Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Thoughts

What do you think about? Do you just think about whatever pops into your head? An important truth I’m learning is that we can choose our thoughts. We *need* to choose our thoughts. And maybe just as important, we don’t have to think every thought that comes into our head.

It’s easy to say that ‘Oh, I’m just a pessimist by nature’ or to make excuses. But we really do have a choice and it makes a difference in the quality of our life.

When my older son was two or three, my husband was working some long hours and I was a stay-at-home-mom. All day long, I’d think about how angry I was that he was never around, how I never had any relief. I thought he must not care about us or that he was doing it on purpose. I really focused on how bad I had it and how unfair the whole thing was. That’s what I filled my mind with all day long. I would work myself into such a lather, that by the time he did finally get home, I could barely stand to look at my husband. And I was miserable.

Confession time. This is embarrassing, but this is how bad it got. It made me so petty that when my husband would call to say what time he’d be home, I’d try to get my son to sleep before that time so that my husband couldn’t see him. Why? I wanted to punish my husband. Yes, I was that petty and angry. Now, did I have a right to be angry about the situation? Yes. But is that the kind of person I wanted to be? Petty, bitter and angry? No.  

I finally realized I was spending all day thinking bad thoughts about my husband, and that even though I may have had a right to be upset, I was creating this horrible atmosphere for myself. I couldn’t change his work schedule; that was his responsibility. But I could change what I thought about all day. When I stopped dwelling on what a bad person he was, it changed my mood. I didn’t change my situation, but I definitely was happier when I changed what I thought about.

In fact, he still works a lot; that hasn’t changed. And frankly I still don’t like it. There are days I want to scream quite honestly. But now I try to look at the positives. I’m grateful he has a job. I’m grateful that my husband loves us enough to work so hard so that we can have all that we do. It changes things immensely for me. Those miserable days for me are few and far between now. And I appreciate what he does for our family; my feelings for him are much improved. All because I’m thinking different thoughts about the same situation.

Don’t underestimate your thought life. Be intentional with what you think about. It can make or break you.

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