Does Change Come Down to Making a Decision?


Hello. I haven’t written for about two weeks. I was planning a surprise wedding shower for a good friend of mine. Of course when I said I would host it, I hadn’t broken my ankle. It was a bit challenging to pull it off, but I had great family and friends to help. My biggest thanks, kisses and hugs is to my husband. Without him I couldn’t have done it. Thank you Dennis!!

In my first blog I talked about how I lived with low-grade depression most of my adult life, well into middle-age. That was because I held onto old toxic thoughts, old scripts which influenced my behavior. Thoughts affect how you feel; how you feel affects your behavior; and your behavior will affect how you live your life. My journey has been rocky with many high and low peaks. Sometimes my depression went deep from a day to a week or longer. But I’m glad to report that it’s been smoother sailing for a long while now. Thanks to God!!

As part of my journey I attended church regularly, read tons of self-help books, articles and scripture till my eyes became pinwheels. Applying the principles I learned wasn’t always easy because there were days when the pressure of old scripts pounded at me dredging up old beliefs of inferiority, shame, and unworthiness. Accompanying these negative thoughts was an uncomfortable sensation of nervousness that settled in my stomach, chest or neck. That made me even more unsettled and led to more wrong thinking. Thoughts affected how I felt and how I felt triggered more wrong thinking and or vice versa. The cycle ran amuck. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. In those moments I couldn’t see how to escape. But I was determined to have peace of mind and happiness. I had had enough and I was sick and tired of being pushed around by my own “stinkin’ thinkin.” I had to jolt myself out of it by making a conscious decision to override all that messy thinking by turning to God, praying and purposely applying what I learned to change my thought processes. And all that effort is paying off.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12.

Clothe yourself – To get dressed is something we do everyday. We purposely choose what to wear and then put it on. I take this verse to mean we purposely choose how we are to think and behave and then do so accordingly. I chose to think and behave differently to achieve healthier thinking.

For years I watched others enjoying their lives. It was beyond my comprehension how they lived and not let things bother them. I was one of those hypersensitive people who soaked up emotions, facial expressions and attitudes from others like a sponge until they affected my own state of mind. I took things too personal, when there was no need to. Ninety-nine percent of the time their thoughts, emotions and attitudes had nothing to do with me. But for some reason I made it all about me. The biggest take away from those experiences was: they don’t like me; I’m not good enough; I’m not pretty enough; anything negative, of course. This way of thinking wasn’t 100% of the time, but it was enough to develop a pattern of behavior.

Why was I so sensitive of what others thought of me? Why did it bother me if someone liked me or not? Why did I need the approval of others? My mind got stuck in low gear where my thoughts would grind over and over again on self-doubt, self-deprecating thoughts, jealousy, fear, shame, self-hatred and/or a combination of any of the above.

Shame was one of the biggies I carried around for so many years. I was ashamed of how I looked (I didn’t like my body). I was ashamed when I didn’t know something or made a mistake (Thinking others would think I was stupid. And who doesn’t make mistakes?) Oh, how I wished I could be and look like so and so. I often asked God why He didn’t give me a better body, more talent, make me smarter, funnier, happier – and the list goes on.

I like what Joyce Meyer said, “Just make peace with your thighs. God gave you what He gave you, accept it.” So I began to make peace with me right where I was. But shame and fear of not being enough continued to haunt me, when it didn’t need to. I know that now as I look back. Some of the things I used to worry about seem silly now. Then I began to feel shame about how long it took me to realize how much time I wasted being ashamed. Ok, I can laugh at that one. I make plenty of mistakes and when I do – well now I say, “so what.” We all falter. When I observe others making mistakes or not knowledgeable in some area, I never think less of them. It’s really no big deal. It’s not humanly possible to live a perfect life anyway (how dull that would be) and not slip up now and then.

I want to be open with my readers. There were times when I wanted to end it all. I didn’t want to really commit suicide, I just wanted the toxic thoughts to stop and the pain of them to go away. I wanted it all to stop. Ending it did cross my mind, but something inside me quickly rejected the idea and I pushed on. I believe it was God and the idea of leaving the bad example of taking the coward’s way out for others to follow. I imagined God talking to me and saying, “Anna your victory was just around the corner. If you had only held on a little while longer you have seen your life turn around. You knew the right things to do, you just weren’t consistent enough to follow them through. You didn’t persevere. You gave up too easily.” So I hung in there searching, praying and seeing a professional counselor (best money I ever spent).

