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The human body is an amazing thing, especially our brains. Simply the thoughts we have can dictate physical changes in our body. We see this often with the placebo effect. People think they’re taking a great pill that will help heal them and suddenly their body is healed even though there was no medicine in the pill. Likewise, we can make bad things happen too. When people are told a harmless plant is poison ivy and it gets rubbed on their skin, their body will actually manufacture a poison ivy rash even if the plant was harmless.

That’s pretty incredible.

And yet so few of us spend time learning how to control our thoughts. If our bad attitudes affect our physical body in negative ways… why are we not more focused on cultivating a positive attitude?

Well,the answer is simple really, it’s hard.

Not only is it difficult to control your thought life but it’s also not something our society talks about or values. We are living in a time where feelings rule and we accept this as if it’s our only choice.

I’ve been challenging myself particularly while I’m pregnant, noticing my feelings and deciding whether or not they are valid and if I should give into them. Even extremely strong cravings have popped up and I’ve noticed them and not given in to them.  This has been mostly because we were snowed in a few days and popping over to the store for the ingredients to make nachos wasn’t an option.

But I learned something amazing. Those strong pregnancy cravings… they pass. I didn’t die. I didn’t get sick. They were simply strong urges that I could listen to or not.

Not all thoughts or messages from our bodies are bad.  Sometimes we crave water because we’re thirsty or fruit because we’re lacking vitamins. It’s important to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings and then rationally decide if they are valid and should be acted on.

I believe there are two ways we can begin working on mastering our feelings immediately: Managing Anger and Searching For Miracles!

Anger is so destructive to ourselves and those around us. Too much anger actually makes our body sick. It affects our blood pressure, our breathing, and our ability to think clearly. Sometimes we even want to hit something we’re so angry.

If you’re struggling with anger, meditate on these words from Ben Sira, Chapter 1:

22 Unjust anger can never be justified;

   anger pulls a person to utter ruin.

23 Until the right time, the patient remain calm,

   then cheerfulness comes back to them.

24 Until the right time they hold back their words;

   then the lips of many will tell of their good sense.

I really enjoy the whole book of Ben Sira but these words in particular are ones I need to hear often. I need to soften my heart and put aside my anger in both my marriage and in my vocation of motherhood. The intimacy we have with our spouses and our kids mean our feelings run deep. These deep feelings mean that it’s easy for us to flash to anger when we feel hurt or mistreated. We must not give in to anger. Keep reading these words both before and while you are angry. Ask Jesus to help you calm down.

I also fall prey to the feelings of anger when life gives me lemons. I’d love to be the kind of person who always looks on the bright side but I usually have to go through a round of pouting and declaring, “Why me?” first. I’m working on this. Here is another passage from Ben Sira, this time Chapter 2, that helps me embrace difficult situations, especially ones out of my control, that come my way.

4 Accept whatever happens to you;

   in periods of humiliation be patient.

5 For in fire gold is tested,

   and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.

6 Trust in God, and he will help you;

   make your ways straight and hope in him.

The second thing we can all do more of is to search for miracles. My husband and I were chatting about the Israelites and how amazing it was that Moses parted the red sea and took them into the desert. God did amazing things to ensure that they were safe and fed during this time. And yet despite the many miracles before them, actual undeniable miracles, many of them remained doubtful. They grumbled about their situation and sometimes even turned back to their golden idols.

Can you believe that?

“Oh hey Moses, I mean I know you just made the red sea split in two so we could walk to safety but… c’mon, is God really real? Does he really care about us at all?”

It sounds quite ridiculous and yet, I think this is true of our own lives. Not only have we allowed the miracle of salvation history to fade into the background, we don’t see the own miracles we have experienced in our lives.

You get more of what you notice. I’ve said this many times. And if you spend time noticing all the miracles around you, I think you’ll find that your trust and belief in the Lord will be strengthened.

My husband and I got out some paper and wrote down all the miracles in our own life that we could think of. Ways that God showed up in our lives in such huge and unexpected ways that had no explanation. I was genuinely surprised at how long the list was.

We tend to think of miracles as events like a blind man getting his sight or someone being instantly cured of cancer and if not this level of miracle, we’re not impressed. But I look back at the last seven years of my life since I met Michael and I see so many miracles.

Times when God brought us exactly what we needed even though we hadn’t asked for it. Times when someone would recommend a book that would significantly change our marriages. Times when God would close a door so we would go searching for a different one that would end up being perfect for our family.

The more you search for miracles in your own life, the more you will find them. I believe if we practice managing our anger and searching for miracles, we will experience a great attitude in our lives. I believe this will make for stronger marriages, better parenting, and yes, healthier bodies.

So what are you going to notice today?

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