Read The Mind Connection: How the Thoughts You Choose Affect Your Mood, Behavior, and Decisions Online

Authors: Joyce Meyer

Tags: #Religion / Christian Life / Personal Growth, #Religion / Christian Life / Inspirational, #RELIGION / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth

The Mind Connection: How the Thoughts You Choose Affect Your Mood, Behavior, and Decisions

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Are your thoughts random and meaningless, or do they affect your life in ways that perhaps you have not yet understood? Do they merely come into your mind from the circumstances and events around you, passing through without meaning and effect, going nowhere and doing nothing, or is it possible that what you think affects how you talk, your attitudes, your decisions, and your emotions? Can your thoughts affect your behavior and even your relationships? I believe they affect how you relate to yourself, to other people, to God, and to all of your circumstances.

Perhaps these are things you have never given any thought to. I know that for most of my life, I certainly didn’t. I paid no attention to what I was thinking, and I didn’t make the connection between my thoughts and the rest of my life. But the Lord has taught me many things from His Word about the mind connection since those early days, and I’m excited to share those truths with you in the pages of this book.

In the chapters ahead, I want to address three major issues. First, we should understand the power of our thoughts and how they are connected to the way we respond to everything else in life. Second, I strongly desire to show you how to think on purpose instead of having a passive mind. And third, I hope to give you insight on what to do when you feel you have lost control of your thoughts, and how you can regain and maintain the right mental position.

On days when people cannot seem to gain control of their thoughts, they may say something like “I feel like I am losing my mind!” In a way they are, because they seem to be unable to control the thoughts running through it. But when you feel as if you are losing your mind, there are ways to get it back, which I will share with you throughout this book.

Our first impulse is to assume that we are not responsible for what goes through our minds and that there is simply nothing we can do about it, but that is not true. God’s Word gives us clear instructions concerning what to think about and what not to think about. It also teaches us that we have the ability to pick and choose, and to keep the good thoughts and cast out the thoughts that poison our lives. We are instructed to cast down wrong imaginations, theories, and reasoning, and lead them away captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:4–5).

Through studying God’s Word, I learned that my thoughts were ruining my life, and if I wanted to enjoy a different quality of life, I had to start controlling them. I began seriously studying God’s Word in 1976, and I quickly learned God had a great plan for my life, but I needed to learn how to agree with Him in my thinking in order to have it (see Romans 12:2). I came up with the phrase, “Where the mind goes, the man follows,” and I can safely say that if you need a change in any area of your life, it will start with a change in your mind. We have the opportunity to think like God thinks in order to have what God wants us to have, to do what He wants us to do, and to be who He wants us to be.

My first book on the power of thoughts is titled
Battlefield of the Mind
, and the second one is called
Power Thoughts
. Now, in this third one, I hope more than ever before to show the connection between our mind, mouth, moods, and attitudes, among
other things. I’ve written extensively on this topic because I believe with my whole heart that the subject is of vital importance and that our thoughts are, in fact, one of the most difficult areas of life to gain mastery over. We can never learn too much about this all-important subject. You don’t have to allow outside forces to control you any longer. With God’s help, you can begin doing your own thinking today, remembering that each of your thoughts has some kind of effect on you, your life, and often the people around you.

It is exciting to realize that we can have some measure of control over our words, moods, and attitudes by learning how to think better. We can make ourselves sad, mad, or glad by what we think and how we talk. We can increase or decrease our joy and peace. Think of the mind like the gas tank in your automobile. Your automobile will run well, or perhaps not even run at all, depending on what kind of fuel you put into it. In the same way, when you choose your thoughts carefully, your quality of life will improve in amazing ways. I pray that this will be a life-changing book for you and one that you will read again and again, as well as recommend to your friends.

