Always and Never
Do you remember how you learned when taking a test in school that if the problem used the words "always" or "never", the statement would most certainly be false? These two words really trip me up in my thought life, however, because when I use "always" and "never" about myself and how I am characterized, I have a tendency to conclude: true.
For example, take the thought: "I will always be alone." Although it is true that I might not marry again, it is false to believe that I will always be or indeed I am right now alone. The fact is that as a Christian, I am not alone, nor will I ever be alone. God tells me something different.
For a couple of years now, I have been on a mission to detoxify my brain and replace the false notions in my mind with the truth of God's Word. By the way, if you haven't heard of Dr. Caroline Leaf, you might really enjoy exploring her ministry.
Although this may sound like a simple process, it can actually be quite challenging to deconstruct toxic thoughts and replace them with healthy, truth-filled ones. But if our thoughts literally occupy mental real estate (as Dr. Leaf teaches), then taking those toxic thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5) before they are implanted in our minds and begin to flourish should be our top priority If we desire to foster emotional health and wholeness.
Given that our thoughts come at us at lightning speed, I have found it helpful to slow down for a few moments and actually think about what I am thinking. Sometimes I write those thoughts down so I can analyze which ones are toxic and false. Then instead of accepting those thoughts, I find Scriptures that refute them. I train my mind to take captive or isolate the toxic thought and replace it with the Truth. Over time, recognizing the toxic thoughts becomes easier, and suddenly we find ourselves meditating on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).
God made me a strong visual learner. During my continuing quest to deconstruct and dismantle toxic thoughts, I search for images to help me remember my new truthful, replacement thoughts. Above is the image I use to help me replace the toxic thought of "I will always be alone." God's Word tells us that not only is He with us, but He actually goes ahead of us on our journey. He does not abandon us or leave us alone We only need to pause when He does or follow where He leads. Jesus Himself declared in John 14:16, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever."
The Spirit is our Standby. He stands by us at all moments. We are not alone.
The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you;
He will be with you.
He will not fail you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed.”
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