The thought came to me like a snake, rearing its ugly head, ready to strike. It was a familiar thought, all wrapped up in insecurity and doubt. But this time was going to be different!
The Lord had been tenderly teaching me about my thought life the past few weeks. When I experienced that thought, I knew it was time to fight the battle—and win!
I confess I’ve been pretty weak in this area at times. Negative thoughts would overwhelm me, and before I realized it, I would be stuck in a muddy pit of discouragement, thrashing and grasping for a way out.
Jesus didn’t die for me so I could be stuck in the mud. He gave His life so that I could live abundantly (John 10:10). I’m learning I have an enemy out there who wants to steal that from me (John 10:10), and I need to do my part to keep him from winning, to stand in what I’ve already been given (Ephesians 6:13). Here’s how:
Don’t give your consent
A dear friend of mine told me recently, “When negative thoughts come at you, you don’t have to give your consent to them.” What she meant was when those thoughts come knocking at the door of my mind, I do not have to open that door and welcome them in, entertaining them and serving them coffee. I have a choice. I can refuse to dwell on them.
When that negative thought came the other day, I simply said, “No! I refuse to think about that!” I would not let it take up space in my mind. I knew if I let it put down roots, it would produce some pretty ugly fruit. When I said no, I kept my peace.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
We recently studied Philippians 4:6 in my Thursday morning Ladies Bible Study group. The verse mentions thanksgiving as one way to overcome anxiety. We were challenged to list 3 things for which we were thankful and to thank God for those things. I’ve been trying to do that exercise every day, especially when negative thoughts come.
When I’m struggling, I will redirect my thoughts to God’s blessings in that particular situation. I will thank God for His promises to me. I will express gratitude for His love and faithfulness, and I will proclaim who He is to me. I’m discovering I can’t be grateful and upset at the same time. Those expressions of gratitude smash that snake of ugly thoughts right under my foot!
The beginning of Philippians 4:6 talks about praising God. The word “prayer” in the verse actually means, “to look at God as He is.” When I do that, I cannot help but praise Him! As I worship God, who is over everything, the negativity fades away. As I speak the truth about Him, that ugly snake slithers back into the hole it came from.
I’m grateful for the Lord’s patience with me as He has been teaching me these principles. I’m still learning to apply them. Yet, He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). That’s something else to praise Him about!
Question: How has the Lord been helping you with your thought life? Comment at the link below.
Susan Jane King