Recipes, tutorials and health tips are a blast to write about. In fact, I have an endless list of topics that I’m just dying to share with you all. However, this week the Lord revealed an area in my life that was unhealthy and in desperate need of attention: My thought life. As much as I would love to walk you through how to create the perfect running playlist or lay out the guide to road-trip snacking the healthy way (stay tuned), I knew this was something I needed to share.
Our minds can be quite exhausting, can’t they? Our thoughts, when not taken captive, say try harder, do more, be better, look better. We run ourselves ragged by fixating on what we want and do not have or what we have and do not want.
And I don’t know about you, but nothing is more frustrating than those thoughts that you just.can’t.shake. Even when you think they’re gone, there they are again. Unannounced and louder than ever, they just waltz right back into your head.
I could go on and on about all of the different things we think about, but the bottom line is our thoughts are either enabling or disabling us.
So, what happens when our negative thoughts are collapsing around us and seem to be taking over our entire mind?
We miss things.
Moments to connect, moments to worship, moments to rejoice or opportunities to encourage. We miss it all because our thoughts of vanity, hopelessness or self-doubt cloud our vision and close off our ears.
I believe that an unhealthy thought life restricts us from reaching people for the kingdom of God. And that alone is reason enough to fight for our thoughts.
The good news is, God is not silent on this topic and we are not alone in this battle. This week specifically God has asked me to evaluate my own heart in this area, and I would love to share how it has totally awakened my perspective. Here are three questions we can ask ourselves.
1. What are you looking at?
There is a direct and very literal correlation to what our eyes are fixed on and what our thoughts drift to. Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy your whole body will be full of darkness.” Reading this verse was such an ah-ha moment for me. I had to read it again and again because it was so incredibly simple yet profound and I began to see so many little ways in my day-to-day that this verse held true. Social media, physical appearance, other people; I don’t know what it may be for you but you get the picture. Part of taking ownership over our disabling thoughts is to cut off what is feeding them.
2. Who are you relying on?
As I worked through these scriptures and wrote out ways to capture my thoughts I had a bit of a panicky moment. Our thoughts never stop. “How can I do this all the time? How will I ever get a hold of my thought-life and stick to it day in and day out?” We can’t. Our minds are fickle and this fight will start again with each new day. But, I was quickly reminded that in Christ, we can. Our strength, determination and self-control are powerless when not connected to God. But if we know him, the bible promises that He will live in us and walk among us always.
3. What is your game plan?
Don’t believe the lie that your thoughts are rampant and totally out of your hands. We have to take ownership over our thoughts. It takes some serious work but it is possible with the Holy Spirit. Philippians 4:8 says, “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.” How can we do this? God’s character, by nature, is all of these things. He is the only one who is fully pure, fully right and fully praiseworthy. So, the best plan of action to take ownership over our thoughts is to RUN towards Jesus. Whether that means getting serious about spending time with him daily, facing an area in your life where you have been walking in disobedience or entering into a relationship with him for the first time. If we’re not moving, the enemy has a foothold. So, move. Wherever, however, decide today to commit your thoughts to Christ and watch him work through you and deliver immense peace.
Does this mean that we will never again struggle with having a healthy thought life? No.
We are broken and we live in a fallen world. But we have a good God that gives us grace in our shortcomings and fights for our minds harder than we ever could. So, even on the days that we lose the battle, remember that He has already won it eternally.