The Life You’ve Always Wanted to Live

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

John 10:10

It was springtime and everything was beginning to blossom. Spring is usually a time of year that people really enjoy. The deadness and cold of winter is over, and spring reminds us of hope and new growth. Julie was doing spring cleaning, changing her closet from winter to spring clothes, and thinking about planting some colorful flowers in the yard. Everything felt bright and filled with hope, but then her husband, Charlie, came home from work with some bad news. He had been fired from his job! Julie found it difficult to have any empathy for him, because this was the fourth job Charlie had been fired from in a seven-year period.

Although Julie was normally very positive and peaceful, the news Charlie brought home was upsetting to her. He told her not to get upset, because he would get another job, but Julie knew there was a deeper problem that Charlie wasn’t willing to face and deal with. If he had been fired from one or perhaps even two jobs, she might have agreed that it was simply an irritable boss,
or other employee problems—but after four jobs, she knew that somehow Charlie was to blame. Not only had he been fired from four jobs, he was also unable to keep friends. You see, Charlie was very difficult to get along with. He was negative, complained frequently, and had an ability to darken any atmosphere within a few minutes.

Charlie had been angry with his boss, who he said didn’t recognize his talents, and Charlie felt certain that he was being treated unfairly. He was angry with his coworkers, because, he said, they didn’t like him and had complained to the boss about him. Anger wasn’t new to Charlie; in fact, he had been angry about one thing or another for most of his life. He felt that he was not as naturally talented, nor as privileged as most of the people he knew, and he resented it. He often complained that life had dealt him a bad hand. “Life threw me under the bus” was a favorite self-pitying statement of his. He blamed his parents, teachers, and peers for his lot in life. He believed everyone was at fault but him.

Although it was true that Charlie had some disadvantages growing up, he also had the same opportunity that we all do to have and enjoy a good life. I like to say that how we get started in life is not nearly as important as how we finish. Our beginning may not be in our control, but the finish is!

The truth was that Charlie had been fired from his job because he was a very negative-thinking person. He had an entitlement attitude that made him feel he deserved better treatment without doing his part to deserve it. As he stood in the kitchen, telling Julie all about his perceived unfair treatment, he didn’t realize he was repeating the same pattern he had followed throughout his life—and he would repeat it again and again unless he was willing to stop blaming everyone else for his problems and take responsibility for the changes that he needed to make.

Enjoying Your Life Begins with a Choice

Although we do not always have the power to change every unpleasant circumstance in our lives, we do have the power to change our outlook. We can look out at life from our inmost being with our hearts filled with positive thoughts and attitudes, or we can respond as Charlie did—allowing the events of life to shape our thoughts and attitudes. This is a decision that only we can make—no one can make it for us!

I firmly believe that the bottom line of what we want from life is to be happy! We want to enjoy it! Sadly, we can waste most of life with the misconception that joy and enjoyment come from our circumstances, but the truth is that they come from our attitude toward each circumstance rather than from the circumstance itself. Obviously, nobody enjoys a troubling or painful circumstance, but if we look at it in a hopeful, faith-filled way, we can watch God work all things out for our good (see Romans 8:28).

Enjoying life begins with the thoughts you choose to think.

Enjoying life begins with the thoughts you choose to think. Yes, it is that simple! No matter what is going on in your life today, if you will choose happy, hope-filled thoughts, you will
happier. Our thoughts are intricately connected to our feelings, so if we want to feel better, we need to think better. Be honest with yourself. Think about what you have been mentally focusing on and how you have been feeling emotionally and even physically. I feel certain you will see a definite connection. Nothing good comes from thinking sour, critical, and negative thoughts, but something good always comes when we think according to God’s plan for our life. Of course, you cannot do that if you don’t
know God’s plan, so let me take just a few paragraphs to share some of what God’s Word teaches.

In the early pages of the Bible, we find this statement:

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.

