Good Thoughts – Good Memories ~ in 2020

2020 photo

What Are You Thinking On?

My mother had severe juvenile diabetes (type 1) in a time when the disease was a death sentence and insulin was a very new medical treatment. She grew up in the Ukrainian immigrant community where, at that time, there was tremendous fear of injections. My grandparents bravely decided that she should have insulin and she lived. Not only did she live, she married my father, had two children, and had a life. However, she was an exceedingly negative person all of her life. As a child, I didn’t understand her struggle, and I found her constant negativity painful. Despite my mother’s untreated chronic depression, she was a decent and ethical person who tried really hard to live her life and have a family. I understand that now, as an adult and how I think of her has changed a great deal. I now see her in a much more positive light without denying her faults.

My father was pragmatic, unemotional, bookish, and often withdrawn. But he could be very funny and for me that was some relief from the darkness of talking about every thing that was wrong or was about to go wrong.

I took after my dad in a lot of ways. I found refuge in books, and I’d make a joke out of whatever was upsetting and dysfunctional. That was when I was around other people. In private, I was more like my mom, focused excessively on the painful and the negative.

It wasn’t until my mid-forties that I first heard teaching on renewing of the mind and the importance of focusing on the lovely and the good. And by that time, I had  focused on the unlovely, the broken, and the sad so much, that I hardly had any good memories from my childhood, and even from my adult life. They’d all been overshadowed and buried by my rehashing of all the dark and negative moments.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

I married a man whose family was even more dysfunctional than mine…if that is even possible. My own immediate family and my extended family had PhDs in negativity. (See, I am still able to make a joke out of the gruesome.)

Well, one day there was great turmoil in my husband’s family. A lot of yelling in the kitchen and people running in and out of the house. So, I went into the living room and started surfing channels on the TV just to block the chaos out. It was a Sunday and I clicked onto this petite blonde lady standing behind a podium. Gloria Copeland. I thought she was preaching, but she is much more a teacher than a preacher. She was no-nonsense positive. Positive that God is a good God, is a healing God, is a loving God. She was intelligent, logical, and didn’t have big hair. That sealed it for me, and by the end of the program, I put my hands on the TV and got saved.

I am aware of true ‘Christian’ positive-thinking that first manifested itself in the 1950s, and that is good. But what I’m talking about is deeper.  It is a real and abiding belief that the power of the Word as written in the Bible is transformative and healing. It is the belief in the supernatural power of God’s living Word. I have to point out here that God’s Word in the Bible is not magical, not hokus-pokus, nor abracadabra. It is the belief that if the living Word gets deep-down within the heart and soul of the believer, it will start to heal those hidden, broken places.

Note: God’s Word in the Holy Bible has structure, context, and order. The Word of God can’t be ripped out of the Bible and thrown around as a quick affirmation for selfish purposes. Any phrase we wish to speak over our situation has to be understood in terms of what came before and after it in the chapter (and even in other chapters and in other books of the Bible). The Bible is a cohesive whole, pointing to and proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One, the Savior.

That said, if you want to get rid of darkness and negativity in your life…if you want to start making some good memories, a good place to start is the Philippians 4 Scripture noted above. Take it apart and on purpose (even if you have to force yourself) start to focus on what is:

  • True
  • Honorable
  • Right
  • Pure
  • Lovely
  • Of Good Repute
  • Having or Striving for Excellence
  • Worthy of Praise

 

WHO/WHAT IS THIS INNER CRITIC? ~ the one pop-culture talks about

 

Depression memeSilence your inner critic, they say. These are the tapes from your past, the ones that seem to run on a loop. These tapes say, “There’s nothing special about you,” or “You’ve made too many mistakes to make anything of yourself now.” Many of these tapes have been passed down in families from generation to generation. “Your grandpa was a hard drinker, just like your dad. You probably will be too.” This type of negative prognosticating goes on in many families without much thought. It’s become a damaging habit that’s often a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Words have power. If you say over-and-over, “Like the rest of my family, I’ll probably never amount to much,” you probably never will. These “internal tapes” can be seen as generational curses. What is a curse? It’s words…negative words pronounced over somebody or something. A generational curse is something negative that seems to travel in families and it’s accompanied by destructive words the family says about itself and others say about it.

What we want to strive to do is pronounce a positive and holy vision over our lives and bestow a blessing upon ourselves and others. Habakkuk 2:2 [ESV] ~ And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. I like to write Scripture out. When I see a Word for me in Scripture and I write it down, I’m the one who reads it, and I’m the one who runs with it.

It’s my belief that we Christians should speak about ourselves and see ourselves the way the Lord sees us. The Scripture says in Psalms 139: 3 – 14 [NASB] ~ 13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

A lot of people like to say the Scripture aloud that pertains to their particular situation, and I do believe saying a Scripture out loud can stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks. This is what Jesus did when the devil tempted Him. If it worked for Him it will work for us.

 

Battling Negativity ~ it’s all in the mind

Woman, Burned Out

 

How is it so many people come up with images in their minds all day long that are negative? We can see our businesses going bankrupt, our car driving into a ditch, our children marrying the wrong person. Those types of negative imaginations, of course, are the lies of the devil.

We’ve been told repeatedly by many a preacher and/or teacher that the battlefield is in the mind. 2 Corinthians 10: 5 [KJV] ~ Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…

If we’re not born again, we have nothing of greater strength to combat those images. And most of the world is in exactly that position. Their minds are constantly racing with negative imaginations. There’s no need to turn on a reality TV show or a late night comedy show to prove my point, but if you did you’d hear a steady stream of negativity. Many of those horrid pronouncements would be couched as sarcasm. It’s as if those late night shows are a veritable Coliseum, where those not in favor are ridiculed and torn apart. A while back they tore apart the Duggars…and there was wrong doing there. Then they castigated the Dentist who killed Cecil the lion…also wrong doing.The political season is upon us and during the campaign it’s sure to get ugly. It always does.Talk show hosts, news pundits, and the candidates themselves will ridicule the candidate they oppose, belittle him or her in the most personal manner. I’m not saying there is no need for investigation and thoughtful discourse (emphasis on thoughtful). That is most often not the case. They seek to destroy. Many (especially those who are extreme on either side) delight in exaggeration, lies, and slander. They actually revel i it.

The Bible is clear on this. Proverbs 10:18 [KJV] ~ He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. Christians are told to cast down these devilish imaginations. To take captivity captive. We are to take captive the wicked thoughts that would enslave us. So I went to the Lord because I thought I’m a pretty nice person and I asked him, “Do I really have wicked thoughts?” His answer was YES, any time I insult or slight another, or portray them in a negative light. That after all is what slander means. I don’t mean to do it, but sometimes it just slips out. Yup, that’s a sin. Fortunately, very fallible me gets to humbly and honestly repent, and God’s incredible loving grace wipes my slate clean.

Deadly Designs 1400

In my detective novel DEADLY DESIGNS, female private eye Veronica “Ronnie” Ingles is beset by negative emotions due to the unfortunate circumstances of her childhood. She’s thrust into a situation where she and Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes, the man she’s falling for, are racing against time to rescue a kidnapped little girl. The plight of this child pulls up nightmares she once had as a child, as well as deeply negative memories. She has been wrestling with God for many years, yet she remains inquisitive as to who He is. She’s on a spiritual journey, though she doesn’t always know it.