Devotional Archives--Mind Makeover
August 30, 2004 —
though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The
weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary,
they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians
look in the mirror and think, ‘you are so ugly.’”
like ‘I’m stupid’ or ‘I’ll never be good enough’ swirl around
in my head.”
be doing the dishes and suddenly I realize that I’ve spent the whole
time worrying about how to handle a situation I’m afraid of. The
situation hasn’t even happened yet, but I’ve wasted 30 minutes trying
to come up with solutions to a problem that doesn’t even exist.”
find myself rehashing painful conversations over and over and trying to
figure out what I could have said to have made it different.”
met a lot of people who’ve shared comments like those above. I, too,
have struggled with my thought life. I’ve looked in the mirror and hated
myself, not just the way I look on the outside, but the person on the
felt like a failure, like I can never get it right, and have worried over
frightening scenarios that never happen. I’ve thought about painful
encounters over and over never coming to a place of peace, always wishing
I could have stood up for myself or made the other person understand my
I don’t live that way anymore.
not saying I never struggle with this, but I am saying this negative way
of living is no longer a habit. When it does slip in, I know what to do. I
know I don’t have to live in the emotional turmoil that a bad thought
example, fear ruled my life for many years: fear of people’s opinions,
fear of failure, fear of relationships, fear of not being good enough, and
crazy, wild fears that didn’t even make logical sense. I worried that
something bad was going to happen to loved ones. Illogical and logical
fears battered my mind and made it difficult to live in the peace God
promised. I couldn’t focus on God because I focused on fear.
I heard a new application for a verse I memorized years ago, in college.
It’s found in 2 Corinthians 10:5. “We demolish arguments and every
pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take
captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)
Moore writes in her book, “Breaking Free” that we are to take captive
those thoughts that go against God’s word. Basically, she means that we
are to reject the thought and stopping thinking about it. We shouldn’t
allow it to roam free in our minds. It belongs in jail! She actually has a
picture sketched into her text of the thought behind bars.*
husband says it’s like trying to get rid of a computer virus. Our
computer software catches viruses that come over the Internet and puts
them in quarantine. Then we go into the program and delete the virus.
Sometimes the virus can’t be deleted and it takes more serious measures
to overcome it, but we don’t let it run free in our system. We put it in
“jail” until we know how to address the problem.
are like that. Some we can quickly reject and delete. Others can sit
quarantined until God shows us how to address them, but in the meanwhile
we don’t have to give ugly thoughts free roam of our mind!
know worry and fear are not God’s will for me. Throughout the Bible I
read things like “fear not” and “be anxious for nothing” and
“trust in the Lord”. So now when I start to be afraid, I stop, put
that thought in “jail”, and replace it with truth from God’s word.
My favorite verse for overcoming fear is “For God hath not given us a
spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II
Timothy 1:7 KJV)
have been times I’ve felt such overpowering fear that I repeated the
scripture over and over in a short period of time. Inevitably, the fear
would return and I’d go through the process again, rejecting the fear
and replacing it with God’s truth. There was a six-month to a year
period when that particular verse was my constant companion. I have no
idea how many times I said it to myself, but it was a bunch!
don’t battle fear as much as I used to. I’ve spent the last four-years
renewing my mind with the truth of God’s word. It’s not that I’m
never afraid anymore. I just chose not to waste time feeling scared! To
wallow in my fears is direct disobedience to God’s word and it doesn’t
feel good either!
believe fear was a stronghold of the enemy in my life. I don’t think any
amount of positive thinking could bring victory in this area. But God’s
word did. It’s like it says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, God’s weapons
have divine power to demolish strongholds.
Fear is just one of many areas I’ve asked God to help me conquer in my thought life. I’d encourage you to ask God to show you what thoughts might go against our Lord. Then, ask Him to give you a special verse to use as a weapon in the battle for your mind.
“Father, help me to recognize thoughts that cause me to feel distant from You. Teach me to capture them and to replace them with truth from Your word.”
September 6, 2004 —
I'm Not Mad, Are You?
gasped at the ugly thought I’d just had about my husband. “Oh God!”
I prayed. “Please don’t ever let me say that to him. I don’t what to
ask me to control your tongue if you won’t control your thoughts.”
