The other day I was wrestling through some issues. Just a few minor things, but added together they were draining.
I took myself to the gym and pulled up some Graham Cooke on my iPod. At one point he said, “If you don’t like the thought you’re having, have another thought.”
I’ve heard Graham say this a zillion of times, but I never applied it to my life. He went on to explain that Jesus died for all our stuff—-even our negativity.
But we are often encouraged to focus and work on the very thing we shouldn’t be entertaining.
If our thinking is loaded with negativity, how do we work through it? How can we process through a negative and come out with a positive?
Graham states that Jesus isn’t interested in working on our negativity. He’s already dealt with it (on the cross). He wants us to discard the negative thought and try a different one.
To put it in biblical terms—–take your negative thought captive, ditch it and choose to think about something that is good and true (2 Cor. 10:5, Phil. 4:8).
God encourages us to stop focusing on what we perceive as broken and start thinking from heaven’s perspective (Eph. 2:6).
Does it mean that we ignore issues, or pretend that things are lovely when, in fact, they are messy and damaged?
It means that we need to find out what God thinks of our mess and what He wants to do about it.
God is not dejected or hopeless in the face of our difficulties…so why are we? I don’t say that blithely. I have had situations that I was so completely broken over, that I forgot they were not beyond God’s powerful reach.
Fortunately, I have some lovely people in my life who are quick to remind me of God’s power, His love, His faithfulness. And I’m not talking about reciting pretty verses that we lean on to prop ourselves back to a place of hoping harder.
I’m talking about the tangible power of God. A power designed to take us to deeper and higher places in Him. Deeper into His arms, His laughter, His joy—-as experiences in our lives.
Growing up, I struggled with anxiety and fear. On rough nights, I’d clutch the Bible tightly in my arms as I huddled under the covers, trying to absorb something of comfort from that black book. I knew He was in there somewhere and I so desperately wanted Him to come out and save me from my torment.
I have been in a life long journey of seeking Him. And the amazing fact is: He wants to be found (Jer. 29:13, Matt. 7:7). He so desires to be more to us than words on a page.
What if we took one issue in our lives and asked God what He thinks about it. Or asked Holy Spirit the area He wants to help us with most?
The other day I asked Holy Spirit to highlight what I struggle with. As I jotted the words down, I felt the unpleasant weight of them. But then I asked what He wants to replace them with. Here’s what He gave me:
Peace for worry
Joy for fear
An Overcoming Nature for anxiety
Laughter for frustration
Love for anger
Acceptance for judgment
Peace for control
Joy for fearfulness
Kindness for impatience
As I wrote down each heaven sent piece of my identity, I felt buoyed. Lifted up. Encouraged. This is who I am. And I may not always walk in it, but when I trip, I can remember This is my identity. This is how God sees me. And discard the imposter-thinking and reach for who God says I am.
Because in Him all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).
Father God, I want to replace the negative thinking in my life with Your thoughts and Your perspective. Teach me how to have an overcoming nature that is filled with Your joy and peace. Show me where negativity wars against my true identity in You. I want to walk in the freedom and wholeness You purchased for me. Show me how to grab hold of all You designed for me to walk in. And thank you that You are patient and thoroughly pleased in who You made me to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“Melancholy 2” by Andrew Mason (London, UK) – cropped version of: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Melancholys_Warm_Embrace.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Pixabay