Do your thoughts ever run away from you? Do they take you to places you know are not healthy or necessary?

Maybe you’re driving and sort of zoning out and the next thing you know, you realize you’ve spent the last ten minutes worrying about whether the cable guy will show up on time– and what you’re going to do if he doesn’t.

Or maybe you’re in the shower having an imaginary conversation with that jerk at work who always has something snippy to say.

Or maybe you’re unloading the dishwasher for the 47th time this week and wondering why you have to do all the work around here.

Have you ever noticed how your thoughts can totally derail a perfectly good day?

They derailed mine time and again, until I realized that I don’t have to think what I’m thinking.

Here are the two things I learned about thoughts that changed my life:

I cannot think of two things at the same time. Seriously. Try it. Try thinking about how mad you are at the insurance company while creating a grocery list in your head. It’s can’t be done. You have to pick one or the other.

I can choose what I’m going to think about. Yes, it’s true. We don’t have to automatically accept whatever nasty thought pops into our brains.

This is where our memory verse comes into play. Here it is:

“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.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

This is my go-to verse for rerouting my thinking.

It’s long, I know. You may have to write it down and carry it around in your pocket for a few months. I did.

I also used a game to help me remember the order of the words. The first letters of True, Noble, and Right spelled out TNR or Tenor in my brain. Then Pure, Lovely, and Admirable spell out PLA or Play. Then I tagged on Excellent and Praiseworthy once I had TNR and PLA down.

If you didn’t catch my logic there, that’s okay. I’m just suggesting you make up some word associations so you can remember the order of all those life-giving phrases.

Then every time you catch yourself slipping into unkind or unhealthy thinking, use your brain power to recite the verse instead. It will automatically cast out the other negative thoughts, which is important because thoughts lead to emotions and emotions lead to actions.

We get to choose: either renew our minds with God’s word or retreat into a pit of fear or anger.

I know which one sounds better to me. How about you?

If you feel like this is an area of your life where strongholds need to be broken, please please please read Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer. Here’s a link to an article about the book. Getting your thought life in order will change the way you see the world.