Thought Control

This morning I went out for a quick walk/run to start my day. I didn’t really feel like it at the time but I knew that if I didn’t get a little exercise first thing it wouldn’t happen at all today. Normally it wouldn’t be a big deal to skip my workout, but considering I ate a life size bag of kettle corn and lobster tacos from a food truck last night, I knew I needed a little jump start this morning.

I headed out on the road. I really was not feeling it. In addition to feeling gross from the junk I ate, I also didn’t sleep much last night. The trifecta of doom was the fact that I forgot to buy coffee yesterday so I didn’t have my morning cup of life to get me going.

I half heartedly ran and walked my little path, all the while trying to put into practice some of the positive psychology activities I had learned last week. I had to fight an onslaught of negative thoughts this morning. Things like “How many times are you going to overeat junk that you know is not good for you? How do you expect to ever make any progress when you keep sabotaging yourself? Looks like you are going to return to work in the same or even worse shape you left in last spring. Maybe you wouldn’t feel so crummy right now if you were not addicted to your morning coffee. When are you going to take care of yourself? How do you expect to do all the things you need to do when you are stuck in this stupid cycle?”

Brutal huh? I am embarrassed to write these things but I am going to anyway. I need to call them out publicly because when I do I see how ridiculous and cruel they are. I would never in a million years say things like that to another person, not even my worst enemy. Yet, how many times do I find myself ripping myself to shreds over the simplest things? It is exhausting, both physically and emotionally.

So what are we supposed to do when we find ourselves under attack by our thoughts? We have to separate the truth from the lies. We have to replace the story we have created with the simple facts. We need to reframe things. Here is the truth: I made poor food choices last night. I did not sleep well because I got to bed too late and was overstimulated. I am addicted to my morning cup of coffee. That is it. Those are the simple facts. Nothing life shattering.

The danger comes when we turn the simple facts into long term absolutes for our lives. Instead of observing the fact we use it to revisit all of the mistakes we have made in our past. We use them to hate ourselves in the moment. We use them to paint a hopeless picture of our future. Seriously, a giant bag of kettle corn and some lobster tacos has disqualified me from reaching my dreams and goals? I don’t think so…

It says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ. In other words, when I have a thought, if it conflicts with what God says about me in His Word, I need to get rid of the thought. There are many ways to do this. Sometimes I simply dismiss the thought. Sometimes I chose to combat it with an actual scripture that reveals the lie. Some days when I am having a more difficult time overcoming the lies I have to distract myself.

How about you? What do you do when the onslaught of negative thoughts comes? If you are willing to share I would love to post them. It can be a technique or a favorite Bible verse. Please share whatever you have found to work in the task of controlling your thoughts so they do not end up controlling you.

Tomorrow we will take a look at where all of these ridiculous thoughts (mostly lies) comes from. Once you understand this spiritual truth I believe you will be quicker to fight against them.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for your word that promises there is nothing we can do that would ever separate us from your love. Thank you for not requiring perfection from me. Search my heart and mind and bring to my attention any negative thoughts that I am holding about myself. Show me how to eliminate them and how to see myself as you see me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Grace, and Self Compassion To You All,

Jen

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