behaviors under “New Action.” On your notebook paper set up your categories like this:
TRUTHFUL THOUGHT. . .NEW EMOTIONS. . .NEW ACTIONS
Here’s a corresponding example.
TRUTHFUL THOUGHT: God says all his works are wonderful, so this means I’m an okay person and He’ll help me.
NEW EMOTION(s): Contentment, courage
NEW ACTION(s): Hug the kids, smile, complete the job application
Step 3: See Change
Lastly, chart the ugly thoughts you believe, your emotions, and your actions daily. As soon as you recognize an ugly thought, replace it with a truthful thought. Click & Tweet! And ask God in prayer to help you believe his truth. As you stick with it, you’ll begin to see a change in your emotions and actions as you replace ugly thoughts with the truth. Please be patient and persevere.
You didn’t develop poor thinking patterns overnight. In fact, they may have begun in childhood and are ingrained in your thinking. And so it’ll take weeks, sometimes months, as you to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the renewing of your mind. Have hope. You CAN do it with God’s help.
Question: What is truthful thought you’d like to have in place of an ugly thought?
Counseling Hope to Your Heart,
When you embrace the truth of who God is, your burdens lift. . .even in trials. Dr. Donna Hart, PhD, listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here, shares loving truth. Her article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission.
When our burdens seem too heavy a weight to carry, we can be tempted to believe that God has unjustly piled them on us. The heaviness of the burden may lure us toward unbiblical views leading us to distrust his goodness. Then we may feel depressed.
He loves us too much to give us inner peace when we hold on to attitudes or beliefs about him that are not true to who he is. Click & Tweet!
False belief: I should get what I want
One belief we are prone to have is our right to certain things or relationships. We can mistakenly believe we have a “right” to what we want. We fail to realize the truth that it is a blessing to have. It is not a right.
Then anger often emerges, prompting us to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness. This path of thought will lead us to presume we know better than God. And we will likely try to do things our way.
Do you ever think God is arbitrarily making you miserable? If so, you may base your thinking on persistent feelings of discomfort, rather than upon God’s words of promise. So it’s is no wonder you’re miserable!
Asaph Questions God’s Character
Asaph questions God’s character in a similar way in Psalm 77:7-9:
Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show His favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld His compassion?
Fortunately, Asaph asks his questions from a place of faith in God. Our questions may be like Asaph’s, but they may not be asked from a position of faith.
An unbiblical interpretation of our lives can lead us down a slippery slope of false beliefs, which cause us to become more deeply saddened, thinking the future holds no hope.
False Belief: This world is all there is
Our hearts can start to think this world is all there is and seek only temporal relief rather than longing for his glory. Second Corinthians 4:17-18 says,
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
When we continually reject the truth of the Word by believing our own thoughts and emotions about our circumstances, we start to feel guilty. We also assume he has rejected us, leaving us with little hope.
Our hearts often cry out as Asaph did, asking if his will ever return. But we must remember that it is not true that he has forgotten to be gracious or that he has withdrawn his love, leaving us victims.
We must rebuke the lies that cause us to think God is standing with a raised hammer just waiting for the opportunity to lower it on our heads.
Asaph foresaw the inevitable judgment on Israel. In his heart he cries to God as he anticipates the coming misery of the Israelites’ suffering in captivity. He voices his fears but continues to appeal to to God’s divine power to change all that is to come.
False Belief: Trials are bad
The truth is, God ordains our trials to teach us to trust him and to grow our faith. In those trials, we must exercise a strenuous faith and give God glory and honor regardless of the circumstances. Be determined to resist self-focused desires of insisting on comfortable lives with easy answers, and convenient timetables.
As we learn to give God the glory and honor him no matter the circumstances, he will help us to. . .
- make discerning decisions with the right perspective
- grow in our faith
- persevere with joy
Let us learn to not gaze long and hard at our own suffering. Rather, may we stay focused on the promises God has set before us.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Words: Do you choose words that heal or harm?
In this short article, you’ll discover. . .
- Your words flow from your heart.
- How to Identify the verbal villians of pride, anger, and fear.
- Begin healing your heart.
Communication is the expession of how we feel and what we think. Did you know only 7 percent of your communication are your words? The remainder is split between your tone of voice and your body language. This means all three are crucial.
Right now let the words “Come here, Johnny” play in your mind. When you say them angrily, with a clipped voice and face scrunched up, you send one message. When you says them softly and sweetly, you send another message all together, don’t you?
Our words, along with our tone of voice and body language, have the power to encourage, heal, and teach. They also confuse, embarrass, and hurt.
“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks,” and, “on the day of judgment people will give an account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:34,36).
Jesus underlines the truth that we know the essence of who we are by examining the very words we speak.
The Proud Heart
Pride elevates self. The person with a proud heart think she’s better than others. But God says all persons have value.
The words of someone with a prideful heart sound like:
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7)
Here’s a godly solution to pride.
The Angry Heart
Anger is agitation resulting from an unmet expection. Does you husband expect a delicious meal at 6 pronto? If it’s 30 minutes late, you may hear his grumbling words and read disgust or hurt on his face. When a coworker messes up an important project, do you blow up or clam up?
