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I was raised in rural Virginia—far from any large bodies of water. We had a man-made pond that turned into a mud puddle in the heat of summer. The only time it was good for swimming was in the late spring and then you had to fight freezing temperatures and sticky leeches for use of the water, so, we didn’t use it very much.

Water became a passion for me when as a young adult, we began camping during our summer vacation at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. I learned to love the water. Lighthouses became a favorite of mine and the harbors with all their boats tied up were a delight. During storms, which were fast and furious during our vacations, the harbors provided protection for any boats moored within. Harbor became another word for safekeeping. That is until now.

I read a lot and in a lot of different genres. My latest book is about a woman’s search for peace and serenity. She was a professional journalist. She did a lot of fighting with herself. She spent a lot of time with self-recrimination and had a hard time forgiving herself. I saw a lot of me in the woman she described in her book. Writers often struggle with those feelings. It probably has something to do with the melancholy-type personality that is often found within writers, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay.

Negative Thoughts

During the author’s travels, she discovered something about herself. She recognized the harbor in her mind—and it wasn’t a safe one. She would harbor negative thoughts about herself and replay negative things people had said about her. It was wearing her down. When this unsafe harbor was pointed out to her, she made a decision. Every time a negative thought came into the harbor of her mind, she said out loud, “I will not harbor any negative thoughts.” And you know what? I tried it and it works. Then I discovered harboring negativity is nothing new.

Job 36:13 states, "The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.” And in Jeremiah, “O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?” (Jeremiah 4:14).

Harboring negative/wicked thoughts is a tough habit to break. The best thing to do is to substitute it with something positive. “But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress” (Psalm 59:16).

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By Dee Litten Reed. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ® and the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION © 1996.

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