Most Of Our Thoughts Are NEGATIVE: How God’s Word Can Set Us Free - Three Steps & Why It's Important!
In my last post, I mentioned that it is possible to enjoy peace of mind amidst uncertainty, strength and courage rather than fear, and freedom from group think. By mastering your mind ~ managing what goes on between your temples ~ you can better serve God's purpose for your life. I also spoke about overcoming limiting beliefs, low self-worth, anger, habitual worry, addictions, and a myriad of other negative mental/emotional states, including those associated with dysregulation and CPTSD. In this post, we go deeper into mind management: why it's important, and how to use God's Word to set you free from the mental tyranny ~ with three basic steps.
How do we achieve an ongoing state of peace? These days, it seems very elusive. Many women ~ especially moms ~ are such habitual worriers, it's become second nature! All of us have thousands of thoughts a day, most of which are negative, as you will read below. So, how do we overcome?
There are countless self-help and New Age books which recommend positive affirmations repeated like mantras, vision boards, meditations, and positive thinking as a means to upgrading our default negative mental states to create our desired realities. While there may be some benefit to some of the strategies, they often fall short, serving more as an enticement for manifesting anything you desire.
But Jesus looked at them and said to them "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." ~Matthew 19:26
For nothing will be impossible with God. ~Luke 1:37
Is anything too hard for the LORD? ~Genesis 18:14
Before I share the three basic steps, let's look at why mind management ~ mastery of your mind ~ is so important!
Why Does Managing Our Thoughts Matter?
Our hidden, repressed emotions will find an escape route, a way to express themselves, often developing into physical symptoms over time.
Studies have shown that of the multiple thousands of thoughts we have each day, most are repetitive, and 80% are negative! (1)
That's a lot of negativity floating around in our minds if left unchecked!
What's more, studies have shown that our internal and external dialogue can greatly affect our health! Negative thinking can affect blood pressure, heart health, and can even "alter the biochemistry of individual tissues at the furthest extremities of our bodies." (2)
According to this analysis published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2018, Vol. 115, No. 6, 1075-1092, people tend to deal with (all those) negative emotions in one of two ways:
- Judge them ~ essentially having a negative response to negative thoughts
- Accept them ~ understanding that negative thoughts happen ALL the time, one can be more neutral towards them as they arise
Said differently still: DON'T GET HOOKED INTO THEM!
According to the analysis mentioned above,
The tendency to accept (vs. judge) one's mental experiences represents a fundamental individual difference that should have important implications for downstream outcomes: Because negative emotions and thoughts are very common, the way individuals approach those experiences has great power to shape individuals' day-to-day lives, with possible cumulative effects on longer-term outcomes.
From my experience, and from observations of clients, negative thinking, habitual worry and anxiety, and over thinking or ruminating in general can lead to:
- Loss of sleep
- Increased forgetfulness
- Lack of focus, mental clarity and inner peace
- Loss of quality connections &/or negative impact on important relationships
- Regretting things said that can never be unsaid
- Diminished quality of life
- Self-doubts and/or low self-worth
- Withdrawing from the world
- Digestive disturbances
- And more!
Three Steps To Using God's Word To Set You FREE
I mentioned several helpful books and resources in my post discussing dysregulation and CPTSD. What they each had in common was using the Word of God ~ or truth trenches as Craig Groeschel, author of Winning the War In Your Mind calls them ~ as a means of over riding the false/negative/limiting beliefs.
Once you find the verses that best resonate with you, and what you may be dealing with, you can write them down and commit them to memory. Then, when you get triggered into believing those old lies ~ false beliefs that you unwittingly accepted as true ~ you can supplant the lies with truths.
Just a heads up. It takes some time.
- Time doing some self-reflective detective work to dig up the false/negative/limiting beliefs (how are you going to weed out the lies while they are hidden from sight?)
- Time spent with your Bible (or Bible app) to write down a few choice verses that best counter those beliefs (always time well spent!)
- Time spent repeating those verses. Often. (the important action step; repetition got you into the negative grooves, repetition will set you free!)
