The one thing that can turn your negative thoughts to good…Plus 8 tips for cultivating a positive frame of mind

FIELD

COURSE

So my Michael and I are walking down a country lane, determined to boost our endorphins by getting some exercise in the bright sunshine.

“We’re also making Vitamin D,” he says with a grin.

“I’m not so sure,” I say, noting that nearly every square inch of me is bundled against the chill. {O Summer, wherefore art thou?}

BUNDLED

I have slept VERY little in the last two nights and I am sluggish in body and soul. With every step my thoughts spin further down, all negative and fearful.

“I’ve been worrying too much lately,” I confess.

“Yes you have,” he says.

Then I give voice to my negative thoughts in an effort to diminish their grip on me, and in hearing myself speak them out loud I recognize them for what they are.

Fear-fueled lies.

“What would you say to a woman you were mentoring if she said what you just said?” he wisely asks me. He often poses this question which makes me dig a little deeper and think harder, helping me sort things through and find my way out of the dark place.

“I would tell her that she can change her negative thinking. Right now. Right in the midst of the downward spiral,” I say, “by making a choice to change and think more positively on other, better things.”

Choosing this repeatedly until it becomes your new groove, even though it can seem impossible to begin, helps banish negative thinking for good.

Regardless of how you or I may feel we still have the power to choose what we think. And since we readily believe what our brains tell us, choosing carefully is not only prudent, but obedient.

Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8 J. B. Phillips

CHIMNEY

Simply put, the one thing you can do to get rid of your negative thoughts for good is to begin by making a choice.

I don’t know about you, but my struggle with negative thinking intensifies in the winter.

Too much dark, and I’m not talking chocolate. And too much cold. It throws my circadian rhythms off and disturbs my sleep. And that sets me up to more easily entertain the wild beasts that come running at me from the cages in my mind as soon as my eyes open, or maybe have been dancing along my neural pathways through the wee hours of wakefulness. 

{And of course, if your negative thoughts are significantly more than mild SAD-induced variety, please seek out a mental health professional today. This can help!}

In addition to choosing to think more positively, here are action steps that help me ascend from the pit. They can get you to the brighter side, too.

  1. Keep your brain and heart flooded with God’s truth each day. Even if you only have five minutes to spare in the morning, make reading the Bible a ritual. A great site when you’re on the go is BibleGateway.
  2. Take a news fast. While I’m not advocating that you completely ignore world events, you don’t need to gorge your mind all the time with graphic images. Set some limits for yourself.
  3. Conduct a self-inventory. Ask the Holy Spirit, who is your best counselor, to show you the areas of unrest in your soul. Dig a little deeper to discover the roots of your unrest that contribute to your negative thinking. Perhaps you bear a grudge against your husband, mother or former friend? Confess to God what is revealed as sinful and then choose to fill your heart and mind with truth that will keep you free.
  4. Remember! Humans are by nature forgetful. You make a decision to turn yourself around but your hurts, habits and hang-ups are so deeply ingrained that you can’t seem to stay out of your rut for more than short periods of time. When you fall back into negative patterns you berate yourself, lose hope that change is possible, and perpetuate the cycle that gets you nowhere. One thing that helps me remember is neon bright Post-its. I make tiny cue cards for myself and post them where I can’t ignore them like the edge of my computer screen or my bathroom cabinet. Plus, all those jots of color makes me happy, too.
  5. Hear your thoughts. When you find your thinking going in the wrong direction tell yourself to STOP! Say it out loud. Speak out your silly thoughts either to yourself or someone else, like I did on my walk with Michael. Hearing what you are thinking helps you realize the negative thoughts are not rational.
  6. Feed your brain. Eating healthy improves overall health and that includes your gray matter. Brains benefit from a diet rich in omega 3s, Vitamin D and B vitamins. Foods like salmon, walnuts, avocados, blueberries, green tea and yes, dark chocolate (85% organic and fair traded) are all great choices. Reducing Candida in your digestive system can also improve your mood and thinking. There’s a reason your gut is referred to as your “second brain.”
  7. Hug and hug some more. Hugging a loved one not only strengthens your immune system, but boosts oxytocin and serotonin levels, making you feel less lonely and angry and increasing your happiness quotient. If no one is around hug the family pet or give yourself a hug! Close your eyes, use your God-given imagination and feel His arms encircling you. Hugs, like laughter, help you let go, relax and feel more upbeat. Virginia Satir, the late family therapist and author, said: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
  8. Sleep. This can be tricky, especially for women, especially during the months of increased darkness. But quality sleep is vital to good health, both physical and mental, because body and mind restoration and detoxification happens during deep sleep. Some ways to achieve this include: setting a positive intention that sleep will come, staying calm and relaxed especially later in the day, getting off the computer at least two hours before bed, being consistent with a bedtime routine that relaxes you, keeping your bedroom calm, clutter free and cool; not eating heavily before bedtime, exercising earlier in the day, getting enough light by braving the outdoors or using this type of lamp.

