What’s on your mind?
If we could sit down over coffee, would you answer this question honestly? Or would you show me your happy face? You know, the one we often bring out in public to make it look like everything is okay.
I’d truly love to know what you’re thinking. Because if you’re anything like me, your thoughts might be hard to control. Sometimes they run amuck with lies and misconceptions about ourselves. Instead of clinging to the truth of who we are in Christ, we replay the unkind thoughts and ugly, unpleasant musings.
You might reason, “They’re just thoughts—they don’t hurt anyone.” But I beg to differ.
The Dangers of Adopting a Negative Mindset
While it would be wonderful to have a warm, fuzzy identity in our own minds, the reasons to tame our thoughts far exceed the desire to feel good about ourselves. It may seem that our thoughts are harmless, but when we allow them to replay, we begin to believe them. And that comes with devastating and ever-increasing consequences. For instance,
- A negative mindset causes us to become overly critical of others. We are suddenly hard to please and those around us feel as if they can do nothing right.
- We begin to doubt our God-given gifts and talents.
- This causes hesitation to serve our church, our community, or even of family. We draw back instead of stepping forward to get involved.
- We succumb to the temptation to accept mediocrity instead of embracing the best God has for us. He offers more, but we convince ourselves that we’re comfortable with things as they are.
- A mental fog can overtake us, dulling our peace and joy.
- Discipline in our time with Jesus begins to wane, and soon we recognize that we don’t connect with Him the way we once did.
- Our prayer life diminishes and we doubt its effectiveness.
- We begin to overcommit and overwork, believing that it will help us “prove” ourselves.
- We shrink back from making new friends or deepening our existing relationships.
- It becomes hard to trust others.
- We lose sight of the reality of the cross.
When we believe the lies that the enemy of our soul whispers into our hearts, it becomes second nature to estimate our personal value on what we do rather than who we are.
Taming Your Thoughts by Trusting God’s Truth
What if our struggles in marriage are due, in part, to the personal identity we hold of ourselves? Is it possible that our relationship issues, our lack of confidence in parenting, our battle with the bathroom scale, or that simmering anger that we seem to always carry with us, stem from our habit of listening to untrue thoughts about ourselves?
What if we could break free and step into the truth? Imagine what could transpire in our thoughts and then in our lives if we began to grasp the full richness of God’s glory and see ourselves as He sees us.
As daughters of the King, we have a Heavenly Father who loves us—just as we are—and is the Source of our true identity. Yet, rather than trusting in the truth of God’s Word, we yield to the temptation to find our value in the things we do, in what we produce, and in the opinions of others. It’s time to stop the madness and embrace all that the Lord has for us.
Today kicks off a new series of articles on the blog that will point us to the truth about who God says we are. I believe that all women need to hear that they are enough. They are worthy. They are loved. It’s time that we stopped estimating our value based on our mistakes, our histories, the unkind words of others, or the lies of the enemy. Those things can’t define us. Only God can do that.
Will you join me for an exciting journey where together we’ll deepen our understanding of who we are in Christ? I look forward to meeting you right back here and unpacking the exciting and trustworthy truth of God’s Word!
Trusting in God’s Word,
Seven days of calming anxiety. I certainly need the wisdom we’re learning together, and I pray this is a meaningful and inspirational series for you. Each post in the series turned to Scripture to embrace its truth and allow it to help point our minds to the authentic Source of our peace.
Recapping Our Journey
Calm Anxiety with God’s Power—2 Timothy 1:7
How to Calm Anxiety and Find Sleep—Psalm 4:8 and Proverbs 3:24
Finding Peace Through Humility—1 Peter 5:6-7
Calming Anxiety Through Gratitude—Philippians 4:6-7
Calming Anxiety Through Surrender—Isaiah 41:10
Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ—Isaiah 26:3
Hope for Today
Today’s anxiety-calming Scripture is one that, at its surface, almost sounds too good to be true.
Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me (HCSB).
At times, it seems these words of Jesus are oversimplified. How do we gain freedom from a troubled heart by simply believing? Through prayer and in considering the depth of His profound statement, God gives me a glimpse of His powerful intent for these words.
If we desire freedom from a troubled heart, we must believe in God and His Son. Before this instruction can have the powerful impact they’re capable of, it’s important to analyze our belief.
During personal periods of hardship and anxious thinking, I have adopted some errant ideas about the Lord. They clouded what the Bible teaches is true about the living God. For example, when experiencing past trials:
I’ve believed God was no longer for me,
Or that He stopped caring about the people I love.
In the past, I’ve believed that my sin was too great to be covered by the blood of Jesus,
And that I was too disgraceful to receive forgiveness.
I believed that the Lord abandoned me
Or that I was being punished.
Each statement is completely untrue. If I believe false truths about Jesus, I have no hope in calming or overcoming anxiety.
Calm Anxiety With the Truth of God
In order to calm my troubled heart, I must believe the truth about God and that truth is found in His Word.
