I have recited that line as I begin the spiel to explain where unhealthy thinking originates so many times I can almost say it in my sleep. Client after client, I have explained the general concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy and how our thinking habits affect how we feel and therefore how we behave or react to situations. It’s such important information, yet so infrequently taught.
I used to wonder, though, how we could tell when presentation of mental health illness was a result of spiritual oppression, possession, or simply Mental Health. I’m realizing now that is not that cut and dry.
From a mental health perspective, we really do form thinking habits, whether positive or negative. We form core beliefs that shape how we view the world and interpret every situation we face. Like looking through colored glasses, they impact how we see and process our experiences.
Where do your core beliefs originate?
Did you grow up surrounded by criticism and anxiety? Anger? Depression? What are you surrounding yourself with now? Do you watch television shows that dwell on those themes? Do you spend time with people who respond in those ways?Sometimes core beliefs form as a result of abuse or traumatic experiences. Is that true for you?
Scripture says that the devil roams around the earth, looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
We know from scripture that satan is not omnipresent. As a created being, he can’t be everywhere at once. God is omnipresent and can take care of everyone at the same time. Satan’s following is limited. The demons that fell with him are limited. He works against us in different ways, but here, he and his demons commonly interfere by planting those seeds of thought. Fears, doubts, insecurities, thoughts of injustice… they begin to grow. He may whisper in our ear, “come on, you don’t really think they could love someone like you, do you?” “You have a right to be angry. How dare they do that to you.”
He stirs the pot.
“You have made too many mistakes for anyone to love you.”
“You’ll never be enough.”
These statements are such a stark contrast from last month’s affirmations, aren’t they?? Because they are lies!
He pokes and prods. He pours salt in wounds. He gets the water churning. He plants weeds among the healthy plants.
If we’re not alert, we fall for it. We take the bait and start chewing on those thoughts. They’re a bit like poorly prepared squid that seems to become more and more rubbery the more you chew.
While you’re busy chewing, and really working those thoughts over in your head, he’s free to move on to the next individual and wreak havoc there too.
The thinking habit takes shape.
If we start to realize it and make changes, around he comes again to fight a little harder. He wants to keep us distracted, and defeated. He doesn’t want us to replace that unhelpful self talk with truth because then he can’t win. He wants us to keep the “stinking thinking.”
So, as we say about the stinking thinking, we have to change it. If you’ve followed Every Day Incredible at all, I’m sure you’ve heard a few ideas by now about how to catch and challenge the negative thoughts that come.
Some tips are:
1. Keep a record of how often you have the negative thoughts. Use a journal, use a thought record smartphone app. Use your phone. Just keep track, whatever you do. As you become more aware, it becomes easier and easier to resist.
2. Surround yourself with people who are in the habit of focusing on the truth rather than the lies of satan.
3. Replace the negative thoughts with affirmations, scripture, and prayer.
The more you recognize those unhelpful thoughts, the stronger you become in the war against any evil forces of this world. Like Jesus as He was tempted in the desert by satan, challenge those temptations and lies with what you know to be truth – what can be backed by Scripture.
What truths can become part of your defense against evil forces? Come discuss this and your own wellness goals in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. Be sure to check out the Victory Wall and share when you are able to successfully resist the negative thinking habits. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do you find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!