What Are You Thinking?


Watch your thoughts for they become words.

Watch your words for they become actions.

Watch your actions for they become habits.

Watch your habits for they become character.

Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.

Have you ever heard the statements, “you are what you think.” Or, “if you think you can’t, then you can’t!” Statements like these reflect how powerful our thoughts are. The things we think about impact our lives in a significant way. We express our thoughts in words which in turn influences our actions and what we do will soon become a personal habit. Our habits become so much a part of us that they become our identifiers. It is your habits that your family and friends will use when describing you to another person because that is what distinguishes you from another individual. In reality your character is what other people know about you. The things you do, both good and bad, are the markers that will follow you all the days of your life – thus becoming your destiny. The bottom line is a man’s thoughts determines the character of his life and become the foundation of who he is.

Your thoughts are significantly important for they will create either a positive or negative reference for the choices that you make each day. You build your life thought-by-thought and deed-by-deed. It is through a lifetime of thoughts and deeds that you form yourself and determine the impact your life will have on others. These thoughts and deeds are, in reality, choices that you make about what you will say or the way you will act. As a result, it’s not something that happens to you, but rather how you choose to think and what you choose to do that determines the type of person you’ll be and the level of happiness you’ll ultimately achieve. If you choose your thoughts and deeds wisely, you are destined to live a happy and rewarding life.

Schools teach math, English, science and history, but very little about the fundamentals of good thinking. Parents urge children to make good grades and to do their best, but typically they provide little instruction to a child concerning how to think through a choice they are about to make. Friends, who are often as untrained in making good choices themselves, become a source of advice for many of us. But, until we personally take the initiative to become better thinkers, we are more likely to make snap judgments and head off in some direction with no real thought as to how our decisions might impact our life.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. Today is a good time to stop and assess the nature and quality of what we spend our time thinking about. If we take seriously the belief that our thoughts are the true index to our character, it is imperative that we take control over our thoughts and take responsibility for changing any and all thoughts that are not good or positive. You are not known merely by your words for talk is superficial. Words are often used to conceal or to misrepresent. You are known and judged by the content of your character. The essence of human character is found in the heart and it is the condition of the heart that provides the evidence of the true man.


The Unexpected, Unplanned Life

We often live life with an idea of what our future will look like. We are comfortable with life as it currently is.  We are certain of the direction we are going and the plans we have made for ourselves. Suddenly, the unexpected happens and we find ourselves in a situation that was unplanned and our life no longer mirrors the image we had become familiar with.  It’s at times like this we are forced to take a step back and take a closer look at our journey and at the changes we must go through.  When the unexpected and unplanned happens we must learn to shift gears, change our course of action and steer the wheel of our lives into unfamiliar territory with the goal of fulfilling our purpose in life and becoming our best self.

The good thing about having the unplanned and unexpected happen in your life is the fact that it allows you to learn things about yourself that you might not have discovered.  You will find strength you never knew you had.  The unexpected will teach you that you are in control of very little.  The unplanned will force you to recognize that God has a better plan for you and that His plans will make you happier than you ever thought you could be and that you will be just fine.  God works in mysterious ways and it is best to try not to go against the flow of what He brings into your life.  Sometimes it is better to look up and say “God, I know you got this and I will trust you and obey.”

When you experience unplanned and unexpected things in your life, it will humble you.  It will make you a kinder person, a more sympathetic person, a wiser person, a stronger person, a less judgmental person, a deeper person.  Or simply put, it will make you human. You will learn to accept the unplanned and unexpected and learn not to deny truth.  You will learn that when it is all said and done, life has surprised you in a good way.  You will one day look back and be able to connect the dots and make sense of all the confusion you went through.  So, don’t resist the unplanned and unexpected when they happen.  Realize that life is full of challenges that will cause you to grow as a person.  You are not meant to understand life.  You are meant to live it.

My advice to you is to be brave.  Learn to relate to life in a new way. Discover what the unplanned and the unexpected is trying to tell you.  Let go of how you thought your life should be and embrace the life that you currently find yourself in.  You must be willing to let go of what you are use to so that you can have the life that is waiting for you.  Life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned or the way you once thought it would, but that doesn’t mean it won’t turn out better than you could have ever imagined.  Embrace the unplanned life.  You may be shocked at how perfect it could end up.

