By now most people have heard from the pulpit, or the platform of motivational speakers, that we must control our thoughts in order to maintain some balance and control of our moods and emotions.
Thoughts precede emotions; and emotions can influence overall (and lasting) moods.
2 Corinthians 10:5 New International Version
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
This sounds like a tall order….and for a person who has a very active mind, one that can tend to be negative due to a depression condition, this mandate can seem overwhelming….EVERY thought?
Sometimes a thought comes to my mind, and before I catch it, I am 3 minutes into a story-line that the thought has taken me on. The story may be about something up coming in my day, my reactions about and impressions about something I experienced recently, or my predictions about how a conversation might go that I need to initiate.
If I just let my mind run its normal daily course, I will have approximately 6,200 thoughts during one day (according to a study I found online).
How on earth am I going to monitor each one and still have time to focus on anyone or anything besides myself?
There are two ways to approach this issue–
1) correct each and every negative thought to the best of your ability
2) focus only on the positive to the best of you ability
This has been a tough week. I mentioned in a different blog that I was in the hospital last week. I had/have a lot of work to catch up on this week. It has been an unusual week though. We have a new office volunteer to cover the phones during our Monday morning staff meeting. This week we did not have the meeting so I was grateful I could use the 3 free hours to catch up. NO SUCH LUCK! The phones rang so much that it took both of us to keep up with them alone and then we began to have homeless people start to come back into the office for serious help. We had one lady Monday with us for 2 hours as we tried to help her. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was working with two other men trying to get one into a shelter in another town and the other was having a mental health crisis and I had to find a placement for his dog so he could willingly seek help knowing the dog would be ok and not killed at the humane society. Then I had to get him help and transportation at the most appropriate facility.
BTW– I am a part time community liaison at my church….not a social worker in a community organization. I have many resources but this is not a full time position I hold— even when it requires full time and over time attention.
Don’t get me wrong…. I LOVE what I do!
I am grateful that people are returning for help now that COVID restrictions have almost gone away.
But sometimes, like this week, we get multiple people needing immediate help all at the same time. And this week the two men had various reasons for time constraints of when they had to get their help by.
Yesterday I worked my 9-noon shift. I made calls while walking home. I made calls at home then took a 90 minute nap. Then made calls and texts up until 7pm to finish up with the second gentleman getting situated safely.
Today– I said I would go into the office.
You see– I have YET to start on my normal Monday work (and today is Friday.)
No one at my work is gonna care. Nothing important has fallen through. And when I work at a church– “ministry to individuals” (especially ones in crisis) is WAY more important than any kind of paperwork.
I feel obligated to go. I have self pressure to preform, to get it all done, to be on top of things, to be super woman.
But alas— I noticed I brought enough stuff home with me yesterday that I can actually do it all from here. WHEW! Pressure relief.
Here is where I am going with this…
It has been a rewarding week helping others.
But I still have depression and negative thoughts about self and my life in general.
I am proud that my church and volunteers could help these 3 individuals. It does make me feel happy. But I am not at 100% yet and when I normally would be walking on air at this point, skipping around and high 5ing people… I am just kind of “meh” emotionally.
Then there are the negative thoughts that keep creeping in anyway.
Can you believe it? After such a great week? Where does negativity even get in?
Today I came across Philippians 4:8 New International Version
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
My strategy for today is to think only on those things which are excellent or worthy of praise.
When I am in a low mood, and perhaps you know people like this too, the negative thoughts can come out of the blue quickly and can be very numerous and hard to combat and correct each one.
I’m too drained to do that today. Paul has given us a way to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ…. Keep them focused on what is good.
If we stay focused on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy…. we won’t need to take them captive to Christ because they will already be flooded with His presence. (And quite possibly my mood will go from “meh” to “YES!” by days end.)
Until Next Time~