How was your day?
Yesterday for me was a bit of bust. That’s not a fair assessment, it is better to say that there was a great many things that were done that were good. It is just that I had wished that all of it was done well.
But is that what God wants us to do with ourselves; only seeing the things that were going wrong? No! Why would He?!
Thinking about my day, any day, really, is a matter of putting myself in God’s presence. How would He see my day? Where there things that I should have done better; you bet! Are those things that did not go well something that should condemn me, no!
There is a biblical practice called replacement. It is also something you will find in therapy or counselling; it’s used mostly in Applied Cognitive Psychology when someone has something that they are battling: Phobias, compulsive behaviours, additions.
Both the biblical practice and the therapeutic practice have things in common. They both ask that we look at our behaviour and replace those thoughts, actions, beliefs that are holding us back. Ignatius would say to his novitiate to examine their day in light of what God was calling them to change, to strengthen. Ignatius asked them to review what they did, how and what they thought, and where they could have done better. All steps in replacement.
Let’s look at the steps:
First consider this bible passage: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right … Think about all you can thank God for and be glad about” (Philippians 4:8). God must have thought that our thoughts we were VERY important to how we perceive ourselves, our world, our family, our community.
Secondly Replacement: Our thoughts are very important, the more positively we can think, or turn our thoughts to the positive the better we will be. Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Remember when your Mom would say to stop and think about you are going to say, or to count to ten before you say anything – that is discerning or testing what you are going to say, is it Godly = Positive. If we take that time to think before we speak, any speech: self talk, direct talk, we will transform our minds to the positive. That will renew our mind/self because we will be starting to speak as Jesus spoke: positively.
Third Replacing: This brings us to some steps to that will help you replace thoughts.
- Write down those things that people have said to you that are positive.
- Write down all the things you are grateful for during the day
- Find bible passages that speak to you of God’s love for you.
The more we see those patterns of positive action, thought and love, those times of when God was active in our life; we will begin to see life more positively.
The last method: Look deeply.
We have to see our lives as they are. Write down everything in your day, good, bad and indifferent. God is present in all of these. Pray/talk to God about how you could have done things better. Write down what impressions of God you receive.
Over time you will feel more positive, see life more positively, and even as I experienced yesterday; life may not go smoothly all the time but even during those times there is God helping you through it.