Thoughts are powerful. We take our minds for granted sometimes and don’t really consider what we think about seriously, but we should. Whether they are about crazy dreams you believe will never actually happen, or a dark thought that went as quickly as it came; whatever the thought, it holds power.
We are told in the Bible to only think of pure, lovely and admirable things. I used to read this verse (Philippians 4:8) and agree that most of my thoughts should be good, but what was the harm in a few bad thoughts? Turns out, a lot.
The more negatively you think, the more negative you become. If you let them, your thoughts have the power to determine how your day goes. You can start the day positive and happy, but one little sentence can have the ability to disrupt this positivity.
Last week, I used James 1:19-20 as an example of being slow to speak your own thoughts when having controversial conversations. This week, I’m going to use it also to explain why we should be slow to anger.
James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
I’ve honestly not been very good at being slow to anger. I have my mother’s temper and sometimes snap at the most inopportune times. At the beginning of this week, my mom made a small comment that really twisted my nerves. I remember hearing God tell me, “Hannah, don’t let your mom’s comment offend you and make you mad. Remember, be slow to speak and slow to anger…”
Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to His advice and held onto the hurt that I felt for a couple of hours. Anytime I thought about my mom, the anger would swell up again even though I knew there was nothing to be so upset about. That night, when I called my mom back, I told her that I didn’t want the day to end with me being upset with her. We talked about it and were able to work out where we both went wrong. I learned a valuable lesson that night, and my understanding of my thoughts continued to grow throughout the week.
You might not think that anyone hears your thoughts, but God does. This revelation stopped me in my tracks this week because I began to realize just how much God has probably heard… Needless to say, it was a scary notion.
While I was on Slashfin, the cage diving boat, this week, I had two thoughts (on separate days) that both happened! The first thought happened while I was watching Ed, one of the crew members, throw the bait in and out of the water, luring the Copper sharks close but not letting them get the bait. As I observed, I thought, “That would be a cool thing to do. I wonder if I could give it a go?”
I kid you not, within 10 minutes, Ed was asking me if I wanted to throw the bait! Fear gripped me for a split second before I looked at him in awe and said, “Seriously?!”
Being the bait wrangler was so much fun! It was the best part of that Slashfin trip, and I was so happy to have been given a chance to try it. Of course, I was nervous that I wasn’t doing it right and had a couple of instances where a shark almost got the upper hand, but it was awesome to do! I even had a Great White come towards my bait before quickly handing the rope over to the skipper. Copper sharks are one thing, but a Great White? No, thank you!
A couple of days later, I was again on Slashfin when I thought about how neat it would be to go on the earliest boat and watch the sunrise. Most of the volunteers are waking up at absurd hours in the morning to help with the first boats, while I happily sleep in bed for an extra couple of hours; however, that night at scheduling, I was chosen for the first Slashfin, no exceptions. At first, I was really apprehensive, but then I realized that I’d told myself I wanted to do it just hours before, so who was I to complain?
Notice that whenever one of my thoughts came to fruition, a negative one usually followed? I could’ve listened to that negative part of me and ended up missing out on some great times, but I didn’t. If we listen to Satan, he can take control of our thoughts and lead us down very dark paths. This week I learned that just by thinking about something, it could happen. Imagine what could’ve happened if my thoughts were not pure and innocent? I do believe that God also has a hand in which thoughts take root and which do not, but sometimes He allows the devil to take control, just like with Job.
At the end of the day, God can direct us, but we have the ultimate decision about whose voice we’re going to listen to. For a time, I listened to Satan’s lies and sometimes I still catch myself believing them when they come into my mind; however, I feel like this trip is bringing me closer to God and preparing me to hear His voice more clearly before I step into a new season of my life!
What voice are you listening to, today? Are you feeling like you’re on the right path? Sometimes, hearing the voice of God isn’t an easy task. I believe that everyone hears His voice in different ways; for example, through other people, the Bible, music, or even books. I hear Him through the words I write and also as a small voice in my head giving me advice. The more I’m listening, the louder the voice is getting. If you’re struggling today, take time to go somewhere where it can be just you and God. Fresh air, even the ocean, can give you some incredible perspective. God is always there, ready to reveal Himself to you, it’s up to you to decide when you’re going to listen and follow Him with all your heart!
Psalm 139, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you…. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”