Breaking the Cycle of Toxic Thoughts

Breaking the Cycle of Toxic Thoughts

April 24, 2015

"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

I saw the blue flashing lights in my rear view mirror, and knew it was not a good sign. A quick glance at the speedometer revealed I was going faster than intended.

I quickly began to build my case as I pulled over to the side of the road. With my two toddlers in the back seat, I was sure this would be an easy fix. After all, once the police officer heard my reasons for being distracted, he would certainly let me off the hook with a simple warning, a gentle smile and a cheerful, "Have a good day, ma’am!"

That’s not exactly how it went down.

Despite my attempts to explain, the police officer didn’t budge. It didn’t matter that I was lost in an unfamiliar section of town. It didn’t matter that my friend had just given birth to her second child, or that I’d spent hours preparing a meal for her family.

I was secretly hoping the lingering aroma of chicken fettuccini would prove my point. But despite all my good intentions and lengthy explanations, the officer proceeded with four words no one wants to hear: "License and registration, please."

Five minutes later, I was back on the road with a nasty speeding ticket sitting on my dashboard. It might as well have been a neon sign flashing the words: loser, busted, cursed.

We cried the whole way home. My kids cried because they knew Mommy was very upset. I cried — not because I was sad or embarrassed — but because I was angry.

What kind of officer gives a ticket to a good person who prepares a meal for a friend in her time of need? Sure, I was guilty of going a tad over the speed limit, but the consequences seemed harsh and I felt completely justified.

As the day went on, my anger mounted and my invisible stress barometer climbed to new heights. I couldn’t stop thinking about our brief and aloof conversation. Over and over, I mentally replayed alternative dialogues: I should have said this … What if he’d said that?

By the end of the day, I had a fierce headache, a knot in my stomach and a "don’t-go-near-her attitude." All the over-analyzing, replaying and mental back talk created a toxic mess in my mind and body, making an unfortunate situation worse.

My choice to speed produced the hefty consequence of a ticket and a marked driving record. But choosing to fixate my thoughts on the problem was like dousing gasoline on a tiny spark. That spark had become a consuming fire, distracting me from the real blessings God had for me that day — like the little ones in the back seat of my car and getting home safely.

In today’s key verse, Moses challenges the people of Israel to choose between life and death, a blessing and a curse. How? By choosing wisely. To love God, obey His commands and place Him above all else in their lives.

Today, we’re faced with the same challenge. Will we love God and choose His way to experience life and blessings, or will we choose our way and set ourselves up for some potentially explosive consequences?

Our words, actions and reactions are a direct result of our thought life. Left to our own sinful nature, we can easily find ourselves in a cycle of toxic thinking, choosing and reacting.

To be women who choose wisely, we have to go to the Source of all wisdom. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (NIV).

Freedom doesn’t come in making our own choices. Freedom comes by seeking God’s perfect wisdom to choose wisely in every area of our lives.

Friend, where are your choices taking you today? Are your thoughts, words, actions and reactions reflecting who you are in Christ? Let’s encourage one another to choose wisely and live in the blessed freedom that God has already made available to us.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the many blessings You’ve given me today. Help me to choose wisely so I can live in freedom for Your Glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 1:25, "But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do." (NIV)

Romans 8:6, "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Learn to make wise choices in the midst of endless demands with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes.

Join Leah DiPascal on her blog today to continue this conversation of choosing wisely. She’s giving away two copies of The Best Yes so be sure to sign up here for the giveaway.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Make a list of 10 choices you’ve made this week. Place each choice in one of two columns: Wise Choices vs. Toxic Choices. Ask God for wisdom on how to move all your choices into the wise column.

© 2015 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. than following God. Fortunately, following in the Lord’s footsteps is the one thing that keeps me going, needless of how I may not always feel like spending time in His wondrous presence. I wish I could encourage my wonderful husband, Ron Smith to allow God to touch His heart and make him want to change his ways. Wise Choices Toxic Choices
    Attending church staying home
    Bible-reading watching Tv
    Discipleship focusing on myself
    Time with God sleeping
    Sunday School staying away from God
    “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)
    Amen! How so incredibly powerful! What a wonderful thing to always remember—especially on this Thursday night! We should choose to speak life over whatever our circumstances are that we may be going through—even encourage others in their time of need—-big or small circumstances alike.
    “Heavenly Father, thank You for the many blessings You’ve given me today. Help me to choose wisely so I can live in freedom for Your Glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”~Leah DiPascal
    Amen! Wow! What a wonderful prayer tonight! We should be able to decide wisely what we’re going to do when it comes to each day. Encouraging others should be the main thing that we’d want to accomplish each and every day.
    James 1:25, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do.” (NIV)
    Amen! Wow! How so powerful! Whenever we ask God what He wishes for us to accomplish on this day, we are going to be blessed. We should want to be a source of encouragement and blessing to those we come in contact with.
    Romans 8:6, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (NIV)
    Amen! Wow! What a very powerful verse! When our mind’s ruled by God, we are going to experience so many blessings. We’ll live in the light thus, it’s going to result in darkness if we allow our minds to be ruled by our own agenda (the flesh) more than allowing God to have His way.

