Personal battles are won or lost in the mind.
The way we think about ourselves and our situations have tremendous impact on our emotions and actions; on our opinions of others and our world view.
What we speak in our hearts will determine whether or not we heal from our losses or whether we stay in a cycle of grief, depression and a victim mentality.
In his book Grieving With Hope, Samuel J. Hodges addresses this issue so well when he talks about how our thinking shapes our grief.
I believe this goes to the very heart of how we live our lives day-to-day and colors our decisions, our relationships, our movements and actions; how we interact at work and church; and how we respond when life goes sideways.
For a long time, whenever I would drop or spill something, my immediate response was to mumble to myself, “You idiot!”
Just two words.
But those two words spoke volumes about how I felt about myself. They went on to whisper to my heart, “You’re clumsy, your stupid, and you never do anything right.”
In times of grief it is very easy to get into a rut of negative self-talk, especially once the funeral is over. Everyone has gone home and gone on with their lives while we are left with an yawning emptiness in our home and hearts.
“No one knows how I feel”
“No one reaches out to me”
“No one cares about me”
“I have no real friends”
“I’ll never get over this”
“God has deserted me”
These messages carry tremendous power because if left unchecked, they open the door to the enemy to continue planting similar thoughts. The wider the door opens, the more these negative thoughts flood in, until we are deep in a depression that we find extremely hard or impossible to pull ourselves out of.
This is the enemy’s strategy.
He shoots a “fiery dart” – a negative thought into our mind to see how we will respond.
Will we recognize it for what it is and extinguish it with the truth of God’s Word?
Or will we entertain it?
The temptation to entertain it is strong, because of our vulnerable state. His thoughts agree with our topsy-turvy emotions – emotions that are not reliable or trustworthy.
But to entertain the thought is to walk right into the trap he has set for us.
The only way to combat his strategy is to have one of our own already established. And the Bible has already given us that strategy:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. – Philippians 4:8
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ – I Corinthians 10:4-5
The way to combat the enemy’s temptation to engage in negative self-talk is to begin to actively speak God’s Word to our hearts.
Self-talk the Bible.
“No one knows how I feel” – Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows;
“No one reaches out to me” , “No one cares about me” – Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
“I have no real friends” – You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
“I’ll never get over this” – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
“God has deserted me” – I will not leave you nor forsake you.
Jesus was our greatest example in this. Satan came and distorted Scripture to get Jesus to submit to him, but rather than trying to negotiate with Satan, rather than engaging him in a debate, Jesus immediately shot him down with the same strategy Satan was using – Scripture….but in proper context!
This is exactly what we must do.
When those negative thoughts come, find a verse to combat the thought. Memorize it, meditate on it, and then use it as a weapon to defeat the enemy of your mind.
There are no other weapons in your arsenal than prayer and the Word of God, because they are all you need.
No amount of philosophy, psychology, education, debate, or negotiation will win this battle. God’s Word and the power of prayer alone will defeat the enemy.
God has already empowered you and dressed you for battle: Ephesians 6.
Put your armor on, grab your weapons, and go to war against the negative self-talk and begin to speak God’s truth to your heart.
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