You know something I’m beginning to learn? My thoughts run my life. From the moment I wake up each morning to the moment my head hits my pillow every night, my thoughts are always there. Every minute, every hour, and every day of my life, I have this constant inner dialogue running through my mind.
It might seem obvious, but it took me a long time to realize that the thousands of thoughts we think each day have a lot of power over us. Why? Because what we think directly affects how we see others and how we see ourselves. My perception of the people around me influences how I treat them. And you guessed it, the perception I have of who I am influences how I treat myself. But it’s so much more than that. What we allow ourselves to think about who we are seeps into each and every corner of our lives, for better or for worse.
On any given day, the thoughts we have about ourselves dictate our emotions, whether we feel content and confident or depressed and insecure. And time and time again, I’ve seen firsthand how these emotions impact what we do or don’t do, like whether we:
- Take time to pick up the phone and call that friend who’s having a rough week or waste yet another hour on the couch watching Netflix (because Stranger Things 2 is even more addicting than the first season, am I right?).
- Allow others to use and mistreat us or surround ourselves with people who will treat us with the dignity and respect we deserve.
- Decide to go to that party where we know we’ll be faced with temptation, or opt to catch a movie with friends instead.
- Boldly take that leap we feel God’s nudging us to take or shy away from doing what we feel called to.
The way we feel, the way we act, the way we interact with others, the way we LIVE... it all begins with our thoughts. Crazy isn’t it?
With all of this being said, here’s what I want you to know: Just because a thought pops into your head, it does NOT automatically make it true. In fact, many of the negative thoughts you think about yourself are false. They are lies, plain and simple. But here’s the thing, if you allow these lies to float around in your mind long enough, you’ll actually start believing them. They’ll begin to chip away at your identity, your true identity in Christ. (Uh yeah, what the heck. No bueno.)
So, the moment our thoughts start leading us away from our true identity, we need to get them in check... like ASAP. But, what exactly should we do when those lies that bring discouragement, anxiety, and feelings of insecurity try to fill our heads and hearts? Fight them with the ultimate Truth—the Word of God given to us in Scripture. It’s alive and active, and sharper than the sharpest double-edged sword (Heb 4:12)... a powerful weapon that we have at our fingertips. And it’s ours to use!
Now, I speak from personal experience when I say that if we reject the lies that try to make their home in our hearts and speak the truth of the Word of God to ourselves instead, we’ll be victorious every time. It might take a while, and we might have to persevere in fighting those negative thoughts, but believe me, God will always triumph in the end.
So, if you’re feeling down, remember this: The way your thoughts and emotions make you feel about yourself or your situation isn’t reality. The Truth of God is reality. Find it in Scripture today. Let Him speak truth to your heart.
(To give you a head start, below are some common lies we tend to believe about ourselves paired with the truth God proclaims to us.)
What we believe:
- I'm too broken & sinful to be forgiven by God.
- I'm unloved/unlovable.
- I'm worthless.
- My future is hopeless.
- I'm unimportant & have no purpose.
- I'm not good enough or beautiful enough.
- I'm too weak and incapable to face the challenges in my life right now.
What God says:
- "'Yet even now,' says the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.' Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil." Joel 2:12-13
- "While we were yet still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man -- though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8
- "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-34
- "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
- "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide..." John 15:16
- "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalms 139:14
- "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9