    • Nico, thank you for sharing a fresh word of encouragement with us today! I’m praying for your husband, Ron, that his heart would be open to receive the gifts and calling God has in store for him.

  2. Once again, God has worked through the P31 devotional website to reach me. Thank you for this post Leah, it’s very much what I needed to hear. Toxic thoughts are what’s been keeping me up tonight and why I am reading this blog at 12:57am. 🙂 Next up on my reading list tonight? The bible. I know the thoughts going through my head aren’t good, I just struggle with knowing how to squash them. I realize from reading your post that I’ve been trying to squash them all alone, and now will ask God to help me.

    • Tracy, I used to have trouble sleeping at night for the same reason. Then, I started making a point of praying once I got in bed, but I didn’t ask God for any prayer requests. I was very intentional in only praying words of thanksgiving and praise to Him. I wanted those kinds of thoughts to lull me to sleep. I’ve done this for years and it’s made a huge difference! 🙂

      • Mema Jeanne says:

        Leah, I read your posts and am so thankful for them! I am so glad to hear you say that you intentionally pray words of thanksgiving and praise to Him at night before lulling off to sleep. I read so much about “prayer methods/ways, etc”, and I try to pray as I should, and then I remember that He wants us to pray as a child. Back to my point, I love just calling out His names and characteristics, and thanking Him for all that He has done in my life for that day and all my blessing from Him. So, thank you for your encouragement.
        Mema Jeanne

  3. Thank you. I needed this and have had a lot on my mind lately. This was honeycomb to the soul. <3

  4. Thank you for sharing this I believe God wanted me to hear this I do struggle a lot with worry and toxic thoughts.
    It is comforting to know that God can give us wisdom and a different out look of things only if we ask Him.

  5. kim mele says:

    Im a woman married to a very demented thinkibg man…whom i love but have removed myself from out of frustration and heaertache…yet hes ok at time sbut most times not.
    Is divorce sometimes the only answer.

    • All-Knowing Lord God, grant our sister wisdom for her decisions. Bring into her life wise counselors who help her see the whole picture from your viewpoint. Give her a prayer circle of friends to pray for her husband and for her. Fill her husband’s mind with thoughts that are true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable (Phil 4:8); break into his cycle of toxic thoughts. Together or separated, your will be done in both their lives. Amen.

    • Divorce is never God’s answer because He hates it. Please believe He can change both you and your husband into what He wants you both to be, whether you’re together or separated (not divorced) when He does it. Ask Him and remember He’s the Source of all wisdom. (James 1:5)

      • I do agree. I just listened to Andrew Wommack, God won’t help or rescue us when we are choosing something that is out of His will. His word IS His will. And He is against divorce (unless there is adultery, religious conflict, or abuse). It is sad, but too often we want what WE want without consulting our Father and Maker (or His word). I’ve always said, how we believe isn’t up to US, it is IN the W-O-R-D. On a brighter note, the power within us, is MUCH GREATER than the powers in this world, and we ARE overcomers in and through Christ Jesus. When we align with Him, whatever we believe, we receive. Mark 11:24

    • Kim, I pray you hear Shirlee Abbott’s prayer. If you go to church, you and your husband need to talk to your pastor. If you are unequally yoked, you need to get on the same level and only godly advice from godly people can help you see your godly options and how to save your relationship and marriage — it will take BOTH of you to save it. If you don’t go to church, you should find one and look for godly people in your life. No one knows your situation except you, your husband and God. God does say that we are not to put asunder or pull apart what God has brought together. But I believe there are many marriages that have been put together more by our ungodly wills than by God’s union. Also remember that in the Old Testament, in the book of Ezra and I believe Nehemiah, the Israelites had taken wives from the surrounding pagan countries. That was a big NO-NO. God had told them to never do this. But they did. Ezra was a priest, in charge of teaching the people God’s Law (the Bible). He told the people to put their wives away. They were leading their husbands and their children AWAY from God. So the men were to send their wives back to their own country. In essence, they divorced them.

      Does God want us to stay in relationships that destroy us or our children? I don’t believe so. But God’s will for your marriage is something only you can find the answer to through prayer and godly advice from people who know the details of your relationship. I pray you seek God and His wisdom above all else, and you can find peace (hopefully in your marriage). Seek God first.

    • Denise Perez says:

      I would like to recommend a book to you. It is called The Emotionally Destructive Marraige, by Leslie Vernick. It addresses your questions about divorce in christian marriage and offers sound biblical advice as to what steps to take when you are in an abusive situation. If possible, you should seek out a Christian counselor. And, of course, keep praying for God to change your husband’s heart, as well as for guidance in making any changes that you might need to make to contribute more positively to your marraige.