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12.

I learned a lot about me from my counselor and so my journey continued on a more positive note. But I still wasn’t out of the woods yet. Then I found science, neuroplasticity and believe it or not quantum physics. That’s where I saw Jesus – in the field of possibilities. (The invisible realm, where anything and everything is possible). Somehow it made sense to me. But that’s another blog. I began to see God’s work everywhere- in science, movies, in the everyday stuff of life. Slowly I was able to pull my legs out of the heavy muck, one at a time. Often they slipped right back in. But I kept hearing God tell me, “Anna don’t give up, you’re victory is coming.” This kept me moving forward – one step in front of the other.


Depression is serious and real. I know, I lived with it for years under a smiling mask, most of the time. It’s not easy just to change your thinking. Depressed thinking is complex. I am not a psychologist. I’m not trying to fix any anyone. I’m just sharing what worked for me. It took years for me to turn my thinking around. I’d take two steps forward and five backward. However, I’ve heard it said enough times that if you don’t quit you will succeed; that if you make the decision to accomplish something you can; that winners never quit and quitters never win; the Bible states multiple times “fear not and be anxious for nothing.” “For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love and self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7. I love that verse. I repeat it daily where it has sunk deep into my heart and soul. I was created magnificently and so were you.   We all were, warts and all.

For me it all boiled down to making a decision to turn my thinking around. Like I said in my other blogs, with resolve, determination and faith in God, anything is possible. My journey is still on-going, I may never fully arrive, but I’m on my way.

I still have moments were I have to get my thinking right, but instead of ruminating on the negative thoughts and old scripts, that keep trying to hold onto precious cerebral real estate in my head, I pray. But I also allow those thoughts to sit for a few seconds. I don’t judge them. I don’t yell at them (anymore) to go way. I don’t hide from them them or push them down. I don’t get upset at them (try not to). I just watch them – thinking about what I’m thinking about – look them straight in the eye and gently say, “no thank you,” then release them. I envision them flying away like a balloon or a butterfly with no judgement or condemnation.

Thoughts, new and old, will cross you mind daily. We generate about 30,000+ thoughts a day. Don’t fight the ones you don’t like and don’t judge yourself for having them. It’s what you do with those thoughts that make a difference in your life. The more you fight them, they more they become real. It has the opposite affect than what you want when you fight against them. Thoughts will come, that’s a sure thing. But they don’t have to rule over you. YOU can rule over them. Gently release the ones that don’t serve you well and nourish the ones that do. This process will have to be done over and over and over and over again, until it’s a habit. (Please read my earlier blogs on neuroplasticity and changing your thinking).

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on such things.” Philippians 4:8.

Please talk with a professional counselor or your priest, pastor or minister if needed. There’s no shame in that. And please don’t go on your journey alone, it will only get darker and longer. You’re not alone. At one time I felt I was alone in my shame and fear. But I learned differently. There are many people who feel lost and alone in their depression, negative and toxic thinking. We all have something to overcome and all to varying degrees and in different areas. Trust God, because He made you. The same power that is keeping you alive is keeping us all alive. God is good and love, therefore you are too.

So back to my original question. Does change come down to making a decision? Yes. But it’s a daily decision to keep on keepin’ on the path to healthy thinking, peace and happiness. Never give up!  Could it really be that easy?  No.  It takes hard work, determination, faith and God to stay the course.  And yes, it will get easier with time, if you persevere.

Please leave a comment, questions or any suggestions you would like to share on conquering depression, negative, toxic and unhealthy thinking. I would like to know. We learn from each other.  Learning is a life-long process and we need each other to grow in Christ to live a happy and purposeful life.

Peace.  Out.








Trusting God When You Don’t Understand

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2Corinthians 5:7
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10

Have you ever felt all alone and that God was nowhere to be found?  You may have asked, “Where the bleep is He?  Why doesn’t He answer my prayers?”  “When will this end, because I’m at my wits end?”  I have felt that way many times, yelling out “Where are you God?”  “Why can’t you just fix this, or give me a sign or something?”  “Why does life have to be so bleepin’ hard?”

I’m still working on transforming my mind. This will be a life-long process. It challenges me daily to conquer my negative and toxic thinking and doubts in God’s presence in my life, though it has become easier with daily practice. Learning to trust in God has been a biggie on my list and one that I am determined to be a victor over.