When I believe that His love covers a multitude of sins, including my own, then I receive hope for a blessed future walking in the Lord’s favor. (See 1 Peter 4:8).
By believing that He is a loving Father, I can embrace my identity as His child and know that He is for me. Whatever struggles He allows into my life are filtered through His loving kindness. (See 1 John 3:1).
With the belief that God has a good plan for His children, I can rest in the knowledge that He is always working for my good and His glory. (See Jeremiah 29:11).
It’s not enough to believe in a God about whom I’ve formed my own perception —especially one based on emotion and disappointments. Complete peace comes when I believe in the God of the Bible, when I believe who God says He is in His Word. The more I read His Word, the more I begin to know and understand His character, His nature, and His ways. A deeper connection and relationship with my Heavenly Father emerges out of the time that I spend with Him. There, I find perfect peace that calms anxiety.
Mindful of Anxiety
Part of the formula I’ve discovered to calm anxiety is to remain mindful of it. I’ve learned that I cannot allow it to run rampant through my heart and mind or my anxious thoughts will continue to multiply within me. I must tame my thought patterns, and that requires smothering them with the truth of Scripture. When my mind is filled with God’s truth, there’s no room for it to wander off into negative, anxious, and destructive thinking.
The Bible is filled with God’s wisdom and instruction that deliver His authentic and unwavering peace. By relying on Him, I can calm anxiety and embrace joy in my jumbled life.
May you discover our holy God through His Word today,
Anxiety, whether common anxiety over life issues or an anxiety disorder, is something that plagues our minds. It takes root in our thought lives and can disrupt so much more: our energy levels, concentration, eating habits, sleep, communication, relationships, you name it! The real struggle is in what we ponder, which is why today’s verse is so powerful as we work to calm anxiety.
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace,
for it is trusting in You (HCSB)
The more we focus on God, the more we receive His peace. The HCSB says peace comes when our minds are dependent on God. Other Bible translations use the terms “stayed,” “fixed,” or “steadfast.” Each points us in the same direction. When God is the center of our focus, we trust in Him and He brings peace. Perfect peace. That peace is unwavering and able to withstand anything that comes at us.
How do we focus on God? How do we develop a steadfast thought life that holds Christ in the center? It takes practice, first and foremost. And we start one step at a time. Here are some practices that help me when my thoughts threaten to take a dangerous path of worry and anxiety:
Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ
Read more of God’s Word.
My aim is to read Scripture every day. I don’t give myself a set assignment like reading an entire chapter or three. My days are too sporadic for that. Sometimes I have lots of time to read and other days it feels like my feet are running on a treadmill before I ever even get out of bed. As I read daily Scripture, sometimes it’s one verse. Sometimes it’s an entire book of the Bible. It truly doesn’t matter. If I’m reading His Word, it is an aid to keep my mind fixed on God.
Pray and ask for focus.
As I turn my minds to focus on God, I’m trying to accomplish a spiritual discipline. I cannot accomplish a spiritual discipline with fleshly strength. It’s important to ask for the Lord’s help in my endeavor and accept His supernatural and divine help. I am not alone in this task. God is by my side, aiding and equipping me along the way.
Place visual and electronic reminders.
It helps a LOT to have a Bible verse taped to the bathroom mirror, or to my dashboard, or as wallpaper on my phone. It also helps to set an electronic alarm as a reminder to take a break for 5 minutes and read or re-read a verse or passage each day. Lastly, when making the bed, I sometimes place my Bible on my pillow to remind myself to read the Word once again before I drift off to sleep.
Listen to podcasts or watch videos that pertain to the Bible.
I find this a great way to use my drive time or chore time to help my thought habits. ** If you’d like to listen in, I have a FREE daily video devotion series here. **
I often ask a friend, mentor, or even my husband to check in with me from time to time and ask if I’ve been in God’s Word each day. If I know I’ll have to answer to someone, even casually, I’m much more diligent in my efforts. Accountability can go a long way in strengthening my thought life and fixing it on God.
Which of these tips do you find most helpful? Are there practices that you use that I didn’t share? Please tell me about them in the comments. I’d love to hear!
For additional inspiration about calming anxiety, be sure to read the rest of this 7-day series.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on social media so other women can also be encouraged!
May you find great peace today as you fix your mind on Christ,
Mamas tend to worry. It’s what we do. We face more anxiety about our children than we ever dreamed possible.
I remember seasons when my kids were off to college, wrestling with feeling utterly out of control. And that’s because I was. We can teach, guide, counsel, and influence our kids till we’re blue in the face. But when it comes right down to it, they’ll make their own decisions. As parents, we have no way of controlling that.
I lost a lot of sleep in those college days, wishing I could be with my kiddos to guard and protect them and worrying over them because I couldn’t. There’s not much that’s fun about the early empty nest years, especially the tremendous concern that floods our hearts.
I’ll never forget a phone call during one of those heavy seasons. I talked with my son who said, “Mom, look up Isaiah 41:10. My coach showed it to me while we were on the bus to our last game.”
