BY RACHEL AXTMANN
When I wake up in the morning, even before I lift my head off the pillow, my mind immediately clicks into gear. My thoughts rush in, and they typically run the gamut. Sometimes, it’s things I didn’t get to the day before. But, it’s always the to-do’s for that particular day – what my kids need or have going on, my husband’s schedule, the housework, grocery list, chores, errands, bills, upcoming expenses, work projects – just to name a few. These are just the usual, inescapable responsibilities. Mixed in are the other if’s. You know, the what if, I wonder if, and I wish if.
Before I even set my feet on the ground, I can often feel my heart rate rising. I begin to feel waves of anxiety setting in. I find this to be especially true if I grab my phone. Now, in addition to my own thoughts, I've added emails that need a response, news headlines (which are 99% of the time depressing), and the latest social media posts (which again are not typically uplifting or encouraging.) Bleh! Who wants to just pull the covers up over their head and go back to sleep? I DO! And, this is all in a matter of 10 minutes!
Interestingly, did you know that an average person could have up to 70,000 thoughts per day? That’s 50 thoughts per minute! According to research, as many as 98 percent of our thoughts are exactly the same ones we had the day before. Even more significant is that 80 percent of our thoughts are negative. We sure can get stuck in an internal mind rut, can’t we?
After reflecting on this, I have recently recommitted myself to starting my days differently. No, I can’t turn my brain off and just have it STOP thinking. However, I can choose what I am going to ALLOW myself to think about and do first thing with my day . . . my fresh start . . . my gift from God. Yes, each day is a gift!
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33
Scripture is very clear. We need to seek first His kingdom! Before we do or think anything else, we need to commit ourselves to turning to God’s word and toward prayer. This choice alone will set your mind and heart on the things, not of this world, not on your endless to do list, but rather of value and great worth to our Heavenly Father.
Through this practice, I have experienced first hand the power to “Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,” as instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:5. When left to my own devices, my thoughts are downcast, filled with negativity, self-doubt, or sometimes just plain dread. When I seek God first, however, I become so keenly aware of the sharp contrast between my mindset and the mind of Christ. When I read and speak out these truths, my mindset changes from doubt and dread to hope and purpose.
God desires that we end this cycle of obsessing about the negative and start seeking out and claiming the truth of God’s Word. Ladies, we need the life changing power of Jesus to infiltrate our hearts and minds before we set out to begin our days. If we want to make a difference in other’s lives, and if we want our lives to matter, we need to change. It all begins by taking hold of that secret place inside of us and opening our minds to receive what is good, lovely, and perfect.
What we think determines what we do and how we feel. Before you get going, get your thoughts in alignment with your creator. You can’t pour out into others what you first haven’t filled yourself with.
It is life changing to claim the truth in God’s word and make it personal. Doing this won’t change your to-do list, it won’t take away life’s hardships and struggles, but it WILL fill you with the power to face your day clothed in strength and in truth. Perhaps reciting these verses, or ones that speak personally to you, will change the way you take on each new day! Will you join me in seeking first His kingdom?
“I will clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
“I will seek his will in all I do, and he will show me which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:6
“I am fearless.” – Isaiah 43:5
“I have authority over the enemy.” – Luke 10:19
“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6