I read an incredible book this week. I strongly recommend it. It’s called Soundtracks by Jon Acuff. It’s an easy read and funny and super helpful.
In Soundtracks,, Acuff urges us to pay attention to the things we think. And not just pay attention–but actually take responsibility and control over our own thoughts.
It’s not a new or complicated idea. But instead of “taking my thoughts captive” as the scripture says, I have lately been letting my thoughts run away with me.
Maybe you can relate?
How many times a day do you say things to yourself like:
- I’m so stupid. I can’t do anything right.
- I’m a terrible parent.
- I hope my boss doesn’t know how incompetent I am.
- They are all talking about me behind my back.
- I’ll never change.
- What if my spouse / my child _________ (insert any type of hurt or danger here).
Catastrophizing, overgeneralizing, and jumping to conclusions are some common ways our thoughts get the best of us. Instead, it’s helpful to take a clear look at your inner dialogue and determine if that soundtrack deserves air time in your mind.
This has resulted in some uplifting conversations this week with my husband. We have been saying true and helpful and kind things about one another. And encouraging each other to reframe negative thoughts in a more productive way.
Maybe instead of thinking your teenager is being too easily offended (again) you could think “I’m glad he feels he can talk to me about his feelings instead of just letting them fester.”
Maybe instead of thinking your spouse doesn’t care you could think, “I don’t think I’ve done a good enough job telling her how sad I feel right now.”
Or instead of worrying if a friendship is irreversibly damaged because of a recent disagreement you might think (like one of my friends who emailed), “I’m confident our friendship is made of even stronger stuff.”
Consciously examining and then reframing your thought life. It’s revolutionary.
If you are overwhelmed lately with negative emotions and you wonder what’s causing you to feel:
- Anger over small things
- Fear about irrational worries
- Suspicion where it’s not called for
- Sudden despair, Insecurity or discouragement
It may be the “soundtracks” that are playing in your mind. This book has been helping me cue up a fresh playlist each day. Maybe it will help you too.
A couple verses to encourage a better soundtrack:
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
“…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).