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,
Have you ever wondered how to trust God, or what trusting God even looks like?
I struggle with trust – a lot. It’s hard for me to trust others. I believe this is because it’s so painfully challenging to trust myself at times. Yet the Lord continually whispers, “Trust Me.” I know I should, and I want to, but sometimes I’m not quite sure how.
As we’ve walked through the book of Luke to examine the examples Jesus gave of prayer (see additional posts here and here), we run smack into His pure, heartfelt trust of God the Father. Right there in Luke 22:39-42, as Jesus prepared to face the cross – the most gut-wrenching hours of His ministry – His prayer demonstrated whole-hearted, sold-out trust.
He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. When He reached the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:39-42 HCSB)
Jesus was about to experience torture as He lay down His life. It was not something He looked forward to, in fact, He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me”.
Have you faced something difficult – one of those things you could see coming and knew there was no way to dodge it? I’ll bet you prayed similarly to Jesus, such as . . .
“Lord get me out of this!”
“Rescue me, Father!”
or “Please, Lord, no!”
Rarely, I’d surmise, do our honest pleas for deliverance lead into proclamations of full and total surrender.
Jesus’s did. His next words are the most profound: “nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Jesus trusted God, His plan, and His purpose. The Son knew the Father’s will was best and would be fulfilled. And so, Jesus surrendered His own desires to the will of the Father. What a beautiful illustration of trust.
Trust rarely happens instantly. It comes through bonding and connection. It’s something typically earned rather than granted. The trust that Jesus displayed in the Garden of Gethsemane stemmed from a close-knit relationship with His Father.
As God’s children, we can reach that level of trust too – where if He asked that we give Him everything we would comply, knowing His ways are right, true, and best. Here are 5 points that lead to trusting Him more:
How to Build Trust in God
- Know the Word of God. As much as possible, spend daily time in God’s Word. Become familiar with its overall context and teaching. Meet God in the pages of the Bible and learn about His character. The Bible says:
- Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him (Proverbs 30:5, HCSB).
- Let Your faithful love come to me, Lord, Your salvation, as You promised. Then I can answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in Your word. (Psalm 119:41-42, HCSB)
When we know God’s Word, we naturally come to point two…
- Know God. As His nature and character are revealed by His Word, our eyes begin to see Him revealed in everyday life. In His Word, we discover:
- “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, HCSB).
- For I know the plans I have for you,” – this is the Lord’s declaration – “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, HCSB).
- Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek you, Yahweh (Psalm 9:10, HCSB).
- Know our calling. Discovering the purpose God has for us while we are on the earth helps us adopt an eternal rather than temporal focus. Jesus said:
- “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent me.”
- You did not choose Me, but I chose you.I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. This is what I command you: Love one another (John 15:16-17, HCSB).
- Know the Spirit. When we acknowledge Jesus as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit immediately dwells within us. We have full access to His counsel and guidance. Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading is key to trusting God. Scripture teaches:
- But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit – the Father will send Him in My name – will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you (John 14:26, HCSB).
- I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
- Know your History. Remember trust is earned. When we look back at our lives and consider the way God has protected us and prepared us for a time such as this, our eyes are opened to His trustworthy nature. The Bible describes several occasions of remembrance, such as:
- Go across to the ark of the Lord your God in the middle of the Jordan. Each of you lift a stone onto his shoulder, one for each of the Israelite tribes, so that this will be a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ you should tell them, ‘The waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the Lord’s covenant. When it crossed the Jordan, the Jordan’s waters were cut off.’ Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites (Joshua 4:5-7, HCSB).
- And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me (Luke 22:19, HCSB).
Trusting God: Decide and Do
Trusting God involves practical application… deciding and doing. It is surrendering to the will God knowing that He is for you. God is your ally, your advocate, your friend. Knowing that He is intimately involved with each and every situation you face, knowing that He is fulfilling His plan and purpose for you (and your loved ones), helps us to turn our back on fear and worry and turn wholeheartedly toward God and His ways. When we can say, “Not my will, but Yours, be done,” we know we are trusting Him.
Jesus modeled it beautifully in His prayer and He lived it out with His life. As we go and do the same, we’re sure to experience His peace and joy in ways we never imagined.