“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
I struggle with intrusive thoughts on a daily basis. I could be walking outside of my home enjoying the fresh air when suddenly, BAM! An intrusive thought flies into my brain. Instantly, my mind is shaken from the peaceful state it was in and thrown into a full blown panic. I question if this thought is really true about me or if this thought means something about who I am as a person. For a while I would try to ignore the thoughts that flooded my brain and let the questions I had about them float around in my brain. I thought that the more I ignored and avoided the questions, they would naturally go away.
This, however, was not the case. The more I tried not to think about them, the more I thought about them. The more I tried to push the questions away, the more I kept pondering about them. Then, God laid this thought upon my heart:I need to stop putting these intrusive thoughts into the garbage can of my brain and take the trash completely out. Let me explain.
When you have some garbage in your house that stinks, you can’t expect to throw it in your kitchen trash can and never expect to smell it again. This may temporarily take care of the problem, but over time the smell will return and be even worse than what it was originally. The only way to completely get rid of that trash is to bag it up, take it outside, and toss it in the dumpster outside of your home.
The same rule applies to our thought life. The devil will always seek to pull us away from God by putting thoughts in our mind that are contrary to who we are. When we begin to think that we are unworthy and when our thoughts contradict our beliefs, it is only until we take time to deal with them that we find freedom. So, how do we remove these thoughts?
First, we need to stop and examine the thought. If that thought does not align with what God’s Word says is true, we need to ask him to help us bag it up. If the thought contradicts God’s Word, we have to assure ourselves that it is not an indicator of who we are or what we do We are defined by who God says we are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and God sees your heart (Psalm 139:13). He knows who you truly are despite what the devil tries to tell you. No matter what flows into your brain, your thoughts do not have power over you; the one who is in your heart does. Second, we need to spray some “air freshener” in our minds to rid it of any lingering smells by spending time in prayer and in God’s Word. We need to invite God to restore our confidence in who he is, what he says about who we are in Christ, to help us move forward and continue to experience his joy. When we spend time in God’s Word each day soaking up the truths about who we are in Christ, we are able to focus on the truth.
Lastly, to rid our minds of any lingering smells from those thoughts is to talk to someone else about them. Share your struggles with a trusted Christian friend, pastor, therapist, or mentor. When you have others who can listen, pour truth into you, and pray for you, that gives you the motivation and encouragement to move on from those thoughts and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, live the life God has for you.
Heavenly Father, you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Everything you do is marvellously breathtaking. My soul knows it very well. How thoroughly you know me, Lord! My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, carefully, skilfully you shaped me from nothing to something. You saw who you created me to be before I became me. Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake each morning, you’re still with me. Guard my mind and heart today, Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen. (Based off of Psalm 139:13-18)
By Bradley Stubbs
Used by Permission