Stop. It. How the Power of Thought Can Change Your Life

There’s a funny skit we ran across from an old MadTV episode. It’s classic and my husband uses it on me now. If you want the reference, watch Stop It.

No, he’s not heartless. He only yells “Stop it!” at me when we are playing and I reciprocate the joke at the right time.

But I’ve begun to realize the power of using the “therapy” on myself, especially when it comes to my thoughts and words.

I’m an introvert, a thinker, an analyzer, a dreamer; and while those can be fun and meaningful things, they have the potential to be destructive.¬†Fear, worry and obsession can partner with those traits and it can be so easy to feed them.

Something important you I need to know: our thoughts lead to words and our words strengthen our thoughts.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

A thinking person and a wordy person has phenomenal potential or a crippling combination. But remembering the simple truth above can quite truly change your life.

Because here it is: when my thoughts begin to take a downward spiral into fear, anxiety or defeat, I have a choice to STOP IT.

As a practical example (and I challenge you to try this yourself), when I feel overwhelmed in my responsibilities as a mother and wife, I tend to think it, then I verbalize it. That’s what women do, right? I might verbalize it to myself, my husband, and then a couple of friends. The more I say it, the easier it is to say. But, the easier it is too, to feel overwhelmed.

Don’t underestimate the power of suggestion!

Conversely, if I think I feel overwhelmed, I can trick myself. I can say, out loud, “I can do this” or a number of other counter things. It helps to be specific (“OK, the first thing I’ll do is ____, and there is no reason to hurry, I am in control of this situation”, etc.).

And then verbalizing it to others not only confirms it in our minds, it builds their confidence in us, they treat us with said confidence, and the snowball effect goes in a positive direction.

There is no boasting involved; in fact, this “trick” can be a real tool to encourage others.

I find that quoting Scripture out loud and repeating biblical truth is the very best way to combat wrong thoughts. Because the words strengthen the thoughts. God’s Word, then, is the best way to change what I’m thinking. As I share with others my strength in the Lord, they are built up and we encourage one another.

And before long, when my words change, my thoughts change, then my words change…..and my life is changed.

“…by the renewing of your mind…”

26 Responses to “Stop. It. How the Power of Thought Can Change Your Life”

  1. Summer says:

    So true, Kelly! I’m learning this more and more in my life. Thank you so much for sharing-it’s very encouraging! Love to you and Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Mrs. Santos says:

    Yep! The best “Stop It” phrase for me is, “I forgive.” Sometimes, I have to say it over and over, but soon I am praying and forgiving and then all is forgiven.

  3. HeatherHH says:

    So true. In many ways, our focus determines what seems to be our reality. When I focus on how hard things are, they seem difficult. When I just focus on doing the next thing, then I can often get on a roll and keep going, and control seems to return to me. In fact, I know some moms of many who have that as a “Stop it” phrase: “Do the next thing.”

  4. Elizabeth says:

    This is so true! Thank you so much for sharing this. I too am an introvert and can really relate to what you wrote. This is encouraging and practical advice! Thank you!

  5. Thank you so much Kelly! I needed this reminder on this Monday morning when the house is a disaster from the weekend. I am blessed! We have eaten this weekend! Thank you Lord! The dishes won’t take that long to clean up. Thank you for the mound of laundry, my children were all clothed! I can do several loads today and several tomorrow and be all caught up again! Thank you Lord, for all the blessings you have piled on me. I see the blessings all around me! The dishes, the laundry, the living room floor all scream of my blessings from You! Thank you!

    • TS–we’re counting our blessings together this morning ;-)

      Monday mornings…ah. Why does the house explode on Sundays? For me, Mondays are extra challenging because my oldest leaves first thing to her volunteer job as a counselor at our crisis pregnancy center.

      Bria is a machine. She can’t help it, she was born that way. I call her “The Taz” (Tasmanian) because she literally whips through the house and magically gets it all spiffy in record time. She loves it. She is compelled. It’s literally one of her gifts.

      I am not that way. I am distracted, and spontaneous, despite that I crave order. So Mondays are my new project.

      This day, like many lately, I am so sleep deprived. I was up 4 or 5 times with the baby and I could have slept until noon.

      So you bet I’m talking to myself this morning. And you’re right…despite all the things we could moan about, how very small in comparison with our blessings!

      “We can do this!” God is good, life is so full, and the job we’ve been given is holy. One. bite. at. a time.

      • 6 arrows says:

        Whispering a quiet prayer for you tonight, Kelly, that God would grant you and baby some longer sleep stretches tonight. And we know His grace will see you through, as it always does.

        • It is a sweet reminder that you have prayed tenderly for me. All things considered, losing sleep for a short season is really, really small.

          • 6 arrows says:

            You’re right. It is a short season and a small matter in the overall scheme of things. And someday, thinking of snuggling a restless baby in the quiet hours of the night will become a precious memory that you will cherish. {{{Hugs}}}

  6. Q says:

    I use this with my sons. They will often tell themselves they can’t do something, they don’t understand, etc. (Especially with studies.) I turn them around and remind them to tell themselves truth instead. What a difference!

