Confession: I’m putting myself through rehab. I’m not addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, or any substance or thing. Apparently, I’m addicted to an activity. I am addicted to the activity of thinking poorly about myself, causing me to feel worthless. I am addicted to thinking I am alone in my problems, causing me to be self-absorbed. So, I am putting myself through rehab and beginning to restore my mind to its original state.
Right now, my thoughts run rampant. I often don’t realize that I’ve left my mind unchecked for so long until I am utterly helpless, discouraged, and depressed. I have made a habit of thinking less of myself by regularly allowing myself to go there. Here’s one definition of habit: “the prevailing disposition or character of a person’s thoughts and feelings.” Interesting! Discouragement can become my disposition, my character. It begins in my mind when I allow false thoughts to flourish and choke out the truth.
I let myself think that I am worthless, stupid, unlikable, inadequate, or a failure. It doesn’t take very many thoughts like that before I start to believe it and not very many thoughts after that before I pretty much become those things. I love this quote from Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
You see, the mind is where it all starts. I’m not saying that if you think you can do something you will, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. If you think you can’t do something, you are right because you will never try.
I didn’t realize until recently that so many of what I see as my short-comings are a result of false thinking. In the past I’ve thought, “I am not creative”, so I’ve stopped trying to create. I’ve thought, “I am not likable”, so I’ve stopped trying to make friends. I’ve thought, “I am stupid”, so I’ve stopped trying to understand. But here’s the truth: I am creative. I am lovable. I am intelligent. God has created me to be all of these things.
So here’s the other side of this: I actually don’t need to try to be creative, or lovable, or smart. I already am all of those things. I am God’s handiwork and He is the one who is working in me. He is bringing out the fruit of who I already am because of Him, because of Him forgiving my sins and giving me His righteousness. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes about contentment in all circumstances and says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) And in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes these powerful words in prayer over them:
[God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)
We might not be able to do much when we try all on our own, but we have HIS POWER at work within us! Through God we can and we will. When we are looking to Him for the truth, instead of listening to “the father of lies” (Satan), we can be transformed to become more like Christ…more like He has already made us to be.
So how am I putting my thoughts through rehab? By stopping trying and starting trusting. Sounds so simple yet so hard, right? Instead of trying to be something I feel I’m not or trying to do something that seems impossible, I am trusting God to work in me. I look to Him and His Word to tell me the truth about who I am. Repeatedly! I “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Repeatedly! I “let God transform [me] into a new person by changing the way [I] think.” (Romans 12:2). Repeatedly!
God does the work, I do the trusting. God does the transforming, I do the relying. God does the truth-giving, I do the truth-receiving. God dispels the lies, I believe the truth.
This does not come easily or quickly. Like any rehabilitation, it takes time to restore your mind. It takes repeatedly refusing to believe and dwell on lies. And it takes repeatedly replacing those lies with the truth. Reading God’s Word regularly can help us with this. God’s Word is our mirror in that it shows us who we really are in Him. Want to know who you really are and are capable of? Look to God’s Word.
How have your practiced taking your taking your every thought captive? What are some ways that you have been able to transform the way you think? Lets build each other up and encourage each other in this way!