I have a friend who is mostly miserable.  At least his mood or temperament is one of low-grade discontent.  I must be careful when I am around him lest he infect me.  I like him–I really do, but I want to shout, “Enough already, let’s hear some cheer!”

I have watched him, trying to figure out where all this negativism is coming from.  His life is good, not wonderful in some areas, but he has good things going on in his life.  That is the case with most of us, just life happening.  So where is the root of this discontent?

I believe the problem is that he lets his thought life run rampant like a rebellious child with no discipline.  He will tell me about a problem, and how it is effecting him.  I will counter with possible ways to look at the situation or to improve it.  The next sentence from him is, “But that wouldn’t work,” as he proceeds to tell me why it wouldn’t work.  After such exchanges for several hours, I want to pull my hair out (or his).  I can feel my temperature rising, and must control myself to stay compassionate and “unhooked.”

Is it possible to control our thoughts, and if so, how?  First, I think a person must become aware of their content.

Is this a valid concern, or am I reacting in fear:  (My car won’t start.)  “I always have to drive these clunkers.  I’ll never get anything decent.” or “It might just be the battery cables.  I can check that out easily   enough.”

Is it realistic?  “I know this won’t work.  It can’t be done.”  or  “I’ve found in the past that I could accomplish those tasks in spite of disbelief in my skills.”  or  “Maybe I can get help from someone who knows how (and watch how they do it.)”

What’s behind the thought attitude?  Some people actually believe they were predestined to be failures.  “I’m not worthy, and will never amount to much.  I just accept that fact as part of who I am.”  or  “I was created special and unique.  I am a child of God and He don’t make junk.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…”

Is there an unresolved issue eating at me?  Some people lash out in anger or rebellion.  “I’m tired of everyone expecting too much from me.  I don’t have to conform to expectations.”  “I want to do it my way.”  or  “Let’s get this job done.  How can I help?”  (If my friend would take this latter attitude, I would fall over in joy.)

Second, where do our thought come from?  Most of them come from our reasoning.  Some are reactions or habits we learned in childhood that just pop up unbidden.  And some of you will be shocked that many thoughts come from Satan.  Oh, he’s sneaky.  He uses first person grammar to trick us into believing it was our thought.  Some people believe the mind is a closed unit accessible only to us, but studies in telepathy and spirituality show us differently.  But that’s another blog.  As a person grows to know themselves, the word of God, and the slime of Satan, they can rightly place a thought in its proper category.  Just remember the four questions in their negative context above are grounded in lies attacking our very souls.  And we know who the author of lies is and his purpose to destroy us, if possible.

I have become very sensitive to my thoughts and to comments of those around me.  I am brought up short at how often they allow discontent and anger to direct their words. And I know Satan uses them to attack me where he can no longer directly do so.  It makes me angry that my loved ones would so unknowingly ambush me.  (I also wonder what it’s  like to live with that unhappiness in their minds.)  And then I remember the strongest voice of all in my head, “You are loved.  You are My child, beautifully and wonderfully made, and I want the best for you.  Come walk with Me…you will enjoy the journey.”  And I forgive as I have been forgiven.

Yes, it’s possible to change one’s thoughts.  Just catch them, look them over, and put the truth to them.  It will be slow at first, but the rewards will rapidly multiple for oneself and those around us.


2 thoughts on “Ambushed

  1. As someone who has struggled with depression, who has had friends abandon me because I was “too negative” and they were cleaning up their own life and getting rid of the dead weight, as someone who has been accused of overreacting or being too sensitive, and who has tried all the self-help advice, and done “all the things” to try to get well short of abandoning my faith, I can say it’s one thing to acknowledge the negativity and quite another to combat it. The most effective thing I have experienced to change my thought patterns has been a special kind of prayer called Transformational Prayer Ministry. It’s a guided prayer with a trained prayer minister who helps you find roots in your past that are triggering you in events of the present. Sometimes we think we have been through that memory already and we’re over that now and healed of that thing, but our thoughts about it, or some aspect of it can still influence our responses to situations we experience in the here and now. Only God can fix that. No amount of self-talk can fix it. Yes I definitely agree that sometimes the devil accesses our thoughts and puts evil thoughts in our minds. I don’t think he can access a mind that is focused on God, but when we let our thoughts wander, especially if we entertain ungodly thoughts like anger, hatred, unforgiveness, revenge, or things that God has forbidden then we put up a neon sign for the forces of darkness to infiltrate our minds and lead us astray in our thoughts, and our actions. Because every action begins as a thought. This is why the Bible tells us to guard our hearts (our heart is where we harbor our thoughts) because out of them comes the wellspring of life. Healing is possible. But sometimes it takes God to fix it. If your friend who is constantly negative won’t accept advice, maybe try to get them to ask themselves why they feel that way? Solutions are much more acceptable when they come from within than from without.

  2. Thank you for your response, and for your mention of Transformational Prayer Ministry. I hope I have not underrepresented the struggle and effort it takes to take control of a person’s mind and thoughts, especially if they have come through some hard places. It takes real commitment to make lasting changes, and the battle isn’t won once and then complete. It must be fought as often as necessary, but things get easier as time goes by. I remember those days when I thought I would never find rest for my soul, but it did come.

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