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Editor’s Note: We fully acknowledge that in the case of individuals suffering with mental illness, professional help should be sought in addition to spiritual guidance.
What are you thinking? How do those thoughts make you feel?
When we think positive thoughts we’ll feel good (light). When we think negative thoughts we’ll feel bad (darkness). As simple as this concept is, it takes tremendous awareness to live above our troubles, but the good news is – it can be done!
Four Days of Convergence
Three weeks ago, I got to practice this concept. During that week, I slipped on a wet floor and badly sprained my foot. Immediately after that I was required to travel 14 hours in a cramped car, then participate in both my father’s funeral, and my daughter’s wedding. These distinct events all coincided within a 4-day time period. I felt many negative anxious thoughts and emotions well up in me in addition to pain. At moments, I felt darkness try to take over, but I made up my mind to mentally HOLD ON to the Lord, no matter what! As I made this mental effort to FOCUS on Light, and surrender my circumstances to Him, He absolutely sustained me.
God is SO faithful, if we stay with Him in our mind, He will ALWAYS stay with us! He blessed me with peace and joy that overshadowed any pain or apprehension with all that was to be done. Everything worked out beautifully!
Neal A. Maxwell stated: “The surrender of the mind is actually a victory, because it then introduces us to God’s stretching and “higher” ways!” (Neal A. Maxwell, Conference, July 2002) When we hold on to the Lord’s “higher” ways, we will feel joy as a natural outflow.
Roller-coaster: Which Thought to Grip?
Mosiah 25 shows us a marvelous case in point about how our thoughts work. After the people of Zarahemla had listened to Mosiah reading the harrowing accounts of two groups of people, the scripture says: “For they knew not what to think; for when they beheld those that had been delivered out of bondage they were filled with exceedingly great joy.”
“And again, when they thought of their brethren who had been slain by the Lamanites they were filled with sorrow, and even shed many tears of sorrow.
“And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.”
“And again, when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of their sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish... (Mosiah 25: 8-11)
Their emotions fluctuated back and forth, either feeling great joy or pain and anguish, and they could choose which sentiment they would feel by the thoughts they chose to think. Both sets of thoughts were completely valid and true, but which set of thoughts brought them more peace and joy?
These people had the dilemma we all face in our lives: Which thought will I hold onto? Which direction will I head; up or down? Spiritual gravity naturally tugs us down to our darker/sadder thoughts, however, once we observe ourselves and how we think, we can learn to change our thinking patterns so that we can think ABOVE our circumstance.
Take a Vacation From Your Problems
In the well-known classic film, “What About Bob?” Bob, the neurotic, germ phobic mental patient, was told by his very irritated therapist to “take a vacation from your problems,” until the therapist returned from his vacation. Bob latched on to that advice and quickly learned that he could do just that. He stopped focusing ON his problems and began taking a vacation FROM his problems. He simply started thinking positive thoughts rather than negative ones. It worked!
Don’t we all have circumstances in our lives that we don’t like? It’s the nature of living on a Telestial planet, but when we DWELL on those negative circumstances, no matter how true or real they are, we will ALWAYS feel bad!
JOY Can Always Predominate
Feeling JOY is not a matter of not having undesirable situations in our lives, but in thinking above them! We can choose higher thoughts. We can surrender our dark/negative thoughts to God, as we climb to His light.
Russell M. Nelson taught: “Saints can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year! My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” (Russell M. Nelson October Conference 2016)
We Are Children of Light
We are Children of the Most High God! We are light-beings! When we do all we can do to be ONE with Him, we will FEEL Him. It’s how we were made. As our focus turns up to Him, OF COURSE He will lift us!
Elder Mark A. Bragg said: “We are children of God. Receiving light, continuing in God, and receiving more light are what we are created to do. From the very beginning, we followed the light; we followed our Heavenly Father and His plan. Seeking the light is in our spiritual DNA. .” (Mark A. Bragg April Conference 2017) I love the scripture that explains this even further:
“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light growth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;” (D & C 50:24-25)
We all have times where we need to “chase darkness” from our souls, but the good news is that we can.
Mantras of Power
When we encounter difficulties, and feel ourselves slipping into anxiety or fear, we can exert our faith by repeating over and over phrases that imbue us with light. Here are a few examples:
- “Of COURSE You will help me!”
- “I can do ALL things in Christ!”
- “Fear not, I am with you! Oh Be Not Dismayed!”
- “ALL things are POSSIBLE!”
Feel the positive resonance of each of these statements. Any one of them focused on, (while not allowing negative thoughts to come up), will be exactly what we need in order to anchor our faith and focus on God. We need to focus on what He CAN do rather than what we CAN’T do! My recent experience shored up to me the fact that the Lord will help us stay UP even during times of pain, distress or trial, when He remains our focus.
So what are you thinking? Are you tying into light, beauty and peace?
We can all think above our negative thoughts, live above our problems, and become joyful creatures! OF COURSE He will help us!
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