Guarding My Thoughts–Frogs, Marbles, and Jewels

I’m a visual learner. Whenever I’m asked to speak or teach, I bring a giant bag of props. One of them is my Thought Box. I know this sounds goofy, but hang with me for a minute.

For most of my life, I chased almost every negative notion and fear that popped into my mind.

Unhealthy thinking. 

Guess what? There’s another way to live! Here’s what I’m talking about. 

My Thought Box represents my mind. 

It contains three things–

Shiny marbles, pretty jewels, and plastic frogs. 

I keep it on my desk. 

With God’s help, I choose which thoughts to dwell on and which ones to toss. I don’t like frogs, so they symbolize destructive thinking. Condemning froggy-thoughts are lies. And they leap from one bad thought to the next.

To the next.

To the next. 

I don’t have to listen to them anymore. 

Froggy-thoughts:

1. You’ll never measure up. 🙁

2. You’re not smart enough. 🙁

3. Depression took you under. How embarrassing! You should be so ashamed of yourself! (This could be ANYTHING you struggle with or ANYTHING in your past–not just depression.)

4. Uh-oh!!! You were supposed to follow Plan A, but you chose Plan B. You blew it! It’s too late to change! 🙁

5. You’ll never get it right! You’ll never be free. 🙁

6. God’s probably forgotten about you. 🙁

Okay, here’s the amazing part~~

God-shaped thoughts are like precious jewels and rock-solid marbles.

We can trust them.

They’re true. 

1. God is for me. He loves me. 

2. I don’t ever have to be afraid. 

3. God says I’m precious in His sight. 

4. God forgives me. 

5. I’ve been set free! 

6. I don’t have to be perfect! Jesus did that for me. Click to Tweet. 

Guard your thoughts. They have the power to build us up or tear us down.

What froggy-thoughts (lies!) pester you? 

What jewel-thoughts (truths) encourage you? 

“For you are God’s masterpiece. He has created you anew in Christ Jesus, so you can do the good things He planned for you long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 

“Don’t be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20 

“…We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. This is simple yet difficult lesson. I tend to dwell on my faults and take all kind of blame for things. That is such a practical reminder. Love you, Julie! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  2. My word for the year is Simple, Rhonda. And that’s always the way I understand them–the simpler the better. I wish we’d known this years ago–that we can choose our thoughts.

    I’m saying a prayer right now for you, for me, for anyone else reading this who knows what I’m talking about….that we can toss our froggy-thoughts today!

  3. Patricia Martin says:

    I am a visual learner as well! I was feeling stressed until I read the Guideposts2015 devotional for this morning. After reading your words, I felt so much better! A good spiritual detox with words that spoke to my heart.((:
    Xoxo

    • Patricia…..a spiritual detox. I LOVE THOSE WORDS!!! How’d you come up with them?????

      How’s sweet Maddy? Are you finished with your finals?

      Thank you!!! Big hugs from my little loft office in the woods.

  4. Anna Haney says:

    What a wonderful idea! I don’t have a box, but I just realized I can do the same with my Peanuts figurines. The grumpy faced Lucy, obviously, represents all the negative thoughts—the blockheaded things I do and have done. Some of those I should just forgive, forget, and go on. Some I need to remember. Don’t be so impatient with others. Don’t judge that person. There is a Christmas ornament with Sally and Linus in a classroom that makes the “wah wah” sound of adult voices. It reminds me to pay attention to the lessons in life and tune in to what I need to hear. Snoopy relaxing on Schroeder’s piano reminds me to enjoy the simple blessings God has given me. “The World is Filled With Mondays” mug is designed to remind me that Mondays will come. The Best Friends cup with Snoopy hugging Charlie Brown reminds me that even when I feel I have no one, God is my best friend, He sends me hugs through the day. Finally, the Red Baron is a gentle reminder that with God, I can soar. You notice I have one Lucy to 15 Snoopys.
    Thanks for this post.
    Love you!
    Anna

    • ANNA! This is brilliant! Just brilliant!! I can see all of them in my mind. Wish I’d thought of it.

      What about Pig Pen? What do we do with him? I love sweet Pig Pen.

      Thank you! I’m using Charlie Brown stamps this year. I smile everything I stick one on a Christmas card.

      • Anna Haney says:

        I would say that Pig Pen reminds us that even when we are dirty and disheveled, God can still use us. Pig Pen plays in the innkeeper in their Christmas play. I think the innkeeper often gets a raw deal. He had no rooms, but he did offer the barn and the manger. Even though the other kids are telling Pig Pen what a mess he is, he doesn’t let their comments get to him. He carries his head high. I saw that kind of behavior a lot when I was teaching elementary school. Many of those kids came from dire poverty, but they did not let their circumstances make them feel like less than they were.

