“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
I should be a lawyer. That’s what my mom always said. I can argue my way out of anything and won’t stop until I win! With age, I have learned to choose my battles wisely. But when I feel strongly about something, I will fight the battle until I win! Yet when it comes to standing up against my negative interal chatter, I seem to let it run all over me!
I wonder what it is that makes us accept negative internal dialogue without a fight. If anyone said the things we say to ourselves to someone we love, we would immediately stand up for them! If someone told my daughter she was not good enough, they would get an earful, but if I think this about myself…it’s somehow seen as acceptable.
I try to dismiss negative thoughts. To pretend they don’t pop in my head. To rope ‘em up and send them launching into space, but it doesn’t always work. I began to wonder what I was doing wrong? I didn’t want to dwell and drain my emotional energy on internal dialogue. Yet no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop!
When I began to dig into what the Bible says about negative thoughts I remembered 2 Corinthians 10:5. It doesn’t say to try and ignore, stuff away, stomp on, launch into space, or bury our thoughts. It says to take them captive. To enslave them, to dominate them, to confine them – and then make them obedient. But how do we do that?
When I think of “enslaving” a thought, I think of how I can make it work for me – for my benefit. For example, many people have the thought that they are not good enough. This is a very general statement we make to ourselves. It does not specifity what we are not good enough for, or who we think we aren’t as good as. One thing we can do to enslave our thought is to specify it and then modify it. Let me give you an example.
When you have the thought that you are not good enough, get specific.
Ask yourself questions like:
What situaton are you in?
Did you recently fail at a task?
Did you get passed over for a promotion or opportunity?
Getting specific is important because it helps us move from a genealized negative thought pattern to what we are really thinking.
The other day when my husband was cleaning my house, I had a negative thought that I wasn’t good enough. I got specific. When I dug a little deeper I found that I felt guilty for not being a better housekeeper. I felt guilty for spending too much time writing this week. I felt like a failure. My thoughts even traveled to the far off place of, “what if he finds a better wife who cleans more than I do, is that what he wants?, is he going to leave me?”
Rediculous right? Getting specific helped me realize how irrational I was being. It’s not that “I am not good enough”. It is that housekeeping is not one of my strengths, and my husband loves me anyways. If I want to be a better housekeeper, I can. I can work on that. But even if I don’t, having weak housekeeping skills does not mean that I qualify myself for the blanket statement of I am not good enough.
By getting specific we can enslave our thoughts and make them work for us! I am not good enough turned into I struggle with housekeeping. I can get better at it if I want to. I can choose to take small steps in this area and improve. I am a good and faithful wife who loves her husband. I do lots of things well.
Try this strategy out this week and let me know how you like it! Enslave those thoughts and make them work for you! I would love to hear how this strategy is working, not working, or challenging the way you view inside chatter.
Much love and blessings to ya’ll! Love my sweet bloggy sisters in Christ!