I don’t subscribe to a whole lot of newsletters, but there are a few that I enjoy receiving. In one of them, the author always ends hers by saying, “I’m proud to be in ‘your space!’ Thanks for being in mine!” As I read that line last week, I started thinking about the things I allow in my space, in my life, on a daily basis.
And, this is a good time to ask yourself what’s in your space because of all of the changes the pandemic has brought about – most of them negative changes.
It’s hard to silence all the negative forces that constantly attack my mind – the news, social media, radio broadcasts all play a part in this attack. However, I know that I have to be selective about who and what I willingly allow in my space. Here are some principles that can help you do that, too.
Pay attention to what you say to yourself.
We can sometimes be our own worst enemy when it comes to saying negative things about ourselves. Proverbs 18:21 says, that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Saying the negative thing is our default setting. So, make a conscious decision to speak life and truth when faced with negative circumstances.
Protect your mind.
The news shouts gloom and doom, magazines tell you all the things that are wrong with you, and too many movies are too sexually explicit and/or violent. Exposing yourself to these outside forces on a daily basis can wreak havoc with your peace. They often leave you feeling bad and depressed before you realize what hit you. What you allow in your mind can influence your attitude towards life and ultimately God. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” It has never been more important for you to think on the true, the noble and the pure than it is now. (Philippians 4:8)
Replace the negative with the positive.
It’s not enough to stop saying, thinking, and doing negative things. The next step is to replace the negativity with something positive. There’s a good illustration of this point in Matthew 12:43-45: “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; the last state of that man is worse than the first. So, shall it also be with this wicked generation.” Bathe your life with scripture, positive quotes, and affirmations; listen to inspiring podcasts, read encouraging books, watch uplifting videos, and spend time with positive people.
Set your own rules of engagement.
The military frequently uses the phrase Rules of Engagement to refer to when, where, and how to respond to an enemy. Even though you may not have any enemies in the military sense, it would be wise to establish your own rules of engagement. It is up to you to decide which people you will allow in your life and how they treat you. As the old saying goes, “Everyone does not deserve a front-row seat in your life.” It is important that as you love your neighbor you use wisdom when it comes to those who do not mean you well. (Matthew 22:39; Proverbs 2:12, 4:6) Make sure that your circle includes people who cheer you on and support you. They are the ones to engage with most often.
Guard your space so that the majority of what comes in is what you want, uplifting, and positive. It’s impossible to totally rid your life of all negativity, but with some effort, you can limit how much you receive.