Thursday, November 20, 2014

Negative Inside Chatter

(Some material adapted Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst)
Finally, 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
Misguided thoughts can easily turn into perceptions and then into dangerous realities.  We often assume that how we feel about ourselves is how God must see us.  Our feelings about ourselves might be true of our current circumstances but our current circumstances don’t define us entirely.  God sees the big picture, the end of the story.  We can’t see past the storm of today. 
Lies reign in the absence of truth. 
God’s vision for our lives should be what defines us, not the negative thoughts that we have about ourselves.  These negative thoughts can get in our heads and camp out and then it is so hard to get rid of them and they leave no room for truth to flourish.  For example, I might think “My husband thinks I am so annoying.”  My husband did not say that, it is just what I assumed he was thinking.  But if I allow that thought to reign without squelching it right away, then I mistakenly turn it into a perception through which I filter all future conversations with my husband.  I might begin looking for more evidence in our communication that proves I am right and I might build on this untruth. It all started with a wrong thought that turned into a wrong perception and then into a wrong reality. 
This negative chatter builds up inside us which can make for perfect conditions for unglued moments.  We have to stop ourselves and ask these questions:
1.    Did someone actually say this, or am I making assumptions about what they are thinking?  Most of the time, people are not thinking about us – or the things about us – that we think they are.  Instead of just assuming people are thinking negatively about us, we need to seek the truth by asking them and then praying that God will allow us to process what we hear in the right way.  We can ask for His truth to guide us instead of the untruth of our own thoughts. 
2.    Am I actively immersing myself in truth?  The more we read the Bible and pray and allow God’s truth to fill our minds, the less time we will spend conjuring up untruths.  Allowing runaway, worrisome thoughts to take over our minds is an invitation to anxiety.  Truth can help us find peace and rise above our circumstances.  Negative untruths can cause us to feel anxious and make it even harder to process thoughts right and “grow healthy thoughts”.  If we want truth to guard our hearts and minds, we have to immerse ourselves in it. 
3.    Are there situations or relationships that feed my insecurities?  If a relationship is not characterized by honor, encouragement, and love, it is not good for anyone.  Wow – what a statement.  How many relationships in your life would automatically be disqualified if put to this test?  It makes it so simple, yet we allow relationships in our lives that are nowhere near these parameters.  If a situation or relationship feeds our insecurities, maybe we need to take a break from them for a reason.  If I want honor, encouragement and love as characteristics in my relationships, then I need to foster these qualities in my relationships.  What we plant is what we grow.  If we plant seeds of honor, encouragement, and love, we will reap a great harvest of security.  We will find freedom – freedom from doubt and freedom to think clearly and to obey God’s call on our lives, no matter what.
We can pour God’s peace into our lives by focusing on constructive thoughts, not destructive thoughts; thoughts that breathe life into us, not suck life from us; thoughts that lead to peace and not anxiety.

Scripture to claim:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

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