  6. cathy perzee says:

    God’s perfect timing!! This was exactly what I needed to hear this week!! Thank you!

  7. Thank you for this message. The difficult choice we face every day is to either walk in the spirt rather or in the flesh. We are always thankful to God when we receive messages like the one of today, that helps us to put things in correct perspective.

  8. I love it! Sometimes my toxic stinkin’ thinkin’ keeps me from enjoying the great things God has in store for me! Thank you for all you do!

  9. Thank you! How many times have I been in that situation, whether was a speeding ticket, a conversation gone terribly wrong, anxiety attacks taking over my thoughts. I sure need it to read this devotion to get a new prospect on it. God is so amazing he speaks to us in so different ways. By God’s mercy that battle is being won.

  10. Thanks for this devotional! It is so what i needed today!!

  11. I SOOO needed this today! I have been perseveration on a problem at work for the past 2 days that is stealing my joy and my focus on Jesus. I’m going to print this and post it by my computer!

  12. Thank you THANK YOU! I so needed to hear this today! Our thoughts are our worst enemies – and we need to capture them before they consume our entire day! God is in control – All the time!

  13. Right on time and so on accord with my thoughts this morning – aligning my thought life on Jesus’ word so that blessings and peace can reign. I’m so thankful for this reminder today and for scriptures to fall back on when my thoughts get out of whack. Blessings to you.

  14. Thank you so much. I struggle with this so much.

  15. Perfect timing, rough day yesterday and I was really unhappy with my thoughts, actions, and my words!

  16. ShellyinIL says:

    Trying to post again…. This is perfect timing for me as my family has been under attack with the fiery arrows of the enemy in all areas of our lives. My husband says he is a Christian but has never gone to church with us, even after 26 years of marriage. He did, however, agree that he and I should be praying and reading the Bible together because we need wisdom. And we stared with the book of James! Thanks for this encouraging, timely post!

    • Sherllyin, I’m praying that God uses His renewing words in the book of James to ignite you’re husband’s heart and give him a hunger and thirst to know God more.

  17. I needed this devotion. Right now my thoughts are definitely not reflective of theany undeserved blessing God has given me. Dear Heavenly Father, you know what weighs so heavy on my mind. I give it to you Lord. Only you are strong enough to take it and handle it. Thank You always for Your everlasting Love, Patience, Grace, and Forgiveness with my stubborn and sinful ways. In your name we pray, Amen.

  18. That should say “the many undeserved blessings.

  19. This same incident happened with me… The flashing lights, tickets, and all. Not once but twice on the same road, going and returning home. However, my toxic thoughts are not about this incident but of worries and anxieties of other stuff like, work and health issues. I understand the importance of givin Christ my worries and leaving them there but for some reason negative thoughts are hunting me and keeping me awake. I am memorizing the verse, Romans 8:6 and quote this scripture and pray to remove the toxic thoughts. I LOVE how God speaks to us when we go to Him in prayer. Thanks for this devotion. It’s exactly what I needed.

  20. This is a necessary and beautiful reminder of truth! Thank you for your faithfulness to share. Please pray for our ministry outreach to a children’s home in Oxford NC through the 10th Annual Oxford Children’s Home Fishing Tournament! Weather, safety and the presence of GOD in all our lives!Thank you!

  21. Kathy Coughenour says:

    It’s funny how when I need the right words of incourgement. I open my email for
    for Proverbs 31 today and there they are. Feeling very blessed.
    Thank You
    Kathy

  22. I’m sorry – know what the officer thinks when he sees a woman speeding with 2 kids in the car? “Oh dear Lord, what a reckless idiot, taking these two precious lives and risking them like this!” And that never even occured to the driver in this story. “Toxic” is when it’s all about “me, me, me” and not about the way the Lord intervenes – The way the Lord stepped in and caused the driver to Stop, Slow Down, take a look around, See What You Are Doing! Left to our own sinful nature we tend to try to lie to ourselves and make excuses and focus on ourselves and what WE want – not what the Lord is trying to tell us. Maybe we need to stop and listen, not freak out and cry, rant, and make excuses. We can be the good friend, make all the wonderful meals in the world, but if we crash the car and kill our kids on the way – who does that profit – oh yeah – no one, except maybe Satan sitting there laughing. (Btw – police officers hate speeders as much as they hate drunk drivers)

    • Lisa thank you for that perspective as well. I’m sure the writer also thought about that. You give a good reminder to us that God expects us to obey the law that is there to protect all of us and we have to let that break our toxic thinking as well.

