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Capturing Thoughts

March 19, 2008

 

This post was written by Paula Moldenhauer of Soul Scents.  She has a blog called Grace Reign in which I have listed in my blogroll.  Paula has 4 kids and gets most of her inspiration to write & lessons on grace from them.  I can so relate to that! 

 I thought you would enjoy an article that she had in a newsletter called Emphasis on Moms.  It was very good with a very important reminder.  How often do we let our thoughts slip into the negative aspects of our life.  Just the other day someone reminded me of the scripture in Psalm 126:2, “…The LORD has done great things for them.”. When my mind is focused on all the negative things happening, I forget about all the great things that God has done for me.  I know that you will enjoy Paula’s words.

Paula writes: 

“For 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 10:3-4 (NIV)

“I look in the mirror and think, ‘you are so ugly.'”

“Thoughts like ‘I’m stupid’ or ‘I’ll never be good enough’ swirl around in my head.”

“I’ll 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.”

“I find myself rehashing painful conversations over and over and trying to figure out what I could have said to have made it different.”

I’ve 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 inside, too.

I’ve 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 position.

But I don’t live that way anymore.

I’m 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 life brings.
 
For 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.

Then 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)

Beth 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.*

My 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.

Thoughts 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!  

I 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)

There 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!
 
I 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!

I 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.”


~ A mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God’s grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers book reviews, homeschooling hints, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. Visit her blog at www.gracereign.blogspot.com. Contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2008 10:27 pm

    Dana,
    I’m honored you reprinted this article here. You have a beautiful blog!

  2. March 20, 2008 8:42 am

    That was VERY encouraging! Thanks. I needed it.

    By the way, I tagged you.

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