Like a razor blade to a tight rubber band, so is negative thinking to an anxious person. While Thomas Carlyle lived in London, he was much annoyed by a neighbor’s pet rooster which frequently rehearsed his crowing at odd hours of the night, invariably awaking Carlyle from his sleep. Finally he protested to the owner of the bird. The man was extremely sorry for the annoyance; but he said he was quite sure his rooster did not crow more than three or four times a night, and some nights not at all. “That may be true,” replied Carlyle, “but if only you could know what I go through while waiting for him to crow!”
We create unnecessary tension for ourselves and others when we fail to have the right perspective. Over the course of a given day, there are many petty things which can get under our skin if we let them. Someone doesn’t speak as we pass them in the hallway; someone else doesn’t like us because we disagree with them; a person looks at us the wrong way; we feel slighted because it seems like people don’t care about us; we hear others talking about us behind our backs and automatically assume the conversation is negative; we worry about reacting the right way when we see someone with whom we have had a previous conflict. As we think on these things, we get butterflies in the stomach, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, and unnecessary stress.
How does one get off to the right S.T.A.R.T. after a wrong start like this? In a letter, the solution lies in “R.” We must Refocus our thoughts. It is far too easy to get overloaded with negative thinking as we attempt to S.T.A.R.T. afresh. To keep this from happening, we must replace (another “R” word) our negative thoughts with good, grateful thoughts. We must also realize that, while many external factors influence our thoughts, the way we think is entirely up to us.
Today you have a choice: will you dwell upon all things negative, or will you break free from your regularly-scheduled thought pattern and interrupt it with a broadcast of pure, God-honoring thoughts? Your choice will determine whether you take the next step down the road to the right S.T.A.R.T.
- Refocus your thoughts
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.