By nature I’m a brooder. Any topic or event will do, real or imagined. What’s astounding is that until recently I hadn’t noticed the way my brooding was impacting my interactions with others, and specifically my husband. I think all women attempt to read a person’s looks, gestures, and other unspoken communication, but I have a tendency to fixate on those musings until they’ve developed a life of their own. Sometimes my conclusions might be correct, but often I’m either off the mark or can’t fathom the full picture, and I’ve wasted a lot of mental energy and emotion without good cause.

One morning my thoughts were in a rage. I felt upset by a brief disagreement with my husband. In fact, the whole exchange had hardly consisted of a few words, but my mind was awhirl attempting to dissect what it was that he was actually thinking. I was getting more and more irritated as I mentally responded to his imaginary arguments, building my case against him. I was waging a mental war against my husband without him even being aware of it. In the end, I felt awful when he stopped by on his way out, put his arms around me, told me he loved me, and apologized that our day had gotten off to a rough start.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many times my thoughts had negatively influenced my interaction and communications with my husband. I’m usually cautious in verbally expressing anger, but here I was, freely hosting a dispute in my mind. I had allowed my idle thoughts to alter my view of the man I love, without even giving him a fair hearing.

In the Bible, Jesus warns that we will have to give account for every idle word we speak. But I wonder how often the unspoken idle words fester in my heart and put a spin on my perception of reality and my actions. Will He ask me to account for those too?

Ever since that day, I’ve tried to catch myself when I begin brooding or thinking unloving thoughts and to replace them with positive ones. I haven’t yet achieved this new thought process fully, but I’m working toward it, and I’ve already seen the positive effects in my life.