For today, I want to side step a bit and share a bit about my own journey with taking thoughts captive.
Many years ago life was unbearable for me. No details necessary, trust me, just the truth that life was very bad. I was too proud to admit to anyone that I was hurting as much as I was so I walked a very dark road alone; or so it seemed.
I did not know the Lord as well as I do today. I was pretty new at trusting Him in every aspect of my life. I had no idea how to cope and survive with my life's reality, so I ran away in my own mind.
In my head I created an entire alter universe if you will. It was pretty elaborate. In every moment of the day that I was was alone I was in this alter world mentally and emotionally. I was happy there. Loved. Nurtured. Busy with good deeds.
It is embarrassing to admit even the tip of the iceberg with this area of my past, yet I believe that some of my readers may struggle with their thoughts as much as I have.
When the Lord finally got my attention, He very clearly spoke to my heart that I was in sin in my own mind. I had created an elaborate false world that did not honor Him. He told me in no such words that this part of my life had to die.
I ignored Him for a while, but eventually I realized that my own fantasy was keeping me from facing and dealing with my life. My imaginary world had to be destroyed so that I could enter the real world.
You may laugh, but this was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. My thoughts wandered every single second. I was quick to run and hide in my own head.
The Lord took my heart and walked me through the transition. I sang praise songs, prayed, talked to the Lord out loud, read and memorized scripture. I remember one day driving on a work errand. I was almost screaming at myself as I pleaded with the Lord to help me. I wanted to honor Him, but my secret world was so much happier and better than my real world. I wrestled this with the Lord and He eventually beat me. (Actually He mercifully allowed me to surrender).
You may think I am ridiculous, however I know that if something is true for me it's likely true for someone else. Out of fear of reality I had created this magical kingdom. It was very hard to pack my thoughts and move out.
Fast forward a few decades and the Lord has honestly rescued me from myself. I am fully present in my life. I do not run and hide in my mind like I used to, although there are many days that I struggle with myself. I have learned that taking thoughts captive is sometimes an almost impossible task and can feel like hand to hand combat. There are days that I collapse from exhaustion from fighting my own imagination.
The amazing thing, for me, is that as I look at the things I am supposed to think about: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, etc I am reminded about my past thought enslavement. My mind was truly in chains, yet the Lord mercifully released me.
But it took effort. A Lot of effort.
There's no pixie dust here, no happy thought that will make my life "fly" like Peter Pan.
I have to purpose each and every moment how to look at a glass. Is it half full? Half empty? Chipped? Cracked? Beautiful?
When I struggle most I need to run to the word, recite scripture, put my headphones in and hide in the closet while I meditate on the words to praise music, or ask someone who loves me to pray.
Every single moment we have a choice. Be content and trust that the Lord has our back, or grumble, whine, and complain about our circumstances.
When I find myself being negative, frustrated, angry, or confused...
I talk myself back as I pray...
...back to Him.
...back to peace.
~~Where are you today? Are you exhausted because you have been wrestling your own thoughts? My prayer for you is that you will look up from the floor and see the face of Your God looking at you with compassion. Allow Him to give you true victory over your mind. It is too hard for you, however rejoice that nothing, nothing, nothing is impossible for God~~
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."