It took me years to fully realize that God has always been there by my side. I was just so busy yelling, crying and demanding answers and results that I didn’t feel His presence. It wasn’t until I stopped complaining and became still that I could sense Him with me.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

It was then I began to gain insight and answers to my problems.  Sometimes the answer was, there is no answer, at least not the way I wanted it or when I thought I needed it. I just wanted what I wanted and I wanted it now. Sometimes we may never know “the why,” and have to be patient for “the when.” I believe that He was using each circumstance to teach me something. I also believe that God kept me in a circumstance longer than I wanted so I could grow my faith and spiritual muscles. I’m probably one His most stubborn children at times and He knew that I required, in that moment, more time to learn a spiritual lesson. He wanted me to gain something from that experience: patience, humility, kindness, wisdom, gratefulness or to be a blessing to someone else and to stop thinking about myself. So instead of continued complaining and fighting Him I decided to be still, take a breath and let go.

God is God and there is nothing He can’t do. He doesn’t owe us an explanation. We only know in part. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

There are so many things that we don’t understand. We only know in part. It’s like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle by just looking at one piece. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not until we look at the picture on the box and put the piece up next to it, that we see the big picture and where the piece fits. Even then we can only sometimes figure out where it goes. We don’t see or know what God knows. He sees the big picture and how it all goes together. We only see a piece or two at a time. So how can we know the outcome? Is our attempted solution of trying to fix a situation the correct response? We don’t always know.

Have you ever tried to make something happen and only made matters worse? I’m guilty. Trying to fix our children, spouses or friends is not our job. Yes, it is our responsibility to speak up when we see someone going off the cliff, to give advice, to provide support, but not to fix them. We don’t know what God has in store for someone else.

We don’t have control over our own lives, other than how we decide to respond to our circumstances. Of course we make goals and work toward them. That’s a natural thing to do. Without planning and setting goals we would never move forward as a society. Goals are necessary. Most of the time our planning may go our way. But there are times, when no matter how well we plan, the forces of nature will determine our next step.

For example, about a month ago, my husband and I were going for our Monday morning walk. I had the whole day and week planned out. After the walk I was going to run errands and then work in my yard. Plus, the following Saturday I had planned on getting together with friends, among many other things on my list. However, as we started out on our Monday walk, I stepped off the curb wrong at the end of my driveway and fractured my ankle in two places. So my husband took me back in the house and there I was on the sofa for the rest of the day. At first I thought I just sprained it, but the next day an x-ray revealed 2 fractures. For the last 4 weeks I have been pretty much confined to the house. I broke my driving foot. Breaking my ankle wasn’t on my list of things to do. I had things to do, places to go, and people to see. Now I was dependent on others to help me. Sometimes it will rain on your parade. It did on mine.

Sometimes we work so hard at planning our life right down to the last dotted “i” and the last crossed “t”, then those plans don’t happen the way we thought they would – or something happened that wasn’t fair. You deserved that promotion, not the newbie who just walked in the door. Or maybe you thought you heard from God to start something, so you stepped out in faith and it didn’t turn out right. Or something tragic happened to a loved one. Or a child died or was born with a handicap. As a parent, you want to protect your child from all the hurt and pain in this world, but you can’t. As difficult and hard as that sounds, somethings are just out of our control. We question God, “Why?” “Why me?” “Why this?” “Why now?” “If you have to know the reason behind everything, then you may spend your whole life trying to figure it out and you’re never going to have contentment and satisfaction. You will never enter the rest of God because trust requires having somethings unanswered in your life.” (Joyce Meyer). Something’s are just out of our control and we may never know “the why.”

In our powerlessness is when God can walk us through our circumstances. But without faith and trust in the One, we will bump into things, feel lost, discouraged or make matters worse. Go through it with Him. Be still and listen for insight and wisdom. There just may be something in that circumstance for you. Do you need more humility, love, patience? Maybe you need to pay more attention to your loved ones.  Maybe not work so hard where you’re missing out on real living and or harming your health.  I don’t know your situation, but I can bet we all have something to learn from our time on this earth.

These are the times, in our weakest moments, when God IS working in our midst. We often cry out in our anger and frustration and think God is uncaring, but He is right there with us, though we don’t see Him, He is still there. His presence can only be seen with spiritual eyes and heart. As humans we don’t always understand why things happened. As humans we only know in part. Don’t turn from God, turn to Him. A shift can take place, if you’re open to it, to understand the love of God. This doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to struggle, but we can find peace in the midst of our trials.

