Yesterday at my church, my pastor, whom I love, talked about the fact that our thoughts literally shape and determine what we do with our lives.
To back this up with scripture he referenced Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Aaaaaah, so true! Whether you believe it or not, everything we do stems first from a thought. I mean, think about it. What you think you really become! If you think you cannot do something you won't do it. If you think you can do something, you will, It's really that simple.
Now this is great news if your thoughts are positive and you think you can do anything but what if your thoughts are poopy and you constantly think about how ugly you are (which you are not), how inadequate you are (you are so capable) or how unsuccessful you are compared to the rest of the world? (You can change the world.)
I was so grateful for the reminder yesterday in this area because despite how many times I have heard that scripture verse and how many books and blogs I have read on this topic, I fall into the trap of negative thinking far more often than I want to admit and I don't know about you but I am not OK with this.
AND what I am so grateful for is that there is a solution!
Over the years I have thought some pretty poopy thoughts and was naively believing things about myself for way too long. I did not grow up reading the bible and knowing the truth about who I am in Christ. Nope, I believed that I was not a good artist. I thought I had to earn love. I believed that God was always frustrated with me because I made mistakes. I believed I had to be perfect and thin to be loved. I believed I was fat, ugly, unlikable, the list, unfortunately, goes on and on.
As a result of these poopy thoughts, several things happened. Or should I say, did not happen? I did not attempt to acquire a job as an artist. In fact, even though I graduated college with a BA in ART, I NEVER ONCE went on a job interview because I was convinced that I would not be able to do the job. So, I settled and was in positions far below what I was actually capable of. I was not living out my full potential. This then drove the negative self-talk down deeper which then resulted in more negative self-talk. I then tried to drown the negative thoughts (the ones I was aware of because there were many that I was not even aware of) with food, drugs, relationships and alcohol to appease the torture in my mind but this was a band-aid and not getting to the core of the problem. I needed a brain washing. Thankfully, that's just what I have been doing for a while now and my life is changing because of it.
Here's another illustration:
Because I did not believe that I am forgiven and that my sins have been dealt with by Jesus on the cross I spent a large part of my life trying to feel OK by being perfect. A state I always fell short of and therefore was under constant self-condemnation. BUT if you know the word of God you know that "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," Roman 8:1.
This takes the weight off the pressure I used to put on myself to not make a mistake. I know that God is not sitting up on a throne looking down at me ready to pounce on my every mistake. No, in fact, God loves me "an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3
Did you see that? God is not mad. God is not mean. God draws us in with unfailing kindness. He loves us more than we can ever imagine.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
For too many years I believed what was coming into my brain. Basically I was defenseless. I had weapons available to me but I did not know it. I knew about the bible but I didn't know the bible. But I know now and boy oh boy, am I ever going to fight back!
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Ephesians 6:10-18
Last week, at church during the sermon, one of the other pastor's shared something that he said would be cheesy but would be something we would undoubtedly remember when it came to renewing our minds. Boy was he right because it was a bit cheesy but, like he said, this cheesiness has stuck in my brain and has helped me.
I'll explain the gist of his cheese.
He said that every lie that comes into our minds needs to washed with the word of God and to illustrate this, he brought out a bar of soap and held it up. Pointing to the soap he said, "For every lie there is a lye. (soap, get it?)"
In other words, for every thought you have that is not of God, there is a word that will trump or supercede that negative thought or lie.
Let's say you were thinking something like this:
Lie: "Oh great, they brought in free food again. I am not going to be able to control myself if I am around all those pastries and bagels at work. I'll never get a handle on this food thing."
Lye: "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
Did you see that? It is NOT TRUE that you cannot control yourself. That is a lie, a lie from the pit of hell and even though it may feel like you cannot control yourself, it does not mean it is true.
"Yah but it feels so real. I have been struggling with food for so long!"
I get it. Trust me I get it more than you know. Food has been an issue for me for a long time. But it is changing and I have found that real freedom with food is found in asking Jesus for help. In those moments when and if a negative thought comes into my brain, I speak the word, the word of God, over myself! God's word has so much power in it. In fact, it has ALL power.
In these moments, you are speaking with the authority of heaven. These are not words like, "go away negative food thought or I don't want to eat that." What you are saying when you speak God's word is FAR MORE POWERFUL than the thought because you are co-laboring with the one that wants to take the burden for you....JESUS. He died so you and I could live a life not controlled by food.
AND if speaking over the thought feels like it is not working then talk to or call a friend. Tell them what is going on. It is not weird. I do every now and again. (Although much less now.) Talking to someone you know takes the power of the lie away. I recommend that you call a friend that will give you God's word and truth to replace the lie. The lye for the lie. (Cheesy, I know, but I bet you'll remember it.)
This takes practice but this is where you find REAL victory and TRUE freedom. It may take a while for the feeling and the thoughts to go away but THEY WILL and eventually you will be walking in the freedom Christ paid such a radical price for.
This is why it is so vital to know what God says about us. If I know what he says about me, if this truth is hidden deep down into depths of my heart, then I will not be tossed around by the world's lies.
So my friend. I exhort you to get in your bible and get to know the character of God. Get to know WHO YOU REALLY are. "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9
If you are being tormented by negative, fearful, anxious or worrisome thoughts then ask Jesus for the word that will supercede it. Ask him for the lye. The solution to your problem is in the bible.
I am doing this right along side you. It is the most important thing you and I will ever do. If you want things to change this is the way to do it. You have to FIRST CHANGE your thoughts and just like En Vogue sang, if you free your mind the rest will follow.
So, have fun with this because it is fun! I realize there may be pain in your life but there is freedom ahead. It is fun to realize that you are powerful and free. It is fun to experience your Saviour BEING your Saviour. It is wonderful to know what Jesus made available to us when he died on the cross for us. It is fun to know what God really thinks about you. So, let's be cheesy and wash our brains with lye and live the victorious life we were created for.
(Normally I post my artwork the brain washing artwork is not mine.)
Motivated by the radical love of Jesus, I create beautiful works of art and passionately share my testimony to free people all across the earth to also fully and completely live the life they were uniquely created for.
I blog about things that I experiene and hope will motivate, guide and inspire you toward greater creativity, fulfillment, peace, and joy in your everyday life.