        • marci says:

          Dear Anna, I love the picture you painted here with each of them, and what each represents. Wow! and thanks for your share! I do like the Pig Pen one also. God Bless!

        • Yes! Yes! Yes! Anna.
          This is just beautiful. I’m seeing Pig Pen in my mind now–the dust and dirt settling around his feet, but you’re exactly right. Nothing gets to him!!

          Life Lesson!

          Hope everyone’s reading your thoughts~

  5. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Awww Sweet Julie…took me a long time to get here but I made it (with a few scars)! So humbled that God showed me that calling out to the Holy Spirit living within me is my best defense when my thinking turns ugly. It’s become second nature when a negative thought occurs to remind satan (the enemy of my soul) whose child I am.

    Can’t claim to be a visual learner but love your “thought box”. Such a cute and clever idea! I also found encouragement from your Daily Guideposts moment this morning. My morning “routine” includes dressing for the day, prayer closet/war room, quiet time, and breakfast. After this I’m ready to face whatever challenges the day may hold!

    BTW…tremendous thanks for prayers during Hubby’s surgery and recovery. Headed toward a month post-op and seeing improvement every day. Three more weeks of out-patient therapy and he’ll be good to go. God is so good….I even surprised myself in taking care of him!!

    Tremendous thanks for your continued positive thoughts and encouragement! So blessed by your writing! Brenda

    • Brenda, I’ve been lifting y’all up so often in prayer. So, so glad to hear your sweet voice and to know your husband is doing well. I knew you’d be back with us when you could. 🙂

      Amen–calling out to the HS is our best defense. Yes!! Sometimes I just whisper, “Jesus.” And He’s more than enough.

      I’m imagining you in your War Room doing battle. I’m sitting here shaking my head as I type…can’t believe I’d gotten everything so out of whack. I wrote the Daily Guideposts devo during the time of depression. My friend DiAnn always knew just what to say. She made me laugh 🙂 and start eating breakfast!

      xoxoxoxo

  6. Carm Russell says:

    Negative – Being worthy

    Posive – Plague Above Kitchen Sink
    Today Is A New Day
    I am blessed
    I am loved
    I am thankful
    This is the day that the Lord has made…Psalm 118:24

    • LOVE THIS!!!!!!!! That froggy-thought of being unworthy had hopped after me for years.

      But no more!! I’m worthy because Jesus makes me that way!

      Thank you, Carm. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

      I can just see your plaque in my mind.

      • Carm Russell says:

        Forgot this one earlier…
        My daughter taught me this acronym for frogs her favorite!
        Fully
        Rely
        On
        God

        I’m okay with frogs. Snakes and insects give me shivers.

        Blessings

        • Yes, Carm. 🙂 Kim, below knows that one too and I’d never heard it.

          Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, now I’m going to have to give frogs another chance and Fully Rely On God.

    • marci says:

      Thanks for sharing this plague quote. I hope it is OK if I copy it? I really like Ps 118:24 too.

      • Carm Russell says:

        Totally okay. I’m so glad it brings something to another.⚓️

      • Carm Russell says:

        Totally okay. I’m so happy that it “speaks” to another.⚓️

  7. Oh, yes, those froggie thoughts that threaten us. I have them. I don’t like crawling things or slithering things, or slimy things. So my “froggies” would be more like iguanas or lizards or gila monsters.

    My husband’s brother gave us a house warming gift one time. One green and one brown reptilian-looking thing with a red tongue hanging out. Those two brothers kind of like those things. Me? I hate them. My hubby put them out in the yard and I politely asked if he could please keep them out of my sight. He complied. And I said a big thank you.

    Just the thought of things that bother me (like froggies in our minds) is enough to derail me sometimes. I prefer to keep them away as much as possible. I love the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” I like pretty things like your marbles, or a picture on the wall, or snapshots of family. Those are precious and make me smile, and keep me from going down the negative path. Thank you, Julie, for being one of my “precious” things.

    • I’m laughing out loud, B.J. “gila monsters.” Such a great visual just came to me!! Scary!

      Ohhhhh, I’m one of your precious things. And you are the same to me. You’ve helped me toss plenty of Gila Monsters!!! 🙂 🙂

      Thank you! Always and forever.

  8. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Oh my…I totally missed the mark on this one! Yes, I see what you’re saying, but we don’t have space to discuss my negative thoughts. So here’s what kept happening as I read your post.

