Win Today with Christopher Cook

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Sour Thoughts: Easy Steps to Absolutely Ruin Your Day

The strength your thoughts posses to steer the course of your life is often grossly underestimated. It is for that reason you must take stock in your thinking process on a regular basis, whether good or bad. Not every thought that drops into the space between your ears is worth being allowed to plant itself as seed and grow. Nor is every thought true or rational.

It’s precisely why there is a significant difference between having a thought (which is involuntary) and thinking about a thought (which is voluntary). And it’s for that reason that I’m blowing the cover on what I affectionately refer to as “sour thoughts”; destructive thoughts that seek to sabotage your pursuit of building the best version of “you” possible.

Shuffle the Hits

What was the first negative thought you had today? Be honest. How about when you walked into work and your supervisor walked right past you without even looking your way? How about when your spouse hurriedly walked out of the house without saying goodbye? How about when you sent an important text to a close friend and never received a response?

I’ll wait for a moment while that emotion resurfaces. What was your reaction? I’d bet some serious coin that it was to the tune of…

“What did I do wrong now?”
“What a jerk.”
“Maybe it’s true that I’m not valuable after all.”
“She looked at me like that yesterday. I’m probably in trouble.”
“You’d think he would value our relationship enough to text me back soon.”
“After all I do for her, the least she could do is acknowledge me.”
And my favorite…“Who do you think you are?”

Pucker-up, lemon lips. You’re sinking.

Five Easy Steps to Ruin Your Day

Taking it a step further, assuming you let the thought move from your conscious mind into your subconscious mind like a bird’s nest in a gutter, let’s play this out and explore the five snowballing steps that will surely ruin your day:

  1. Entertain a negative thought.
  2. Think twice about the same negative thought.
  3. Second-guess the stupidity of the thought and consider its possibility of reality.
  4. Allow the negative thought to take root into your belief system.
  5. Behave through the filter of the thought as if it were actually true.

What’s the result? Enter the feeling of the cold, unforgiving blanket of apathy wrapping itself around your soul as the weight of disdain presses unflinchingly atop your eyelids while laying out the welcome mat for a headache, irritability, and exhaustion.

And just like that, you’ve created a huge, totally irrational story. It’s cleverly stupid, isn’t it? But even though you may be down, you’re not out. Thankfully, there are three surefire strategies to ripping destructive thoughts out of your mind before they take root and do their damage.

1.) H.A.L.T.

Recently, I learned an acronym known as H.A.L.T. Regarding stinking thinking, the principle holds true. Anytime negative thoughts enter your mind, quickly ask yourself:

Am I hungry?
Am I angry?
Am I lonely?
Am I tired?

Making slipshod, irrational, impulsive decisions in any of these conditions will lead you away from focused living that yields negative, regressive results. Supporting this thought, a trusted leader in my life once said, “I have to manage my soul and nourish my body. I have to realize that my soul and body get exhausted before my spirit does.”

2.) The Umpire Strikes Back

Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

In baseball, the umpires decide whether or not the ball is in or out of play. Concerning your thought life, shouldn’t you employ the same strategy? You see, if you don’t manage your inner world, it’ll eventually manage you and undermine your destiny. You need to question “reality” and learn to set your mind and keep it set on that which is true.

3.) Don’t Let One Thought Go Unchecked

This is especially important when you’re hurting. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, the apostle Paul declares, “For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)…”

There are so many times you have a reason to think and believe something, but it doesn’t mean you should. You don’t have to actively think about every thought that drops in your head. Deal with it before it settles into your subconscious mind.

In life, the barrage of random thoughts that enter your headspace won’t completely end. But you can put an end to allowing “sour thoughts” to manage you.

Earlier, I suggested that you’ve probably asked yourself, “Who do you think you are?” Well, the Lord and the enemy ask the same question, too. One is an invitation to discover significance and purpose. The other is a blatant taunt fueled by fear and condemnation. Make the regular choice to develop a mind that agrees with the truth about what God says. So I ask…

Who do you think you are?

  • H.A.L.T. is good stuff, something I learned 15 yrs ago AA and live by today. And its amazing how my wife is darn good at pointing out when I’m behaving/responding out of one of those spots 🙂 .

    • Totally! It’s such a “cross-platform” principle, and is actually kingdom, too! Proverbs takes quite the stand on several of those keys!