The Value of Encouragement

Imagine having a family and a circle of close friends where everyone is your greatest cheerleader.  They believe you can do great things and they do everything in their power to help you. They help when you stumble, and they’re thrilled when you succeed. If this is your reality, then you have a lot to be thankful for.  Unfortunately, this is not true for many people.  A lack of encouragement and emotional support can result in discouragement. Discouragement can make the greatest person ineffective.  It can choke all growth. It brings progress to a standstill.  It can stop a person in their tracks and cause them to lose sight of their dreams and goals.

Every day we need to be prepared to encourage one another. Encouragers are like jumper cables to a person who has become stuck on their journey in life.  We’ve all had the experience of being out some place and the car won’t start because the battery is dead. The short term solution is usually for another car to come along side and hook up a set of jumper cables from their car to yours. Encouragement works the same way.  Encouragement will jump start another person by giving them the energy and power they need to get them going again.  Encouragement gives an individual a second chance. It is the hand that is extended to help you get back on your feet.  Encouragement doesn’t hold peoples failures against them but says instead ‘I see your potential and you can do it!’

It is so important for us to give and receive encouragement and support because it emphasizes to another person what could be and helps them to refocus and points them in the right direction. We have all known what it is to be discouraged and we all know people who are in great need of encouragement.  Fortunately, we live in an age where connecting with people is easier than it has ever been. There is no excuse not to reach out to someone who desperately needs a pick me up. The best way to experience the encouragement that you long for is to be an encourager to others. Proverbs 12:25 says “ “anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (NKJV). Your encouraging words can breathe courage into someone who feels hopeless and overwhelmed. Therefore, use your words to strengthen another person and not tear them down.

We can encourage one another through acts of service.  Take someone a meal, or clean the house for a sick friend.  Offer to babysit for a friend so they can have a little quiet time for themselves.  Buy a gift, and it doesn’t have to be expensive but the thought will mean a great deal. The most important thing to do is to make contact with someone who is going through a crisis.  Being there with someone who is hurting and offering your support is huge.  A true friend stands by their friend on a good day and stands even closer on a bad day.  People don’t always need advice. Sometimes, all they need is someone to hold their hand, or an ear to listen to them or a heart that understands.  Be that person who lifts up another soul and not the person who keeps another soul from flying.

Getting Past Frustration

Have you ever had a bad day? Perhaps your day began with driving in slow traffic only to arrive at work to realize that you missed a work deadline.  Or, you had to deal with rude customers or your children presented you with another challenge that you have no idea how to handle.  What is the key to surviving all the stress we encounter?  Simply this — we must decide that we will not allow people and circumstances to determine our attitude.  Stress is not what happens to us but it is our response to what happens.  It’s also true that you can’t control everything that happens to you in life but you can control your response.  You can’t control what people say about you, nor can you change how people treat you, but once again, you do have control over your response to negative people and the circumstances they create for you.

The greatest weapon we have over stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.  You can either dwell on your feelings of frustration or you can push through your frustrations by changing what you think about your situation.  Replaying thoughts in your mind can bring about anxiety.  Many people spend too much time worrying about things that have happened in the past or they worry about things that could happen in the future.  Do you know that 99% of the things that we worry about never happen?  Our mind usually worries about things it is convinced are true but, most of the time, are actually not true.

Your life will not get better by chance – it can only get better with change.  Sometimes we must get to a point of total frustration before we are ready to make a change.  The key to getting passed what causes stress in your life is to make a decision to keep moving. Allow stress to propel you forward and not to remain stuck. Encourage yourself by using your energy to work towards a solution to your problem.  Fight your way through frustration by replacing negative thoughts with thoughts of success.  Success is on the other side of frustration.  Focus on the presentReturning your focus to the present will help you accept and let go of what you cannot control.  It will also help you realize that you can’t change the past, and that the future hasn’t happened yet, so it’s counter-productive to spend your time worrying about the past or the future.

It’s a tough world and we have to be persistent.  Quitting is giving into frustration.  Don’t turn back.  Accept the frustration as a challenge – and love it! Quitting is another form of giving in to frustration.  We have to be persistent in order to accomplish our goal.  Never turn back in midstream.  Follow it through to the end. When the going gets tough, and a little voice says, “It’s not worth it” tell yourself “it is worth it!” In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon said: “The righteous person falls seven times and gets up. The evil person falls just once.” It’s important to recognize that the righteous person is not defined as someone who never makes a mistake. Rather, the person who achieves greatness is one who keeps trying again and again. He sees frustration as only a passing nuisance, and therefore never gives up. In fact, his falling seven times may be precisely how he became great. The next time you get stuck in frustration remember all the other times you moved through it and succeeded. Believing that you can succeed is half the battle.