Our thoughts have amazing powers, don't they? It's funny, I can be having a perfectly good day, when out of the blue, I'll think to myself... "I didn't play with Chase yesterday. I'm a terrible mother." All of a sudden, my emotions, my feelings and my self-esteem take a HUGE nosedive, and I'm in a deep blue funk. It's not that we spent a rare day in an uncharacteristic rush, it's that I'm a terrible mom. What's up with that? I mean, it's amazing the things we say to ourselves! If someone walked up to me and accused me of being a terrible mother, I would defend myself and give eight million examples of days when I did nothing but play with him. But, when I say it to myself, somehow, it seems true.
I just finished a class at church called Beta. It's a class about faith, about having a closer walk with God, and about life in general. One of the topics they really stress is purifying your mind. You've heard the old "garbage in, garbage out" adage. That was part of it - being careful about what you put into your mind, but a bigger issue was about taking your thoughts captive. That sounded kind of like "church speak" to me, so at first, I dismissed it. But, it's really not church speak; it's very concrete and very effective!!
Basically, it goes like this - a thought, like the bad mom one I described above, enters your mind. What you do is say (out loud works best for me, although it makes those around me wonder about my sanity...), "That's not from God, and it's not true!" Now, you say, how do I presume to know that thought isn't from God? Because God might give you a thought like, "you need to make time to spend playing catch with Chase today. He needs your attention." But God just wouldn't tell you you're a bad mom. Name-calling doesn't seem to be God's style! It's like if your sweet son told you a lie. You would deal with the lie, but you wouldn't call him a LIAR.
It takes practice (and makes people think you're a little loopy), but it really has done wonders for me and my general outlook. It's amazing, when you're paying attention, how many nasty little negative thoughts creep in during the day! I don't mind the little correcting ones, but the name callers? They gotta go.