  7. Sherry says:

    Thank you for sharing that link to the video–our whole family has watched it a number of times. This is a picture of 2 Corinthians 10:5, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and Philippians 4:8–so very, very helpful!

  8. 6 arrows says:

    Yes. Exactly. This introvert can really relate to what you’ve said here, Kelly!

    Like Sherry commented above, I’m reminded of Philippians 4:8, reading this post (“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”)

    I looked back at my notes from a Philippians study in which I had participated to review what we’d discussed on that verse. There is a lot there! But what I found really interesting to note was that, in the previous verse (“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”), there is nothing about human experience listed. God’s peace transcends our human experience, whatever that has been or whatever we fear may come about.

    That peace above and beyond all things makes it possible to celebrate that “Finally” at the beginning of verse 8, where we’re able, in Christ, to think on all those good things.

    Now I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always live with this reality in mind! It’s too easy for me to morph into the fear- and anxiety-driven state you mentioned, and turn it into my almost constant companion. Like who wants to get rid of an old, loyal friend? ;-)

    But it’s SO MUCH better to latch onto the truth of Scripture! Which is why I need posts like this to remind me. I’m going to try saying these verses out loud. I don’t usually do that sort of thing when I’m worried, so it’ll be interesting to see what looks I get from my family :-)

    Thanks again, Kelly. I really needed this one!

    • 6 arrows,

      “God’s peace transcends our human experience…”

      So very profound. If only we could get our hearts of flesh to remember. Let me know how the “out loud” thing goes. I’ve been doing it today and I’m amazed at the difference.

      • 6 arrows says:

        Here you go, Kelly…good news! A situation cropped up today (not the first time, by any means) that generally causes me irritation, so I had an opportunity to practice the “out loud thing” ;-) When my old negative thought pattern in response to the problem tried to rear its ugly head, I spoke the Philippians passages, and that did help! (Okay, full disclosure — it helped for a while, but I had to repeat them a little while later, when the situation had not been resolved yet.)

        Long story short, and well before the two hours it took to get a satisfactory resolution to the problem, I was at peace, knowing God would come through. And when He did, it was so much sweeter than the many times God had previously brought a good ending to the things I had fussed and fretted over just about every step of the way to resolution. My reaction at those times was more like, “It’s about time” rather than “Thank you Lord!” If I just get out of the way as God works on my problems, there is more joy in both the product AND the process.

        Also, providentially, during the time before the problem’s resolution today, I came across an index card on which I’d written out a Bible verse that had spoken to me many years ago. Numbers 23:19 — “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?”

        Finding that verse was a real blessing and made me smile. And so was your challenge to verbalize Scripture. You’ve sold me on the practice :-) Thank you, friend!

  9. Nancy says:

    Could you share some of the specific scriptures with which you encourage yourself in certain situations. I need to work on memorizing.

    • Nancy,

      Sure!

      One of my most-often quoted is, “You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.”

      As a mom, I’m too often given to fear over things I can’t control. I need to stop it. ;-)

      When I’m overwhelmed, I really love the reminder, “Faithful is He who called you who also will do it.”

      When I’m prone to focus on hardships or suffering or trials, I like these:

      “For we know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

      “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

      “Blessed be the Lord who daily bears us up.”

      Those are just a few.

      • Nancy says:

        Thank you Kelly! I have nine children with eight still at home – I need to be practicing this/these! Blessings to you and yours.

  10. Jill says:

    This reminds me of a favorite talk. I think you’ll agree. I’m especially prone to worry and needed this reminder. Thank you!
    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-merciful-obtain-mercy?lang=eng&query=stop+it

  11. Laura(yet another) says:

    I know, Kelly, for really sleep deprived days, sometimes, I tell my 4 boys that I need to “rest” my eyes for 10-15 minutes (1-3 times a day), and ask them to read quietly or something for a short time… It does help a bit… Occasionally, hubby will come in and find me “resting” and haul children away and let me snooze for half an hour! But reading this is preparing me for our new baby coming in April… My youngest is 3.5, so sleep deprivation isn’t as bad as it used to be… but soon.. I’ll be right there with you!

  12. Samson Onyeka says:

    Am really so blessed reading your post this morning. Ironically, this is what am going thru- trying to gain mastery over negative thoughts, words and emotions. Years back, the Lord revealed to me the importance & value of words. Ever since, i’ve been carrying out series of researches on the Power of words, which also led me to studing the power of thoughts alongside. And this was how i came across your post. Am blessed to have learnt something new today. Thanks.

  13. Amy says:

    I was having a similar conversation with my Mom recently. About how I wanted to combat daily battles with scripture. When I’m tempted to gossip, or speak harshly, to manage sibling squabbles. What good is a sword if we don’t use it, right? Thanks for the article.

    ~Amy

  14. Tonya says:

    This is so so so SO true!!! Thanks for taking the time to write it down!

  15. Kelli says:

    Thank you! So true!

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