You have little control over your external circumstances, but you have much control over the internal processes of the mind. You get to shape the way you think, and the way you think shapes the way you experience life.

I’m well aware of the problem of toxic positivity, in which we simply turn a blind eye to suffering and think “happy thoughts” to escape reality. I’m also acquainted with the problem of cyclical cynicism, the downward spiral in which we become so skeptical of everything that we abandon hope and assume the worst about ourselves and our world.

Somewhere in between is the healthy balance of confronting the world, as it really is, with our very best selves.

I was inspired, years ago, by reading Hal Elrod’s book, Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), in which Hal shares the power of repeating morning affirmations. I don’t think for a second that doing so will somehow magically fix everything, but I can attest that the times in my life in which I’ve made the most forward progress have been the times in which I was mindful of my mindset from morning onward each day.

As I write this, I’ve just gotten home from dropping my two boys (5th and 8th grades) off at their first day of a new school year. I’m both excited and anxious for them. I vacillate between the hope of a great year of mental, social, and emotional progress and the fear that everything in our culture is on fire and middle school and junior high are in the first few levels of Dante’s depiction of hell. But…

I’m determined to do everything in my power to inspire them to do their best, give their best, and be their best. And in so doing, I believe they will become the best adults they can become.

So we started our day with some affirmations, which they repeated after me. And even though I know they may not have paid deep attention to their own words, my prayer is that after many days upon days, stacked together, their minds will be informed by certain truths.

The following are the affirmations we said together today…

My life is not my own.
But I need to own my life.
I follow Jesus Christ.
His Kingdom comes first.
I bring his values to my world.

God created me in his image.
I reflect God’s goodness.
I serve God’s purposes.
I trust God to provide for me.
I trust God to protect me.
I thrive under God’s grace.
I need God’s forgiveness.

I am gifted to make a difference.
I am called and anointed.
I am productive and successful.
God is always with me.

I am lovable.
I am deeply loved.
I can love deeply.
I am unashamed.

And in my Apple note on my phone where I store a few different possibilities for daily affirmations, I add these words when I declare this for myself…

I love and cherish my wife,
my best friend,
my lover.

I love and cherish my kids
and empower them for God’s purposes.

While I believe in the power of repetition for forming our minds, I also think variety is helpful, too, so I have other sets of morning affirmations I read at other times, which I’ll share in future posts. But for those of you who have school-aged kids and who happen to be Jesus-followers, I feel these are powerful words to share together on the morning drive.

Having said that, I also think you could probably write better ones.