I try to walk everyday. There is a large, beautiful canal just above my home with a nice quiet road I can walk along and I take lots of pictures and do some reflecting. A few days ago, I took a picture of a reflection in the water. Then, totally unrelated, I was part of a conversation about dealing with negativity. How do the two connect? Well, for some reason I often find myself suddenly connecting two seemingly unrelated things. This was one of those!
What is the Definition of Reflect?
The definition of ‘reflect’ is – to throw back light, heat or sound without absorbing it; and, to think deeply or carefully about. The first one was the one I found interesting. To throw light or sound back without absorbing it. But what does it mean to reflect?
I know that reflectors will throw light back until the source of the light disappears. Same with heat. I also knew about this principle in regard to heat. But, when I began to consider sound and words, which are sounds, I saw new meaning in it.
When I give it a spiritual application, reflecting absolutely relates to negativity. I can make a choice regarding negative words (sound). As I think carefully and deeply about something, I can choose to absorb it or throw it back without absorbing. The reverse is also true – I can choose to absorb it.
What Does It Mean to Reflect on Something?
Negative is everywhere. In fact, it is so much everywhere, that it can be hard to avoid it. Have you ever had a time when your mind was racing with thoughts? If you have, they were probably primarily negative and they seemed to be so overwhelming that you could not take control of them.
What if you did the opposite? What if, you wrote them down and then began to think carefully and deeply about them? When you do that, you will discover some things about those thoughts. First, they are probably thoughts of things that have not happened but might (in your mind). Second, they are probably negative. Third, they stir up fear and confusion. If you look at them carefully, they may actually be lies.
How to Stop Negative Thoughts
Cross off all which have not happened. Then cross off the negative ones. If there’s anything left, cross out the ones that bring fear and confusion. They are gone. Maybe not in your head quite yet but you need to continue thinking carefully and deeply about the fact that they are not true, they cause more negativity, they are born of fear, and they produce absolutely nothing good.
You do NOT have to absorb them.
Negative Thoughts Are Distortions
Reflections are usually somewhat distorted – like the picture above. The reflection is not an exact copy of the real thing. Those negative thoughts are distortions of the real thing. As you reflect – throw back – you can then put positive in place of them. The best way to dispel the lies is to expose them to the truth.
Now write down the truth. Maybe you are in a bad situation and that is the truth. But your mind has turned the ‘bad situation’ into the ‘end of your world.’ You don’t have to absorb that sound. If you pick up your bad situation and really examine it, you will find that there is a solution to it. You can then shine a different light on it and yourself – one that you can absorb.While the solution may not immediately eliminate the bad situation. It will show a way through. The next decision is this - are you willing to walk that way through? Click To Tweet
Your Conscious Mind is Meant to Control Your Subconscious Mind
Ugly news is so common now that we sometimes don’t even notice it. That’s a problem because, subconsciously, we may be absorbing it. The subconscious]T is sort of a sponge, absorbing what it is told. It absorbs what the conscious mind is telling it. If you aren’t telling it anything and just letting your mind run with the sounds of the world, the subconscious will do all it can to keep you in this negative place. This is why the Bible talks to us about ‘setting our mind’ on the things above. It tells us that we have the mind of Christ. We can exercise that mind by being fully present each day.
- Isaiah 26:3 – “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” NKJV
- Mark 12:30 – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ [a]This is the first commandment.” NKJV
- Romans 7:25 – “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” NKJV
- Romans 8:5-8 – “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.” NLT
- Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV
- Romans 12:3 – “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” NIV
- 1 Corinthians 2:16 – “For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” NKJV
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” NASB
- Ephesians 4:23 – “and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,” NASB
- Philippians 4:6-7– “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” NASB
- Philippians 4:8-9 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” NKJV
- Colossians 3:2 – “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” NKJV
- 1 Peter 1:13 – “ So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.” NLT
All emphasis is mine.
It is clear that we have the ability to control not only our thoughts but also how those thoughts affect our lives.
We can hear the negative but we do not have to absorb it. We can stay away from it. Yet there is no reasons to fear it because we are the ones who are in control – we are not absorbing its sound.
Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” NLT
Women in Ministry Face Negative Feedback and Doubt
I have been a woman in ministry for almost my entire life. I have served in almost every ministry position – children’s, women’s, singles, as Business Administrator, co-head of the Pastoral Department, Pastor, teacher, Bible Study writer and leader, janitor, graphics creator and more.
In ministry, there are millions of opportunities to allow the negative overwhelm you. The fight not to take things personally is a daily occurrence. Then those wonderfully rewarding times of watching someone’s life transformed by the love of God happen and keep you going.
The point is, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do – there is only one insulator from the negative – your own choice to throw it back and not absorb it. That choice has to be made every day by every person. We must take the time to reflect and re-flect. The deep and careful thought followed by the confrontation of lies and fear followed by the throw back.
Multiple times per day, we make the choice.
What Does It Mean to Reflect?
We cannot control the words of others but we can control our own. There is no way to change the meditations of others but we can change the meditations of our own heart.
So, let the negative come. Our response is to reflect – think carefully and deeply – and then reflect – throw back the negative without absorbing it. We steal its power by facing and rejecting it. We do not fear it because – “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18.
You might also enjoy reading What Does the Bible Say About Loving Others as Jesus Loves?