What Are You Thinking?

Taking Thoughts Captive

Your internal world determines your external reality

One way I know God is trying to tell me something is because I’ll hear the same catch phrase from different sources. I’ll hear it in a song on the radio. A message at church. A friend will use that exact phrasing in a story. I’ll be reading an article and run across it. I’ll see it in my notebook from months ago. It only takes a few times and I sit up and take notice. This is the phrase I have heard over and over this last week: Your internal world determines your external reality.

This is true on so many levels. It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you won’t. Paraphrasing Proverbs: for as a woman thinks in her heart, so is she.

I tend to ruminate when I’m in the car. I’ll think about the conversation I just had and how I should have worded something differently. Then, I’ll kick myself for sounding so stupid. Then, I think I’m idiot. Then, my mind jumps to something else I did that was dumb. See how the enemy works? He uses our thoughts against us and we become self-focused and introspective. And, what’s even worse, sometimes I say it out loud and he uses my own words against me! Words have power especially when you say something to yourself out loud. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between what it hears and what it interprets as fact. And, the more you think it, say it and hear it, the more you believe it.

Philippians 4:8 says, “…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.” Scripture also tells us to take our thoughts captive, be transformed by the renewing of our mind and be made new in our attitude of our minds (2 Corinthians 10:5, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23).

We wouldn’t have been told in scripture to do something we aren’t capable of doing. We don’t have to be carried along by our thoughts. But, this takes practice. It takes being mindful. Just like you exercise your muscles, you can exercise and strengthen your ability to stop and think about what you’re thinking about.

Negative thoughts lead to negative lives. Positive thoughts lead to positive lives. I love what Craig Groeschel said in his Mastermind series, “Your life will move in the direction of your strongest thoughts.” Do you think negative thoughts like:

  • I’ll never be able to lose this weight.
  • It’s too hard…
  • I can’t…
  • I’m not enough…
  • I’m alone, I’m the only one who feels like this…
  • I keep failing, I am a failure, a disappointment.
  • I’m depressed.
  • I’m tired.

Taking Thoughts Captive

Instead being on autopilot and thinking these negative thoughts, try something different. Post a verse, picture or inspirational quote in a prominent place. Choose a place where you are prone to your mind wandering like your dashboard, in front of the sink, or on your desk. Wear a stretchy bracelet. Every time you look at it, check your thoughts. Then, snap yourself with every negative thought you catch yourself thinking. Find something to jog you back from being on autopilot.

Take your thoughts captive and replace them with the truth like:

  • I messed up and ate that donut, but I can start again.
  • Nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37) He has given me everything I need for a life of godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)
  • I can…
  • I am enough. I am made in the image of God, I am his daughter, loved, forgiven, clothed in righteousness. (Is. 61:10) There is nothing I can do to make him love me more, he loves me just as I am.
  • I am never alone, God goes before me, he is my provider, protector, never leaves me or forsakes me. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • I may have failed but I am not a failure. I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:37)
  • The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) I choose joy. I will thank God for what he is doing in me.
  • I’m full of life. God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. (Is. 40:31)

Many people believe their feelings are the truth. They say things like, “Well, that’s just the way I feel.” They align themselves with what they feel versus the truth of what God’s word says about them. Unfortunately, your feelings aren’t always reliable as truth. God gave you emotions as a barometer to gauge what is going on inside. But, even if you FEEL like a failure, that doesn’t mean you ARE a failure. Even if when I feel stupid for something I said or didn’t say, I’m not stupid.

In our fast pace world, we often operate on autopilot. Slow down and have the awareness of what you are thinking about or saying to yourself. Weigh it against what God’s word says about you and then choose what you want your reality to be. By becoming aware of your self-talk, you can speak truth over yourself. The more you speak it, the more you’ll believe it and the more you will start walking in that direction.

How this applies to your health

Part of my mission with Refreshed Vision Health Coaching is bringing energy, confidence and joy back in women’s lives. I do this by helping you find ways to eat healthier, exercise more, get restful sleep, and manage stress better. The things you already know you should be doing. I also try to address how these things relate to you on a spiritual level through truths I have learned. As a Christian, you know your thoughts have an affect your spirit. This is why it is so important to cultivate awareness and take your thoughts captive.

Your thoughts move you in the direction you want to go

Your thoughts also create a physiological, chemical response in your body. This affects your health on a greater level than you realize. This is especially true with stress. But, your mindset also often determines your level of success at a diet or lifestyle change. Simple switches in how you think then can have a compounding effect. For example, if you think you can do this diet, you’ll make good choices on how you nourish your body. This will then increase your mental resolve on resisting treats. By resisting treats you compound your confidence in your ability to stick to the diet. Your confidence reinforces your positive thoughts about your ability to succeed at the diet. Then, you start to feel more successful with the diet, which is then true. It is a positive upward spiral. Your thoughts move you in the direction you want to go.

Taking negative, self-defeating thoughts captive and replacing them with truth is a discipline that takes practice. But, it is worth it because your life will take the direction of your thoughts.

What are you thinking?

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