Do you ever get down-in-the-mouth, you no negative? I know I do. I stop walking the sunny side of the street and allow that little rain cloud of negativity to ruin my parade. Sometimes negative thoughts creep in and hangs around for awhile until we recognize it. So when it does, how do we combat negative thoughts?
Before we go on I want to clarify: battling with negative thoughts or even if you're a generally glass half full kinda person is not the same as fighting depression. If you think you're fighting depression please speak to your pastor about finding a Christian counselor who can help you.
6 Ways to Combat Your Negative Thoughts
#1 – Identify the root of your negative thoughts
Thoughts come to us from three places:
- God (via the Holy Spirit)
This is why we're told to take every thought captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5. In verse four, Paul reminds us that we are fighting strongholds, and not physical. So if not physical, than spiritual. We must remember two-thirds of our thoughts are not coming to us from our own mind.
When we realize that negative thoughts are from God we know what we can use to defeat them – God!
#2 – Accept that Negative Thoughts Will Come
I heard a teaching once where the pastor claimed that once we were in Christ we should not struggle with negative thoughts, attitudes or actions because we have too much to be thankful for. This is a dangerous statement.
As we saw above, we must line our thoughts up with God. We were not given this instruction because all thoughts that come to us are sunshine and roses. The problem is not that you have negative thoughts it's what you do with those negative thoughts.
#3 – Admit Your Having A Bad Day
Some of us are good at faking a smile and pushing through and sometimes it's necessary to fake it. But if you can, admit to those around you that you're having a bad day. I tell my 5-year-old and he will pray for me. And trust me, when you child prays for you, it is powerful, even when it's 10 or 15 words.
Seek the prayers of your friends. If you're under a spiritual attack of some kind, you need people to come around you to pray for you, with you and over you. Hiding it only allows the enemy to continue attacking you without defense.
#4 – Be Intentional
Be purposeful and intentional about seeing positive things. I mean really look for them. Write them down if you have to. Put on a happy song.
Often times, I need to say out loud, “No! I am not thinking this way!” I have to intentionally open my yap and talk back to the negativity. Negative thoughts have no place, we must be intentional to combat them with Truth they will infect our whole life.
This is why memorizing scripture is so important. When we're intentionally combating negative thoughts, we do so with God's word because darkness cannot hide in the light of the Word.
#5 – Have a Do-Over Day
Last week, our son was up at 6am, a bit early considering it was the first day home from a busy vacation. He was a fuss-button. By 10:30am we were napping and had I recognized the issue earlier, we'd have been in bed sooner. Yes, my five-year-old had a morning nap.
You see, he needed a do-over day. He was grumpy, negative and struggled to listen well. Adults need do-over days too. Sometimes you just need to pull the covers back over your head or take an afternoon nap.
#6 – Allow Yourself to Be Negative, But….
Guess what! You are allowed to have a bad day! When I worked as a Customer Service Manager my boss, during stressful times, would often say, “Go, find a quite spot and rest a moment.” For me, that was the boiler and storage room. I could sit and relax, even cry if I needed to.
God can handle your negativity. Allow yourself to be irritated,frustrated and upset but don't bring other people down in the process. Sometimes there is a trusted friend who can handle your junk for a short period without being impacted, but if not, go before the Lord and let it all out. Allowing yourself to have a bad day doesn't give you license to sin or hurt other people (physically or emotionally).
Even naturally happy and upbeat people will have gloomy days with negative thoughts. It doesn't make you a horrible person or a lesser Chrisitan. When these times come, combat the darkness with Light.