Archive for the ‘thoughts’ Tag

Worthy Music, Worthy Thoughts

Reading: “Inpsiring Music, Worthy Thoughts,” Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Jan. 1974

One of the most oft-repeated counsel on controlling your thoughts is to sing a hymn to yourself to direct your thoughts in a better direction.  The following video, taken from the 1974 talk by Boyd K. Packer, further explains how this works:

I remember as a high school student working very hard to memorize my scripture mastery.  I spent all of my free moments, between classes, or walking around, memorizing the scripture mastery.  After a while I realized that a great side effect of having my mind continually dwelling on the scriptures was that I felt much happier and more spiritual all of the time.

Hymns, I think, are easier to memorize than scriptures and having them in your mind all the time will probably have the same effect as memorizing scripture master had on me.

Today I am going to pick a hymn and memorize it, or at least start memorizing it.

Have you had any success using hymns to help you think better?  What has helped you to keep your thoughts in line?


Look Unto Me in Every Thought

Reading: Topical Guide – Thought, especially 1 Chronicles 28:9, Isaiah 55:8-9, Matthew 6:24-34, D&C 6:36

Today I decided to peruse the topical guide contents for thoughts or thinking. I quickly found that the “Thought (noun)” entry was much closer to what I was looking for than the “Think, Thought” entry.

While going through these scriptures I came up with several themes that struck me.

  • God knows our thoughts on an intimate level. Our minds are open to him to see. See 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • The Savior’s thoughts are higher than our own thoughts. If our thoughts partly determine our righteousness, than surely God’s thoughts are infinitely more righteous than our own. See Isaiah 55:8-9
  • Those scriptures that talk about our thoughts often are talking about having faith and not worry about bad things that might happen. See Matthew 6:24-34 and D&C 6:36.

We usually think about our thoughts as private, and rightly so because no one else can read our thoughts. However, the fact that our thoughts are open to God helps me to see that it really is important to watch my thoughts. Some of the thoughts I entertain, such as impatient or selfish thoughts, are really not things I would like to parade before God.

Also, I find the “take no thought for the morrow” statement by the Savior particularly interesting in this context. We are asked to plan ahead and to prepare for whatever may come. But, God doesn’t want us worrying or becoming obsessed with things of the world. I know in the past I have often spent a lot of energy worrying about things in my future that I really can’t control. But, lately especially, I’ve been able to worry less about those things and I have been blessed by that increase of faith.

I’ve written a lot in the past week about thinking about the Savior and how to better control our thoughts. We want to be focusing on the Savior in our thoughts every day. However, we should not be demanding perfection of ourselves right now. Good thoughts helps us to be happy, help us to be more Christlike, help us to be more grateful, and help us to be less fearful. It has been a great topic to study and a great start for my new study plan. I really feel that I have learned a lot and what I have learned has made a difference in my week.

Do you have any experiences where changing how you thought made a big difference for you in some situation that you would like to share? Or, do any of the scriptures I shared or that you might have read about thoughts give you a different insight than what I shared?

What Would Jesus Do?

Reading: “Think on Christ“, Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, April 1984, and Mosiah 4:29-30 & D&C 6:36

Continuing today the theme of how to focus on Christ, I read an article today by Ezra Taft Benson on how to keep Christ in our thoughts all the time. He stated that since our thoughts determine what we become, it is important that we keep our thoughts Christlike.

If thoughts make us what we are, and we are to be like Christ, then we must think Christlike thoughts.

There are many scriptures that talk about thoughts, as well. I was especially affected by Mosiah 4:29-30 and D&C 6:36. Clearly, what we think is important. While it is very hard or impossible to control what thoughts pop into our head, we can control what thoughts we dwell on. The less credence we give to bad thoughts, and the more we surround ourselves with good things, the less bad thoughts will pop up.

President Benson then shared a story of people who chose to ask “What would Jesus do?” each time they had to make a decision. In each person’s life asking this question had bigger consequences than they expected, resulting in the person becoming much more Christlike. It helped me realize that while “WWJD” has become somewhat cliche, the spirit behind the sentiment is one that should still be important to all of us.

One thing I have learned in trying to “control” one’s own thoughts, is that the harder you try NOT to think about something, the more you think about it. So, if one has a bad thought come into their mind and the person reacts by shouting in their head, “STOP THINKING ABOUT _____ RIGHT NOW!” they will never get rid of that thought. They will only make themselves feel much, much worse and perhaps they will wonder what is wrong with them that they cannot stop thinking such awful thoughts. However, if we try to remove a bad thought by simply replacing it with a good thought, such as a hymn or the question, “What would Jesus do?” then we will be much more successful. The less time and effort you spend on the bad thought, the better.

So, today, I am going to try applying what President Benson suggested and ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” each time I make a choice. I am really not sure what to expect, and the more cynical part of me thinks not much, but if anything of interest does happen I’ll share it with you tomorrow.

Do you have any ideas on how to keep your thoughts Christlike? Or, do you have an experience where pondering on “What would Jesus do” made a difference in your life?

Questions and Answers, Liahona, December 2001, 25

Last Sunday in Relief Society we had a lesson on “loving life and learning.” During the lesson we discussed at length how to love life and learning. During this discussion someone shared an insight that I have been thinking about since.

She shared a story of a friend who was not enjoying her mission. Her friend was disturbed by how unhappy she was and talked to her mission president about how to become happier. Her mission president told her to stop worrying so much about being happy and to focus on the Savior. Once the missionary did this, she did not have any more problems with happiness for the rest of her mission.

This story resonated with me because I often find the harder I try to make myself be happy, the worse I feel. It makes sense that focusing outward on the Savior would make one happier than just trying to be happy.

So, then, how do I focus on the Savior? I searched and found in Questions and Answers many answers to the question “How can I keep my thoughts centered on Jesus Christ during my daily activities?

Answers they gave included:

  • Strive to be obedient
  • Pray
  • Study the scriptures
  • Serve
  • Attend the temple and other Church meetings

I also enjoyed reading church member’s stories about how they focus on Jesus Christ throughout the day. It helped me to realize that I definitely could do much better about focusing on the Savior as I go through my daily activities.

So, I am going to resolve to think more about the Savior as I go through my day. I’m going to especially try to find ways to be more Christlike as I attend to my daily things. Perhaps I could be a little more patient with my husband? Perhaps I could think about the deeper meaning of a problem rather than just complain?

What do you do to keep your thoughts focused on the Savior throughout the day? Or, what do you plan to do to get better at this important key to happiness?