“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” In that simple sentence, Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer sums up a message about what she terms the “battlefield of the mind.” It’s a simple but powerful concept that affects the lives of so many people we work with at Care to Change.
You’ve heard people suggest that the secret to a happy life is to follow your heart. Unfortunately, your heart is fickle and what you feel in your heart isn’t necessarily the truth. We say it often, so let me say it clearly: Feelings are not the basis of truth. So when you make decisions based on what your heart is telling you to do, they’re decisions that could wind up hurting you. It’s the woman who stays in an abusive relationship because her heart believes she can “fix” him. It’s the husband who commits infidelity because his heart seeks comfort, even though he knows his true focus should be on his marriage. It’s the mom who gives in to her teenager’s pleading, even though she knows she should stand firm.
The problem is that our minds don’t always give us clear answers, and that’s where the battlefield arises. We may know the right course of action, but those little doubts start to creep in, and we tell ourselves things that erode what we know. Well, I should have done this … or why didn’t I do that … or I must be a bad person because … or if I would have only done this instead. It’s as if all the hurtful things you heard from your parents begin to creep out of your memory and make you doubt yourself. (And it’s why parents are cautioned to be careful what they say to their children, because those things will become the voices they hear as adults.)
Your feelings are a part of you, and you can’t ignore them. Nor should you. But it is important to put them in the proper place. Yes, acknowledge how you feel, but also recognize that those feelings are not the basis of truth. You may feel sad, or mad, or heartbroken — and that’s okay, even if hard. Feeling those things is part of life and part of what makes us healthy people. If you lean into those emotions, you can confront them, overcome them, and then move on. But if you make decisions based on the emotions, you might become stuck, and just as difficult, may do things you’ll regret later.
In fact, people who respond based upon their emotions, often regret it. Think of when you’ve said or done something in anger. Afterwards, were you glad you did? I suspect your regret began to eat away at you. People have affairs because their hearts convince them that they’re in love, and months later, they realize the damage giving into infatuation caused. The list of what could go wrong by letting emotions lead you is long.
It’s okay to say you feeling something. But tell yourself that you’re not going to let those feelings control you. Tell yourself those feelings are not going to drive your behavior. If you dwell on the negative all the time, you’re only going to become embittered and angry. Instead, remember the wisdom in II Corinthians: “take every captive thought to make it obedient to Christ,” and the advice in Philippians to “fix your thoughts on what is true, what is honorable, and what is right…” That’s how you win the battlefield of your mind. One decision at a time. If you find that battle is overwhelming you, it may be a good idea to work with one of our professional counselors to help you restore the truth to its proper place. Contact us today to set a convenient time. We have immediate openings for you.