Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 NLT
Wow, I’m finally writing the first (which I hope will be many), blog post that I have been praying about and wanting to do for many years. My passion is helping others learn ways to change the way they think, since for many of us our “first” thoughts can cause us distress, depression, anxiety, etc., especially in the midst of difficult and challenging circumstances. I’ve worked in the field of mental health for years doing workshops, teaching classes, etc., and the one thing I often say when I’m presenting to groups of any size is that I’m not proposing that we adopt a false positivity, but that the way we think about the toughest things we face can often make our burdens even heavier. As a believer in Jesus Christ and one who follows what He’s said to us through the book He gave us – The Bible – it makes sense to me that in a fallen, sinful world, our natural propensity is to: Worry, fear, return insult for insult (if only in our thoughts), not forgive, etc. Many of these reactions are quick and automatic in response to some outside circumstance and can then cause a ripple effect of continued thoughts that can make us down right miserable. As someone who struggled with depression in my younger years and anxiety as well, I was amazed when I learned how important our thoughts are to our health and well-being. Just being aware that my thoughts may not be accurate, was a huge break through! It was like the light bulb went on! I often make a joke that I used to think my thoughts were facts…. anybody else identify? For many of us, we don’t stop to challenge what we’re thinking. We just think it, then that leads to more thoughts, and on it goes. However, what if we were to start practicing catching our thoughts? What if when we felt a distressing emotion, we used that as a dashboard light to ask ourselves what we are thinking about? Are we imaging a worse case scenario? Are we having an imaginary conversation with someone telling them what we’d like to say or rehashing all of the things they may have done to us that we didn’t like?
As I learned specific tools about catching and changing distorted thoughts (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), I realized that this was a powerful tool and one that completely aligns with God’s Word. God cares about how we think, and Jesus wants to transform us into a new person by changing the way we think and aligning our thoughts with Him and His ways.
As this first post is being published, we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. If there was ever a time in our lifetimes to really get a hold of our thoughts when fear and anxiety are running rapid in the midst of a world in a collective state of panic, now is the time! Stay tuned as we seek to get our eyes on Him and not the storm as we trust Him in these uncertain times and “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV.