Stop the Spiral

spiral stain glassThis past month, I began Jennie Allen’s study in Philippians, Get Out of Your Head, with a group at my church. I’m only in the third session, but so far, I’ve learned something new about how our minds can spiral either downward or upward, and that we have the ability to choose which way they go.

Jennie talks about spirals going either up toward God, or down toward the thing we’re fixating on. She says that whatever we find our self most fixed on is the thing we are living for. She suggests we consider how what we spend the most time thinking about affects our friendships, family, work, time, and joy, compared to how thinking about Christ affects them.

She points out that in spirals we begin with an emotion. Our emotions trigger a thought. Thoughts lead to behaviors. Behaviors affect relationships. And behaviors have consequences.

Between emotion and thought, however, we each have the choice of whether our thoughts will spiral down or up. A downward spiral focuses on self. An upward spiral focuses on God.

An upward spiral begins with surrendering our thoughts to God and remembering we belong to him. When we choose thoughts that conform to the mind of Christ, we start to see better behaviors, relationships, and consequences.

Filling our minds with the truth of who God is, who he says we are, and holding those truths up against the thoughts that could spiral us downward, is one way to change the spiral’s direction.

The enemy’s strategy is to flood our thoughts with visions of all that is wrong in this broken, fallen world to the point we don’t even think to look for the positive anymore. We get cynical. But God has an abundance of joy and delight for us, and we’re missing it with arms crossed. Jennie Allen

The first step in changing a downward spiral’s direction is to recognize it, then interrupt it. Do you find that difficult to do?

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And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Philippians 4:8 (TLB)

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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