[This is part two in a series of four. If you haven't already I highly encourage you to go back and read part one. I feel like this will make much more sense if you read the first one, well first.😄 You can do that here: Part 1 & Part 2]
So last week we figured out what a toxic thought is, and how to tell if a thought is toxic. This next step is vital and this is the part where you get to replace that toxic, poisonous thought with a healthy thought. Just tossing out a thought isn't enough, you have to align yourself with what is true cause nine chances out of ten the toxic thought will come back. The good news is the more you send it away and replace it with truth, the less it will come back. Note: If this was a way of thought for you. Like not a one time event, more of a thought pattern and lifestyle it will take longer to completely destroy. But it WILL happen.
I have said before how vital it is for you to have a source of truth. In todays world everybody wants to define their own truth. They feel like truth can be relative to the person and finding your own truth often enters this conversation at this point. I agree with them to a degree, yes, you have to find out what your source of truth is going to be. But I disagree with them quickly cause unless the Holy Spirit lives inside you, you will rarely find truth inside yourself. You have to have a foundation, a place to go when your emotions and mind are lying to you. I believe with all my heart that there is a source of truth, and that that is God and that He has given us one of the greatest gifts when it comes to the Bible. I KNOW you can completely believe everything you find in the Bible and that God NEVER lies.
I will be honest, I didn't come to this complete confidence until about 6 years ago in the middle of my worst depression I have had so far. It brought me to a place where I either had live like I believed that the Word of God was true or throw in the towel with Christianity. I was a professing Christian at the time, I grew up in a Christian home, but somehow I still had my doubts that I could truly believe everything that was in the Bible. There wasn't a great light from Heaven or anything like that. It honestly felt a bit more like a divine dare to believe what the Bible says is true. So I decided ok, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna live like I believe it. If it doesn't hold up to my belief then I will leave it but I can't do this half heartedly. Honestly, my life hasn't been the same since. I finally had a place to go to with all my questions and things thrown at me on a daily basis. I had one thing I could trust, My God and His Word. He never let me down. I continue to take that dare daily, to live like I believe His Word is true. But it doesn't feel like a 'gamble' anymore. I know, that I know, that I know that He will never let me down and that His Word truly is the Truth.
I get somewhat concerned that all this mind awareness is happening in an era where God is so incredibly doubted. Science has it's place, in fact I love it, I love seeing how the mind and the brain work together. I love knowing that we can actually change our mind and our brain. We aren't just stuck with the ones we have. But I believe it is a place to tread carefully, a place that we must look into with discernment and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. It's important to note that God knew that we could make these changes before science ever confirmed it. He said we can be transformed by the 'renewing' of our mind. He basically said we aren't just stuck with the mind we are born with. We can have a renewed one. Science has just recently confirmed this. But a large part of science and psychology denies the existence of God. Don't believe everything you read on the topic. A lot of it is divorced from God and can lead you astray. I say this because if you're like me you want to figure this stuff out for yourself. I applaud you for that. I encourage you to do that. But to do it with caution. I found some scary things in my research. I don't want to lead you down that road.
So let's take a minute to go over what the last two weeks have shown us. When a thought pops into our mind we:
Pray and ask God to give us wisdom.
Step out of your brain and begin to investigate like an outsider. Does it line up with the Word of God and the character of God? Does it affirm His love? Run it through the thought checklist in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." This is one of the first places I send people struggling to decipher their thoughts.
Sometimes things come up that don't seem to fit into those qualifications-- like theories or events random 'facts' that you see on the internet. These require digging deeper and taking a look at the emotions that arise with the thought. Start with what the thought makes you feel and ask why until you get to the root of the problem. Instead of the initial thought being the bad guy it was merely a trigger that revealed a toxic pattern of thought with a lie at its root. The lie is the untruth you deal with at this point.
Find the truth. A verse that speaks to the specific thought or lie. You want to annihilate this thing.
Pray for God to give you strength as you begin this battle.
Now at this point you need to come up with an action plan for moving forward. This action plan will look a little different for everyone and you have to customize it for yourself. The enemy will bring this lie and/or thought to you again, he isn't done with just one or two attempts. You want to be prepared for that. You also want to be aware that if this was a toxic pattern you will naturally gravitate toward the normal. You have to stay on top of it. We don't do this out a spirt of fear but out of the spirit of self control and power and love that God has placed inside you, and the knowledge that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Ideas for this would be,
setting an alarm on your phone to check in with your thoughts several times a day. spend about five minutes or so realigning with what you now know is the truth.
writing the Truth that God gave you on an index card and place it by your mirror and/or kitchen sink. (be sure to check the shop, I might have a pretty one all made up for ya.)
When the thought pops up and you need to send it away, say the truth OUT LOUD and with GREAT CONVICTION. Saying something out loud has some pretty powerful benefits.
Sometimes it helps to talk to the enemy and let him know that he no longer has control over you. That you have the power to send him away because you are a child of God. I will admit that I send him right back to hell quite often. We ARE OVERCOMERS. Not victims of his.
You might have to keep yourself away from an area of temptation. Like social media, the news, certain blogs, or youtube channels. (I haven't read the news regularly in years. It's a big trigger for me. )
This is such an important step and not something you can just skip over. If this was a pattern of thought for you, you will find yourself 'naturally' trying to follow the comfortable path. I will not sugar coat it, this is war and will often feel like a battle. You will often feel weary. But do not lose heart. We do not fight as though we were just beating at the air. God has given us incredible weapons of warfare and He doesn't leave us to fight on our own. Every little step gets you closer to complete victory. Sometimes you will find yourself wallowing in what is comfortable, the familiar poison. Don't let that make you then begin to wallow in failure. Simply repent and move forward again. With God on your side, you will always win.
So tell me what this conversation brings up in your heart. Do you find it overwhelming? Does it sound kind of 'out there'? Do you want to know more? Have you heard about it before?
note: I want you to know that I love discussions. A discussion is where you share your different view points, think deeply, and the goal is to understand each other better, if someone changes their mind, fine, but it's not the end goal. I HATE fights. Fights are where you call each other names and assume you know what the other is thinking, it is manipulative and ugly. A fights end goal is to prove how right you are and how wrong the other person is. The reason I am saying all that is this, if I detect any kind of 'fighting' going on in the comments or coming into my emails, I will simply hit delete. I WILL NOT TOLERATE FIGHTS. But please know, I do welcome any kind of discussion.