    First, I saw the frogs on Facebook and smiled as I anticipated reading about them. Next, I was taken aback by your comment about not liking frogs and using them to represent negativity. (I guess those are probably poison dart frogs…) The rest of the post was almost lost to me as I envisioned every “froggy” experience we’ve had – including the time my brothers accidentally (?) let loose a bucket of them in the car on our way home from a cabin vacation and my dad stopping the car on the side of the highway and getting out and jumping up and down trying to get them out of his pantlegs!

    As lovers of all animals, we did a whole unit on reptiles and amphibians during our homeschooling years. We even “adopted” a frog at Hershey, PA’s Zooamerica! We collected tadpoles and watched them grow legs while their tails diminished…and raced after them when they got loose in the house! All these memories circled in my mind while reading.

    Then I heard something shout out from over 10 years ago: “FROGGGYYY!!!” And I lost it! Giggling ensued as the memories swirled…umm, hopped all around the room. That’s from a children’s book series about a frog whose mother or father or teacher had to call out to get his attention – “FROGGGYYY!!!” Made for some fun reading times! And my niece fell in love with them, as well, so I bought her her own collection. When she reads them, we call it “Storytime with Stephie!” (Oh, and she also has a collection of frog figurines!)

    So you see, Julie, I guess this one brought thoughts…but silly ones, enjoyable memories. Thank you! Ribbit!!

    • Cathy…..I can tell. You’re a froggy lover. Oh, my. I’m impressed. I’m squirming in my chair thinking about frogs climbing up my pant legs!!!!

      Frog figurines! You’ve got to be kidding me.

      Maybe I need to–ribbit–rethink my squeamish froggy-feelings. 🙂

      Hugs from here. And thank you. You provided a whole new froggy perspective!

    • Another thought just hit!!

      Froggy-thoughts leap from one fear to another! In a hurry! Maybe I’ll add that to the post. 🙂

      • Carm Russell says:

        So very true!

        BTW I read my Daily Guideposts at night. And had heard about your contribution that was yesterday. So all day long I was looking forward to what you would share. I was not disappointed. TY!

  9. Kim says:

    Julie, you surprised me with where this post went. I thought your marbles were going to be the heavy things needed to be let go of and the frogs were going to be your reminder to Fully, Rely, On, God. (F.R.O.G.), while the jewels were the visual of how precious you are to Him.

    But, I so needed to hear it your way. Lately, I have been living in Froggy-World. And it’s not been pretty. I am struggling with worthiness, gifts and community. “You’re not —— enough.” “That’s a gift God can use? Ha! What a joke.” And, “Make a difference in your community? Right! You? How?”

    I will be thinking long on this post and how I can cling to truths instead of frogs. Thank you for this timely message.

    • Beautiful, Kim! I love it!!!!! Heck, I could’ve gone that way too. Wish I’d thought of it? Did you come up with “Fully Rely on God?” That’s incredible!!

      I know what you mean…You’re not ______ enough. NOT TRUE. If I can write about frogs and marbles and somehow it touches a few hearts……

      We’re worthy because Jesus is living in us. It’s taken me 55 years to begin to accept this Truth and say, “Thank You. Because of your love, I am whole and clean and so very precious in Your sight.”

      I’m whispering a prayer that the door in your heart will begin to open to this Truth. I’m telling you, Kim….it’s life-changing. I’m praying a load of jewel-thoughts to fill your heart right now. For the lies to be gone, “In Jesus’ name.”

      Love your honesty. And I do understand.

      XOXOXOXOXOX

  10. Mary says:

    Julie,
    It is very hard to stop negative thoughts, isn’t it? Someone once told me that when you learn to ride a bike, you lay down little neural highways in your brain. When you go to ride a bike again, you know how to do it. The only trouble is, sometimes, we create little pathways in our brains that aren’t useful to us, like always reacting fearfully to situations, or always knocking ourselves down. We have to learn to retrain our brains… and physical reminders like yours are a good way to stop, consider a bad pattern, and CHOOSE to do something different. How many of us have gone through life saying, “Well, this is the way I am…”? It doesn’t have to be that way, though. We have a choice! It takes courage, and we don’t have to do it alone, thank God! It takes time, but hooray for everyone who’s looking at their life and trying to make a change!

    My frog is anxiety. But a frog isn’t repulsive enough for me… I probably need an old moldy piece of stinky cheese to represent THAT. LOL!

    • Mary, this is so true about pathways through our brain. And these can go (and probably do!) all the way back to childhood. It’s almost like learning to ride a bike again–with our hands. 🙂 But we CAN change our thought processes. Yes–we don’t have to do it alone. God’s right there in us, with us, loving us through it all.

      Hahaha! Stinky cheese. Good one!

      And thank you.

