How I became free of Anxiety Series
Part 3 of 13
Learning to police my thought life and remove ungodly thinking.
I learned in an anxiety program I bought years ago that I can choose my thinking. I also learned I did not have to think every thought that presented itself. I learned my catastrophic, negative and scary thinking was the source of the anxiety I felt and the panic attacks I was experiencing. I had learned as a child to believe I was NOT going to be okay. This was taking place in the thought life of my brain. The mixture of cynical negative thinking, suppressed ungodly emotions and a mistrust of God had led to an internalized toxic thinking habit where my future was expected to be worse rather than better.
Biblical instruction on our mind’s activity can be found in Philippians 4:8 AMPC. “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them] (emphasis mine). There are plenty of Bible verses which instruct on how to think. I won’t go into an exhaustive list here except for the one that had a lasting impact on me for the changing of my thinking and led to the policing analogy.
2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV in the latter part of the verse I read. “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.
In this chapter Saint Paul is describing a war and how we fight. He writes “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” so for me this supposes there are “disobedient” thoughts. The instruction I read here is for ME to, BY FORCE and CHOICE, compel my THOUGHTS to agree with Jesus, the Truth.
To correct this toxic thought life, I learned the power of policing my thoughts. Over time I developed a mental analogy to describe what I was doing to change my thinking. The following is a fun and communicative picture or analogy of how this worked for me.
Arresting disobedient thoughts. Picture a police officer along the side of the road on a busy multilane freeway with his radar gun. The police officer is looking for lawbreakers. Picture fast moving nearly bumper to bumper traffic whizzing by. The vehicles going by are not all pulled over, only those going over the speed limit, and likely quite a bit over the speed limit. When a speeding car is identified the policeman turns on his lights and takes off after the vehicle, pulls it over and begins to investigate the driver. (arrests him, restrains him – throws him in handcuffs if resisting arrest). The police officer has the authority to do this. In much the same way I learned to arrest thoughts not conforming to the way Father God instructs me to think. The thought must be identified, arrested and if not in agreement with the truth, required to conform to the truth. God’s word will judge the thought as obedient or disobedient. I have a responsibility to know what is going through my mind and “surveilling” my thinking.
Here is an example of a thought: I’m all alone, on my own and nobody cares. At a point in my life I noticed that this thought is driving by often. Doesn’t seem to agree with my reading of God’s word. Long story short after arresting the thought and investigating it I learned I didn’t mean “alone” (nobody around me) I really meant “I’m feeling unloved” (nobody cares). The core of this thought was being unloved and was from my childhood experience. What does my Heavenly Father have to say about me being loved? A lot! The thinking on this must conform to the truth. I am loved by God! He cares for me, He cares for my story (my accumulated life experience).
The analogy of a policeman patrolling my thought highway gave me a practical method of taking authority over my thought life. I comprehended I had authority over my thoughts to conform my thinking to God’s word. I did not have to let my thought life race and be chaotic and go wherever it wanted. Of course, I had to learn to process through thinking that was very resistant to change. Sometimes I found it took monumental struggle to choose to conform ungodly thinking to the truth, especially in areas tied to deep wounding as a child.
The journey to freedom was a process. Trusting God's word over my interpretation of my experiences was difficult for me. I was faced with the decision to give up my ways of understanding life (relying on my own understanding) and trusting what God says is true. Studying the Truth and daring to live in intimacy (trust and confident expectation) with God was the answer to anxiety. I will elaborate in my testimony series on each of the 13 areas I had to learn/change. We are not meant to travel the road to freedom alone. Invite the Holy Spirit to help with your anxiousness, go get ministry (be a seeker), ask for prayer, fellowship with other believers regularly and KNOW that God has a plan for your life and that plan is a GOOD plan. Is Romans 8:28 true? And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV. Agree with His work in your life and ask for help when you need it. LITS would love to walk with you on your journey to freedom. See our website www.lifeinthesprings.org