So why did I break my ankle that day? Don’t know. But I resolved to trust in it. Hey, it gave me more time to pray, practice mindfulness, read, and research how to use my blog site. I am NOT a techie, by any stretch of the imagination. I didn’t know a widget from a gidget.  Though I am learning. Yeah!

Please leave a comment, questions or any suggestions you would like to share on how you conquered negative, toxic and unhealthy thinking. I would like to know.  Learning is a life-long process and we need each other to grow in Christ.

Have an awesome week. Peace. Out.


Perseverance and Patience

The Secret of All Triumphs (Victor Hugo)
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Have you ever felt that you were unloveable, insignificant, unimportant or didn’t really mattered to others?   For the longest time that’s how I felt about myself.  Intellectually and from scripture I knew on some level that I did matter, but I didn’t really believe it in my soul.  My feelings of self-worth waxed and waned depending on circumstances – whether someone or something good or bad happened to me that day.  For years my self-worth hinged on what others thought about me or whether or not I was included in their activity.  If I wasn’t included then I felt rejected, unwanted or unloved.  If I made a mistake I beat myself up because I believed I fell short of what I thought “how others would judge me.”  Poor self-esteem and the need for people approval were two heavy burdens I constantly carried around.  Lugging them day in and day out was cumbersome, consuming and tiring.  All I was really doing was making everything about ME – though I didn’t realize that at the time.  I blamed others for being inconsiderate and insensitive of me.  However, my outward appearance belied my true feelings.  Unhealthy thoughts centered on poor me and my needs/wants.  It definitely was mental torture and a mental prison I kept myself in for years.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.

Once I decided to change my way of thinking by studying how the brain works, delving into God’s word and putting that information into practice, I began to see things differently.  In my previous blogs I talked about how science and God’s word intersect and how that led me to the road of transforming my mind.  I can truly say that God’s word is true as long as we believe and put that faith into action.  Faith without works is dead.  Works without faith is futile.  You may experience some short term successes without it, but not true transformation.

I would like to discuss the importance of perseverance and patience – two gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Without them, true transformation of your mind will never happen. Perseverance is essential in developing your faith and achieving your goals.  God designed us to grow in faith by persevering during hard times.  That’s how we learn to overcome the obstacles life throws at us and to develop our faith muscles.  Muscles grow under the pressure of weights and the perseverance of exercising them.  Patience is needed to persevere because there will be days that you will get weary of monitoring your thoughts, doing those things that need to be done, even when you don’t feel like it and pushing forward on your transformation journey.

My problem during the earlier stages of my journey was trying to apply the principles of neuroplasticity and God’s word here and there.  I would try for a couple of weeks, but when a difficult situation came up challenging me, old thought patterns popped up and I caved into the “old and familiar.”  So guess what happened?  I continued to wire those neurons into those “old and familiar” patterns, maintaining the same.  Nothing changed for the better – UNTIL I stood my ground and  yes, you guessed it – persevered in pursuing healthier and more positive thinking.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in 
anything."  James 1:2-4.

Like a diamond our character is developed under pressure.  Most anything of value is produced under pressure – a great Olympic athlete, giving birth, a successful business or career, etc.  All these take sacrifice, time and heart to manifest into reality.  It’s during your trials and tribulations when you are out of your comfort zone being stretched and challenged that you make the most growth.  In those moments you can either buckle, quit or march forward in determination with a strong resolve to work it out no matter the pain, difficulty or length of time it takes.

"Not only so, but we also glory in our suffering (trials), because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope."  Romans 5:3-4

I believe we’re on this earth to learn and become the people God intended us to be from the beginning of time.  I know this is easier for some and more difficult for others.  It was difficult for me.  My road has been rough, bumpy, long and difficult.  But since I decided to change my way of thinking and believing AND finally sticking with it, I am seeing good changes in my life.  Some of the circumstances that I pined over in the past have not changed, but my perception of them has.  This transformation has led me to peace by learning to “let go and let God.” I used to give that saying lip service, but now I can say it’s real and it has truly made a difference in my life.

Have a blessed week and watch your thoughts.  If they don’t line up with your new image of yourself, by all means change them until they do.  This stuff really works.  I know.  Been there, done that.  It’s all good.  Oh, another way to not make everything about yourself and or marinate in negative/toxic thinking is to do something nice for someone else.  Go out and find a cause to help others.  Your perspective will change and you’ll have a better day.  Peace.  Out.