      • Rita – you completely missed my point. Law was involved this time, in this example – but the person was so caught up in making excuses they missed the lesson God was trying to give them – perhaps that officer was God’s messanger. And perhaps all their crying and toxic self-pity was drowning out God’s Still Small Voice! Next time it might be the Big Mean Boss, and the time after that it may be the Dull Teacher – it doesn’t matter – what was toxic was the attitude. The idea that making excuses and trying to pass off the fact that doing a “good deed” eliminates a poor (possibly dangerous) choice, and then kvetching and moaning about it instead of accepting personal responsibility. “Yes, Lord I was doing something dangerous, I was speeding, I was distracted, endangering myself and my children, thank you for sending your messanger to slow me down. Amen” – should have been the response – not angry crying, a bad example for the children, and moaning about it all day. Sometimes “bad” things are allowed to happen to use by God to avoid much worse things. We just don’t see that, because we don’t have His perspective.

  23. Left to my OWN choices they certainly are NOT always good ones! In looking back over this past week I KNOW I’ve fallen short of HIS will so many times! In asking HIS forgiveness & putting it behind me (no more shoulda, coulda, woulda!)
    , I can look forward knowing HE & HIS Holy Spirit can & will look over me & guide me only if I ask for HIS help. Today is a NEW day in HIM! I am so thankful for the reminder in today’s P31 ministry…..the gentle firm reminder we can ALWAYS do better when we stand with HIM & turn to HIM in ALL decisions! To all my sisters out there, right now I am praying for ALL of us–we are bound together in HIS love; HIS guidance & protection over us WILL be clear–it is HIS will for us!! NO more doubt or worry for that is only of Satan! WE are the daughters of the KING–let our actions, thoughts & words be of HIM!

  24. Shirley Onyango says:

    I need freedom from GOSSIP! Truthful gossip is hurtful and not of God,

    In anger I vented my frustration about someone to a close friend. I am at fault and take complete responsibility for repeating information.

    I have learned that when gossip is deposited into someones spirit whether the information is true or not it’s like planting a seed.

    The more you discuss it the more you are watering it and feeding it. This watering allows the roots of gossip grow deep and spread.

    Freedom from gossip requires making right choices. I choose to no longer be a vessel for gossip. I choose not to allow others to pour that negative spirit into me and for me not to pour it into others. Gossip defeats Gods purpose for my life and hinders my ability to grow spiritually.

    I have decided to place boundaries and keep the poisonous venom of gossip and its negativity out of my reach. This may require leaving some people and bad behavior behind.
    The bible teaches the Power of the Tongue

    Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

    1 Peter 3:10 – For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

    Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

    Proverbs 10:19 – In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise.

    Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

    Matthew 12:36-37 – But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Read More…)

    Psalms 127:3 – Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward.

    Proverbs 12:18 – There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise [is] health.

    James 3:6 – And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

    James 1:26 – If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain.

    Psalms 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

    Proverbs 15:28 – The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.

    Proverbs 15:4 – A wholesome tongue [is] a tree of life: but perverseness therein [is] a breach in the spirit.

    Philippians 2:14 – Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

    Proverbs 17:27 – He that hath knowledge spareth his words: [and] a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

    James 3:8 – But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

    Proverbs 25:15 – By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

    Proverbs 13:3 – He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: [but] he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

    James 3:5-8 – Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (Read More…)

    James 3:1-18 – My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (Read More…)

    Like today’s word instructs us true freedom comes by “seeking God’s perfect wisdom to choose wisely in every area of our lives”.

    • Tammy Harrington says:

      Amen! I truly understand. I pray you and I will allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into a realm of spirituality that keeps us grounded and rooted in the Lord. Thanks for all the scriptures as reminders from our Daddy in Heaven! Love it!

    • Shirley Randle says:

      Something I learned in Bible Class….if you are talking/speaking of another person and your words are not uplifting….you are gossiping…CHILDREN OF GOD ARE TO EDIFY ONE ANOTHER…OTHER THAN THAT WE ARE DOING THE OPPOSITE…..please know I’m not judging…just sharing…GOD BLESS

  25. I suffer from this thought process as well. In everything. Thank you for your article. I will try to keep my thoughts in a better perspective. Is very hard though when life seems to keep handing out difficult times.

  26. Carmelle says:

    My spouse is a deputy & although your devotional focused on your attitude, it never considered why the officer did give you a ticket… You had two toddlers in the back of the vehicle. Precious cargo that is important to consider regardless or not if you’re distracted or in a hurry. He opened the door to have a conversation with your kids that even adults have consequences if they don’t follow rules. He also, had you not been upset, would likely have been able to provide directions to where you were going since officers have to know all the roads well. Officers get a bad rap, but they are upholding laws created by voters, risking their lives to keep us safe.:-) Thanks for sharing your heart & allowing me to share mine.

  27. Tammy Harrington says:

    Wow,, what an amazing devotion! I am always enlightened by your spiritual writers spreading God’s word to the world in an amazing way! I have been reading and sharing the devotions for about eight years and these devotions have been a great inspiration for me and my friends. Have an amazing day and keep spear ding your lives through God’s word to all of us!

