Read: Philippians 4:8

The mind can be the enemy’s biggest battlefield, and the enemy can be extremely inconspicuous. We need to assess our intake and output to get an accurate reading of the types of thoughts on which we are dwelling. For example, how do you feel after 20 minutes of scrolling social media? Most people are left feeling discontented, inadequate, and unhappy. The old cliche “comparison is the thief of joy” proves true. Is social media a bad thing? No. But do we need to be aware of whispers of comparison and discontentment as we view the highlight reels of others? Absolutely.

How can we combat our tendency to get into negative mindset spirals? One fail-proof way is daily gratitude. Take a moment to write down as many things as you can think of for which you are thankful. Your gratitude list doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be as simple as “I’m thankful for coffee, a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes on my body.” Or it can be as specific as “I’m thankful for the sound of my loved one’s laughter, the stillness of being the first person awake in the morning, the smell of clean laundry.”

Have you made your list? How do you feel after listing those gratitudes vs. after scrolling social media? Probably vastly different. We do not have to be victims of our thoughts. We can choose to dwell on the unending spiral of things we don’t have, or we can choose to dwell on the countless blessings that we do have.

One other way to combat negative and hopeless thoughts is to meditate on the truth of who God is. We can do this by studying scripture and listing the characteristics of God that we see in that specific passage. Philippians 4:8 provides a list of helpful things to think about that will enhance our faith: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. When facing difficult circumstances, we can choose to dwell on the difficulty of our situation, or we can choose to meditate on the sovereignty of God. For example, Psalm 97:5 says, “The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” The mountain of our difficult situations melts away in the presence of our sovereign, loving King. What will you choose to dwell on today?

Reflection Questions:

  1. What are some positive qualities or experiences you can focus on today?
  2. How does focusing on these qualities help you combat negative self-talk?
  3. In what ways can you develop a habit of thinking about what is good, true, and beautiful?