What Do Your Thoughts Reveal About You?

What Do Your Thoughts Reveal About You?

Thoughts run through our head from morning to night, and then fill our head with dreams when we sleep. 

Probably, the one thing we all do most, apart from breathing, is thinking. But to quote Thomas Traherne, a 17th century poet, “as nothing is more easy to think, so nothing is more difficult than to think well.”

Recently, I’ve considered this a lot, and how it is so important to every aspect of our life to “think well”.

Scientists have been able to show that as we think, the physical characteristics of our brains change. We quite literally ‘build thoughts’ that remain in our physical makeup. They have also shown that our thoughts can have a physical impact on our health – for example, through the placebo and the nocebo effect.

‘New age’ spiritual practices and self-help books have long recognised the impact of thoughts on a person’s well-being and success; and consequently have come up with all sorts of ways to help us get rid of ‘negative’ thoughts and to think ‘positively’, supposedly to enable us to achieve success in all areas of our lives. 

Personally (and you may be the same) I have noticed that the thoughts running through my mind on a given day have a massive impact on how I parent my children and engage with the people around me. For instance, if I’m nurturing thoughts of complaint, I will inevitably be less patient. Small inconveniences can then further justify and reinforce my negative thoughts, making it more likely I’ll be short-tempered, or use harsh or inappropriate words.  An unvirtuous circle…

But what does the Bible have to say about thinking?

I intend to start a short series of blogs on what the Bible says about thinking, what does it mean to think well, and how we can go about learning to do just that?

Firstly I would like to focus on a few biblical reasons why it is so important to focus on our thought life.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “for as he thinks within himself, so he is” (KJV). Whilst we can outwardly show hospitality – like the man described in this proverb – our true character is displayed by our thoughts, not our actions. Are we doing our ‘good deeds’ out of love, or is something else motivating them? Are we serving joyfully or begrudgingly with our inward thoughts?

Whilst it might not be obvious to an outside observer, all things are known to God. Psalm 139:2 tells us that he knows our thoughts before we even think them. Jesus also knew what people were thinking and regularly challenged his listeners on their thought-life.

Changing our actions is important, but it is not enough – because God examines our inward motivations. In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took this even further and said that if we are inwardly so angry with someone as to curse them or call them a fool, it has the moral equivalence of murder (i.e. saying their lives are worthless).

If we become Christians, we are called to no longer set our minds on ‘worldly’ things but on the things of God, and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Indeed loving God with “all our mind” is a part of the first and greatest commandment.

But what does it actually mean to think well? 

Is it similar to the popular concepts of ‘positive thinking’ and ’emptying our minds’? Or is it preferable to be level-headed, whilst filling our thoughts with that which is good, honourable and just? And even if we know what we should be thinking, how do we go about changing our thoughts to bring them in line with the ideal?

These are some of the questions I would like to explore, if you’ll stay with me for the next few blog posts. 

Recipe

As a homemaker with a reasonably large family one of the things that often occupies my mind is what to cook for dinner on any given day.

To make it easier I often prepare meals in batches and freeze them. That way on days I can give dinner little thought I’m able to grab a healthy home cooked meal out the freezer.

With this recipe the sauce base is very quick to throw together. I batch make the meatballs and freeze them raw in resealable bags. The meatballs can be defrosted the day before or thrown in the oven frozen and added to the sauce before serving.

Spaghetti Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 large sticks of celery finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes optional
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 400 g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 bell peppers cut in chunks
  • 500 g meatballs
  • 400 g spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Fry celery until soft (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add garlic, basil and chilli flakes and fry for 1 minute
  4. Squeeze in tomato puree and cook for a further minute.
  5. Add tinned tomatoes and sugar, bring to boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes
  6. Meanwhile put meatballs in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Once the meatballs are cooked add to the sauce and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  8. Cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions and while the pasta is cooking add chopped peppers to the sauce.
  9. Once spaghetti is cooked drain and mix through the sauce.
  10. Season to taste.
  11. Serve with grated parmasan, sweetcorn, salad and garlic bread if you like.

Recipe Notes

This sauce works equally well with chopped up sausages.

Check out the video for my meatball recipe. 

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