Saturday, January 2, 2010
Did you know that each of your thoughts sends electrical and chemical signals to your brain that can affect every area of your body? Thoughts influence our emotions, sleep, heart rate, and many bodily functions. Just about everything that happens to us begins with a single thought. Research shows that we have 50,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day and most of these are repeats from yesterday. With so many daily thoughts affecting our bodies, it is really important to find a way to control them. Paul encourages us to “take every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “as a person thinks in his heart, so is he.” Since God created us with unique and powerful minds and gave us the choice of how to use them, it is our responsibility to practice discipline in what we think. How different would our lives be if we practiced purpose-driven thinking?
For the last month I have participated in The 4:8 Project designed by Christian inspirational writer and Life Coach, Tommy Newberry. Each day for 8 days, I received an encouraging e-mail that focused on strategies to let go of thinking patterns that are not productive or God pleasing. The 8 Day Challenge was so inspiring that I read Newberry’s bestselling book The 4:8 Principle – The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life. The basis for the project and book is the advice the apostle Paul gives in Philippians 4:8, where he provides a “to think” list.
“…whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things.” Philippians 4:8
A long time believer in the power of positive thinking, I enjoyed using this opportunity to focus on the blessings in my life and to adopt new practices for becoming more intentional with the quality of my thoughts. Let me share 3 of the strategies Newberry suggests for replacing random or negative thinking with purpose-driven thinking.
1. Focus 4:8: Write the scripture passage from Philippians 4:8 on 4 separate note cards and post them in your high traffic areas: night stand, car console, mirror, computer area, refrigerator, etc. Read the card throughout the day as a reminder of your “to think” list.
2. First Fifteen: Start your day with 15 minutes of that includes prayer, scripture reading, and meditation. Follow-up with 4:8 questions, which extract positive answers. Place these questions where you will see them easily each morning. Consider these: What am I grateful for this morning? What are my strengths, and how can I use them today? What relationships can I affect positively today? What am I excited about experiencing in the next 12 hours?
3. Final Fifteen: Seal your day with 15 minutes of joy by surrendering your subconscious to God. In your prayer ask him to remove any self-defeating or impure thoughts and replace them with God pleasing thoughts. Consider reading something inspirational, reviewing your victories and blessings of the day, or pondering positive 4:8 questions. Just imagine all the positive messages you can send to your brain before drifting off to peaceful rest.
You are what you think you are. I hope you’ll join me this year in becoming more aware of your thought life and find these strategies as life affirming as I have.
For more information about participating in The 8 Day Challenge, visit http://www.the48challenge.com/.
Please share your 4:8 experience with me!