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Monday, June 29, 2009

What’s On Your Mind?

I recently started a new Secrets small group in my church. As I was preparing the session one Saturday morning, I began to realize something in a very real way—my thoughts really play an important role in my personal emotional health and in the health of my marriage. Although this particular principle permeates the Secrets material, it has never been as clear to me as it was that morning.

Scripture has a lot to say about our thoughts. We are told to guard our hearts, to take our thoughts captive, and to think on things that are true. In fact, every attitude and action is shaped by the thoughts I allow to dominate my mind.

Here is how I would describe those thoughts:


Thoughts about ME
I am responsible for my own my growth and change.

This can only happen as I actively pursue God by loving and obeying Him. As I allow the Holy Spirit to fill and lead my life, the fruit of the Spirit will be demonstrated in my attitudes and actions.

Thoughts about MY HUSBAND
I am responsible to love and serve him.

My thoughts of him should be filled with looking for ways to express my love for him. I am most like Christ when I love and sacrificially serve others.


Thoughts about ME
I would be okay if my husband would change and grow.

No one can change another person—these thoughts leave me drained and unproductive. And quite honestly, I would still be discontented even if my husband was perfect—because only a right personal relationship with God will bring true fulfillment.

Thoughts about MY HUSBAND
He needs to love and serve me more.

These thoughts cause me to be self-focused and ungrateful. If left unchecked, I become prideful and bitter.

Even knowing this principle, I can easily fall into wrong thoughts patterns, thinking—Mike really needs to change… or I really wish he would express his love for me by… And when I dwell on these thoughts, I am continually discontented. I’m focusing on things I cannot change and neglecting those things I can change. Wrong thought patterns always lead to grumbling and bitterness.

However, when I purposely focus on my responsibility for my personal growth and change, and when I think of ways to love and serve Mike, there is health and life for me emotionally and for our relationship. For when I’m am loving God and growing to be more like Christ, I’m fulfilling my purpose. And when I’m focused on loving Mike, I’m being obedient to Christ’s mission to love and serve others!

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