  28. My biggest battle is always the one raging in my own mind. I know that by “choosing life, wisdom, and grace’ today that I will be met with tests and challenges. I am praying you have continued victory in this area. Would you take a moment and pray for me too?
    Blessings!
    Bekki

  29. Thank you for sharing your story with us today. When we are wrong, when we cross the line-our defense kicks in. It doesn’t matter our reasons, the fact is-we were wrong. I have a long list of faults. I’ve tried to correct them, and I have corrected a lot but still have a few more to go. People say people don’t change-but I have to believe that we are all capable of it, given the chance. We are capable-we just have to have the will and believe in ourselves.

  30. Mama “Prom” Drama and boy do I need help and advice! What’s suppose to be a fun special time for our kids, can easily become time for the “Mean Moms”(notice it’s not mean girls) to show they have not grown out of the mean girl stage. These are Christian Moms who what you see is not what you get. Stepping out there I made a suggestion/option for the kids to go to a less expensive place to eat. Nice place and $25 a person instead of $66 a person. So I shared the info via email with the parents via email of all the 24 kids who are going. Something so simple turned into a toxic phone conversation as one of the 3 Moms in charge told me Ihurt her ego for voicing an option for dinner. The kids ended up voting on the less expensive restaurant bc many of them were having to use their own $ to help pay for Prom and some kids who are well beyond their years in their compassion for others and Christian walk, actually cared about that. But boy did I pay the price! Most of the other Moms were so glad I put that option out there as they were afraid to say anything. This was either you’re in or out kind of planning from these 3 Moms. Folks move to this community instantly know how they are. People have had to sever their toxic relationship with one woman, but what is so confusing is how other people still ‘hold them up’ in the community when they know how they are..hurtful, gossipers, and think they have to be in control. Which leads me to my question: we are to bring food to one of these womens homes who has graciously opened up her home to have the kids come there after Prom. Other moms, including myself, would like to be able to see there kids at that time just for a bit then leave. The 3 moms in charge will be able to experience that time with them but have not invited any other moms. Do I ask if it would be okay to bring my dish when the kids get there so that I can check on my child and just be part of this special night or just take my dish before hand when we were asked to? I’ve know this mom for 14 years and it’s one of my childs best friends. It’s these kind of people/moms who are unapproachable and toxic in the community…making so many other women feel inferior. It is so sad that they cannot grow up and just be loving women of God…the mask they wear. Please help???

    • Definitely go ahead and ask and state your reasons why. What’s the worst that can happen – they say no? Some women have that controlling spirit and it’s so hard for them to let go. What’s even harder is getting them to see their own controlling spirit. Good luck!!!

      • Thank you LeeAnn:) I agree, unfortunately and it’s sad. I’m having to pray that my flesh does not get a hold of me and that I am not doing it to make a point…but only to share in my son’s experience. We will be taking pictures before Prom, so we’ll have that time together. I am also trying genuinely to pray for these Moms…whew!

        • Shirley Randle says:

          I so know what you are dealing with and will be praying with and for you…and them..I truly believe a person can be “TO CLOSE TO THE MIRROR TO SEE WHAT OTHERS SEE’…..GOD BLESS

  31. Stephanie says:

    I really needed this today. Seems like I can’t get ahead right now and just when I see light, something else happens to cause more grief and distraction. I pray every day for God to guide me
    in my choices and actions and to open the doors to the path He wants me to follow, but then I find myself daily struggling and over analyzing situations and feeling bitter. I know He wants to give me the best life possible and I just thought last night, with everything being thrown at me, there must be a huge blessing coming my way. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I pray I can learn to truly turn it all over to Him without pulling it back.

  32. kathy wyg says:

    Good Morning….to all….AMY HOOD…i have never done well w/people who think that
    they are better than me..so if it were me..i..would ask to be there when my child was
    going to be there..PROM IS ONCE IN A LIFETIME FOR THESE KIDS & for parents
    to enjoy it w/them them…& if these certain moms..balk @ the idea…DO IT ANYWAY
    nothing is more important than your kids…BE THERE FOR YOUR CHILD…I love
    meeting w/people like that…we all put our pants on the same way..some just think
    they are better than us…GO FOR IT AMY HOOD…i would love to know how it turns
    out…

    Have a Blessed day….everyone….

    To Amy Hood…i am including my e-mail address…would you be kind enough to let me
    know personally how it went & i will say a prayer for you & those moms…

    kathy wyg
    bwygant@bellsouth.net

    • Amy Hood says:

      Thank you Kathy!!! I do agree with you! Even though my earthly Father who is with Jesus,(most loving, Christian man), constantly reminded me to always put others first, we women are dealing with a whole other monster when it comes to situations/people like this. It is so sad and heartbreaking. In all my 49 years, I’ve never been talked to this way or seen anything like it. One of these Moms teaches at the local HS and she took her Prom frustrations out on 2 of the Junior boys who were in our Prom group & were for the less expensive restaurant. She called them on it and embarrassed them in front of the whole class as they stood there and just said, “Yes Ma’am.”. Needless to say, they went with another Prom group. These are sweet Christian young men and didn’t deserve that…but then again we(other moms)have to remember the source. This is the most ridiculous, immature, unChristian-like thing I’ve ever seen and the Moms cause the drama…not the kids! I thank for your prayers and it will all hopefully workout.