If you need help transforming your mind from negative to positive, click on my picture below for further information.

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Unrealistic expectations can ruin a marriage …

EXPECTATIONS

I saw this quote on Facebook this morning and thought how aptly it can relate to marriage, mine and Michael’s included. I pondered how expectations of how “things” are supposed to be, yet in reality sometimes aren’t and possibly may never be, can bring hearts low and marriages down. And when expectations crash we feel the burn and sometimes run in opposite directions, reaching for our salve of choice with which to soothe our wounds.

But how much quicker might a marriage grow into all that God purposes it to be if each wounded spouse ran in the same direction to God, the ultimate help and counselor.

What if me and my husband, and you and your’s, leave all the starry-eyed expectations at the altar? Those dreamy dreams of love in a fairy tale? Delusions of grandeur where spouses never tire, get grouchy, worry, fall ill, shake with fear, or lose hope?

What if we stopped ourselves right where we are right this minute and just let go of the expectations of perfection and the unreasonable demands and pressure it puts upon our married mate?

PINK SKY

For a very long time in my earlier life I believed that if I was perfect all the time, along with being thin, pretty, polite, and smart — in essence if I would forgo all that it is to be blood, sweat and tears human — then somebody, somewhere would love me. There were many missteps along that trail, with tears, and always trying one more time.

But my Father is not one who demands perfection from me.

Not then, not now, not ever, not as a woman or a wife. Yes, He is working in me to perfect all that is good and light and love in me in this rugged journey up the down mountain of life. And He does expect me to grow beyond the confines of my current circumstances and current self to be all that He has wonderfully made me to be.

Yet I — like you — am just a woman with all the beauty, mystery, frayed edges, loose ends, and ups and downs that it brings. My husband — and your’s, too — is just a man in all his beauty, mystery, frayed edges, loose ends, and ups and downs. But there can be days, or maybe weeks, when cycles old spin anew and couples grow dizzy, weary, sore from a ride that seems to be going nowhere. Expectations of what marriage, life, each other should be is drastically, despairingly different than what it is in this one blessed moment of living.

And if we stubbornly cling to our mighty expectations of marriage it will be nearly impossible to see our way through the thorns which are the merciful gifts of a loving Parent who uses difficulties, and the consequences there from, to ultimately bring out the very best in each of His children. That we might become the living breathing embodiment of all the best thoughts He has ever had about us.

Yet tears fall like rain until we put ourself aside — not in a doormat kind of way — but in a mature, gracious, life and marriage affirming way — and remember that God doesn’t promise a rose garden in marriage. He gives us a little bit of dirt upon which we scratch out a life or a union that will either rise above and honor Him — or honor self. Along the way we plant seeds that will harvest tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. May we be wise enough to choose to plant good seeds that flourish in all that is love and bring us to the other side where the sun shines and the meadow is green and sweet with the fragrance of wild flowers and the sound of song birds telling us that the winter is finally past, the rains are over and done.

The place where we will be more grown up, more stable, more truly loving than we have ever been.

So one day after the next, we pick up our crosses, we cooperate with Christ as best we can in the given moment of grace and keep in mind the joy set before Him — and us — that allowed Him to submit His will to the Father’s. Our self-seeking soul poverty grows rich with love that puts others first and the monsters under the bed looming large in the middle of our messes will be tamed.

By Love.

