Purposeful Faith

Tag - thoughts

Letting Go of Imaginary Worries

Worries

Post By: Angela Parlin

I used to think I didn’t struggle much with worry.

And then I became a Mom a decade ago. Suddenly there were so many what ifs to contend with. My imagination easily ran off to terrifying places, thinking two steps ahead of them, often fearing the worst.

Sometimes still, I get caught up in a whirlwind of worry, even though I know I don’t get to control things. Even though my trust in God has grown.

Shakespeare said cowards die a thousand deaths, and the brave die only one. I’ve heard a variation of his quote, which rings true for me:

“Some people die a thousand deaths before they die one.”

(Author Unknown)

I know the truth of my thoughts and my imaginations. I don’t tend toward bravery, but fear. How many deaths have I died in my head, or how many deaths have I feared for my loved ones?

What about you? Do you get trapped in worry? Have you grieved for those you haven’t even lost? Do you try to figure out the future, even though you have no power there?

When I’m stuck in worry, my best response is to turn each concern into a prayer, and to listen.

I am God, He says.

I am a good God, He says.

Trust me, He says.

He calls me to hand over all of my concerns to Him, each time they find their way back into my mind.

He calls me to bring my life before Him, to bring my loved ones’ lives before Him, day after day, and to place them in His hands.

He calls me to come to Him in prayer, to lay out the pieces of my life, to entrust it all to Him.

He calls you to all of the same.

When worry takes over, what we need most is to find our way back to the quiet, to fix our eyes upon Jesus once more. There, He speaks kindly to us, transforming and renewing our minds.

There, peace takes over, and worry morphs into trust.

We stop trying to carry our hurts, our struggles, our pain on our own.

We stop trying to bear our burdens–both our real ones and our imaginary ones–apart from the God who holds the whole world in His hands.

And when the worries return, as they often do, the Lord invites us to trust Him again, because He is God and He is good.

Some people die a thousand deaths before they die one, and I don’t want to be that person anymore. Lord, help us to live in peace instead of worry, to trust you with all the pieces of our lives.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. John 14:27

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Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

 

5 Ways to Beat Defeating Thoughts

Defeating Thoughts

Trends.

What is trending in your life?

Where is the tide of your emotions moving?

Where is that one current that you can’t seem to get past?

For me, it has been thinking that I am not good enough. It has been thinking that I stand on the brink of “mistake” that will send me careening to quick destruction in no time. It has been listening to destructive criticism that simply wants to wash me up shore, breathless, nearly lifeless and without a rescuer.

If I am not a better mother, this kid won’t end up liking me much.
If I can’t stop being quick to speak, I am never going to make strides.
If I don’t live pleasing people, I will never be happy.
If I fall to mean speaking, I am a shame-wrecked failure.
If I live for selfishness, I am a faith-wrecked failure.

Do you know what is trending? It is easy to let our thoughts move like passing clouds, without giving them a second chance. But, stop, today. Think, today. Don’t just move with the wind of your life. Lean in to what your thoughts are working within, so that you can work out what God wants to push out.

What voice inside your mind speaks judgement over enlightenment?
Disappointment over God’s appointment?
Punishment over realignment?

Our voices inside shape our voices outside.

Defeating Thoughts

“You’re not a good mom” produces a snappy chide spoken to the kid asking for water.
“You speak in all the wrong way,” produces a defensive comeback.
“You deserve punishment,” produces guilt that makes me want to hide.
“You will never make others happy,” produces a why-bother attitude that no one wants to be around.
“I will always be selfish and I can’t stop sinning,” produces defeat that turns around to wave hello to more sin.

Our voices inside shape our voices outside (I am saying this twice for a reason).

They have the power to flip relationships 
inside, outside and upside-down – for either good or for bad.

What thought has been plaguing you? Stop. Seek. Look. Press in. Think.
Passing glances produce lasting problems.

God doesn’t leave us on the side of the road, an anxious hitchhiker, with no one around to bring us to his destination of promise, fulfillment, enjoyment, safe pastures and comfort. He doesn’t ride by, wave at us, and scream “Don’t be anxious about anything – continue on and good luck!”

God tells us instead to:

1. Rejoice. Find worship – and you will find worry is no longer convicts you as an guilty bystander. (Phil 4:6)

2. Pray. Pray the name of God, pray the hope of glory, pray against evil temptation (to think negatively), seek wisdom and pray, “Help me!” (Phil 4:6)

3. Ask. God tells us to pray and then he tells us to ask (Phil 4:6). Point is: Keep on praying, asking, pleading and then go about believing. Repeat.

4. Give thanks (Phil 4:6). If you are saying thank you, you can’t be saying, “I hate my life.”

5. Focus on what deserves focusing: what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, not once but continually – and then continually focus there again. (Phil. 4:8)

When we get stuck in the place of worship,
we find ourself stuck on the mind and the heart of God.