Deuteronomy 30:19

It is wise to quickly learn that life offers us blessings and curses, good and evil, and it is our responsibility to choose the good if that is what we want to have. This is what it means to be free! We have free choice, but we should also realize that each choice brings a consequence, and we cannot have one without the other. No matter what happened in your life prior to you being able to make your own choices, the fact is that if you make good choices, the results of those choices will ultimately overturn anything bad that has taken place before. We can overcome evil with good (see Romans 12:21). There are countless testimonies from people who endured horrendous circumstances early in life, but through a strong faith in God, good choices, and hard work have now turned their lives around for the greater good.

God offers each of us an opportunity to have a good life. His promises are for all who will believe! We all believe something, so why not make it something good?

We all believe something, so why not make it something good?

God has promised us salvation, redemption, restoration, joy, peace, His constant presence in our lives, and His power to assist us in all we do. He desires that we enjoy an intimate relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and good relationships with other
people. He wants to prosper us, to make us strong in Him, and to see us enjoy our position of right standing with Him through our faith in Jesus. He sets before us life and death, blessing and cursing, and tells us to choose life! We don’t even have to figure out what to do—we just need to do what He suggests. Choose life! Choose blessing! Choose good!

Choosing good does not mean that it merely falls on us with no effort on our part, but the effort we make is one that is divinely directed and energized by God Himself. He never asks us to do anything without empowering us to do it.

My father sexually abused me for the better part of about fifteen years. Although my mother was aware of what he was doing, she did nothing to stop it, and that, of course, left me abandoned, abused, lonely, and fearful. Like we all do, I finally grew up and was able to leave home, thinking I had left the problem behind me. However, after suffering mentally, emotionally, and relationally for about twenty-five more years, I learned through God’s Word that although I left the problem, the results of it were etched in my soul. The despicable way I had been raised had affected my thinking and, through that, all the other areas of my life. My attitude was much like Charlie’s. I was filled with self-pity and anger about my past, totally unaware that it daily affected everything I thought, said, felt, and did. How tragic it is when the answer to our problems is right in front of us, but we either lack knowledge or we are too deceived to see it.

One does not have to endure tragedy in order to develop bad habits in their thought life. I think it is safe to say that most people tend to let outside forces control their thinking instead of generating their own thoughts from within. It is quite possible that most people don’t realize that they can choose their own thoughts and make the effort to do exactly that.

I like to say, “Nothing good happens accidently.” You can catch disease, but you cannot catch health. In the same way, we cannot catch good thinking, but we can choose it. We will need to choose good, positive, and godly thoughts on purpose every day that we live. I don’t think they will ever come so automatically that we never have to put forth an effort. But I do know, from God’s Word and experience, that if we leave our minds empty and fruitless, our enemy, the devil, will be more than happy to fill them with every kind of life-stealing thought that exists.

In an effort to show how the enemy attacks our minds, let me share how I just realized that the devil was attacking my mind with negative thoughts while I was trying to write this book instructing others not to do so. The Holy Spirit caused me to recognize that I have been having vague, negative whisperings in my ear all morning that have gone like this: “You don’t have the creativity you need today. Just put off writing until tomorrow.” The devil is covert and sneaky, so I stopped for a moment and prayed over my mind, asking God to protect it from negative, energy-draining thoughts. The Bible teaches us to cover everything with prayer (see Ephesians 6:18), so that’s exactly what I did! You and I can interrupt the devil’s plans through prayer. God helped me refocus my mind and convey His message accurately.

We are not beyond the devil’s ability to tempt us, but we can always resist him in Jesus’ name. There are days when the battle of the mind seems relentless, but victory always comes to those who refuse to give up. Thomas Edison said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Thankfully, I am pretty familiar with the devil’s tactics and have had many years to practice resisting them, but I do realize that for many of you the journey to right thinking is just beginning. I urge you not to be discouraged
on the difficult days, because your diligence will pay off with huge benefits in due time. Thomas Fuller said, “All things are difficult before they are easy.”
Don’t be defeated by the difficulty of any task. Any day that we don’t give up puts us one day closer to success. Good thinking begins with a choice, so I urge you to make yours today and every day of your life.

Any day that we don’t give up puts us one day closer to success.

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