In part 1 of this blog series we discussed Philippians 4:8 and how that one verse is the secret to living a joy-filled life. We also discussed the importance of putting only joy-producing thoughts into your head. It is a way of controlling your mental diet. You can read part 1 here.
In part 2 of this blog series we discussed the art of consistently thinking joy-producing thoughts. We also discussed 4 important questions to ask yourself regarding the thoughts you put in your head. You can read part 2 here.
In part 3 of this blog series we discussed how joy comes from God and the closer the relationship you have with Him, the more joy you will have in your life. We also looked at some specific types of thoughts we should put in our minds. You can read part 3 here.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
What a great 3 verses. This would be a great set of verses to memorize. Rejoice always is another way of saying always be joyful. I understand that is impossible for us as flawed human to always be joyful, but that is a goal we can strive for. The closer we get to that goal, the happier we will be.
You can choose to pay attention to what’s present or what’s missing, what’s working or what’s broken, what you achieved or what you messed up, what’s available or what’s unavailable, what’s possible or what’s impossible, and what excites you or what frightens you. In so doing, you will win or lose the battle for your mind.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian writer, said, “Man is fond of counting his troubles but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see tat every lot has enough happiness provided for it.” Those are really strong words. Life is really what we make of it. We can choose to focus on the positive or the negative. What we focus on will affect our level of joy and this the type of person we are.
If your emotional life today is not where you want it to be, then your top priority should be shifting your attention to your blessings, to your strengths, and to the aspects of your life that are working. We need to stop talking so much about our mistakes, setbacks, and disappointments. When we focus on the negative, we will experience a deficit of joy. We need to not put our attention to the things that dissatisfy us.
Refuse to fuel negative emotions by constantly talking about what is wrong with your marriage, your children, your sore back, your peculiar neighbors, and the world in general. Instead broadcast your blessings to anyone who will listen. Verbalize your vision for the future to trusted friends and family. Turn the spotlight of your concentration to your future hopes and dreams, to the grand and mysterious future that God has in store for you. Your emotional life can advance only after your negative thoughts retreat.
Today challenge yourself to try your best to focus on only the positive thoughts and letting the negative things go from your mind. If you can do that, you will have a pretty good day.