I realized God was communicating with me. I don’t usually hear direct
admonitions, but this one was clear. My loving Father went right to the
source of my problem.
had this experience years ago when I had very little understanding about
how destructive a negative thought life could be. In those early years of
marriage something would happen—maybe my husband would head downstairs
to work without saying anything to me—and I would assume he was mad.
I’d try to figure out why and spend the next hour stomping around the
kitchen creating my speech of defense.
the time I was done I was angry with him for misunderstanding me and for
being petty enough to be angry over my small offense. Usually, before
initiating a fight, I had the good sense to ask him a simple question.
“Are you mad at me?”
every time he’d look at me kind of funny and answer, “No. Why would I
I would explain my supposed offense and he would shake his head and say,
“Honey, why would that bother me?”
sometimes he’d look confused and say, “Are you mad at me?”
I would have to answer, “No” because the only thing I was mad about
was the fact that he was mad at me over something stupid—only he had
never been mad at me, which meant I had no reason to be mad at him. (Whew!
Did you catch that?)
recount this story to show how easy it is to waste time on thoughts that
have no validity. Maybe you’ve never done something as silly as I did,
but I suspect most of us can get our feelings hurt and waste a lot of time
being mad and creating invalid scenarios in our mind. As women we are good
at reading between the lines, but we are just as good at assuming things
that aren’t true.
read a wonderful story some time back. Unfortunately I don’t remember
the author or where I read it so I can’t give credit where it is due,
but a lady wrote about her experiences traveling. She felt guilty when she
traveled because she knew it put extra responsibility on her husband to
care for their small children while she was gone.
assumed he would be tired and resentful of her travels so she would arrive
home braced for a fight. She was afraid to admit she enjoyed her time away
because she thought it would only make her husband feel even more used. As
you would expect, her return home was tense and unfulfilling.
she and her husband communicated and she came to understand that he
willingly took on the extra burden of care because he loved her and wanted
her time away to bless her. She learned to share the joy of her travels
with her husband who then felt gratified that his sacrifice had been for
something worthwhile. Her homecoming took on a sweetness and delight.
story showed me, once again, how important it is not waste time thinking
about how to handle situations based upon my assumptions of how another
person is feeling. When thoughts that go against my marriage or other
relationships pop into my head, I’m learning to stop, replace the
assumptions with good communication, and renew my mind with truth.
“Lord, help me not to waste time thinking about things that are harmful to my relationships. Teach me to base my thought life on truth.”
September 13, 2004 —
14 years ago I sat at the turn into my neighborhood waiting for on-coming
traffic. Out of the blue an ugly, debilitating thought hit me. “Just
pull in front of that car. Get it over with. Why keep fighting?”
kept my foot on the brake but pondered the idea. Weariness and melancholy
threatened me as I let the thought roll through my mind.
the car passed I made my turn. “Why did I think about killing myself,
now?” I wondered. Suicidal thoughts weren’t new to me. There had been
a time I’d plotted my own death, toward the end of my college years when
I felt my life was falling apart. But now, I couldn’t figure out why I
had the thought. There was nothing going wrong in my life. I liked my job,
was happily married, and wasn’t experiencing any real stress.
that moment, I KNEW. The thought wasn’t MY desire—it was a lie
whispered to me by the enemy of my soul. I didn’t want to commit
suicide. I didn’t want to die. So I stood up to the enemy, told him to
go away in the name of Jesus, and decided to reject crazy thoughts like
that. I haven’t been haunted by thoughts of suicide since.
struggles with suicidal thoughts are just one example of how we can allow
our minds to tell us things that tear us down. Once I recognized the
truth—that I didn’t want to die—I had victory over that particular
important to test every thought. Many things I think about are based on a
lie. Some are straight from the enemy, like the thoughts I had telling me
to take my own life.
friend told me that she clings to a verse in Philippians 4:8 to help her
with this struggle. She likes the part of the verse that says, “think on
those things that are true.” When she has a bad thought she stops
herself and asks, “is this true right now?” Usually it isn’t, so she
takes it captive, refusing to allow it to roll around in her mind. She
chooses not to dwell on lies.
The verse in Philippians says: “ . . . Fix your
thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that
are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent
and worthy of praise.” (NLT)
can’t help but think that if we took my friend’s advice—and followed
the admonition of Paul in Philippians—that our lives would be much
happier and our minds much healthier.
