Fresh Thoughts: Don’t Spiral Into Toxic Thinking

by | Jul 17, 2021 | Soul | 0 comments

Silence

Written by Jane VanOsdol

July 17, 2021

Have you ever struggled through a problem in your life, gained victory, and then succumbed to it yet again? It’s a real downer. 

For about 18 months I fell into an up-and-down pattern of struggling with depressing, anxious thoughts. This after living for years with relative peace and victory. The longer it went on, the worse it became. It didn’t help that this was going on during the pandemic and a toxic political climate.

 “What is wrong with me?” I thought.

Well, during that time God walked me through a deeper level of healing I never knew I needed. You know what one of my biggest takeaways was?

My daily mindset was way more negative than I realized. 

Until I really started thinking about what I was thinking about I couldn’t win this battle. Truly, I was shocked. I thought of myself as a positive person, but when I started paying attention, I realized that I had strongholds of toxic thought patterns in my mind that needed breaking.

I needed some fresh thoughts.

You may be there too. You may have a repeating message in your mind that says, “ I can’t … or I won’t ever … or “I’m … fat, dumb, stupid, weak, stressed, not good enough, or ____________.  

It’s time to let God speak truth into the lies the enemy has been bombarding us with. It’s time to weaponize powerful scripture to renew our minds with fresh thoughts.

4 The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 AMP

What Toxic Thought Are You Believing?

The first and most important thing to do is to set aside some time of prayer with God. Ask Him to reveal what lie has you in a tizzy. Then be quiet and wait. Listen to what the Holy Spirit says to you.  Then with His help start dismantling the stronghold.

As I have prayed, studied, and read my way through this last 18 months, God has provided  wonderful resources about the importance of taking control of my mind. Look for the details at the bottom of this post. But here’s a list of the authors I’ve been reading and listening to: Dr. Caroline Leaf, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Gregory Dickow, and Jennie Allen. 

And here’s a synopsis of some of the important truths I’ve learned.

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Cognitive neuroscientist and communication pathologist Dr. Caroline Leaf got me started on my journey. I worked through her Neurocycle App, listened to her podcast, and began reading her books. Some of the highlights I learned from her:

“Whatever you think about the most will grow; if you are thinking about something daily, within approximately two months your brain has changed to accommodate this pattern of thought.”  p. 45 Think Learn Succeed Dr. Leaf suggests we picture our thought as a tree taking up actual real estate in our brains.

The more we think about something, the bigger and stronger the tree thought becomes, growing more branches, roots, and leaves in our brains. But, we have a choice. We are the ones who decide whether we’re growing life-giving thoughts or toxic thoughts. Our thoughts then determine our attitudes which determine our actions.

Our thoughts have more power than we realize. Dr. Leaf said, “Your thinking, feeling, and choosing impacts your genetic expression … The science of epigenetics shows us that our thoughts control our biology.” p. 41 Think Learn Succeed

Wow. What we think about affects every part of us — our bodies (down to changing our DNA), our minds, and our spirits.

Joyce Meyer

Author and speaker Joyce Meyer is known for emphasizing how Christians must take control of their minds. Joyce talks about how even though she was a Christian, when she was in her 30s her life was a mess because her mind was a mess. Her book Battlefield of the Mind (which I HIGHLY recommend) outlines how we can change our thinking. Here are some highlights that have helped me:

She reminds us that when we accept Christ we receive a new spirit, but we don’t receive a new mind. Why is that? Because, as I heard one day on her podcast,  if God gave us a new mind, it would change our personalities and all the qualities that make us unique. Instead, as Romans 12:2 tells us, we must renew our minds.

Joyce tells us the most important way to do that: “But a large part of the work that needs to be done is for us to line up our thinking with God and His word. If we refuse to do this or choose to think it is unimportant, we will never experience victory.” p. 69 Battlefield of the Mind 

Reading, meditating on, and memorizing scripture is an important part of renewing our minds. It’s not easy, especially when our minds have been undisciplined, thinking whatever pops into our brains. But as Joyce said, “You can set your mind for the day with on-purpose thinking early in the morning. You can decide ahead of time what you want to think about that day and set your mind to do it.” p.1773 Battlefield of the Mind Bible

8 Steps to Fresh Thoughts

I’ve culled what I’ve learned over the last year into some steps we can apply on a daily basis.

  1. Compile an arsenal of scriptures written on 3×5 cards or typed into a phone/tablet notes app and start memorizing.
  2. Pay attention to your thoughts. Reject negative, toxic thoughts. Replace them with truth based on scripture. When a toxic thought pops into your head, say a relevant scripture aloud.
  3. Remember Joyce Meyer’s wise words, “Feelings don’t equate truth.”
  4. Work on breaking one stronghold in your mind at a time. In Dr. Leaf’s Neurocycle app, she takes you through a 21-day cycle to detox your mind, break down toxic thinking, and build new healthy thought patterns.
  5. Spend time each day praying and reading God’s word. I love the Battlefield Mind of the Bible AMP by Joyce Meyer. (Don’t confuse it with her book by the same name.) Of course, any Bible will work!
  6. Enlist a trusted prayer buddy to pray with you to renew your mind.
  7. Be consistent. If you have a bad day, don’t beat yourself up. Tomorrow is a fresh day. 
  8. Realize the more you do this, the easier it becomes.

Let me know what thoughts you’ll be focusing on in the near future and how we can be praying for you! Since our theme for July is Fresh, you may also enjoy reading our Fresh Food post and our Refresh Your Spirit post.

Resources

Note: These links are affiliate links. At Spaces of Grace we recommend resources that we use and believe in. If you purchase any of these resources, we will earn a small commission from the purchase. Thank you for supporting the work we do!

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