PINK SUNSET

Everything begins with a thought so we must pray on that helmut that keeps the lies away, drowning out the internal narrator so often negative. Taking captive dark thinking that captures us in fear. And as we focus on Him we will change self instead of trying to change our other, letting go while clinging to God.

It may sound terribly cliche, and perhaps a bit naive, to let go and let God, but that is the only way me or you, or my husband or your’s, or our kids, will ever find freedom. By abandoning our self-made way to travel The Way, the only way, with the only One who can save us from our sins, unite our broken hearts, give us strength to just be by becoming all He has ever intended for us to be.

We beat our heads against the wall in pursuit of the perfect program or formula for the marriage to end all marriages, trying to control, manipulate, forecast outcomes as if we little humans have that power! It is not a perfect marital union that will unite our broken bits and pieces into a beautiful mosaic full of color and meaning — although marriage done God’s hard and narrow way does indeed make us better together than we could ever be apart — it is our union with the perfect Christ and us pressing into Him when all around us is pressing hard.

And He will perfect all that concerns us.

CALM

And may I and my Michael — and you and your hubby — not forget to be truly thankful for our one imperfect mate that God uses in all the ups and downs, good and bad, to make us perfected in His son. Jesus our most profound perfect gift and our spouse, like us, our second most profound imperfect gift.

Marriage is a sweet blessing purposed not so much to keep us entertained, distracted, or numbed to the realities of our inner realm or make us happy all the time — although God does expect our unions to bring us deep joy — but intended to turn our darkness to light. And the husband and wife seeking Light will emanate light into a world dim and broken yet so very beautiful and full of hope.

And walking in the light of love we find healing…

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Is your marriage producing thorns and thistles? Then plant new seeds today…

ACORN SEED

And keep watering those new seeds until the flames that threaten to burn them up are extinguished.

For there is anger buried deep and breathing fire from the depths of its darkened habitation habitually spitting unforgiveness like acid rain. Burning a hole first in the heart of him or her who secretly tends it and pets it and keeps it alive even though all it can do is destroy when cuddled close.

And this anger fierce is so often against self that has chosen poorly too many times to count.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7-8

Except critical self does keep count! And lies loudly as you lie awake all night rehashing that which is done and over. No matter how many times you think the same thoughts about what might have been, or beat yourself up for having been so stupid, it’s just a waste of time.

What is done is done.

There is no un-doing past choices — good or bad — for all is past and all that is, is present. There is only one gift and that is in this one, breathing, heart-beating moment so readily squandered. Stop throwing away the gifts of your marriage, crying over milk that you or your spouse spilled, watching it puddle on the kitchen floor and all of it curdling sour.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4

ACORN TWO

As a couple you have fallen into the cracks, first of your own two hearts, and then those in the foundation of your union. Staying there, shoving each other out of the way as you vie to be first and always right, pressure increases and cracks deepen becoming harder, though not impossible, to fill with soil and seeds new and good.

Yet you and your spouse keep raking each other over the coals as you scratch at the same patch of dirt feeling hopelessly lost in the long nights of sighing and your heart crying and you catch a glimpse of what it means for two to walk and work and heal as one in the twinkle of each other’s eyes quickly fading when thistles twist and thorns pierce.

And the light of your love that incubates new seeds to life grows dim, then cold, for you neglect to tend the home fires burning only with rage.

But God.

ACORN DECK

And His grace abundant filling in your cracks and failures with hope that chases despair into the light which transforms no matter how dark your marriage seems right now. There is always hope, you must believe, and begin again. And again and again for as long as it takes for your self to stop coddling itself and you understand that you are not a victim, but a victor.

Both of you!

Why do you look at the speck that is in your {spouse’s} eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your {spouse}, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

You’ve traveled miles of unending pain, yet your journey has just begun so have courage and be kind and find strength of soul and fortitude of mind and determination of will that sets you and your spouse apart from all the other couples who have slipped away from each other, losing their own heart that beats within the other.

And how silly and immature it is to blame or shame, hoot or holler, or shun and run when the fault lies within each of you deeply grooved.

ACORN LEAVES

You know what to do that pleases God for you have walked with Him many years, so just do it. Change your reaction, alter your speech, formulate new thoughts and then live unpredictably different from your past. One day at a time, hard as it is and keep on keeping on no matter how weary you become.

