Some people fail to distinguish the difference between their wants and needs. The difference between the two can determine whether you live a hapless life or a happy life.
What are your real needs? A person needs food to eat, water to drink, and air to breathe—these are the bare necessities of life. You could also list shelter from the elements, clothes to wear and such items as being needs; however, when you start to classify your wants as needs, you run the danger of compromising your health and your wealth.
This can happen when your brain morphs into a nasty ogre and starts to play mind games with you. Your brain may lie to you and try to convince you that you need some “thing” to make you happy. It may create a craving for some substance that is harmful to your health or it may tell you that you have little self-worth.
You may not recognize this Ogre, so let me describe him for you:
- Overthinking problems that are out of your control
- Getting stuck or panicked by unfounded fear
- Repeating past patterns of behavior that are unhealthy
- Emotional reactivity
The more you allow the Ogre to run wild, the greater the likelihood that unhealthy habits will develop. Through the process of repetition, habits become engrained in the neural pathways of the mind. This is true whether the habit is beneficial or destructive.
T0 tame the Ogre you need to reclaim your thoughts. Either you control your thoughts or they control you. Paul said you are to “take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).”
This Ogre carefully cloaks himself in the secrecy your thoughts. To be more specific, it is what I call your “self-talk.” It is those little mental messages that flash rapidly through your mind, so lightening quick, you are almost unaware of their presence.
Here are a couple of tips on how you can tame the Ogre and take your thoughts captive:
- Respond to the presence of these thoughts. When you become aware of the “self-talk,” write it down. Journal your thoughts.
- Re-evaluate what you have written down. Validate the messages that attack your self-worth. Beware of catastrophic thinking that is seen in words like “always” and “never.”
- Refocus your attention toward healthy thought and behavior. Purge the urge! You cannot think positive and negative thoughts at the same time. If necessary change your location or environment to one that is more wholesome and beneficial.
I have found that reading or quoting Scripture is a great way to overcome the Ogre, and to regain control of my thoughts. A favorite passage of mine that speaks of the power of Scripture is Psalm 119:9-11: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”
I’ll leave you with this thought: When you emphasize the positive (Scripture) you paralyze the negative (Ogre).