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Positive Thinking: Set a Faith-Filled Intention
Most people have heard of the book The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. It was originally written in 1952. It is an international bestseller and has over five million copies in print!
Clearly the man is on to something even if I don’t actually believe all his principles! He knew that when people view the world with a positive attitude they are more productive, happier, and more successful.
As a Christian mental health therapist I clearly see the difference between my clients who view the world as “the glass half full” versus “the glass half empty”.
My “glass half-full” clients meet adversity head on. They may be struggling to know how best to tackle the situation but they have the faith and hope that the situation will get better. Or that they will learn something from their difficult situation. They are trying to make the most out of life and living life to the best of their ability. They are my clients who thank and praise God for their blessing even in the midst of chaos or trials.
As you can imagine, my time with these clients are limited. I help them to learn some new skills or provide a different perspective from how they were seeing the situation, but then they don’t need me anymore. And that’s great! My personal goal as a therapist is to work myself out of a job with each client I have.
My “glass half-empty” clients struggle when faced with adversity. They don’t know how to tackle the situation and they waiver in their faith and hope. These clients often believe their situation will never get better. They tend to believe that the world is happening to them and they are just a bi-stander or worse, a victim. Understandably that mindset doesn’t produce progress.
These clients are more challenging because they also tend to be more unwilling to learn new skills. I often will hear “yeah but…” when I offer options or suggestions. There can become stagnation because they already believe any new advice will fail so why try. Our time together tends to last much longer. But change and healing is possible!
So what really is the difference between these two groups of people?
Positive thinking! Changing your mindset to focus on positive aspects of your situation, day, and life.
Set a faith-filled intention for each day
A way to increase positive thinking is to set an intention. An intention is a determination to act in a certain way. Resolve.
When you think, plan, and focus on a specific intention for your day, you will start turning your mind towards that goal.
Not only is a positive intention beneficial, but let’s take it a step further and focus on a faith-filled intention. When you are making it a priority and a goal to think of your day positively through the lens of what God has done for you and how you can shine His light to others, you benefit all the more! Your faith will increase. Your relationship with God will deepen and flourish. People around you will be drawn to you and your light. And as a result you will feel great joy in your day to day life!
Sounds good right!?
But it does take practice! We are creatures of habit and we tend to go on autopilot throughout the day. That includes our behaviors and our thoughts.
So first decide what you want your faith-filled intention to be. I have a list below for examples. Use one of them or come up with one of your own.
I recommend setting your intention right away in the morning so you can pray over it, too.
Then, write it down! Put your intention for the day in your journal, on a post-it note, in your planner, and/or in your phone. If you want, even post in on your preferred social media platform for accountability and support.
Next, set reminders throughout the day to check-in. Use your phone to set an alarm.
Mid-way through your day take the time to jot a few quick notes or journal about how your day is progressing. What are you noticing? Are you seeing a benefit? How can you improve on following your intention?
Do this again at the end of the day. How are you feeling? What went well? What, if anything, hindered you from following your intention.
And don’t give up! Again, this is a process! The mindset of positive thinking is not easy or natural for some people. But if you want to change you can! You just have to know the tools and the supports to do so!
Here is an example of seven faith-filled intentions (one for each day of the week) to use to change your mindset to be more positive and God glorifying.
Today I will…
- be thankful for the blessing God has given me.
- find God’s beauty in all that is around me.
- show love and patience to everyone I encounter.
- look at others as my brothers and sisters in Christ.
- spread joy because I am a child of God.
- let God be in control of my words and actions.
- be kind to myself because God loves me.
Some people prefer to focus on one intention a day and then rotate throughout the week. Others choose one for a few days or for a full week and then move on to the next intention. It truly is up to you and what works best for you to work towards greater positive thinking.
I sincerely hope that this post meets you where you are and helps you to make the shift from glass half-empty to a journey of glass half-full. I promise your life will be positively impacted if you do!
Signup below for a free download of the Faith-Filled Intention Info-graph to printout and take with you as a reminder throughout the day. Remember, turning the mind and creating a new habit takes time! You need all the tools and supports you can get!
For more posts on Christian self-reflection take a peak at How to be Willing not Willful, and Practicing the Fruit of the Spirit Characteristics.