How often do you say to yourself, “I should…” or “I wish I hadn’t…” or even, “How could you…?”
I did that plenty for several decades. I still do that some, but thankfully, not as often.
Stale thinking contributes to depression
Part of what contributes to depression is our stale thinking.
What is stale thinking?
What makes it stale? Our words have the power to give life or death (Proverbs 18:21). When something is stale, it is on it’s way to a slow death, no longer full of life and freshness. So stale thinking is any thought that does not yield life, but pulls us down.
Stale thinking brings feelings of guilt, regret, and condemnation
We have a saying in psychology: “Never should on yourself.” The “shoulds” and “should haves” are stale thoughts that bring with them feelings of guilt and regret and condemnation.
I am quicker now to pick up on such thoughts, turn them around, and align them with what God says. One of the most freeing verses for me is Romans 8:1 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
While John 3:16 is a well-known verse, the next verse confirms for us His promise made in Romans 8:1, when it says “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Unrealistic expectations breed discontentment and depression
It was not His intent to condemn us, but to love us. So then why do I condemn myself? I am not perfect, will never be perfect, and God knew that before I was ever born. Setting ourselves up against a standard of perfection will breed discontentment and depression.
He sent the only perfect one who ever lived to take the sins of all the imperfect in the world and then looks at us through the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
Is there an area of your life that you “should” on yourself, engage in stale thinking, or at the very least, set unrealistic expectations?
Will you turn that over to Him today?
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Great reminder Michelle…with so much marketing going on of we need this we need that we should be here in this position it’s all about status and material things it’s easy to slip into a state of should’ve ,would’ve , could’ve… Going to keep Romans 8:1 the forefront of my mind to drive those negative thoughts when they pop up.
I think focusing on that Scripture helps put things in perspective. Thanks for visiting today Linda!
Wow! Romans 8:1 has been my favorite verse for a very long time. What is even more humbling is to be honest enough with myself to realize that when I condemn myself, I am putting myself in God’s place and I have no right to do that. And anybody else’s condemning words against me? That’s between them and God. I don’t have to give those words a place in my heart and mind.
Such a good point MaryLee…we can’t afford to put ourself in God’s place!
I’d like to add.. that while we are told to ‘not should’ on ourselves… I’ve found that the other side of that coin
is that I’ve got to stop should-ing on others.. as in..”you should answer me when I talk to you’..
“you should acknowledge that the meal is good… or that I do this or that but you don’t do …”
my trouble isn’t anymore should- ing on myself.. but rather letting go and letting GOD take care of others
and stop trying to get others to ‘do things my way’..or make me feel comfortable.. or including me.. in things
.. it’s not how they treat me.. it’s how I treat them……..even if and when ‘they don’t treat me well”..
meanwhile I still look for the good in the person and situation.. learning the lesson..and learning to
laugh thru it all.
You make some very valid points Joyce. In large part…we should treat others the way we want to be treated.
Good advice. no more stinking thinking. Sometimes, easier said than done but it can be done.
It’s not easy, many times. But it is so worth it.
Great post. I am my most unhappy when I look negatively at the past. Keeping my focus where it should be makes all the difference!
I can certainly relate to that Katrina! Our focus is so important. What we focus on the most will grow.
It is so easy to let our unrealistic expectations cause stale thinking. I have neve heard that term before – stale thinking – but it creates quite a word picture.
We’ve got to exchange some of those old, tired tapes, for new thoughts from His word. Thanks for visiting Theresa!
Loved this article, Michelle. I’m learning to tell myself the truth and that means taking out the “shoulds.” This was good timing for me!
I’m so glad it encouraged you Leslie! God always makes time for us to do the things that are important to HIM.
I love your definition of stale thinking: anything that pulls us down.
I’ve had to overcome much of it, Laurie. I don’t have room for it in my life anymore.