  33. Thank you for this post. I read it early this morning and kind of thought “that’s nice”. Then later today, a very hurtful situation happened and my thoughts started going in a downward spiral and I began to replay the situation in my mind over and over. But thanks to what you shared, I took my thoughts and concerns to God instead and I am determined not to let my mind turn a hurtful situation into something that will take me days or weeks to recover from. God is good! Thank you Leah!

  34. Again, this hit the nail on the head for me. We just got turned down for a refinance on our home and I’ve been a raging redhead most of this week, and downright depressed. It’s been a long season of delayed dreams and staleness in our lives and in our marriage, and during this time when my husband’s hours have been cut, the financial savings was going to be helpful. It also would open the door for us to move and keep this home as a rental which seemed like a smart decision. I don’t know why I automatically revert to thinking God will drop the ball on us now, after getting us this far–I have a lot of work to do in this area. The way Leah described her emotions at the end of the day in the devo sounds exactly like me most of the time and that’s not a good thing! Thank you for the inspiring words this morning.

  35. kathy Morrill says:

    I needed this devotional today. I broke up with my boyfriend of eight months several weeks ago. He would not explain why, only not to try to make him change his mind and that he wold not explain. Although I saw some emotional detachment in him and had started detaching from him I am still hurt, and angry. I am mostly angry and that is what keeps me up at night. He was so cold and unfeeling when he brloke up. I want to tell him off and make him feel just as bad. These thoughts keep me up at night. I have not slept well lately.

  36. I allowed doubt, negativity, pride and toxic thoughts to fill my mind, distracting me from a great blessing God is opening a door to. I had insomnia for one night because of it. For some reason, it’s harder for me to stay close to God when I’m excited, thrilled, happy. Your devotionals seem to always speak to me with exactly what I need to hear for the day. Anointed~ Your ministry. May the fruit of the God’s Holy Spirit flow through each of us at all times~ hard times, average times, and mountaintop highs. He will keep us in perfect peace as we fix our eyes on Him and His glory at all times. Praise God! Praying He helps us do that.

  37. Thank you Leah for you honesty. Many times I have been in a hurry and impatient. God sends me regularly to patience school. Like getting behind a slow driver, red lights at inopportune moments. He gently reminds me it it His timing. For all I know that slow down may have saved my life. When my daughter got a speeding ticket the first reaction was to fight it. But she was speeding. We talked about how that might be God’s way of warning her to pay attention and that be more careful. It is a hard lesson but better than a tragedy. If there is an other traffic stop maybe we need to thank the officer for being God’s messenger.

  38. i loved this because this is exactly what i have been dealing with in my thoughts lately – thank you

  39. Thanks for sharing this. I like several other people have let things crowd my mind and effect my sleeping when I know if I count ALL my blessings and thank God for everything he has done or given me then I wouldn’t have time to stay awake and let my mind run rampant. May God bless everyone that reads this post 🙂 God loves yall!

  40. Hi Sister I thank God for your openness and honesty in this devotion. I am so encouraged. I am not a driver but some toxic/negative thoughts do come in my mind. Sometimes it’s hard to think positive when bad situations come our way. I must say however by opening our mouths and declaring what God Words say about that situation helps to put us back on track. We must however do it quickly because it takes a little while to get back on the right stream if we delay. I must say sometimes we feel that everything is not back to normal (I mean positive) but we still have to have faith and trust our God He will bring it to pass because He is our God and He has our best interest at heart. It is up to us to choose life and not death. Sisters we will choose life even though we don’t feel it. God bless you sisters. we need to pray one for the other. We are (winners) more than conqueror through Jesus Christ AMEN!!!!

  41. I needed this today. I have had A LOT of evil thoughts lately and need to get rid of them. I’m learning that I have to accept what I have and when small blessings come to embrace them.

  42. Shirley Randle says:

    Wished I’d read this earlier in the week. I applied for a position and after I turned in the Resume, my first thought..”Lord I didn’t ask you if that was okay”. So I immediately prayed on it asking for it to be, only if it’s in His will..Now I’m praying it’s not. April 7th at Prayer service I gave God my permission to be LORD of my life and I still seem to forget and make decisions on my own, thru HIS Grace the decisions have been alright but I’m praying to be at a point where I consult HIM prior to my own Will…GOD BLESS

  43. Thank you for this. It seems like I keep coming across blogs, devotionals and messages about toxic thinking. I know it’s because it’s what I need to hear right now. The enemy has been bombarding my mind with thoughts to make me doubt that I’m saved and love the Lord and to try to get me to think that deep down I’m not a good person. It’s terrifying and difficult to deal with. It has been getting better though, as I keep myself reading God’s word, praying to him to heal my mind and praising him through worship. Sometimes it feels like others don’t really understand the sadness of thinking that what you’ve believed to be true of yourself has never really been. Please pray that God will continue to strengthen me as I walk through this, believing that I will eventually have victory through Christ.

