When you plan a journey, you start with a destination in mind. You might get some things together depending how long the trip is, gas up the car... and then you are off. You may back out of the driveway, because going forward would cause a big crash into an obstacle, but then you put our vehicle in drive and go forward. You see new things on the trip. You eat at different places. You don't stop at places that are not of interesting to you and you don't stay in the hotel that is old, smelly and dangerous. You choose a fun experience that you can remember with joy for years to come.
You can do this with your thoughts, too: decide what thoughts are beneficial, plan to represent them, bypass what does not fit into your decision and have joy.
I have a saying, "There is nothing back there I need." Now, that may not be completely accurate if you leave your phone charger, your contacts or your wallet behind. But, it CAN be possible when talking about your emotions, hurtful situations or even hurtful people. Those things are not beneficial to you and can be left behind while you travel forward.
Your thoughts may travel backwards often to a time that was not so nice. Your feelings may be all over the place at times. Smells, comments or situations may pop up a memory or two that was hurtful and the feelings come flooding back that cause hurt, anger and skepticism over and over. Do your feelings travel all over the place sometimes? Somedays they are up and you have confidence to face the day and tackle problems. Other days you feel
like everyone is out to get you or leave you and you stay in bed. It's like eating at a bad restaurant.
It is possible to take every thought captive. You may not be able to stop those thoughts from coming into your minds, but you can examine them and divert them to a place that does not cause anxiety. Like an air traffic controller gets information about a plane you are on and then tells it where to land, you can do the same thing with your thoughts. This is where the word TRAVEL comes in.
There are 6 strategies to help your mind travel through a debilitating thought quickly so you don't get stuck in the amusement park of anger, resentment and depression. It's like using a map or directions on your phone. First, you plan your route and if you get off the route, you quickly turn around and go forward to your destination. If you take a wrong turn unknowingly, you hear, "Redirecting. Redirecting," or "U-Turn. U-Turn," or "Recalculating." Sometimes these reminders come in whispers and silent nudges from your spirit.
These strategies are the same way. Sometimes you can't plan for the negative feeling or a nail in your tire, but you can use them to get back on the road quickly and put them behind you, because remember, there is nothing back there you need.
So, let's map out the strategies for your next feeling dump. Starting with each letter of the word TRAVEL, think on these things. Examine your thought. Decide if it is worth keeping. Replace it or do something about it. In either case, change the view. Someone said, "We are not human being with a Spiritual experience, we are a Spiritual being with this human experience that will end shortly." With that in mind, let's aim higher than human feelings. These 6 strategies help you have a deeper Spiritual experience while you have to live in this human body.
Think on what is True. Earthly truth is different for everyone. There is no way to make everyone believe you or get on your side. What to do? Focus on Spiritual truth that aligns with the mind, character and glory of God. Are your thoughts aligned with earthly 'truth' that constantly changes? Are you assuming you know the whys and motives of others? Is your intensity appropriate for the situation? Pick a character of God to immolate like compassion. I have a rule: If I am not willing to talk it out, I have no right to be mad. My unwillingness to have a conversation can never solve problems. Usually talking covers over a multitude of problems and clears up things even if we have to agree to disagree. If it doesn't, treat it like a restaurant you don't like on your journey, pass it by.
Think on what is Right. Everyone thinks their way is right. Earthly 'right' is what is good, just and proper, but people create for themselves what is good, just and proper. Proverbs 14:12 says "there is a way that seems right to man, but in the end is the way of death". Proverbs 21:2 says "God weighs the heart". On earth, 'right' is subjective. I challenge you to aim higher; aim for divine rightness. Doing the right thing, especially lately, seems the wrong thing. So, set your thoughts on what is right in the Spirit even if it is not 'right' in the world. "What good is it to gain the approval of man, but forfeit your soul?" (Mark 8:36)
Think on what is Admirable. Again, there is a worldly view and a Spiritual view of what is admirable. In the dictionary, admirable is deserving of highest esteem. Depending what is in your heart, is what you will find admirable. Recently, millions of people found the "Satan Shoes" created by a rapper with real human blood admirable. I have to wonder, "What in the world is in their soul and heart to admire that?" However, using Spiritual eyes, the lowly (Matthew), murderer (Moses, Paul), prostitute (Rahab) and adulterer (David, woman at well) had admirable qualities and were used for great things more than the kings, generals and people in high positions. So, when your mind is traveling, look beyond the fluff. Look beyond the dirt and focus on qualities that excite wonder. It's like a tourist attraction like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls that you stare at in awe. But you can also be in awe of a flower, a deer or a sunrise. Stare at people in awe, as well. They have admirable qualities if you take the veil off your eyes and look.
Think on what is Virtuous. To think on what has virtue is to focus on what is moral or has beneficial qualities, in a worldly sense. Everyone concocts their own definition of moral and beneficial. However, when aiming higher to a definition that is unchanging, morality is paired with faith, hope and love.
Think on what is Excellent. Excellent is something of highest quality. Do you buy things of the highest quality or buy something cheap? Which one lasts longer? Do you speak with the highest quality or use cheap, hurtful words? My parents have been married 50+ years. They bought a used brown freezer in their second year of marriage. They still have that freezer. They don't make things like they used to! The quality is still seen so many years later. Strive to be the old freezer. Be excellent. Think on those things that are excellent and long-lasting and don't get tired and wear out. Don't allow the world to coerce you to lower your standards. Aim for the excellence of Christ.
Think on what is Lovely. The world will trick you into thinking all sorts of things are lovely. Typing this, I just go a scam text with a half-nude woman wanting to exchange photos. Some people think that IS the definition of lovely, but studies show it destroys gray matter in your brain. Nothing that destroys can be lovely! Redo your definition of lovely and choose those things that the Lord thinks are lovely. Psalm 84:1, "How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty!" That is aiming high!
These strategies only work if you put effort into studying them, choosing them and applying them. Chances are, if you are just waiting for your thoughts to gravitate to beneficial thoughts, you will be waiting your whole life in frustration. WHEN the negativity of the world gets you down, don't go down without a fight. Take a U-turn. Redirect. You can't stop the negativity from creeping in or busting through through, but you can choose that those thoughts and feelings don't deserve to be in the vacation photo. Let these strategies help you unpack them before you even begin on your journey called Each Day.