The Rooms Your Thoughts Need To Visit
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Although we are already a few months into the new year, I can’t help but remember how this past holiday season was different for me — in more ways than one. I was tempted to let my thoughts linger in rooms in my mind that ushered in sadness rather than joy.
Last summer, I moved from the house my family and I had lived in for 25 years into a smaller home. It had been seven years since my marriage ended and my husband left, and it was time to move on. But oh my goodness, it was hard on my heart.
It was a huge, tear-filled adjustment to leave behind our family home and be in a new, unfamiliar house for the first time in my adult life, especially as the holiday season approached. In addition, two of my children got married last year, which, although an immense blessing, meant even more changes for me as a single mom and for our family Christmas plans and traditions.
One day in early December, as I found myself focusing on how much life had changed and secretly mourning the way things used to be, God spoke to my heart with a life-changing thought:
We have a choice as to which rooms in our minds we allow ourselves to mentally walk into. The mental rooms where we let our thoughts linger will always determine our joy.
You see, our minds are filled with “rooms” of memories. Some rooms we’d rather never visit, yet we do. Rooms filled with memories of grief, heartbreak and loss. Rooms filled with seasons gone by and days we wish we could get back or do over. Rooms filled with memories of the past that look much different than the present. Rooms filled with unfulfilled desires, unmet expectations or loneliness.
But there are also those rooms where we love to let our minds linger. Rooms that hold fond memories, special occasions, special people, special times. Rooms filled with thoughts of beloved family and friends, God-ordained blessings, hope, and so much more.
I had to switch directions in my mind and choose which room my thoughts would visit the most.
That one small decision was a game changer.
The Bible talks often about how powerful our thoughts are. (Romans 8:5-6; Romans 12:2) Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Who wants a heart void of cheer? Who wants to feel like their spirit is crushed? Who wants to be bone tired from the inside out? Who longs to feel sad and stuck in the past all the time? Who wants to mourn what we don't have anymore instead of embracing and enjoying all the blessings we do have?
Certainly not me! And I feel confident you don’t either. Instead, we can choose positive thoughts that will always steer us toward those rooms in our minds that bring us joy.
Each morning after God revealed this to me, as I arose from my bed to the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, I began to mentally run into those rooms filled with beautiful memories, gratitude and blessings. I opened the doors to see the beauty God has allowed me to enjoy in each season of my life, which helped me shift my focus from what is no longer to all the blessings in the present and to come.
You can do the same today! Slam shut the doors to all those rooms that threaten to steal your joy, and commit not to let your thoughts creep into them. Ask God to capture each thought that tries to pull you back into sadness, and run headfirst into your room full of joyful and happy thoughts.
Focusing on our blessings instead of our burdens takes intentionality, but it will change our lives for the better.
Dear Lord, please help me be aware of when I’m letting my mind linger in a room that is causing me angst instead of joy. Guide my thoughts into those rooms where blessings and abundance reside, and help me make a habit of choosing optimism in the present rather than longing over the past. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.