Once I looked up the verse it became a staple in our home. I cling to it often when I slip into my fearful, worrisome and anxious tendencies.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand (HCSB).
Calm Anxiety Through Surrender
In his own way, my son was reminding me that God was tending to us both. The Lord was watching over me and guarding my troubled heart. He was also holding my son in the palm of His hand, caring for him in ways that I never could. The Lord would also watch over my daughter when it was time for her to move away. This verse reminded me of that and helped me rest in God’s protection.
Even when my kids are beyond my reach, I can trust that the Lord is caring for me, loving them like the gracious, protective, and tender-hearted Father that He is.
The Holy Spirit calls Isaiah 41:10 to my mind often, reminding me to surrender to God’s shielding care. It helps me release the protective hold I imagine that I have over my family and trust that God will handle all the details. I am not to be afraid because He is God, He is with me, He is with my family, and He helps and strengthens us all.
As you work to calm anxiety and worry today, take a moment to intentionally surrender your cares to God. Hold your hands in front of you, palms up and relaxed, symbolizing that you’re releasing your grip on the things that trouble your heart. Then name them, one by one, and tell the Lord that you surrender each point of concern into His strong and loving care. Ask that He show you, moment by moment, how He holds you and your worries in His righteous right hand.
May you find comfort in God’s Word,
Thank you for stopping by the blog! Today is Day 4 in our series 7 Days Toward Calming Anxiety where, day by day, we allow the truth of God’s Word to calm our anxious hearts.
Philippians 4:6-7 were two of the first verses I ever memorized and the Lord calls it to mind often as I struggle with fear and worry. It’s become a trusted source of comfort that provides me with several action steps to calm anxiety.
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (HCSB).
The most common takeaway from this familiar passage is prayer, which is powerful and effective. Prayer should be our go-to response to trouble instead of the last resort that we turn to when nothing else seems to work. If you know me at all, you know that I value and fully embrace the power of prayer. In fact, I shared a series on the topic of prayer that you can read here.
But today I’d like to focus on a little phrase inside of this treasured verse that’s often overlooked:
Calm Anxiety Through Gratitude
As I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how to conquer worry and anxiety, one of the most powerful weapons in my arsenal is gratitude. It’s pulled me from many obsessive thought patterns that firmly grip my mind. Giving thanks to God not only spurs our faith, but it’s also a healing practice with the power to transform and renew our minds.
Today as you continue in mindfulness about your own anxiety, I encourage you to take a break. Grab a comforting beverage, find a quiet place to reflect and list 5-10 aspects of your current situation for which you’re thankful.
I’ll share transparently that I struggle today with the unknown. After decades of solid employment in our home, I’m wrestling with our current uncertain situation, “what if” types of thoughts, and more worry than I care to admit. I can’t see the future as I once believed I could. As I practice gratitude, I am thankful that . . .
- I have an incredible man of God partnering with me on this journey
- while we can make plans, it’s the Lord who determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9)
- God provides for our every need and has given us countless examples of that
- we have friends who stand in the gap on our behalf, both praying and doing great, generous things
- we’re learning to find contentment in every season
- God’s timing is perfect and He is never late
- Multiple opportunities await us on the horizon and we can look forward to new adventures
Simply listing simple statements of thanks shifts my mind from worry to peace and from anxiety to calm. May the practice of gratitude transform your thoughts as well.
Be blessed by God’s mighty promises,
Welcome back! This is day 3 of the series 7 Days Toward Calming Anxiety. Together, we’ll focus on the peace that the Lord brings and use His strength to calm our anxious thoughts.
Today’s Bible verse is one of my favorites.
1 Peter 5:6-7
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you” (HCSB).
I don’t often consider humility as a powerful tool against anxiety, but it certainly is.
As we succumb to worry and anxiety, we focus on our circumstance to an unhealthy level while pushing away the truth of God and His Word. We begin to believe that our situation is too big for God to handle, that He won’t bring the right outcome, or that He’ll make the first mistake ever recorded in eternity. Do you see how we begin to inflate our trials until, in our minds, they become more powerful than our mighty God?
We don’t do it intentionally, but we put ourselves and our concerns in the center of our “universe” instead of giving God His rightful place in that position. We exalt our concerns over the peace of God.
Taking Thoughts Captive
Calming anxiety requires that we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. He is bigger than our circumstance, bigger than the trials that we face, bigger than our worries and He is more than able to calm our anxiety. 1 Peter 5:6-7 reminds us that rather than carrying the burden of our cares in our own strength, we can cast them onto God who loves and cares about us.
Each time you find yourself dwelling on your troubles or feeling anxious, take those thoughts captive. Remind yourself that God’s ways are best. He cares for you and is always working for your good. With God on your side, everything will work out per His good and perfect plan.
Allow God’s truth to overtake your fear, worry, and anxiety. And be sure to check out yesterday’s post about calming anxiety here. Be sure to read yesterday’s post and stop by again tomorrow for additional inspiration.
May God’s Word strengthen you today,