Retrain Your Thinking

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

Did you know that you are a great storyteller?  Really, you are. Well, it is a little more accurate to say that your brain is a great storyteller. Your kids are off playing, but you realize they are suspiciously quiet.  You start imagining the trouble they are getting into. The person you are expecting to meet for lunch is late. The dialogue begins. Do I have the right time? Did we finalize the time? I bet I wrote down the wrong time. No, it’s right. Maybe there was an accident. I hope they are alright.  These are all different stories you are telling yourself.

Maybe you have an important presentation to give at work. You start second guessing yourself. Did I wear the right outfit? Did I prepare enough? In only a few seconds of “thinking,” I mean storytelling, you have yourself being fired.

Why not give yourself permission to tell another story? You are going to give the greatest presentation you ever gave. You aren’t going to get fired. If anything, you might even get a raise. They’ll be here. They’re just running a little late. OK, yes, you can go check on the kids!

How about in relationships?  How do “stories” help or hurt in our relationships with a brother or sister, or a husband or wife?

First Corinthians 13:4-7 (CEB) says this about love:

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.

Dr. Aaron Beck in his book Love is Never Enough says that love assumes the best. He uses this example of a wife looking to hang up a painting. The wife goes to nail in the painting. The husband asks, “Do you want help?” The wife starts to think, “Doesn’t he think I can do anything by myself? My husband is so controlling. He won’t even let me hang up a picture.” She says, “No.” The husband gets upset inside, thinking, “See if I ever help again.”

What really happened though? The wife was going to hang up a picture. The husband offered to help. The rest resulted from the stories they were telling themselves.

Do you see how this could have gone another way, in maybe a more positive and encouraging way? Remember, love is assuming the best. I hope it goes without saying, but this is never to be used to look past violence.  

The next time you find yourself in a situation where a simple question has negative thoughts running through your mind, try stopping to ask, what story am I telling myself? Is there a positive story to tell? Can you love, assuming the best? Imagine the results that could come out of situations when you love.

Blessings, Pastor Matt

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