Studies show we have between 30,000 and 60,000 thoughts a day. We average about 50,000. And, get this, there are no neutral thoughts!
Each thought we think is either moving us closer to who God created us to be or further away. It’s either serving us or not serving us. It’s either producing joy in our lives or not.
Romans 8:6 NIV
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
So how do we make sure that most of those 50,000 are leading our lives in the right direction and helping us produce the life we desire.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
We produce more joy in our lives by taking every thought captive.
Just because it comes into your head doesn’t mean you have to keep it and which thoughts we will dwell on.
Here’s one of the many reasons why it’s so important to choose the right thoughts to dwell on:
We become what we think about most.
So, it matters what we think about. It matters what we dwell on regularly.
Again, just because thought comes, doesn’t mean you have to keep it. You get to choose what stays and what goes. You’re not a victim of your thoughts.
How do we direct our thoughts so we dwell on positive, productive thoughts?
One of the best ways I’ve found to direct your thoughts in a productive manner is ask yourself great questions.
Great questions will produce great answers. They will extract a positive, thoughts. Those positive thoughts will help us direct our lives in the right direction.
Bad questions – well, they produce bad, unproductive answers. They lead our lives in a direction we don’t want to go.
Research has discovered that when you ask yourself a question, you’re mind automatically goes to work to find the answer.
Here’s some examples of bad questions:
Why don’t I ever have enough?
Why can’t I ever lose weight?
Why does this always happen to me?
These questions can only extract an unproductive, negative response that doesn’t help you get the solution you truly want. They don’t help you become something positive.
Again, great questions will produce great answers and help use produce great results.
Here are 5 questions that created more joy in my life. They are directly responsible for helping me dig out of a multiple-year depression I experienced about 6 years ago and I still use them today.
These questions are powerful because they will automatically extract a positive response out of you.
These questions help us walk out Philippians 4:8. This is what Paul gave us as our “To Think” list.
Philippians 4:8 NIV
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
So, here are 5 Questions That will produce more joy in your life:
1. What 5 things am I thankful for right now?
Can be things in the past or present, or big or small things.
I’m thankful for Jesus dying on the cross for me! I’m thankful for being a wife and a mom. I’m thankful I have a job. I’m thankful I have a roof over my head or food to eat.
Did you wake up this morning? That’s something to be thankful for, right?
2. What are 5 of my strengths or positive qualities?
Look, we all know what our weaknesses are, but does it really help build up our thought life if we focus solely on that? I think it’s more valuable for you if you know what your strengths and positive qualities are and then focus on growing those.
Maybe you’re great at hospitality, your thoughtful or kind to strangers, you’re organized, or your flexible.
And don’t just put I’m a great mom or friend. What specifically makes you a great mom or great friend.
3. What are 5 of my greatest achievements so far?
This again, could be something big like you wrote a book, or led someone to Christ.
Or, it could be something as “simple” as being a respectful wife or a loving mother. (Although, we all know those are actually a huge achievements!).
4. Who are the 5 people who love me the most?
Rather than thinking about the people who hurt you, who are the people who are there for you? Who’s your 2 am friend?
Who are the people who love you enough to challenge you to be better?
They may be family or they may be friends. Name them.
5. What 5 things am I looking forward to in the next 7 days?
This is a big one! Forecasting our future can bring us out of the present and help us look forward to what’s ahead.
It can be hard to find something we look forward to sometimes, but you can do it! There’s always something to look forward to, even if it’s just a payday, a birthday party or a beautiful sunrise.
Look at your calendar to help trigger some thoughts.
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”
I recommend asking these questions daily for the next month to form the habit of asking great questions to produce positive thoughts. Miss a day…no worries, pick it up again the next day.
As you do this, you are choose what you dwell on. You are taking every thought captive. You will begin to experience more joy in your life.