Anger itself is not sinful. However, someone with an angry heart may become bitter.
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs us and causes trouble, and be it many are defiled. (Hebrews 12:15)
The words of someone with an angry heart sound like:
Here’s a godly solution to anger.
The Anxious Heart
Anxiety often arises when you face loss – loss of safety, security, reputation, family, friends, even happiness. You feel unease, perhaps dread. Rather than fearing God and depending on his sovereignty and goodness, you might succumb to sinful fear and your words may sound like:
God has not given us a spirit of fear, bu tof power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Here’s a godly solution to anxiety.
Healed Heart, Healed Words
In Genesis 1 God spoke the world and all that is in it into existence. We are his image bearers. Therefore, as his image bearers, he calls us to do what he does: speak life. Yet expelling verbal villains arising from pride, anger, fear and other difficult emotions is seldom easy. You may need help.
The good news is God can and will replace pride with humility, anger with patience, and fear with love. Begin with this question: “Is God pleased with what rules my heart?” Is it self or Christ? Next, choose to submit to Christ in every action, thought, emotion, and word. This isn’t easy, is it? It requires an attitude change and new godly habits.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Anger: Some women bottle it up; others let it blow. The important question: What’s the best way to handle anger?
You’ve experienced anger, haven’t you? We all have. The reasons for anger outnumber summer dandelions. Like a dandelion, it has a root. Just as weeding can rid dandelions from your yard, you can learn the best way to let go of your anger.
In this article, you’ll get these two practical helps to grow hope in your soul:
- Identify 3 main reasons for anger.
- Discover the how to zap anger at its root.
The last thing you want is a place for the devil. The word devil come from the Greek diabolos, which means “one who makes malicious false statements; a false accuser; a slanderer.” It is the a title for Satan.
His main goal is to deceive people, including Christians. He wants to convince you to reject the truth and believe lies.
‘In your anger do not sin.’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27, NIV)
Reasons for Anger
Hurt: Tami’s husband is MIA — “in the worst way,” she says. “He’s here but not here. I’m so hurt I could scream.” After dinner, he disappears into his man cave, where he reclines in a La-Z-Boy and flips cable channels. He has next-to-know conversation with Tami or their two young school-aged children during the evening. She cleans up after dinner, helps with homework, and gets them ready for bed — and seethes.A normal response to a hurt is anger. When hurt, do you stuff your anger? Do you yell or slam doors? Click & Tweet!
Lack of control. When your life gets squirmy, you may feel out of control and angry.
“What are you? Stupid?” Suzanne yelled into her cell. Her teenage son had forgotten to pick up his little brothers from soccer practice. A single mom, she depends on her eldest for help. Her mocking putdown reveals her feelings of lack of control. She didn’t get what she wanted so she got angry.
Can you think something you got that you didn’t want? Perhaps a parking ticket? A poor performance review? A snub from a friend? What was your emotion?
Godly indignation. Sometimes — but not often, if we’re honest — you and I feel anger when we hate what God hates. God hates hypocrisy. He hates evil. God hates the trafficking of children. God experiences anger yet never sins. His anger is holy.
Here’s a scene in the Bible where Jesus displays anger:
Jesus goes into the synagogue on a Sabbath where there were Pharisees and a man with a withered hand and “looked around at them [the Pharisees] in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus” (Mark 5:6).What’s something you hate that God hates? Does it make you angry? This is godly indignation. Click & Tweet!
How to Kill Anger
Hold on to your godly indignation and let it propel you to good — this is holy anger. My husband and I hate the suffering of families in poverty. Our anger has led us to support a child through World Vision and to organize a food drive to stock a local food pantry. But. . .
Uproot ungodly anger. It ends up hurting you and the people around you. Click & Tweet! It also grieves the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).
Unresolved anger can become bitterness that poisons your relationships and you. The sure “cure” for anger is forgiveness. Let’s look at forgiveness from two angles.
When you’ve been wronged, you can become angry and sin. Or you can choose forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t easy. It costs you. It cost God (Colossians 3:13). When you forgive someone, you no longer hold the person’s sin against them. Forgiving doesn’t excuse their behavior or pretends the wrong never happened. However, you choose to let it go.
Your also deal with your hurt in a godly manner. It is wise for Tami and Suzanne to seek God’s perspective and determine to obey the Word in spite of how they feel. Both women need to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) to their family members.
Tami could let her husband know how his disappearing act hurts her and the family. She can be confident that God will work in her husband’s heart, convicting him of his need to ask forgiveness (2 Timothy 3:16). Suzanne could lovingly remind her son that she counts on him to help out and if he’s unable to follow through on his commitment than he needs to let her know so she can make alternate arrangements.
In addition, Tami needs to ask her husband’s forgiveness. She has anger toward her husband that she need to confess. Suzanne needs to ask her son’s forgiveness too. Angry words cut like a knife.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
3 Parts of a Message
Did you know that the words you say are just one part of your communication? Your body language and your tone of voice make up a far larger part of your message than your words. Would you believe that they account for more than 90 percent of your message? This is an essential you need to know — that I need to remember too — in all of our relationships.
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Sharing hope with your heart,