Amy Eksteen

Last week we started our conversation about lifting our perspectives by focusing on the verse ‘Count it all joy’. We spoke about how we can start navigating our way through our toughest moments, the ‘valleys’ in our lives by using them as opportunities to rejoice as if we are already standing and celebrating on the highest mountain top.

Having the ability to live above your circumstances by changing the way you think has always fascinated me. I believe thinking positively is one of the keys in becoming more resilient versions of ourselves. This is why I have chosen to continue our conversation about lifting our perspectives, from discovering the meaning behind ‘counting it all joy’ to learning how to ‘upgrade’ our way of thinking.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Romans 12:2 is a standard verse, one that we are often reminded of, but what does it mean? What does it look like to truly practice and/or be transformed by the renewing of our minds? These are only a few questions that would fill my head when trying to comprehend the power that lies within my way of thinking.

One of my favourite speakers goes by the name of Graham Cooke. His six part teaching series called “The Art of Thinking Brilliantly” is where I started to understand how I can change my way of thinking in order to allow my thoughts to positively impact me and my outlook on life – to find the joy in any situation. I guess he helped me understand the true practicality behind the phrase ‘renewing of your mind’.

In part 1 of the Art of thinking brilliantly, which is dedicated to ‘building the right mindset’, Graham Cooke starts off by asking, “What if every situation you face carries an upgrade?”. What if the whole point of difficult circumstances or our ‘valleys’ is to give us something? To add something to us? What if the point is to transform us instead of allowing our trials to negatively affect us? This really got me thinking.

If every thought produces an action, our thoughts then have the power to either help us to flourish or stunt our growth. We can either choose to think positively or negatively, therefore either reacting and/or behaving positively or negatively as a result. Graham Cooke explains this choice at the beginning of every new trial or ‘valley’ as ‘your starting point’ – how you choose to view and react to your circumstances. He explains that we are given the chance to view every circumstance we encounter as an opportunity to think differently, to think brilliantly, to think positively. I don’t know about you, but that’s the starting place I want to find myself in, especially in the middle of all my valleys. For if my mountain top or moment of celebration is guaranteed to be waiting for me, then I want to invest my time and energy in ensuring that I start my journey the right way and I find the correct path that will lead me to and along a healthy, happy and positive journey.

Upgrading our way of thinking proves that we don’t have to be victims of our valleys, where we can easily be filled with disappointment and doubt, often leaving us feeling overwhelmed and tired. We have the ability and the choice to perceive our emotions and feelings as signals that we need to stop and start looking for our upgrades instead. We can do this by learning to be expectant of the lessons and blessings waiting to be discovered within our various trials. This way of thinking can be used as a way to unleash our joy before reaching the top of the mountain. It also allows us to truly enjoy the journey and appreciate all the opportunities for growth along the way.

We might not be able to control the circumstances we face, but we can definitely control our way of thinking in order to ensure that the journey leading us to our mountain tops can be used to transform us into stronger people who are able to cultivate joyful mindsets. We know that our mountain tops and testimonies from our differing journeys are going to be beautiful, but I believe the true beauty lies within choosing to rejoice in the middle of our trials. We need to be open to growing by upgrading our way of thinking and continuously learning how to use our valleys as opportunities to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Until next week xx