Have you ever battled your thoughts?
I’m not good enough. I can’t lose weight. I am a failure. I am a bad mom, wife, follower of Christ. I can’t get my act together. I am fearful. I am too much to handle. I am not equipped. No one understands or cares to understand. I am lonely. I am not loved.
You take things personally and think others are against you.
Those thoughts caused a depression in me. I wanted to seclude myself, but with the nature of our life and to keep up “appearances”, I knew that was impossible. So I struggled internally for months. I didn’t know how to keep up with this life God had given me, and not just activities, but the right attitude.
You know the truth, but your mind is so clouded that you can’t grasp the truth. My thoughts were causing me to physically be downcast. I bore such a heaviness. I met with a couple of “elders in the faith” to get encouragement. Through that God revealed Himself to me in such a clear way.
I learned that in order to fight this war against a very real enemy, we must start in our mind. Satan cannot get to me because I belong to the Father. But what he can do is cause me to become my own enemy in the way that I think.
First, I had to clear out my mind. I talked through what I could with two godly people who directed me to the word of God, and then I journaled what did not need to be shared, things that I did not want to turn to gossip. As I laid these things before the Lord by talking and writing, I realized that I was emptying my mind of all the garbage I had let in. The unbelievable thing is that I didn’t allow those thoughts in with a welcomed spirit. It was one thought that grew into another, or one word spoken that I took hold of and didn’t lay before the Father.
Second, I had to get alone with God. I had to let him speak life back into me. I saturated myself in His word. Oh, I had been in the word, but I could not get around the cloudiness, which is why that first step was so vital for me. I began to meditate on what He said about me. And when negative thoughts or words would come my way, I would just not own them. At times it took me saying out loud, “No, Satan. That is not the truth of God’s word. God’s word says this about me…”.
Third, I have to keep getting alone with God. I have to keep laying thoughts and words spoken to me down at His feet.
1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
I have to keep reminding myself that I am His and He is for me. No matter who comes against me, no matter who doesn’t like me, no matter what thoughts I struggle with about myself, He is for me. He loves me. I read it over and over again in His word. I am relearning to take my thoughts captive, replacing lies with truth.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
I realize more than ever how vital it is to not only study God’s word, but saturate yourself in it to use it in your prayer life. What better way to talk with Him than to speak His word back to Him. God is doing a new work in me. And I pray for those of you who battle with this, that the Lord would do the same in you.
I made a decision to walk with the Lord when I was 14 years old, and felt like I should have had this taken care of, but Satan is crafty and we will never arrive. God calls us to always grow and search and dig deeper after him. This has been a tough season, and I am still learning to practice this, but I am thankful. I am so thankful that God has used what Satan intended for harm, for good and for His glory.
If you are struggling with this right now, I want to encourage you to use these 3 steps. They aren’t a fix all, and God may choose to work differently in you, but it’s a place to start when you don’t know where else to go. Surround yourself with people who encourage you and lift you up. Surround yourself with believers who are strong in the Lord and walk in the Spirit. Surround yourself with people who will pray with you and walk with you in spirit and in truth. And saturate yourself with God’s word.
Let me pray for you who are reading this and saying, “This is me!”
Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for your love for us. You do not let us stay in darkness, you always provide a way out. Thank you for allowing us to go through situations that bring us into closer relationship with you and make us more like you. Abba, I pray for the one who will read this post and say, “This is me!”. I speak life over them in Jesus name. I come against any darkness that is inhabiting their mind and cast it out in Jesus name. Lord, fill their mind with peace and truth. Fill it with your word alone. I pray that you would surround them with iron sharpeners, with those who can walk alongside them and be an encouragement. Lord, don’t let them stay where they are, light the path that you have laid before them to walk out of that darkness. Open their eyes and mind and heart to you and your word over them.
In Jesus’ Holy Name,
Other scriptures to read – Ephesians 6, Galatians 5:1, 1 Peter 5:8-9, Philippians 1:6