In December of 2009 my anxiety and depression could no longer be hidden, or staved off by St. John’s Wort. My husband lovingly sat down beside me and said, “Enough is enough, make an appointment to see the doctor. I will take off work and take you.” It had been a really hard year for me and I was at a point that I just couldn’t function.
The doctor prescribed escitalopram. This medication helps with anxiety and mild depression. He also prescribed time outside in the sunshine, along with listening to relaxing music as I focused on taking deep cleansing breaths, and he said if all I want to do is shut myself behind a closed door, then do the opposite. This was a really good starting point for my healing, or so I thought. After all these years I am still looking for my healing. After all these years I feel like I am still fighting for Shalom in my mind. I am still, daily, changing the way I think.
The Battle in our Minds
Did you know that we are daily at war in our minds? It is true, and that is why we are told in God’s Word to renew our minds daily. Every day we fight thoughts that are not good for us, temptations, sin, etc.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.[Romans 12:2 NASB]
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. [2Corinthians 4:16 CSB]
In renewing our minds daily we are reminding ourselves who God is, and who we are in Him. We remind ourselves of His promises and His trustworthiness. This is the beginning of changing the way that we think, and in turn changing the way that we act.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” [Psalm 91:1-2 ESV]
Trust in the LORD and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. [Psalm 37:3 CSB]
Daily, renew your mind, change the way you think.
Positive Feedback Loop–not a positive thing
Sometimes we have a positive feedback loop going on inside our minds that brings us down or stresses us out. We can choose what we spend time thinking about. You do not have to give time to every thought that pops into your head. As a matter of fact, I think it is imperative that you DO NOT give time to everything that pops into your head. When you spend time thinking about anything and everything that pops into your mind it only gives the devil a foothold.
and don’t give the devil an opportunity. [Ephesians 4:27 CSB]
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. [James 4:7 NASB]
You know what thoughts I am talking about. Thoughts like, I am so stupid, nobody loves me, nobody respects me, she never appreciates what I do for her, he never notices all that I do for him, they never come and see me, I mess everything up, they would be better off without me, they never want to do things that I want to do…and the list goes on. When you think nobody, never, everything, etc., then you are blowing things up. You are looking through a magnifying glass. If you are doing this then you need to stop and change the way you think.
May I make a suggestion?
Start a list of things that you like about yourself, or your spouse, or your child, whoever or whatever it is that you are having that negative thought about. Are there things about those relationships or those things for which you are thankful? When you start to do that you are taking control of your thinking. You are fighting to have more positive thoughts in your mind. You are resisting the devil by replacing those negative thoughts with positive ones.
I am not stupid. Do I do stupid things sometimes? Sure, who doesn’t? This is how I change my way of thinking, when I think, “I am so stupid” I stop and say out loud, “I am not stupid, but this, that I just did, was stupid. I am not doing that again.”
When I think, “I mess everything up” I stop and say out loud, “Sometimes I mess up, but true failure is to never try; at least I tried.” Then, I remind myself of things that I have done well. I am not talking about things that I “feel” like I have done well. I am talking about things that “I know” I have done well. It is good to keep a list of those things so that on the dark days you can remind yourself. You might even have loved ones help you to compile your list.
Watch what you say. Guard your mouth. Speak truth. Make positive affirmations more apart of your vocabulary. Remember what your Momma always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” In order to speak positive affirmations you have to think them. Are you thinking about positive affirmations or negative ones? If they are negative, change the way you are thinking.
Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. [James 3:10 CSB]
Speaking Truth–God’s Word
Speaking God’s Word out loud is even more helpful. It reminds you who you are in Christ, what His promises are to you, and how faithful and trustworthy He is to you. In regards to the statements above, concerning thoughts of stupidity and messing everything up, you could quote James 1:5 out loud to fight those thoughts.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God – who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly – and it will be given to him. [James 1:5 CSB]
Adapt it to first person and make it yours; you can even make it a prayer. For example, “I am lacking wisdom concerning these things, God. Please give me wisdom. You are a God who gives generously and ungrudgingly. Thank you for hearing my request and answering it according toYour will.” You could also say with confidence, “I may lack wisdom now, but God is going to give me wisdom generously and ungrudgingly, in the name of Jesus.”
