Have you ever thought to yourself: “What is it going to take for real change to happen in my life?” In her latest book, The Mind Connection: How the Thoughts You Choose Affect Your Mood, Behavior, and Decisions, Joyce Meyer says that our thoughts have a positive or negative impact on every area of our lives—our attitudes, moods, words and behavior, as well as our relationships with God, with others, and with ourselves.
Most people would consider me a very positive person. Like most people, however, I struggle to maintain positive thoughts. It’s easy to stay positive when all is well and things are going our way. But the real challenge is keeping a good attitude when things don’t go as planned. “We can waste most of life with the misconception that joy and enjoyment come from our circumstances,” Joyce says, “but the truth is that they come from our attitude toward each circumstance rather than from the circumstance itself.”
What I like about The Mind Connection is Joyce’s transparency about her own battle to overcome negative thinking throughout her life. What I really love about the book is her eagerness to share practical advice on how we can begin to choose right thoughts on purpose. I get very excited at the idea that I have power over my thoughts and that I don’t have to accept every random thought that comes to mind. I do not have to sit passively by while my mind is flooded with thoughts that overwhelm me and steal my joy—thoughts that negatively impact my attitude and, ultimately, my relationships.
The Mind Connection is chock full of practical tips that we can begin implementing right way if we want to see a change in our thoughts, attitudes, moods, words and behavior. Here are three that have been especially helpful for me.
Choose Your Attitude. Joyce tells the story of a man who observed a mother and her daughter in the grocery store. As they passed the cookie aisle, the little girl began to whine and fuss and the mother patiently said, “Now, Monica, we just have half of the aisles left to go through; don’t be upset. It won’t be long.” As they passed the candy aisle, the little girl threw a tantrum. Again, the mother repeated similar words. When they finally reached the checkout, the gentleman complimented the mother on how patient she was with “little Monica,” and the mother said, “I’m Monica … my little girl’s name is Tammy.”
When we are feeling impatient, we can stir ourselves up to be patient. When we are tempted to complain, we can instead choose to count our blessings. The point is that we can stop to examine our thoughts at any given moment and choose an attitude that increases our joy and improves our outlook on life.
Think Well of Others. This point really hit home for me. Did you know that it is possible to tell people exactly what we think of them without ever opening our mouths?! It takes a great amount of self-control and skill to control our voice tones, facial expressions, and body language, especially when our thoughts run contrary to what we intend to express. Why not begin by thinking well of others so that our non-verbal communication becomes an authentic and a positive reflection of what we think? People may be not be able to read our minds, but they can feel our thoughts.
I know personally that my facial expressions betray me. Poker? Forget about it. I would lose, hands down. There have been countless times when I have disagreed with someone and my disagreement was (sometimes, intentionally) written all over my face. God is honored when we refrain from arguing, but it honors Him more when we learn to appreciate the different perspectives that people bring to the table, even when we disagree, and learn to accept people for who they are. While I certainly don’t agree with everything I hear, I can choose to honor each person in my thoughts and celebrate the unique individual that God created them to be. As Joyce says, “I am not the perfect standard for how people should be.”
Renew Your Mind. One thing that I love about the Bible is that it offers unique perspectives on creation that you don’t find in any other book. There is a verse that addresses every dark thought and corrects faulty thinking. When we feel like we don’t belong or fit in, God tells us that we are His. When we struggle with low self-esteem, God confirms our worth by telling us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” When we feel like we have lost control of our lives, He assures us that He is working all things together for our good. In the words of King David:
You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.
The best place to begin renewing our minds is with God’s Word, for it has the power to increase our joy and peace, give us renewed passion and purpose, and completely transform our lives.
There are so many more insights to be gained by reading The Mind Connection. Joyce shares a lot of tough lessons that are worth learning sooner in life, rather than later. Having overcome in this area, she ends by giving a step-by-step guide on how we can begin casting down bad thoughts and regaining control over our minds. This, she says, is possible when we “believe what God believes, learn to think as He would think, say what He says, and make the decisions that He leads [us] to make.”