Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Thoughts that Make Us Strong

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

My youngest daughter likes to read fantasy and scifi novels. My son writes fantasy novels (and yes, he has published several titles.) I know enough about that genre to tell you that one type of character populating those books is a shape-shifter. A shape shifter appears in one form at first—maybe a human—but can shift to another form—maybe an animal of some sort. One shape … shift … another shape.
I can do my own version of shape shifting—emotional shape shifting, that is. One minute I am feeling fairly balanced, confident—calm, cool and collected. The next minute, I’m second guessing myself and my life choices, dragging myself around by the virtual scruff of the neck and giving myself a real going over.

Why the emotional flip flop?

If I take the time to trace back the path of my mood shift I can figure out the (mis)direction of my thoughts. With a little mental investigation, I discover where I allowed a discouraging word to settle into my mind or where I allowed a bit of disappointing information to lodge in my heart as a judgement against me as a person.

Our thoughts can be so, so devious. Mishandled, our thoughts are the very things that weaken us, like bullets fired from a gun equipped with  silencer. We don’t hear the shots being fired, but we feel the effect of that thought as it explodes in our mind and damages our perspective, our motivation, our hope.

I really blew it when I said (fill in the blank) to that person.

I wasn’t well prepared for my presentation today. I sounded so stupid.

I’ll never do as well at (fill in the blank) as he does. Why do I even try?

I can’t.

I’m so ashamed.

Nothing I do will change anything.

I’ve had to learn how to stop listening to the thoughts that defeat me. I’ve had to choose what is going to define me: thoughts that I let slip into my unguarded mind or thoughts that I choose to dwell on so that I am strong and resilient—and in my right mind. It’s a deliberate choice—some days it’s a fight. But I am stronger for it.

In Your Words: What thoughts make you strong? What helps you hear them?

The thoughts that make us strong - @BethVogt on @Edie Melson (Click to Tweet)

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” 

A nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’ Words.


  1. Well said, Beth. Fighting negative thoughts has been a near life-long battle for me. Today, I usually defeat them. But there are times when they gang up on me, and I succumb for a short time. As you know, it doesn't take much negative self-talk to plunge one into deep despair. I thank God for teaching me my true value. And for showing me the purveyor of negative thoughts is Satan. God bless you for reaching out to us with this encouragement.

    1. It's true, Bruce. It doesn't take much negative self-talk to plunge me (or anyone else) into despair. We can be our own worse enemy. We also need to identify those thoughts as fiery darts from the enemy, too.

  2. I appreciate what you say about "choose what is going to define me." That is SO true. It all comes down to choices. Deciding. God grants us wisdom, and I know He smiles when we choose wisely. I read something once that was supposed to be funny, cute - but to me it speaks to this very issue of choosing what is going to define me. "The highway is paved with dead squirrels who just couldn't make a decision." That holds for those who make the wrong decision. The wrong (unwise) decision can mean the death of an important relationship, a career, or a journey to our goal. Thanks for this.

    1. Oh, Jay! That squirrel analogy made me laugh out loud -- but it so, so true! Thank you for sharing it!!

  3. I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO identify with you! Ditto! Ditto!! Thank you. Incredible post~~~