God’s Word is powerful. Use it like the weapon that it is to fight these negative thoughts and wayward feelings. We are at war, but the battle is not in the flesh. The battle is in the mind. It is a spiritual battle.
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. [Hebrews 4:12 CSB]
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, [2Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV]
Feelings–can they be trusted?
Let’s talk about feelings. You know the saying, “Follow your heart”? Yeah, don’t do that. Your heart can be deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9). Feelings cannot be controlled sometimes. Our thoughts can be controlled. Most of the time you know when your feelings are lying to you, and sometimes you don’t. This is why it is so important to think about what you are thinking about. Ask yourself, is this true? What ever you do, DO NOT dwell on it like a broken record and accept it as truth. It needs to be weighed and measured.
For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. [Proverbs 23:7 NASB]
[We are] destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and [we are] taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, [2Corinthians 10:5 NASB]
How do we weigh and measure our thoughts or feelings in accordance with the knowledge of God? To know that God created you with purpose goes against the thoughts or feelings that you are worthless, and that people would be better off without you, etc. To know that God loves you and desires to be in relationship with you goes against the thoughts or feelings that nobody loves you or wants to spend time with you.
As you can gather from those two examples, we can equip ourselves with weapons to fight this spiritual battle in the mind by studying God’s Word and memorizing scriptures that will help us take every thought captive. In these two examples I didn’t even quote scripture; I was remembering the overall lessons I have learned over and over again through my studying of the Word of God.
Note: you cannot change the way you feel, but you can help lead your feelings by changing the way you think.
Resources I have used that helped me
I mentioned several times that we are in a battle and that the battle is in our mind. I learned about this from Joyce Meyer in her book Battlefield of the Mind. She also has a commentary bible out called Battlefield of the Mind Bible. If you are at war with anxiety and depression I highly recommend checking out one of these or both (I have both and reference them often).
|Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind
By Joyce Meyer / FaithWords
In Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer guides you through an honest self-appraisal by sharing the trials, tragedies and ultimate victories of her own marriage, family and ministry—including the truth she learned about what she was thinking and feeling every step of the way. You’ll gain insight into how Joyce won the battle in her own mind—and how you can as well. This special updated edition includes an additional introduction and updated content throughout the book.
You’ll also discover how to:
If you’re one of millions who suffer from worry, doubt, confusion, depression, anger or condemnation, you are experiencing an attack in your mind. Overcoming negative thoughts that come against your mind brings freedom and peace. Find out how to recognize damaging thought patterns and stop them from influencing your life. Don’t surrender to misery another day. Find out today what you can do to ensure your victory in the Battlefield of the Mind!
|Amplified Bible, Battlefield Of The Mind Bible, Imitation Leather, Blue
By Joyce Meyer / FaithWords
The Battlefield of the Mind Bible helps you to connect the truths of Joyce's all-time bestselling book, Battlefield of the Mind, to the Bible, and change your life by changing your thinking.
Worry, doubt, confusion, depression, anger, and feelings of condemnation—all these are attacks on the mind. If you struggle with negative thoughts, take heart! The Battlefield of the Mind Bible will help you win these all-important battles through clear, practical application of God's Word to your life. With notes, commentary, and previously unpublished insights by Joyce Meyer, this Bible is packed with features specifically designed for helping you deal with thousands of thoughts you have every day and focus your mind to think the way God thinks.
Joyce's teachings on the "Battlefield of the Mind" give a new dimension to how the "Words of life" can transform your life. You'll feel as though you have Joyce as your own personal study partner.