“Dear Jesus, you sent me the Holy Spirit
with the promise He would lead me into all truth. Show me what thoughts I
have that are false and give me the strength to reject them and replace
them with thoughts that are lovely, true, admirable, and pure.”
September 20, 2004 —
inadequacies aren’t all there is to me. Within me resides God’s very
nature of love, compassion, boldness, and wisdom and this is actually more
central to who I am than any of my shortcomings.”
crashed upon me. All the things I felt capable of at the Writer’s
Conference seemed unreachable. I couldn’t write well enough. I
couldn’t manage my time well enough. I didn’t have the spiritual
insight I needed to finish the project of my heart. I was inadequate. The
little voice began whispering its old adage, “You’re not good
heard that voice most of my life. Sometimes it told me I was not good
enough as a person. Sometimes it reminded me that I was inadequate for a
task. Every time its sinister message picked at my ability to go forward
and made me doubt my path in life.
thoughts still haunt me sometimes whispering that I am not doing a good
enough job at home schooling or writing or simply being a person.
Sometimes the thoughts are loud, banging around my mind like a crashing
gong. Other times they slip in unawares, scurrying like nasty mice to
steal what isn’t theirs and soil the mind God transformed.
learning to overcome the “not good enoughs” with the reminder that I
don’t have to be good enough! There is One who is always good enough.
When I dwell on my inadequacies, allowing my mind to wallow in thoughts of
my own worthlessness I’m going against several admonitions in God’s
Word says I can do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13) His Word
says I should keep my mind on things that are good and lovely.
(Philippians 4:8) Over and over He tell me in scripture that He is able to
do anything He wants through me.
I wallow in self-doubt it’s because I’m looking at the wrong
person—ME! I have a lot of good reasons to doubt myself; But, God has
given me no reason to doubt Him. He promises all things will work for my
good and that He’ll empower me for every good work.
question isn’t whether I am adequate or not. The question is: Is HE? And
the answer is always, YES.
I’m learning to take those negative, exhausting thoughts captive, to put them in a little box and throw it out the window of my mind. I’m asking God to replace thoughts of my insufficiencies with reminders of His sufficiency.
“Father God, please help me reject the
negative thoughts of all I lack. Teach me to embrace the truth that in You
I am equipped for every good work and I lack nothing.”
September 27, 2004 —
you agree with the writer who said one of the enemy’s main goals is to
convince us that we are not really loved by the Father?
it seems we are hit from behind and the very spot injured is a deep, old
wound that never heals. In these moments it is easy to ask, “How can God
really love me and allow this to happen?”
instantly the gnarled whisperer speaks with ancient, distorted brilliance.
“Of course He doesn’t love you. You didn’t really believe that
garbage did you?”
times we fail and that voice shouts like a pointed finger jabbing our
heart, “How could He love you when you do that?”
the enemy can take away our trust in God’s love, He can cripple us.
Then, like a dark, slow moving cloud, he covers us with his shadows of
despair. And accusation roars like thunder, fear flashes like striking
lightening, and the rain never waters our heart, instead flooding our
souls with hopelessness.
if we don’t understand God’s love, we get lost in the storm. We
don’t see the coast guard trying to save us. We miss the lifeboat next
to our home. We never hear the helicopter above, dangling a strong rope of
hope. The lighthouse seems too far away.
bruised relationship seems hopeless. We feel unworthy of every dream. We
are unloved. Even those who love us can’t be heard for our deepest need
of love is from our Creator, and we don’t believe He cares.
all lies, my friend. The deceiver of the ages, the one who comes to kill
and destroy is cloaking your mind in his wrathful deception.
truth is and has always been. God is love. God loves you. Always. Forever.
No matter what you’ve done or will do. He never pulls away from you. He
never hesitates to meet you. He always wants to hold you close. There are
no strings attached.
the robe. Climb into the boat. Let the strong arms of the coast guard lift
you out of the storm and into a gentle refreshing rain. Let His love wash
away the doubt. Dare to believe that it is really true.
are loved. By the One Who matters most—the only one that can fill the
empty, angry, lonely place inside.
the enemy. Scripture says when you resist he flees.
the truth. Step into the Sonshine.
“Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39b JKV)