What Thoughts Might Need To Be Exorcised From Your Mind?
(Suggested Accompanying Song)
You are so lazy. Get up!
You have a great life. Why are you so sad?
You have no responsibilities. Why are you stressed out? You are such a baby.
You lost your headphones again?!? You are so scatterbrained! This is why you will never make anything of your life.
You are not contributing anything to your marriage. Why does he even stay with you?
Everyone else is so much smarter than you. Their words are so much better than yours. They are so much more creative. You just don’t have the natural ability they have.
Ugh, you’re disgusting. Did you really just eat that? You have no self-control.
You are so ugly. You are too far behind. You will never be good enough!
Are you still reading? Did you just skip down to this part? I wouldn’t blame you if you did. Who wants to stick around to hear someone say all those terrible things about them?
Yet, these are the types of thoughts that so many of us have circling in our heads day in and day out. They haunt our every waking moment, and the crazy part is we often believe them without ever questioning their validity.
The human mind is a powerful place. We can plan for the future. We can strategize. We can dream and problem-solve. We can learn, adjust, and improve.
One thing that is fascinating to me is our ability to use self-awareness to examine our thoughts. Do you ever notice that there seem to be two voices in your head? There's the one that just pops in out of nowhere or automatically reacts. But, then there's this other voice that starts commenting on what you should do with that thought.
It's like when you are driving down the freeway, and suddenly you are thinking of a giant baby dressed in a burrito costume running down the beach. (These aren’t the types of things that pop into your brain? Just me? Well, you get the point.) But then there's this other voice that will say something like, oh, that is ridiculous. Everyone knows that babies can’t run. Or, wow, that’s such an interesting thought, I’m going to write a story about it. Or, that thought reminds me a lot about my niece. I wonder if I should call her.
We not only think our thoughts, but we can think about our thoughts.
This human ability is vital for our well-being.
It can be detrimental to our spirits if, when negative thoughts pop up, we unwittingly agree with them.
So, today I want to share a few of the most destructive accusations I unintentionally agreed with in the past and the rebuttals I created in order to change the narrative in my mind and experience freedom from the anxiety and depression that was overwhelming me on most days.
Your life is so easy. You don’t have it nearly as bad as most people. You shouldn’t be sad or overwhelmed. You are such a baby.
Everyone faces their own struggles in their own ways. None of us are free from the pain and brokenness of this world. Right now, this feels hard, and that is ok. Your suffering is not validated based on a scale in comparison to others. You are allowed to struggle through this without condemnation.
You are so stupid. Other people are so much smarter than you. You will never be as naturally creative, productive, or eloquent as they are. You might as well just give up.
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. We have been given the incredible ability to learn and grow. We are all different. All that matters is what you decide to pursue, with what you have been given. The ability to improve with experience is a powerful gift, don’t discount it.
You messed everything up again. Now you are going to have to start all over AGAIN.
Progress is messy, people depict it as a steady incline up a staircase, but it looks more like a giant labyrinth with all sorts of different dead ends, secret passageways, and booby traps. You are not starting over; you are moving forward with experience. Just keep going.
Your value is based on your looks. You can never be successful if you are not a certain weight, size, or age.
Each and every person is endowed with intrinsic value. Our hearts are so much more important than our appearance. Age is a privilege, and I will not waste any of the time I have been given, staring at the moles on my face or the loose skin gathering around my neck. Instead, I will use this body to honor God and love others. I will learn to show it gratitude for allowing me the ability to exist on this planet. It is a gift, even with all the aches, pains, stretch marks, wrinkles, and other pieces of me that society deems imperfect.
I am supposed to be happy, healthy, and carefree at all times. When I am not, something is wrong with me, or something is wrong with God.
We have never been promised a pain-free life, but we have been promised that there is a good God who will comfort us and never leave us. He is with us in each and every painful moment, heartbroken and wishing we would trust Him. I am not asked to show up as a fake happy version of myself. I am only asked to show up as a vessel ready and willing to obey God and love others. My pains and struggles are just as beautiful of an offering as my accolades and achievements.
Dear lovely, wonderful fellow human, if you have ever struggled with thoughts similar to these, I ask you to please write them out and then challenge them with rebuttals of your own. Then every single time these lies try to sneak back into your subconscious, challenge them with the power of the truth.
They don’t call satan the accuser for no reason. That is what he does, day in and day out. He takes our weaknesses and manipulates them into harmful and often humiliating accusations, and so often, we not only listen to him, but we agree with him.
But if you are a believer, you know that Jesus died on the cross to free us from this condemnation. We do not need to fight them on our own or deny them and pretend we are okay. Instead, we can examine these thoughts in light of the truth and surrender them at the feet of Jesus to be transformed.