  44. kathy wyg says:

    Good Afternoon…this was such a cool story today…Leah…thank you for it…this is my
    2nd post today…To Amy Hood…i hope it all works out as well..& i would love for you to
    e-mail me & let me know the outcome…as well..i hand out/give out crosse to people
    wherever i go…just something i do to help people thru their day..it sounds like you may need one…if you will get in touch w/me…i will send you one….i will include my
    e-mail address so hopefully you will contact me….thanks again…for replying to my
    post earlier..i appreciate when other readers like yourself reply to our comments..

    Have a blessed day everyone…….kathy wyg
    bwygant@bellsouth.net

  45. Rita Mary says:

    Thank you for sharing Leah…good grief…help us to choose right from wrong and when we choose wrong convict us every time Lord, in Jesus name we pray!

  46. Thank you for this today is spot on. Struggling with juggling life’s ups and down and the many rolls and tasks we women play if was a great reminder of remembering Romans 12:2 I love this verse I am choosing today to ask god into my thought life today and make wise choices I would love to read more in your book if you have any left cheers xxc

  47. Shannon Winkle says:

    Thank you for posting this! I am definitely on a down ward spiral of toxic decisions. Im not sure if its depression or spiritual warfare but i can usually pull my self out of it by moving closer to God but it doesnt seem to be working this time 🙁 i would love some prayers. I get up everyday and do my P31OLBS but im just not getting much yhis time & I KNOW God wanted me to read this book, he told me soon myfirst day of reading! That got me super excited but it just seems to be going down hill 🙁

    • HI Shannon.,

      Know that all you have to do is show up and you win. Let me explain….. during service this morning I witness different people being blessed by receiving rewards and all they had to do is register ( no charge) and show up to win. God has put power on the inside of you because you are created in his image, Genesis 1:27 – So God created mankind in his own image; he created them. I feel like you know this already and I want to motivate it… when Jesus healed the man at the pool of Bethesda who had been laying there for 38 years…. Jesus asked him ” Do you want to be made well?” why did he ask him that? because Jesus was asking him ” are you ready to transition from your comfort zone, your usual, your infirmity?” when the man responded with explanation as to why he was still laying there, because the man he not respond ” yes or no”, Jesus responded to his explanation and said… ok, you can’t get in, ok, someone goes before you? well, ” get up, take your mat and walk.” so, what am I saying to you my sister in Christ, I know what it feels like to keep fighting the fight of faith and pushing with God’s word, meditation, prayer, talking to Godly friends and then that one time it APPEARS you can’t shake it… well, it’s just as the man laying there all those 38 years, and Jesus himself came to help him and asked him in other words….. are you ready to stop doing with you are use to and begin to live a new future, Isaiah 43:19 a new thing God is doing…. a lady who was using a cane to walk went to the altar at a service to be healed, the Pastor came to her and asked her ” Sister, are you ready to be healed in Jesus name, are you ready to walk without your cane, are you ready to share this testimony with others, are you ready for a new life? The woman replied sadly, Pastor, I am sorry but I need my disability check so I need my cane.” My sister in Christ, you are a overcomer because of whose you are….. God wants you better, God wants you whole, God wants you…. he has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light….. 1 Peter 2:9 – You are a chosen people, royal priesthood, holy nation… and called out of darkness into his marvelous light. Stand up, rise to the occasion. God has work for you to do and you are called. Don’t think about what makes you feel low, live and think about what makes you win… God’s word, your salvation!! People need you and your testimony…. it’s a winning testimony… you are not going to share that you lost the war but that you won because of your destiny to win. Be blessed!

  48. Thanks for writing this! God bless you. I am constantly battling with negative thoughts that take away my blessing! It’s like I get to work and some reason I can’t stop complaining and am struggling to keep my mouth positive (about people and task). I can also relate about one small thing just consuming! That happens to be often with work or my husband. I am trying to continue to remind myself daily, as the Holy Spirit reminds me, to stay positive but usually it’s after I say something negative or waste 30 minutes complaining at that I realize and hear God’s voice! 🙁 Share any tips for being proactive please! 🙂

  49. Janet Bowen says:

    To me fear is toxic… My husband & I have several large bills and expect more on the horizon. Fear of no knowing how we are going to pay them becomes toxic as poison. I can work myself into an almost panic which does only harm to me and everyone around -toxic attitudes. God wants us to be an example to others. But I can not do so when fear sets in and destroys faith. Toxic thoughts… ì have found that slowing down, reading the bibke, and concentrate on God helps.

  50. Patti Wintle says:

    A couple of verses that the Holy Spirit has impressed on me is Proverbs 16:3 — “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Also, II Corinthians 10:5 — “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

  51. Christine says:

    Thank you Lisa. Feeling like Job the last 3 years as I have experienced overwhelming life loses and trauma in my close family. I have always been a deep woman of faith and God has always carried me through difficulties and my faith would remain strong.

