Our thoughts are connected to every single area of our lives. They affect our words, moods, attitudes, the choices we make, and even our relationship with God and others. They also affect our emotional and physical health.
In fact, research shows that 75 to 98 percent of mental, physical, and behavioral illness comes from one’s thought life.1 The mind and body are definitely connected!
For instance, did you know you can stress yourself out by the way you think? So often, we believe our circumstances are to blame for our unhappiness, however it’s the way we think about our circumstances that usually causes worry and stress.
Stress is a modern-day epidemic
It’s been proven to cause issues like muscle tension, headaches, breathing irregularities, increased heart rate, artery inflammation, gastro-intestinal problems, constipation and diarrhea. And that’s only a few of the symptoms!
The good news is God has given us the answer for worry and stress. What’s his prescription? Trust. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.”
Trusting God is the greatest stress reliever in the world, and our minds play an important role in the process. We have a choice. We can “rely on our own insight and understanding”—endlessly thinking about our problems, trying to figure everything out ourselves. Or we can choose to adopt a trusting attitude that says, “God, I don’t know what to do about this situation, but I can’t fix it on my own. If You want me to do something, I ask You to show me. Meanwhile, I’m going to trust You and enjoy my life while You work on my problems.”
I used to be a professional worrier—I was good at it. Years ago, when my children were young, I would sit at our kitchen table and spend hours looking at our bills, worrying how we would pay them. Dave, on the other hand, would be sitting on the floor in the TV room, letting the kids put curlers in his hair.
I would say, “Dave how can you have fun at a time like this?” And he would answer, “Joyce, we’ve prayed about it, and we’re doing everything we know to do. I refuse to be miserable with you.”
It made me so mad! But Dave was right. I was allowing myself to get upset and waste time I could have been spending with my children.
In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”
I love this! God is saying, “I am giving you My peace, but the choice is up to you!”
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus offers us a new way of living; however, a new way of thinking will always precede this new way of living.
Romans 12:2 says, “…Be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God….”
This scripture is so important! God has a good, acceptable, and perfect plan for you and me, and the way we can experience it is not to think like the world thinks, but to be changed by learning to renew our mind and think the way God thinks.
So, when life throws you a curve and you’re tempted to get stressed-out, I encourage you to choose positive, faith-filled thoughts from God’s Word. You can think, The Lord is going to take care of this. It doesn’t matter what it looks like—I believe God is working!
The truth is God knew about your problem before you ever got it, and He already has a plan for your solution. In the meantime, you can choose to enjoy your life while you wait. He has equipped you with the “mind of Christ” (see I Corinthians 2:16) and with His help, you can trust more and stress less.
1 Dr. Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain, Baker Books, pg. 33–38, September 1, 2013. 2Ibid.