Well, the wedding and the honeymoon are over and my new husband and I have set upon the task of feathering our nest...aka moving his stuff in. Translated, that means moving, lifting and unpacking boxes. I began the task weeks ago with the vigor of a twenty year old. Unfortunately my 50+ year old back caught up with me. Long story short, I wound up in bed literally unable to move without being in intense pain. The pain only continued to get worse until finally in an act of desperation I sought the help of a physical therapist. (Thank God for those in this profession!).
One day, however, I stood in the shower with the hot water running over my sore back and the enemy, as he does so well, began to kick me when I was down. The negative stream of consciousness in my head ran something like this:
"Your husband sure got the short end of the stick. He's had to do the lion's share of the moving and unpacking while you've laid in bed. If you weren't old and out of shape this wouldn't have happened. You are not a worthy helpmate for your new husband who loves you...and why should he love you? You are not worthy or pretty. In fact you are useless and not very pretty and you're overweight. If only you looked better and were a better wife. And what do you do...you don't even work. You are a homemaker who doesn't keep a very good home. You call yourself a writer...you are a dime a dozen. Anyone could do what you do and do a better job at it. Just who do you think you are anyway? You tell people about walking the Christian walk and you are a poor excuse for a Christian. God is certainly disappointed in you........."
On it went until I was in tears. What do we do with these thoughts when they come streaming into our brain?
Step 1: Determine whose voice you are really hearing
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they might have life and have it to the full (abundantly)." (John 10:10)
If the voice you are hearing is filled with negativity and criticism it is NOT the voice of God. Satan, the enemy, wants nothing more than to tear us down, destroy our confidence and render us useless in God's Kingdom. If the voice is critical and condemning it is the voice of the enemy. God uses only those words that build us up and grow us in His love. His correction is never harsh or cutting. It gently turns us in another direction.
We need to measure the negative talk through the filter of God's truth.
Does what we're hearing in our head match up with the truth found in scripture? One litmus verse I use is Romans 8:1:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The truth is that a condemning voice is not from God!
Step 2: Take captive every thought
When that negative voice comes a yammering (and it will), God promises to rescue us if we will take those thoughts captive and bring them to Him.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Negative thinking is a mere pretension...a lie in the face of the knowledge of what God says about us. I literally picture myself dropping a net over the negative thought, wrapping it up and carrying it to Christ's feet where I drop it and ask him to take it from me.
God gives us the power and authority, through His son, to kick the enemy to the curb.
In Christ's name I can tell the "creep" to GET LOST!!!!
Step 3: Replace the negative thought (lie) with God's truth
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Psalm 139 is a great psalm to meditate on whenever the enemy is attacking your self worth. I keep an "emergency kit" of scriptures that speak to God's truth about me for whenever the enemy begins to push my "hot buttons" of self doubt. Reading those helps me refocus on the truth about me.
Sometimes I will put on worship music because it is hard for the enemy to drag us down when we are worshipping the awesome God who created us.
"Worship is an act of War against the enemy of our hearts." (Holley Gerth)
I'll leave you with two images (can you tell I am a visual learner) that help me to do what I need to do when the enemy comes a calling.
I picture the enemy on the other side of my front door. He's knocking and trying to push his way in, but in God's power I need to slam the door on the enemy before he can even get a foot in the door.
This one is from my mom. She used to say, "If you let the camel get his nose under the tent, before you know it, he's all the way in." Anchor your tents friends...thanks mom.
Seriously though, the battle with negative thinking can be a fierce one. But, remember, greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. Call on the Lord to fight this battle. He wants to fight for us...we just need to ask.
May God's great love for you bless you abundantly today...
In His love,