My thoughts said I wanted to create a new family culture, and put the past behind me, keeping the positives and leaving the negatives, but I didn’t know how. I knew God could powerfully transform my heart, but I also knew the power of generational cycles.
Being young and immature, wounded and healed, but committed to change left me searching for ways to live out the transformation God was doing in my heart.
I attended a church beneath a pastor who accepted me where I was at and called me to where I could be. He taught me to study the Bible and how to apply what I learned. His wife loved well and spoke truth when needed.
They knew my heart to rewrite history by changing my present so that my future would be filled with the power of God. Rather than dwelling on what I didn’t want or didn’t like, they urged me to think about what I wanted to be.
So I thought about the qualities that were important to me and chased after them with all that was in me.
Grace. Forgiveness. Passion for God.
They say we become what we think about and it’s mostly true. Our circumstances affect us, but we choose our responses to them. We control our thoughts, attitudes, choices. My responses are my responsibility.
But if I dwell on the hurts or painful memories more than I dwell on God’s faithfulness, hope, and peace, then I risk bringing to life the memories with new players and the cycle continues.
Do you want to be brave? Then don’t think about all the times you weren’t brave, but think about the time when you trusted God and he gave you what you needed to act brave.
Do you want to show grace? Then learn to forgive. Understand your own need for forgiveness, not so you can go around beating yourself up and wallowing in your own wretchedness, but so that you can rejoice in how much God forgives you. When we understand how much grace we receive, we begin to live in grace towards others.
It’s all in how we frame what we don’t want to be with what we want to be.
If I tell my kids “don’t forget to do the dishes,” they hear “forget. . .dishes,” and the dishes don’t get done.
But if I tell them, “remember to do the dishes,” they hear, “remember. . .dishes,” and my kitchen gets cleaned.
What lurks in your past that haunts you because you see it repeated in your present?
Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Resentment? Anger? Self-absorption? Broken promises?
Remember our thoughts give way to actions. If we’re focusing on events that feed these emotions, then we sow seeds into our lives that eventually give way to a harvest that we didn’t want to sow.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 (ESV)
Be aware of your thoughts.
Flip the script.
Filter using Philippians 4:8
Spend more time thinking about what you do want to be rather than what you don’t.