We all have negative thoughts. Many of them are untrue and lead to fear, anxiety, self-doubt, discouragement, even jealousy.
Perhaps you’ve looked in the mirror and said, “Look at that – you’ve gotten so fat. You’re so lazy. And unhealthy. Really, you’re just not worth much at all.”
Or, you hear a sound at night and figure that it must be someone in the house. How far down the hall are they? What kind of weapon do they have? Which door should I run for and what neighbor should I go to? How will I get the kids out? By then, fear has taken over, your heart is racing, you’re sweating and trying to figure out how to dial 911.
Or perhaps your friend says something and it makes you think, “I don’t think she likes me. I bet she doesn’t even want to be with me right now. I am just so stupid. Why do I have friends at all?”
I would like to say all of these are exaggerated examples but they’re not. I’ve had versions of all of them. But they’re not the truth and we shouldn’t dwell on lies. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
We have to take our thoughts captive before they spiral us into fear, anxiety, self-doubt, discouragement, or jealousy. If we are able to capture them at the start, we don’t have to go down these paths.
I recently learned a practical way to take these thoughts captive that I’d like to share. Think about your mind like a computer. Imagine that your thoughts are like surfing the Internet. Sometimes when we are browsing, we come upon a site with pop-ups. Do we ever look at these pop-ups? No. We simply ignore them or close them. We know they are garbage and they’re not worth our time to investigate. In fact, some of us go to extensive measures to make sure these pop-ups don’t show up in the first place.
That’s what we have to do with our negative thoughts. We don’t have to look at them, examine them, read them, click on them. Don’t follow these paths that lead to destructive lies. When a negative thought comes in our mind, we simply close that thought and move to something else. As an alternative, speak the truth if it’s an outright lie or find the good in the situation, even if there is bad. Listen, I know there is enough bad in the world to think all day on it, but we don’t have to. We can choose to think on the good parts.
Philippians 4:8 says
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.
If the thought that comes up isn’t true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, close it!