“Do not be anxious about anything …” Philippians 4:6a (NIV)
Have you ever been taunted by toxic thoughts? I have.
“You are not liked.”
“Who are you to think you could do that?”
“Why did you say that? Everyone thinks you’re annoying.”
“Your kids just illustrated every inadequacy you have as a mom.”
“You are invisible.”
Why do we let such destructive words fall hard on our souls? Toxic thoughts are so dangerous because they leave no room for truth to flourish. And in the absence of truth, lies reign.
Have you ever assumed someone was having thoughts about you that may have never even entered their mind? Have you ever actually blamed them for your own made up thoughts about what they were thinking? I know I sure have.
I think we girls do this way too often. People aren’t thinking about us and assessing us nearly as much as we think they are.
As Christian women, we should hold our thoughts to a higher standard. How dare these runaway thoughts be allowed to simply parade about as if they are true and manipulate us into feeling insecure, inadequate and misunderstood! Oh how much trouble we invite into our lives based on assumptions. But God’s Word instructs us:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:6-9, NIV).
This is probably a passage you’ve read before. But, have you thought of applying it to your every thought — especially the toxic ones?
The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes our thinking will be the making or breaking of our identity.
That’s why we need to think on, ponder and park our minds on constructive thoughts — not destructive thoughts. Thoughts that build up, not tear down. Thoughts that breathe life, not drain the life from us. Thoughts that lead to goodness, not anxiety.
So, here are three questions we’d do well to ask ourselves when thoughts are dragging us down.
1. Did someone actually say this or am I assuming they are thinking it?
If they actually said it, deal with it then. If I’m assuming it, that’s unfair to them and unnecessarily damaging to me. Instead of staying anxious, I need to seek truth by seeking God and asking Him for peace.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
2. Have I been actively engaging with truth lately?
The more we read God’s truths and let truth fill our mind, the less time we’ll spend contemplating untruths.
Thinking runaway, worrisome thoughts invites anxiety. Thinking thoughts of truth wraps my mind in peace and helps me rise above my circumstances.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
3. Are certain situations or friendships feeding my insecurities?
If so, maybe I need to take a break from these for a season.
I need to seek friendships that are characterized by truth, honor and love.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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).
I know this is tough stuff. I know these issues can be more complicated than three simple questions. But it’s a good place to start holding our thoughts accountable.
After all, how a woman thinks is often how she lives. May we think upon and live out truth — and only truth today.
Dear Lord, reveal to me untruths throughout my day that can so easily distract and discourage me. Help me see You and Your truth in all I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 4:15, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (NIV)
John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV)
Lies flee in the presence of truth. That’s why we hope you will join us as we fill our hearts and minds with the truth of God’s love in our free Online Bible Study of Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited. Our study begins September 6 but you can sign up today.
Purchase your copy of Uninvited here and get 10 free printables that are only available through the Proverbs 31 Ministries bookstore.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have negative thoughts been weighing you down recently? Look back at the three questions Lysa shared today. Which one applies to you?
© 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.