  11. marci says:

    I really like your little “visual” box! And the lesson here. A dear friend, (RIP Jan), told me that I was a visual pray-er.. I didn’t know that about myself, until she pointed it out. So maybe I am a visual learner too. It does help to see things. I can see where having a little box would be helpful. I will have to think on that one and think about making one. Funny how each of us can see things and it will effect us differently. Frogs are the bad thoughts for you.. I have a SIL that loves and collects frogs. I think they remind her of the saying Kim thought of- and also came to mind when I saw your frogs- Fully Rely On God.. Like you I do have marbles, and gems, which I keep near and I am sure I can come up with a visual for the negative.. As I have shared,- I had cheated and read your DGP writing for today before today, it was just what I needed to hear. … For a visual, I like the plague that a friend send me earlier this year, and I have found it helpful to me when I am feeling down..”I Thank You God For This Amazing Day!”.. that makes me rethink my day and smile.. Yes, God, it was an amazing day. *quote by Sandy Lynn Clough

    God Bless you dear Julie– I know this is a busy time for all of us.

    • marci says:

      PS Just thought of a recent PBS program- the speaker, Dr. Daniel G. Amen (dont you love that last name?!) Talked about our ANTS.. Automatic Negative Thoughts.. and getting rid of them, Now if I can find some plastic ants to put in the box. that would make a nice visual reminder. Thanks for making us think, and how there are spiritual lessons in all kinds of things all around us, even frogs, Charlie Brown characters, and even ants!

    • Very interesting, Marci’a–a visual pray-er. Maybe I need to figure that one out. I like that idea. A lot. Sorry about your friend Jan. 🙁

      Love your plaque quote, so glad the Daily Guideposts devotional touched your heart. The Serenity Prayer is Powerful!

      Oh, yes, Dr. Amen–I’ve watched some of his videos. They’re amazing, and I’d forgotten all about ANTs. Thank you–great reminder! You just need some of those giant plastic ants….hmmmmm, maybe you can google them and find some?

      Thank you for your kind words, as always. And did I tell your, your Christmas card was our very first one? 🙂

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        I’ve always loved “The Serenity Prayer,” even made an embroidered picture with it. However, sometime in the past few years, I learned a new way to say, a way that’s stuck in my brain ever since: “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know…it’s ME!” Sort of a different perspective.

  12. I love this, Julie. Oh, yes … I’m the “you chose Plan B” girl. 🙂 And there is nothing I can do about it now. Ugh. So often I hear God saying to my heart … you just think you chose the wrong plan … and then I cry, “I can’t believe you love me … when I chose the wrong plan.” 🙂 I think I’ve got a stubborn streak with my perfectionist streak. (I almost wrote “steak” … lol)

    • Yes, me too!!!!!! The Plan B thing, Shelli. He has a way of making our Plan Bs into His Plan As, doesn’t He! I just love Him so much for that.

      hahahaha. Streak and steak. Love it. An almost typo but you caught it. One of these days you and I are gonna let loose with our typos, aren’t we~!

      XO

  13. Patricia Martin says:

    God puts many an inspired thought into a pooped mind. Maddy is so far so good and as soon as the doctor straightened out her back, she went from 5 feet 9 inches to almost 5 feet ll inches! I am now a whole head shorter than Maddy. (): Are people tall in your family? I am soooo tired, but still have a speech final and a test. On the positive side, I am grateful that there is no snow to shovel and no big storms in the forecast.((:)
    Hope your week is blessed! (-:

  14. Wow on the Maddy news!!!!!!

    My brothers are both over 6 feet. And my son is pretty tall. The girls, no.

    I can’t even imagine shoveling snow. I’ve never once done it. But I’m happy for you, my precious friend.

    Rest. Am praying for you on your last itty bit of this semester. You’re going to rock the speech final! I just know it!

  15. I have my desk filled with “treasures” that bring a smile to me, but I haven’t truly attached a specific thought to them- what a novel idea! So very encouraging. You have me thinking 🙂 And what would my frog objects be? And what would they say? I felt like I grew up with the “froggy” messages spoken aloud by my mom, so often, I didn’t have to think of my own. So I’ve worked long and hard to build up my jewel messages- but I love how yours are “God shaped.” Beautifully written piece, Julie! Thankful for you!

    • Sounds like we sorta grew up the same way, Vicky–believing quite a few froggy messages.

      Yes! Yes! We’re adding jewel messages to our minds, sort of like filling our jewelry boxes with diamonds!

      xoxoxo

  16. What a great idea, Julie! Time to stop kissing those froggy ideas…

  17. This is actually a brilliant idea. I wonder what objects to put on my table to remind me to guard my thoughts.

Speak Your Mind

*