So there I was, in a weight lifting class with my daughter, feeling pretty good. I had been consistent with my workouts for the past two months. I had lost some inches, a few pounds and I felt proud of myself. But as I was waiting for the instructor to start class, I looked around and noticed I was surrounded by young, blonde and skinny 30 somethings.
All of a sudden I felt old and overweight. My thoughts were bombarded by ugly talk.
How can I keep up with these younger girls, I thought.
They’re probably looking at me wondering what is that old lady doing here?
In a matter of seconds my thoughts squashed the confidence and pride I had when I first walked in.
During the entire workout, I felt like everyone was judging me and my performance. Those thoughts disrupted my concentration and purpose for being at the gym. I just wanted to bail, but I stuck it out. The class finally ended, and as I was putting my equipment away, the instructor approached me. “Good job out there today. You were really putting in a great effort!”
And guess what my reaction was?
I didn’t take it as the compliment she intended. In my insecure mind, I interpreted her compliment as, Good job for a fat, old broad. My mind twisted her gift of praise into a backhanded compliment.
This ugly talk is certainly not from God. God created each of us with a mind to be filled with beautiful, uplifting, positive, peaceful thoughts that serve God, serve others, and especially ourselves.
Surely I am not the only Christian woman who struggles with ugly talk that causes her to feel unworthy, focus on what’s “wrong” about her, and leave interactions like that with feelings of unhappiness and discontent.
So where does this ugly talk come from and how can we stop it?
First let’s imagine your mind is a garden. It can be either full of Mind Weeds: thoughts conceived from the Old Adam mind. These thoughts focus on what’s wrong, what’s lacking in life, what’s unfair, what’s inconvenient, and what’s offensive.
Or, a mind garden can be full of Mind Blossoms: Thoughts conceived from a mind focused on Jesus. These personal loving thoughts focus on what is good in life, God’s daily abundant blessings, and thoughts that reflect God’s love. Then life is viewed through a lens of gratitude.
As followers of Christ, this is what we are called to focus on in our life!
Look at the list of Mind Blossoms Paul gives in Philippians 4:8 (NIV), “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”
Here are 3 practical tips to help you grow an abundant crop of Mind Blossoms in your mind garden.
1. Recognize and Interrupt
Recognize that ugly voice as a Mind Weed. It’s untrue, and it doesn’t come from God. It’s intention is to separate you from God and all that is good. Don’t give it any more power.
When I was at the gym, I should’ve stopped that first Mind Weed with, “That’s not true!”
2. Find the Praiseworthy
After you’ve interrupted the ugly talk, immediately take inventory of what is good, right or praiseworthy of your situation. Turn your attention toward that! After I stopped that first Mind Weed, I should’ve focused on what was to be celebrated! I have the energy, confidence and strength to keep up with these younger girls. I get to spend this time with my daughter. The instructor recognized what I am accomplishing at this stage of my life.
3. Reflect and Thank the Big Guy.
This step is by far the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT strategy. It’s like adding Miracle Gro for your mind. Every night, write in a journal or notebook all the blessings that showed up in your life that day. I’m not talking about the cliché things like “family, health, a job.” Yes those are things to be grateful for. But I’m talking about getting specific! Thank God for things such as the pleasant check out girl at the grocery store, traffic flowing smoothly in the morning, your Netflix movie arriving in the mail, the compliment someone gave you about your hair. Get ready, because the more frequently you do this, the more blessings and miracles will start showing up in your life!
You may ask, “But Julie, can I just say them in my prayers like I usually do?” Nope! By all means, you can repeat them in your prayers, but they need to be written for several reasons. It allows you to see the volume of blessings that you receive every day AND you can look back on previous days blessings and see where your prayers were answered!
Now when I go to the gym, I focus on things that can be added to my gratitude journal: my smaller size workout clothes, a front row parking spot, and a high five from one of those young, fit and fabulous girls!
CCWA wants to hear from you! What will make it in your gratitude journal tonight? Tell us what you discovered.
Want to learn more ways to control your Mind Weeds and grow Mind Blossoms? Check us out at WeAreCCWA.com to become a free member and receive your E-manual: How to Swap Ugly Talk for Miracle Talk.