Today’s devotional by Wayde Goodall inspires us to toughen up our minds by getting rid of things that waste time as well as mental and emotional energy. Read on for some fantastic how-to ideas to help you get started.
“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” – Proverbs 24:10
“Mental toughness is essential to success.” – Vince Lombardi
“Mental toughness is all about improving your mind so that it’s always on your side; not sometimes helping you nor working against you as we all know it’s quite capable of doing.” – Jim Loehr, The New Toughness Training for Sports
I believe our Creator frequently gives us instruction to: Focus. Make up your mind. Don’t be double-minded. Set goals. Have vision. Stay on track.
We’re all occasionally tempted to give up . . . particularly when we’re going through a stressful time. We might be in a season of life when we’re experiencing tremendous negative pressures emotionally, physically, or relationally. When going through these times, we need to reach deep inside and decide to persevere. We must decide to fight the battle one more day (or hour). Often we find strength we didn’t know we had when we trust God rather than quitting.
A few thoughts on how we can get our thinking God-focused and under His control:
1. When going through a discouraging or stressful time, slow your thinking down and take time to process.
Ask yourself, “What’s going on? Why is this happening? What is God’s wisdom on this? Who will give me the best advice?”
Even though we might be going through tremendous uncertainty or stress, we can maintain focus. We ask God for help while doing all we can to slow our anxious thinking down. To do this, we need to put our worry on pause and think, go for a walk or a drive, meditate, and not panic.
2. When your mind is stuck, and you don’t know what to do, do something positive and helpful that will move you (even just a little) toward your goal.
You can do something. Sometimes, that could just be getting out of bed and starting.
When my wife and I attended college, we needed to find part-time jobs. I was offered a job in the electronics department of a major department store. I didn’t know how to be a salesman, so I asked the Lord to help me know the products and be good at the work he had provided. I also asked God to help me be transparent and fully honest about the quality of the various TVs and stereos and have the attitude of Jesus. I thought, How would Jesus do this job and how would he treat the customers? I knew he would have absolute integrity, would work hard, would be sensitive to people’s needs, and would be loyal. I made a list of those things and made it my mission to sell like Jesus would. I told the truth, acquired as much knowledge of the various products as I could, worked hard, and served the customers and my employer. I prayed for favor and for God’s help in this new job.
To my surprise, I began selling product . . . lots of product, and making good money . . . while working part time. After a few months of doing that job, I was recognized as one of the company’s top 10 salesmen in the country, and that department store wanted to talk to me about management.
“Work as if everything depended on you: pray as if everything depended on God.” – Ignatius
We can waste mental and emotional energy by getting stuck in the rut of worry about what might happen to us. Fight the worry. Begin to move in a healthy direction — even if it’s only small steps.
3. Don’t use emotional energy on things you have no ability to control.
Your emotional and mental strength is similar to physical conditioning. Even professional athletes don’t have unlimited energy. They understand how to play their position and not waste energy on things they can’t do.
When working with our family, friends, or others, we know we can’t control people’s behaviors. We can only do our best to help them; however, they ultimately choose what they’re going to do.
4. Don’t waste your mistakes, failures, or sorrows. Look at these life experiences as valuable training and nothing more.
We learn from the past and gain wisdom and perspective from our wrong decisions and from observing the mistakes of others.
If we’re mentally stuck on a mistake, failure, or tragedy, we can become paralyzed. We need to let it go.
The past is just training for the future; it doesn’t define you.
5. Be happy when others do well.
Jealousy, envy, insecurity, and unhealthy competition will sap your mental and emotional energy. Encouragement, giving congratulations, and honoring people who have succeeded will give you energy. Help others win, and many times, it will be reciprocated.
6. Decide (one day at a time) not to complain or criticize.
“The tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18b
Our words have the ability to hurt or to heal. They have the power to make you feel bad or better, and to help others feel wounded or healthy.
Complaining feeds negative emotions. Try to look at the positive. Find the good in yourself, other people, a job, or even pain. When our friends are being critical, point out the good, as you care about them and want them to have good thinking habits.
7. Be you — the person God created you to be.
Many live their lives trying to make people like them. They purchase stuff — cars, homes, clothing, etc. to impress. Some spend money they can’t afford and try to buy their friends. Some try to gain titles or trophies to impress others.
This is a tremendous waste of healthy energy.
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll only form genuine relationships when you stop trying to impress others and become content with the person God created you to be. You are unique, gifted, talented, and have God’s favor on your life.
Be yourself — you’ll have a lot more mental energy.
8. Believe that God wants to give you favor.
“A good man obtains favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 12:2
Take time today to tell yourself that God wants to give you favor, blessings, and wisdom. Don’t quit. Keep going. Do what you can, and stop worrying about what you can’t do or don’t have. Be mentally tough, and think about how God can provide and give you favor.”
(c) 2015 Wayde Goodall Used with Permission http://www.northwestu.edu/watchmen/article/mental-toughness/