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Control Your Thoughts

Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

—Frank Outlaw

Do you ever have a time or moment that you have trouble controlling your thoughts?

A story that was once shared with me goes like this:

A young mother came into the kitchen and saw her young daughter holding two apples.  The mother said to her daughter, “oh sweetie, can mommy have a taste of one of your apples? Will you share one of your apples with me?  The little girl quickly took a bite out of both apples.

I will be honest, immediately I thought how selfish this little girl was, when as the story progressed, the little girl after taking a bite out of both apples said to her mommy, sure, I wanted to taste them both to give you the best one” mommy.

Jesus says, don’t judge or you also will be judged.

Many times, in my life I have been guilty of this in more ways than one.  Although today I am much more aware of controlling my thoughts so as not to judge what I may not know or understand, however, I am not always successful in this endeavor.

Another story shared with me was a friend of mine headed to work and noticed on this rainy day a man pushing his car up a hill.  My friend said he was thinking “if only I had time to help”, as he had a meeting waiting for him.  When he stopped at the light, a homeless man came up to his car and asked for two dollars.  My friend said, “I will give you two dollars” if you will go and help that man push his car”!  My friend drove away, and the thought came into his mind that this person he just gave two dollars too, would probably not help the man push his car, but rather go to the nearest convenience store and spend it on “whatever”. So, my friend turned around and drove back towards the intersection, only to find to his surprise that the homeless person was helping the man push his car up the hill…

Words are hurtful if used incorrectly.

Thoughts are damaging to the soul.

Actions can cause pain.

Habits can be destructive creating

A character that in the end, leaves us lost.

These are my thoughts, my words. I wrote them, lining them up with the quotes by Frank Outlaw above.

(Matthew 7:1-2)

Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you again.

We cannot love one another if we are spending time in judgement.  What is the solution?

I will speak for myself and that is; take time to listen and hear what is being said before passing judgment.  Silence is a wonderful action to pause the situation and take time to think things out.  I struggle each day to avoid controlling my thoughts to judgement, and each day I fail, because at least once, if not more than once, I find myself in judgement of someone, only to find out that I was wrong.  It’s becoming less frequent, and I love that because I love my God, but I have to work on it every day.

In Colossians 3: 10-16, Paul speaks of the “LOVE” of God which is the breastplate for overcoming judgement.

Disagreements and issues are found in every family, but what is important that the words or thoughts stated don’t destroy the family or the individual.  Control of our thoughts when something doesn’t sit right with us, sitting in silence briefly and reflecting upon what we are thinking, and not passing judgment is a task that takes practice, but the results are worth it.  We have avoided saying something we wish we could take back; thinking poorly of the character of the individual, therefore developing a resentment.

I grew up in a family that was so dysfunctional.  I believe with all my heart that I was considered the black sheep of the family.  While there were six of us, I seemed to be the one that couldn’t get things right.  Although not much was said directly to me, but rather to each other about me, judgement was passed, and there wasn’t the time taken to find out what was really going on. I wasn’t a lost sheep, without a future.  How many siblings have been hurt deeply because judgment was passed on because of the actions and words that could not be controlled?

Take the Challenge:  For one week, see how many uncontrolled thoughts bring about judgment and it turns out to be just the opposite.  God bless all who take time to read and reflect.

Lynn Forrester-Pitocco
Lynn Forrester-Pitocco
LYNN is Retired from Law Enforcement as a Police Officer, with a background in nursing and previously a member of the Search and Rescue Team with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, A retired member of the Orange Police Department, she became the first female SWAT member on an elite team while becoming a member of the Olympic Shooting Team during the early years on the department. A mother and a grandmother, a devout Catholic who currently resides in Houston, Texas. Her hobbies include writing, painting, and a contemplative prayer life. She is in love with her faith, but the love she carries for her two grown children and grandchildren who rest in her heart surpasses everything except her faith in God. Since retirement, Lynn has done private investigation, worked as a gang counselor with middle schools, A member of Bl. Mother Teresa’s Order called the (Lay Missionaries of Charity), she is also a pro-life advocate, often called upon to give testimony and speak to youth groups, as well as adult forums. She has published a children’s book entitled “The Children’s Garden” and is currently working on two additional children’s books. She is currently working on the major one focused on her experience in Law Enforcement entitled “Heels and a Badge”. (copyright). Her paintings and sketches, writings, can be viewed on her Pinterest boards (click on the Pinterest ICON below). Her dream is to one-day write a movie for Hallmark. Dreams do come true … See Lynn’s entire collection of thought-provoking Articles by clicking on her byline. Lynn is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for your article Lynn. We must all be on constant guard against a judgmental attitude……once hurtful words leave our tongue we cannot take them back. The emotional scars left behind can be just (if not more) painful than physical scars. I have certainly not ‘arrived’, but this is one area in which God has performed a major transformation in my life. It was years into my marriage before I realized the damage my words and callous attitude were causing. And even with the realization, and the desire to change, the power to effect lasting change ultimately came from outside myself. I would sincerely apologize to my wife only to repeat the scenario over and over again…..with each new apology my credibility rating dropped lower and lower. It was not until I sensed that I had finally pushed her too far and that Sharron was on the verge of leaving that I knew I had to look beyond myself for the answer. I read this Bible verse one day, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” Those words from Psalm 139, verses 23 and 24 jumped off the page…..they became my daily prayer and the desire of my heart to save my marriage. It was the first time in my Christian experience that I experienced for myself the transformational power of God. I began to see small victories – a situation in which I would normally respond negatively, or with hurtful satire – but I didn’t! Sharron began to see it too. Over time I began to like myself again (I hadn’t for some time)….and, with that, accept God’s, and Sharron’s forgiveness. Love grew. It’s not wonder the Bible compares the tongue to fire and asks, ‘who can control it?’ I still pray Psalm 139, and often Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Jesus said husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ died for the church. The Lord has shown me that ministry begins at home….today I look for ways to ‘die’ for Sharron…. often that means ‘crucifying’ my fleshly desires and putting her first.

    • Thank you Mike for taking the time to read my piece. In reading your response which is so honest and refreshing, when I came to the part where you took time to look beyond yourself for the answer is such a great step. Psalm 51, create in me God a new heart. Thank you again for this comment, may God continue to bless you and Sharron in all ways of your marriage.

  2. Indeed Nightingale, snap judgements that are predicated upon faulty facts or shewed perspectives (biases) will be erroneous. “Think before you act” as well as “Look before you leap” adages are definitely sage advice. I always liked the Marine Corps instruction, “Engage your brain-housing group before you put your tongue in gear”.

    You established some great examples to ponder along with solid Scripture foundations to practice. May it please the reader. Hold the thought and pause the tongue is good judgement for sure.

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