    These prolonged stressors though currently and my depression prone mind have Overwhelmed me. I read God’s Word daily but still struggle to remain positive with all the negativity around me.. My mind focuses on being positive but my real life experience is so broken.

    Thank you for your reminder to STAY in the Word! And I would add that we need to LIVE it even when our experience makes it seem that God is far. As Isaiah 26:3 says:

    3 You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

    Blessings!
    -Christine

  52. Dear Leah,
    I enjoyed reading your testimony. It was transparent and heart felt. I understand how you felt when you received your ticket even though you were hoping for a warning. I am so glad you shared your time with the Lord when that happen because I can definitely see that God was there. You were expecting a warning but instead of you getting a warning, you gave a warning to us the readers. It is important we watch our thoughts because I agree, the thoughts if not disciplined and trained to obey God’s word will take you places you don’t want to go. Because you went through what you went through you were able to share it with others and God gets the glory. I say went through because you came all the way out of yourself and shared your experience with others and now we are blessed. God discipline those he loves and it is important we don’t speed because it is dangerous even though we all do it and it was a couple of miles over. It was a blessing in disguise and I know it doesn’t feel good at all, Lord do I know, :). I have learned hard lessons such as that however, once again, you came through and you overcame potential evil (negative thoughts, toxic mind set) with good. Our spiritual ancestors such as Abraham, Paul, Moses, Elijah, and most important Jesus are all a product of your coming through because you are created to win. I love you sister and I too am so proud of you and your victory. Glory to God!!

  53. Rechele Fields says:

    Thank you so much for this timely wisdom! I am battling keeping my thoughts and actions surrendered to the Lord. I appreciate your authenticity…It brought healing to this sister in the faith today!

    Rechele

  54. Shannon Patten says:

    Thank you for today’s encouragement . my life is consumed with focusing on toxic thoughts , and its disstroying my life . I am in shackles and I need freedom and life , I have some obstacles to overcome . it was no coinsinsident I read this today , I can’t thank you enough .

  55. Violanda Rodriguez says:

    Words so true! My toxic words back me into a corner: pinned against the ropes by my opponent, but the opponent is me–my own thoughts. Thanks for the related Scriptures that show us how to overcome.

  56. Tammy Rothacher says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this experience. I too struggle in this area and want to be freed so desperately! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your candor regarding your experience. I hope you continue to find freedom and victory in Christ as we all seek to serve him well.

  57. Thanks so much for sharing. I do the same thing in situations like you mentioned. I should definitely let it all go, and focus on the blessings of the day instead of replaying what might have been. Something I can definitely be mindful about from now on.

    Thank you.

  58. Janie Baker says:

    Yes! This is exactly what I needed to be reminded of today! Thank You Lord! Cleanse my thoughts and decisions and help me always to choose wisely!♡

  59. Betty Sensenig says:

    Hi Leah,
    Just wanted your thought about this. I have a friend who has had no victory in her life when it comes to her thought life. She believes that if you aren’t a strong person then you have no control over your emotions or your thoughts. She has this HORRIBLE chemical sensitivity disease that has taken over her life for the last 6 years. She is physically sick from it all the time so therefore feels like she is being punished by God because she has had no victory in her life. When I try to share post like yours with her she just tells me I don’t understand. She goes to church every Sunday and reads her bible just because she is afraid if she doesn’t she will go to hell. I pray for her and listen to her vent and I know she truly believes that because she is such a weak person that “rising above” her circumstances will never apply to her. Please pray for her as well. Thank you!

  60. Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    And lean not on your own
    understanding;
    In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    and He shall direct your paths.

    Trust is a rare thing in this world. It
    involves honesty, reliability, believing,
    integrity and confidence. To trust is
    to confide in, as to be secure without
    fear.
    God is the One we can trust in
    with our hearts.

    Lean not on your own understanding.
    We like to know the answers don’t we.
    We want to know “why”. Sometimes,
    we choose to do things our way without
    God’s help.
    We are not as wise or holy as God, so
    we will not have all the answers, but we
    can trust that God does. He sees the whole
    picture and we cannot see or know the
    things He does.
    Some of the things we go through are
    to teach us, help us grow or fit into God’s
    plan and His purpose.

    In all your ways acknowledge Him.
    Self-sufficiency and self-confidence has
    been the ruin of mankind ever since the
    fall. True religion consists of full
    acknowledgement of God in all human
    affairs.

    He shall direct your paths. Rightfully
    divide the word as in 2 Tim. 2:15.
    Learn God’s Word and listen to Him.

    You can trust God. You can lean on Him.
    You don’t have all the answers to everything
    and you don’t have to have all the answers.
    Do acknowledge Him. Let Him know you are
    willing to listen, learn, fit into His plan and
    purpose. Let Him lead the way and keep in
    His Word. Keep in prayer.

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