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

God at work growing a husband into a son and a wife into a daughter and a disparate pair into a complete couple whose uniqueness and beauty will shine unreal yet finally real for the masks that hide the hurt have been removed and the weapons laid aside and in total nakedness there is no shame for you no longer critically condemn your one flesh partner who is but the mirror image of yourself, reflecting back in their distinctive way your own bad because the two of you are one.

One!

So stop fighting each other and start fighting together the condemner of the brethren and of spouses since time began and be victorious in marriage and in life. 

ACORN TREE

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Matthew 13:43

And side by side you will shine as together you toil and rake and dig and keep planting seed, healthy and good, even when droughts prevail or rains like so many tears wash away what has been newly sown. Your tiny seeds tended will sprout roots deep, grow strong, and reach tall as a healthy tree bearing good fruit whose leaf does not wither in ages old.

Fruit that is life giving and sweet to the soul of your marriage and so many others…

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Sheila Kimball Mentoring for women can help you become the wife who works together with, not against, her husband to plant new seeds in marriage producing righteousness to a thousand generations. CLICK NOW on my photo for a FREE mentoring session and further details.

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“There came a woman…” Words for the wife, mother, or any woman who struggles to follow Jesus

CHATHAM BENCH

There came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard and she broke the vial and poured it over His head…
Mark 14:4

Maybe you’re a wife and mother or an empty nester with a retired husband. Or perhaps you’re in a corner office leveraging multi-million dollar deals. Maybe you’re all these things and just trying to hold on and make life work.

Wherever we women find ourselves and whatever our current role in life may be, let’s live it out regally with all our soul and mind and strength for this one glorious, messy life is not a dress rehearsal.

It’s the real thing full of salty tears and laughter loud and moments good and bad, all of which leave their mark. And we will be salted with fire so that we may become salt that purifies self from its own ambitions and vain attempts at making life work on self-terms. And salt makes others thirsty and that’s when we can lead them to water which is full of life for all the living and is the Word of God.

And in the fullness of time at the end of all our days, we want to be remembered for having lived a life that pleased and honored God in every way, don’t we?

A life of steady obedience and radical love that will take us to the outermost limits of who we think we are and towards becoming who He wants us to be. Then we will shine like the stars in heaven, our little lights reflecting a big God, illuminating the way to freedom for others.

But we will only get to where He wants us to go to the extent that we are devoted to Him.

CHATHAM BIRCH HEART

Adoring Him with love patient and kind and pouring ourselves out as a fragrant offering long remembered. And when there comes a woman such as this — a living, breathing example of the softness and the strength of Father — who obeys and follows and looks and sounds like Jesus many more times than she does not — then the lives around her are in a position to be influenced for great good.

For she has come into the midst of them, those who love her and even those who seem like they don’t much care about her, bearing a fragrant force that envelopes like a cloud, leading as a pillar by day. And she won’t be fussing and striving and trying, all frenzied or fuming.

She will be at peace like a calm pool of water that reflects back a serene image to heaven.

Quiet, gentle example of her life invites without suffocating, proceeding forward one day at a time without her getting exhausted in her own strength always failing. She accepts who she is in God — beloved daughter sought after and won over, a princess warrior, a royal priestess — and in accepting who she is in Him she finds serenity and sanity that surpasses all understanding for it is the peace of Christ who understood that only One was good and that is God and Jesus did everything the way He saw His Father doing it.

No longer does this woman ride the merry-go-round of madness and mania which has a way of making those she loves insane, too. She has stopped doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results that never come because she has finally discovered the answer to all her longings and problems and relational difficulties, the traumas past and the future fears imagined, the crazy thoughts spinning and the words gushing as if they weren’t being heard in Heaven. As if they weren’t hurting those hearing them here on earth.

CHATHAM VIEW

And the answer is simply,

Come. Follow Me…
Mark 1:17

But she has made the following hard all these years because she isn’t!

She thinks she is following Jesus because maybe she leads the woman’s bible study or has 100 verses memorized each month and while those are good works her heart is working wrong as it runs away with self. And her marriage suffers and her children, too. She keeps asking God for a break, for His favor, forgetting that while He does indeed rain on all, He blesses obedience.

Obedience to the commands of Christ.

