It was the end of a long day and long days often leave me feeling very tired and depleted of energy. Those nagging nasty thoughts started to get the upper hand. You know the ones I mean: This will never change. She always does that. He doesn’t understand. No one cares…. We all have our own little set of ugly thoughts that rear their heads when we feel overwhelmed or pushed aside or misunderstood.
It would be one thing if these troublesome thoughts just passed through our minds and kept on going, but somehow, at least sometimes, they get caught. They become sticky thoughts, patterns of reflection that have an emotionally-heavy content to them that weighs us down. Thoughts like these become sticky traps, like glue boards that we use to catch rodents who have made their nest in our house. We become caught in the cycle of negativity (and at times nastiness or hopelessness), trapped by the stickiness that won’t let these thoughts be released…won’t let our hearts be freed from their deadening weight.
So that night I was thinking about why we keep holding on to these sticky thoughts with a vice grip. And I discovered three reasons. We’ve been convinced that:
- These sticky thoughts make complete sense to our rational mind and our ego that believes (at least sometimes) that we’re better, others don’t get it, someone else should pay for what they did to us.
- Nasty thoughts are a poison and to save ourselves from their toxicity we share them with others. We convince ourselves even more of their truthfulness and create a facade of falseness we need to keep up.
- When we share our negative stories about others, ourself, and situations we cause others to think negatively. It becomes a snowball racing down a hill that we can’t stop because it is impossible to take back words once spoken.
Definitely the pattern of the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son.
Into this examen, into this image which represents the distorted falseness of my heart, comes the person of Jesus. He is dusting. Cleaning. Rearranging. Happy. Humming. Non-possessive. It isn’t a big deal to him, this sticky mess that is a big deal to me. He knows it will be different when he’s through.
What does Jesus know that I forget?
“Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm has already been lavished upon us as a love gift from our wonderful heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus—all because he sees us wrapped into Christ. This is why we celebrate him with all our hearts! And he chose us to be his very own, joining us to himself even before he laid the foundation of the universe! Because of his great love, he ordained us, so that we would be seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence” (Ephesians 1:3-4 TPT).
Jesus can remove me gently from my sticky captivating thoughts, because he reveals to me who I am.
These types of thoughts charged with the energy of the passions tend to boast a power that deflects us from our basic goodness which is God’s gift to us—”he sees us wrapped into Christ.”
Both the elder brother and the younger son of the loving Father in the Parable of the Prodigal remind us that we need to remember that we have been lavished with sonship, chosen to be the Father’s very own, seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence.
Jesus, the One who recreates and rehabilitates the sticky mess of my life, now possesses me.
I belong to him, as St Paul says:
“If you have really experienced the Anointed One, and heard his truth, it will be seen in your life; for we know that the ultimate reality is embodied in Jesus! And he has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self – life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you. And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness. So discard every form of dishonesty and lying so that you will be known as one who always speaks the truth, for we all belong to one another” (Ephesians 4:21-25 TPT)
We humans have a negativity bias, meaning the bad things that we see, hear, and experience far outweigh the positive and pleasurable experiences. My angry reaction to a perceived slight will stick with me longer than my meditation on being the delight of the Lord. The negative and nasty things we remember make it just about impossible to see beyond to what is most true about ourselves and others, the goodness that is most truly who we are. If we know that this is true about the human mind and heart, it is only an intentional focusing of our thoughts and leaps of the heart on what is most true that will yield happiness and holiness in our lives.
To intentionally focus on the freeing power of truth, here are some tips:
- End the day by listing three positive and delightful things that happened in your life and in the lives of those around you.
- When you notice any nasty negativeness immediately replace it by stating what is true, “I believe you, Jesus, are here.” “I know that you are in him/her at this very moment. Show me.”
- Go a step further and say to someone you are interiorly having a difficult time appreciating one thing you want them to know about themselves that is truly a gift they are sharing with others.
It doesn’t take much energy to be negative. That can easily come about without us lifting a finger. Appreciative watchfulness and intentional kindness take effort. At least at first. Once appreciation and delightful kindness begin to flow through our thoughts and heart, it will easily wash away the negativity, and our hearts, our relationships, and our health will once again flourish.
Feel free to let me know how this touched you in the comments below.
From my heart to yours,
ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE? HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…
God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 6 ways you can join me on the journey:
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