One of the most impactful mindset changes I made in my life to experience freedom from depression and anxiety was getting my thought life under control. If my mind is a garden, it was infiltrated and taken over by hostile weeds. Learning how to prune my thoughts and burn the trash was transformational for me. I finally understood what it looked like to “renew your mind”. Now, I make sure I keep my mind garden healthy with frequent doses of truth from God’s Word.
Putting forth the effort to nurture a positive mindset brings peace to our rattled, weary, and anxious minds. These five simple steps will teach you how to develop your mind so it grows in the direction of peace, positivity and unclouded thoughts.
Plant Seeds of Truth
Firstly, we must begin with the truth to grow a positive mindset. We find the highest concentration of truth-seeds that will grow, spread, and flourish to produce abundant fruit in your mindset and life in the Bible. Read and Study daily for a fresh supply of life-giving seeds.
Read your Bible to plant the seeds of truth.
Provide plenty of fresh air. Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16-17). Let the breath of God be the unpolluted air your mind breathes.
Keep your mindset in a sunny place. Fellowship with others who also value Word of God.
Water your thoughts often. Meditate frequently on the words and meaning of Scripture.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT
Secondly, we need to find the culprits of negative thinking. Think about how you would identify literal weeds in your garden and approach your mindset much the same way. Look for what has no business being there and ruthlessly rip it out.
Look at the leaves. Observe your inner dialogue, especially the thoughts that are often repeated.
Examine the fruit. Analyze the results of those thoughts. How do you feel after thinking them? What actions do you take or avoid as a result?
Decide if it’s friend or foe. Is this particular thought worth keeping or is it time to pull it up by the roots?
Thirdly, once you identify the lie-weed correctly, it’s time to get rid of it before it grows and spreads negativity to other parts of your mindset.
Uproot the core belief. Trace the negative thought down to its root. Uncover the origin and deal with it at the deepest level possible.
Keep digging. The more the experience in which the lie is embedded or the longer it has been entrenched in your thinking patterns, the more work it will take to dislodge it. If you can’t get all the root the first time, you may need to keep digging because it will continue to resurface. That’s okay. Perseverance is key. The only way to lose is if you quit trying to allow God’s truth to set you free. Don’t give up! Let truth win the day.
Mulch the ground. Once weeds have been removed, you have to prevent their reentry. You need a barrier between the fertile soil of your mindset and the seeds of deception your enemy wants to sow in your midst (Matthew 12:24-43). Once you burn the lies, don’t keep going back to them because they are more comfortable, familiar, or seemingly easy than the truth to which you have been called. Thoroughly reject thoughts that don’t align with Scripture and never return to the lies that were once the foundation of your life. You’ve outgrown those now. You need no other foundation than that of Christ.
Now that you’ve identified, dug up, and burned the lie-weed, your work is not yet done! Fill the hole that is left in your mindset with a truth-plant that will produce more positive fruit. Don’t leave it empty! A new weed will fill it! (Luke 11:25) It’s not enough just to try to stop thinking about something. That’s nearly impossible! You have to focus on a new thought instead and let the old thought die.
Choose a truth seedling. For every specific lie of the enemy, there is a powerful and opposite truth. Find the Scripture that best confronts the lie and choose it as your weapon. The best way to prevent weeds from taking over your lawn is to have a healthy lawn. If the desirable plants are vigorous, there’s no room left for the weeds. Build the truth so strongly in your mindset that it chokes out any lies that are hurled at you. Pray and ask God to protect your mind from unknowingly absorbing lies from people around you or media that clamors for your attention.
Plant it well. Embed the truth firmly in your thoughts. When you transplant a new tree, you make sure it’s straight, pat the dirt around it to give it a solid foundation, and tie it up with supports until its roots are established. Similarly, you have to make the effort to drive the truth of God deep into your mindset. It won’t fall in there accidently with no work on your part. You must read and study the truth consistently to reap its rewards.
Fertilize the young truth while it takes root and grows in your life. Sometimes you have to act like you believe it’s true even before you feel like it’s true. Feelings lie. God’s Word doesn’t. The truth is more reliable than your emotions so believe a better word about yourself, your situation, and your God even when you’re tempted to call it all rubbish.
Finally, we get to the fun part! You have done the hard work. Now come receive your reward!
Maintain your mindset garden. Just like you can’t mow your lawn once and call it done, you can’t adjust your thoughts once and live off that for a while. Pulling lies and planting truth must be done every day. If you don’t keep weeding your garden, the weeds will eventually win. Stay vigilant!
Have a farmer’s perspective. Every farmer knows you can’t plant an apple seed today and expect to enjoy a delicious hot apple pie tomorrow. It takes time and effort for the seed to germinate, sprout, grow, mature, flower, fruit, and ripen before you can enjoy the tasty results. Be patient with yourself and with the good work God is doing in you. He won’t give up on you! Don’t you dare quit on him! (Philippians 1:6)
Reap the fruit from the seeds you’ve sown. Finally! It’s time to relish the rewards of your labor. Just as there are undeniable physical laws that govern our existence, like gravity, there are spiritual laws we can’t escape as well. One such constant is the law of sowing and reaping. I can’t be disappointed that I didn’t grow any apples from the watermelon seed I planted. That’s not how life works. By the same logic, we can’t be frustrated by our results when we’ve been believing lies. But when we plant God’s truth firmly in our mindset, we reap some pretty amazing fruit
What fruit are you growing from the garden of your mindset? Is the fruit sweet or bitter? Do you need to start reading your Bible regularly? Think about what you think about? Stop believing lies? Replace self-limiting beliefs with Truth? What
Wherever you are in your journey, God wants to help you take the next best step to grow a positive mindset. Pray and ask him to show you how to be proactive in your situation. Read more on any of these topics at the linked posts throughout the article or in the Strong Mind category of this blog.
How will you strengthen your mind to cultivate the life of Christ, unclouded thoughts, and a positively peaceful mindset?
Elizabeth is an author, blogger, and speaker. In addition to supporting her military husband and homeschooling 6 of her 8 children (2 are grown), she writes and speaks about overcoming adversity and building a resilient life. The depression and anxiety she experienced following the death of her son in his second trimester made her passionate about helping others fortify their mental health.