Following Jesus means obeying God in the big and little aspects of life. It is doing as Jesus did. And thinking like Him and speaking like him and knowing when to be quiet and listen so that the still small voice can be heard above the constant drone of her days that this is the way to walk, precious daughter dearly loved.

The way of the cross.

And the cross means sacrifice and laying aside her own internal demands that make her feel a little better in the short term but do such long term damage that it may take years to unravel for bad seeds planted produce a bigger crop than one ever expects. She grows discouraged and the enemy lies saying she will never change because she just. keeps. failing.

 Truth says she can become like Christ truly, really, and deeply by the grace of God which is there for her in abundance if only she will believe.

And in her belief, obey. No matter what the voices stirring inside may tell her she will begin to live truly believing and truly following until her heart is absolutely convinced that she is indeed a daughter-disciple who conquers the sin in herself by grace, who repeatedly takes the hard high road of putting God first and others before herself. She chooses to surrender and submit her rowdy will to her Father’s perfect will, sending away her sin just like Jesus did when He died on the cross for her with all His eternal love bleeding out. There is life all shiny new in that precious blood.

CHATHAM POND

She has stopped all her running in circles and talking forever and has quieted her soul and is choosing to deny her sinful, selfish wants and discipline herself until she really is a disciple. She summons up all the strength that God bestows with mercies new each morning and makes herself do. the. right. thing. until doing the right thing is as much a natural part of her as is her breathing.

And the road is narrow with only the most devoted believers finding it and then following it, one day at a time for the rest of their days. But there’s power in the blood and once washed clean by it only her feet need be bathed as she sits at His feet.

The fragrance of this one life of her’s poured out for Him causes the Lover of her soul to smile and there finally comes a woman whose life fragrance is enticing and winsome to all around her. She has broken the alabaster jar of her past way of living sinful and pours out her all obediently.

Becoming who she is meant to be as she comes to Jesus and simply follows…

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Sheila Kimball Mentoring can help you find the narrow road to a glorious life wide with blessings from above, including a happier marriage and family, and able to draw others to God. Click on my photo now for a FREE 20 minute introductory session and further information.

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I can’t tell you enough how the Michael Phillip’s book, Commands of Christ, has and is helping me to be a truer daughter-disciple. Get your copy today by clicking my affiliate link HERE. And then slowly read through it, one day at a time, letting the powerful truths contained sink deeply into your soul, but most importantly choosing to live the Commands.

 

 

You don’t have to walk on eggshells…Domestic Violence Awareness podcast plus FREE mentoring session

PERKINS COVE

Once upon a nightmare, I was in an abusive marriage.

And I learned the hard way that abusers very rarely change yet their actions produce powerful changes in their victims. 

From confident to intimidated.

Happy to sad.

Outgoing and social to reclusive and withdrawn.

And sometimes from alive to dead.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that three women are killed every day in the United States by a current or former intimate partner. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner.

As a survivor of a courts-cops-orders-of-protection second marriage, I encourage you to take the steps necessary to get help for yourself and your children if you are living with an abuser. Links to previous October posts about my past experiences are at the end of this post.

COFFEE

But the story I speak today is an encouragement to break free of any abusive situation. A deeply heart-felt account, I wrote this as an open letter to you and all women everywhere who have or are suffering abuse.

For a free transcript of today’s podcast, CLICK HERE.

Abuse in any form is dangerous and God doesn’t want anyone to remain in an abusive situation.


If you need help call the National Domestic Violence Hotline now 
1-800-799-7233. 

I got out and so can you!!

And may God be with you and your children…

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Other posts I’ve written on the subject of Domestic Violence:

October-is-Domestic-Violence-Awareness-Month

Get out now before it’s too late

Their love saved my life

He never has the right to hit you

To the wife who holds her breath

Forgive your abuser to be totally free

If an abusive dad was to apologize

Don’t stand by your man when your child could die

Husbands get abused too

As a woman who has survived domestic violence, divorce and single parenting challenges after abuse, I now help women recover, heal and rebuild their lives through Sheila Kimball Mentoring. CLICK HERE today for information and a FREE mentoring session. {U.S. residents only, please.}

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For more information and client testimonials visit Sheila Kimball Mentoring.