Welcome to week ten of our Renew Your Mind Challenge! I am so glad you have joined us! In this 13-week challenge, I am sharing with you the single most life-changing truth I have personally discovered.
I will update the links below as I post them.
1. Back to the Beginning
2. Fix Your Mind
3. Accepting His Love
4. Love Into Joy
5. Joy Into Peace
6. Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness
9. Overcome Evil With Good
I used to be depressed, needy, easily offended, anxious, stressed – the list goes on. Now I am happy, fulfilled, and at peace. I discovered the answer at 29 years of age. The secret to happiness lies in your inner response to life: perceptions, intentions, feelings, thought patterns, beliefs. Come along with me and let your faith come alive to you in a new way – a way that will change everything. Each week, we will focus on one small yet powerful action we can take to change our inner life, and renew ourselves into the love of God.
We only have four more weeks of this challenge left! Can you believe it? So far, we have covered the foundation. We have discovered the importance of our inner life. We have practiced choosing our thought patterns to help change our inner responses to the people and situations around us. We have learned to receive the love of God into our hearts. We have explored all the fruits of the Spirit, and we have seen how they all flow out of a oneness with the love of God inside us. We have practiced thinking thoughts of love, all day, in every situation. We have briefly touched on why choosing our inner responses is so important: because of the power of our intentions in this energetic world.
During these last four weeks, I would like to leave you with four practical tools. These tools are very specific and are designed to help fine-tune the process of renewing your mind. Some of these tools may seem very basic. In fact, it’s likely that you already know and practice them. In this study, we are going to look at them in a new way.
Today’s tool is gratitude. One of the simplest and easiest things we can do to change our experience of and response to life is to focus on the things about our lives that we love.
Many of us have a tendency to focus on the negative qualities of our lives, our circumstances, and the people around us. We focus on these things naturally because they bring us discomfort, disappointment, or pain. The discomforts, disappointments, and pains of life help us to stretch and grow; however, they do not have to be our focus. We can retrain our minds to see the positive in each situation. We can fill our minds with the positive so that even when life is less than ideal, we spend a majority of our time feeling happy and fulfilled.
Our experience of life is determined by one thing and one thing alone. It is not our circumstances. It is not what is happening around us. Rather, it is what is happening inside us: the lens with which we choose to see. Gratitude is very powerful because it is a positive response to the things that make us happy. It amplifies those good things; it keeps our minds focused on them, enlarging them to us. The more we focus on the good, the more we expect and look for the good. The more we expect and look for the good, the more we will find it.
There are many ways to practice gratitude. It can be waking up in the morning and choosing to be grateful. It can be a simple, heartfelt “thank you.” But in order to completely change our mindset to one of gratitude, a one-time decision or occasional “thank you” is not enough. We must choose our thoughts and words carefully, all day, every day. Here are three practical suggestions that have been immensely helpful to me.
- Keep a list of things you are thankful for and add to it regularly. Read it often; keep it at the center of your thoughts. Before long your life will seem so filled with good things that you will wonder how you ever had anything to complain about.
- When a challenging situation arises, pinpoint at least one good thing about that situation. No matter how hard it is, see the challenging situation through the lens of that good thing. Why? Because it’s your choice, and you choose to see life in a way that makes you happy! It really is that simple.
- Choose thoughts and words of gratitude regularly. Think and say “I am so thankful!” “I am so blessed!” “I am well taken care of!” “My life is filled with good things!” Think and say these things until they become a pattern to you. Say them until you find yourself believing them deeply. Watch your experience of life change before your eyes.
As you practice these three steps, you will likely feel warm, happy, contented feelings more often. You may be tempted to shut down those feelings. Deep down, many of us believe we aren’t supposed to be happy and blessed. But true happiness and blessing comes from being filled with love and gratitude on the inside. If this is where your joy is springing from, welcome it! Let it fill your heart and mind, washing away the worry, negativity, and limited thinking of this world. Your Father loves you, cares for you, and blesses you with good gifts. What better response than to soak it in? What better response than joy and contentment?
Week Nine Challenge: Work on developing deeper levels of gratitude using the three suggestions above.