As a teacher of 21 years, I have learned there is a cycle. And I don’t think it is limited to just teaching. I think it happens ALL THE PLACES.
And right around February, when the Midwest winter is taking TOO LONG to end and everything is gloomy, everyone STRUGGLES. Like STRUGGLES in all caps. This is the ultimate struggle bus situation. FEB-RU-ARY.
It’s been cold, it’s been grey, we’ve been cooped up, and we are ready for OUTSIDE again.
So, like anyone else, even though I absolutely LOVE my job and am always SO EXCITED about seeing my students’ faces everyday, it can still be difficult to pull myself out of bed in the morning.
My brain is tired. And so it gets lazy. It starts thinking things and dwelling on things and finding things and well, my brain leads me astray.
I start forgetting that EVERY SINGLE DAY is the BEST DAY EVER because if TODAY WERE MY LAST DAY I would want it to be my BEST DAY. It gets harder to choose in February.
So, I thought I would share with you a little secret (not so secret) tactic I have to help me defeat the hamster lazy brain wheel in my head.
I replace my thoughts with gratitude.
I replace my thoughts with scripture.
Here is literally the page in my journal:
Let’s say I am tired. I am just struggling to get up in the morning. Under my thoughts, I might write down I AM SO SERIOUSLY STINKING TIRED.
My scripture would easily be Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The gratitude would be the fact that I EVEN HAD A BED TO SLEEP IN LAST NIGHT!
Once I take the time to literally write down my thoughts and replace them with scripture and/or gratitude, it begins to change my mental mayhem. You see, I am CHOOSING to see things with different eyes, different perspective. That is why replacement has become such an important strategy for me during these messy months.
It is very easy to become discouraged. In fact, it is EASIER to just be discouraged than to CHOOSE blessing and CHOOSE to see perspective and CHOOSE to be encouraged.
This last Friday night, I had one of the worst vertigo episodes I’ve ever had. You see, I was diagnosed with permanent inner ear damage a few years ago, and although I’ve made considerable progress, I still am completely handicapped by my episodes.
When I get vertigo I am down for the count. I take meds and then lie down until the spinning dizziness passes. I can’t sleep, I can’t watch television, I can’t read, I can’t do anything but simply lay there. So people, I have to get AHOLD OF MY THOUGHTS DURING THAT TIME.
I can either feel sorry for myself.
Or I can pray.
I can be angry that I’m wasting a whole lot of amazing family time.
Or I can rest my body and claim my mind.
You see, I understand frustration and madness of something that is ENTIRELY OUT OF MY CONTROL. But I also know that I don’t want the vertigo to control EVERYTHING about me. Because I still have my own free will and the ability to replace my thoughts with gratitude and scripture.
What do you when your thoughts are driving you crazy? I want to hear your ideas! But I will tell you that there is NOTHING — absolutely NOTHING — that beats the Word of our Almighty God. It is powerful and effective, and it always meets me RIGHT WHERE I’M AT.
If you’d like a great read about your thought life, check out Jennie Allen’s book, Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts. She says that the greatest spiritual battle of our generation is taking place between our ears.
No more, my friends. Let’s replace those toxic thoughts with the TRUTH.
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