Examples of beliefs and negative emotions that limit or debilitate us in some aspect of our life include: believing we are not good enough or not worthy; thoughts of lack, such as never having enough money, time, credentials, experience, etc., &/or holding onto unnecessary shame, guilt, remorse, anger, unforgiveness, or regrets.
Once we pinpoint the (mostly hidden, subconscious) beliefs that trigger us into negative emotional states or behaviors ~ we can reroute. Change focus. Consciously choose to manage our thoughts, filling that big space between our temples with verses or truth statements before spiraling down into a deeper and deeper ditch of anger, hurt, resentment, despair, or other negative emotional states.
I often focus on a troubling thought or emotion until I can trace its roots. Once I do, I can better understand why (and when) the lie got into my psyche in the first place. This in itself can be liberating. If old emotions surface, I feel them, until they feel themselves out.Mental mastery also includes being more discerning about all forms of food that we take in, including via the airwaves. I mention this in our book, Meats & Sweets ~ A High Vitality Diet. The subconscious mind is very impressionable. Images, sounds, lyrics, memes, symbols are all being recorded into that database in your mind, whether you are aware of it or not.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
~2 Corinthians 10:5 KJ
There is a war going on in our mind, whether we realize this or not. I will continue to discuss this in greater detail in upcoming posts.
Suffice it to say, we need the right ammo and strategies to fight our enemy ~ our ego and all the lies, or false/limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, and habitual worry ~ continually churning around in our minds.
I suggest the three steps above as a preemptive strike.
Go grab a pen, your Bible or Bible app, or even a search engine, and begin researching verses that are meaningful for you, that can help pull you up and out of a funk, disproving the lies you've been unwittingly believing.
Write them down.
Commit them to memory.
Don't let your thoughts spin out of control. Hold ALL thoughts captive to the word of God!
The reason using the Word of God is more powerful than the New Age, self-help, positive thinking strategies is because we are not trying to trick ourselves into believing something about ourselves that aspects of ourselves disbelieves. We are using the inspired words of our Heavenly Father God who created us. He is the greatest authority of who we are. If He says we are worthy, who are we to question it? That is judging ourselves, and playing small g god!
If left to our own devices, we can tell ourselves we are worthy all we want, with far less impact. However, knowing how much God loves us, the sacrifice His Son made for us, the infinite patience He has shown our ancestors through history, and the great abundance and joy He desires for us is ~ for me at least ~ a total game changer. I think it can be for you as well.
We are applying the Word of God/Universal Truths which are indisputable to render that habitual worry and negative thinking, and those pesky lies ~ false beliefs we accept as true, but are not ~ impotent!
Repetition of the negative thoughts and limiting beliefs created strong ~ albeit negative ~ bonds in our neurocircuitry.
Repetition of verses from scripture highlighting God's love for us, all He has done for us, and how He continues to heal and provide for us weakens those old negative bonds, and forges new positive ones. As a result, it can change our lives, for the better!
This is why mastering our mind ~ monitoring our emotions and digging up those old false beliefs ~ is SO critical, especially if:
- You don’t want FEAR ~ False Evidence Appearing Real ~ to dictate your behavior
- You want to live FREE of these automatic conditioned emotional responses
- You desire to overcome the challenges of CPTSD and dysregulation
- You crave peace of mind, as opposed to ongoing stress, worry, and strife
As I have previously stated, Dr. Martin Hart (creator of the Holistic C.O.R.E. Counseling program I discussed here) repeated over and over again, “You only evolve as much as your least evolved parts!”
Using the Word of God can help you make profound shifts to your life! You can use God's Word to heal those unhealed parts.
In my next post, I will share a poem I wrote to help me through some dysregulated moments, and the scriptural verses from which each line was inspired.
It's very simple, but it helps! I chose words that best countered my false beliefs. You can adapt it to your needs, or simply rewrite verses meaningful to you, and read them from your point of view. (For example, I know God has a plan for me...taken from Jeremiah 29:11, below.)
Get your Bible and a pen and paper out. Let's conquer these negative, debilitating beliefs and unhealthful behaviors inhibiting our lives.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~Jeremiah 29:11
Two great books on this topic: