I have to say I was a little blown away by Kelly's post yesterday... not only was it so well written, but it was exactly what has been on my heart lately! If you haven't read yesterday's post, I would recommend that you go back and read it - it's not long but it's so relevant.
She did such a fantastic job of explaining how our thoughts can control our lives. She shared with you a verse from 2 Corinthians which has been a long time favorite of mine: 2 Corinthians 10:5: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it more obedient to Christ."
I too have struggled with anxiety throughout my life and taking thoughts captive is something that my mom taught me to do at a young age. The bible says that the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy. He wants to destroy any sense of of peace, joy and comfort that we may have in our lives and he targets our weaknesses by lying to us about the things we fear the most. John 8:44 says of the enemy: When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. On the contrary it says about God in Hebrews 6:18: It is impossible for God to lie.
As I sit and write, I want to give you an insight into my own thoughts and how I've used God's Truth to counter some of the anxieties/lies that I've believed in my own life. One of the big ones that used to haunt me in my past was that there was something wrong with me - with the person that I am. That I wasn't good enough. I think this is one of the major lies that the enemy tells us. This lie affected me in so many ways - infiltrated so many area of my life. I'm currently reading a book called The Five Languages of Apology, written by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas. In the last chapter I read, it talked about people who over-apologize. Oh my, that used to be me! The second anything went wrong with anyone I was apologizing for it, whether it was my fault or not! The book suggests that this may be a self-esteem issue and I couldn't agree more. The moment that anyone got mad at me, the voice inside my head said, "you are bad," "how could you be so stupid?". Oh those voices, they tormented me. They whispered to me at times, other times they screamed. This tied into another issue - I always felt I was too sensitive. I have always felt emotions deeply. I love deeply, I hurt deeply. My heart breaks for those who are hurting or in need. When there is a problem in my relationship with someone I feel it deeply. The message I got growing up was that I cried to much, that I was too sensitive and that I needed to "get over it". Again, I didn't feel like I was okay. I didn't know how to not feel things so deeply so I was never fully comfortable with who I was.
As I look back on some of my journal entries from those days I see where I poured out my heart to God and some of the scriptures that touched my heart during those moments. I'd like to share a couple with you.
What is this that has been chipping at my soul lately? My spirit feels weak, not strong and confident like I want to be. Nothing in the world seems quite just right. I find myself questioning everything. What do I do? I want to hear your voice so that I can be comforted. I'm not satisfied with the way my life is. Is this what you want? Are you trying to teach me something? God only you can understand how I really feel. I just wish I knew how to express it. I envy David, how he wrote all those words in Psalms that were so passionately honest. I don't know how to express how I feel.
Psalms 77 I cried out to God for help, I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted...Then I thought to this I will appeal; I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
...I couldn't help the feeling of fear inside, the reminder, a jolt back to reality. This is life and nothing is for sure except for you Lord. It is not safe to trust in man because we are all imperfect. This nagging fear somewhere inside causes me to feel just a little bit desperate...
God's promise: Psalms 62 Find rest oh my soul in God alone, my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and honor depend on my God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
I remember one day years ago like it was yesterday. I was sitting in church during a time of worship and I suddenly heard a voice inside loud and clear say, "Julie, I made you with a sensitive heart. You are exactly who I want you to be. It is a blessing, not a curse." Those last six words today still grab my heart and cause a lump in my throat. It was as if a lightbulb went on in my head. The lie over all of those years that my sensitive heart was a curse was suddenly exposed in the light for exactly what it was - a lie. The Lord's truth is that my sensitivity is a blessing and that it would be used to bless others as well. I wrote about this time in my life in my journal:
God, you have been teaching me just how valuable I am to you. I have confidence that I am beautiful, that I have a beautiful spirit. I sometimes feel that loving people so deeply and being so sensitive is a curse - that it makes me a weak person. On the contrary, you have been teaching me that it is your blessing/gift to me. I am not lacking in anything in your eyes and if I am of great worth to you then nothing in the world could mean more to me! Thank you for these gentle reminders when I need them the most.
1Peter 3:4 Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
Do you have a journal? I would encourage you to pour out your heart to God. Maybe a good way to begin to recognize what lies the devil is cursing you with would be to make a simple chart. It could look like this for example:
Lie: I'm not good enough
Truth: Psalm 139:13 I was created by God in his image
1John 3:1-3 I am a child of God
Lie: Fear (of harm, the future etc.)
Truth: Psalm 23:4 Even when things are bad, I will fear no evil for he is always with me
John 14:27 Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid
When a fear/anxiety/negative thought comes to mind, write it down and begin to look for scriptures that will tell you the truth about it. You can use the concordance in the back of your Bible to help you with this. You can look up a specific word, for example, "fear" or "peace" and it will refer you to verses that include those words.
Blessings for a wonderful weekend and please feel free to comment if you have any questions or need any prayer or encouragement!