It is no wonder that God explicitly tells us in his ever-redeeming and reconstructing Word that for one who keeps with this momentary, hourly or daily process that the peace of God will show up, literally transcending understanding to guard their hearts in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7).

When we submit to God’s ways, he shields ours.

What do you need to submit? Rejoice, pray, ask, thank, and make your mind-prose “praiseworthy”. 

This means asking yourself:

Is saying “I am a bad mom”, is that a “praiseworthy” thought bringing glory to God?”
Is saying, “Things will never improve”, is that a “praiseworthy” thought bringing glory to God?
Is saying, “I will never stop sinning,” is that a “praiseworthy” thought bringing glory to God?
Is saying, “I deserve punishment,” is this a “praiseworthy” thought bringing glory to God?

If not, get yourself back to step 1. Pray for sanctification of all things entering in your mind.
Because, what you let in, will work into every crevice of your day.

We look at a glass of water you see, and we say, “Ehh…what we can’t see won’t hurt us. What is small, shouldn’t make a difference.” But, what we miss is the fact that there is clear poison dropped in that glass. If you knew that, would you drink it?

No. And so it goes with our thoughts.

Small poison = big negative results.
Small poison = a heavy and hardened heart.
Small poison = an angry, bitter, victimized or jealous spirit.

But, Jesus. Did you hear that? But Jesus. Even if we have been guzzling poison, he rushes in with the antidote. 

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Mt. 9:12

With no slaps, whacks or breaking of our backs, he heals up what we let in, so that we can move out through his faith and through real transformation, sanctification and reformation of our mind. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Ro. 12:2

For me? I will remember, my family and friends and my God – they love me. I am secure in Jesus’ love. I am a sinner sinning, being rescued by a Savior saving. My God is good. This is praiseworthy!

When we think like this, we live no longer as a hitchhiker seeking our next best ride to some unknown land, but we watch on as God escorts us to transformation. A place where green pastures of peace and resulting fruit are plentiful.

Breathe deep. What could be better than that?

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How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings? (& 2-Min Encouraging Word)

How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings?

Encouragement in less than 2-minutes:

 

Post: How Can you Fix Your Bad Feelings?

I have been known to step into a deep dark place.

It’s a lonely place.
A-no-one-cares-about-me place,
an I’m-never-going-to-amount-to-anything place,
an I-will-always-fail kind of place,
a God-will-never-use-a-girl-like-me place.
I-am-not-worth-anything place.

It’s risky, because this hole of hopelessness can easily become a trapping cave-of-no-return. A cancer that grabs the anesthesia of alcohol, addiction, disorders, complexes, shopping, porn or whatever else if not careful.

Due to my past struggles with this place, I’ve realized,
you have to watch for the invitations to this place of isolation.

Because this place makes you miss Gods’ face – and it leaves you in disgrace.
It makes God small and  problems big.
It takes shame and guilt and places them on the centerstage of the heart.
It places you so deep into yourself, you can’t see others that need you.

Our God is not a haunter and taunter and he never developed a hell-hole like this.

Now I know, I have to run like the wind
when the devil starts to lure me in with lies.

I run hard, and I run fast because even the smallest step into that blackness
includes a return trip with miles of internal turmoil.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

Sometimes we think our resistance is recognizing this place or praying against this place or throwing some truth out against this place, but oh no, my friends, it involves even more…

We aren’t called to sit around and have a light coffee before we leave,
we are called to flee- ASAP!

We aren’t called to go through the motions of life,
but to eyes open and to kick ourselves into high gear. 

We aren’t called to wait for a rescuer – a knight in shining armor.
We already have one – his name is Jesus – and we are already rescued.

And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Mt. 5:30

God is not afraid of instructing us to take big measures against our small steps into these dwelling places of lies. This means we see beyond our world, into the transcending world around us. We become aware, looking, understanding, interpreting, searching, fighting and surrendering. We flee.

We flee by not throwing out verses, but by letting them become the knitting of our heart.

We flee, not by praying for our will, but by praying for his.

We flee, not by accepting or excusing sin, but by rejecting it.

We flee, unveiling our heart of agony to our maker. (Feelings aren’t bad, but distrust of God is.)

We flee by choosing the right counselors to instruct us when we become blind in our life.

We flee by letting go of the tide of our emotions, to grab on to the ocean of God’s truth.

We flee by extending grace to ourselves on hard days.

We engrave these truths upon our heart like stone:

We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus. Ro. 8:37
Nothing can overtake us, because God has overtaken the world. Jo. 16:33
There is no weapon forged against us that can prosper. Is. 15:47

We know nothing can really ever come against – no cancer, no abuse, no financial issues, no heartache, no agony, no marital issues, no heartaches, no _______.

We know it doesn’t matter,
because if we’ve lived it, he has beaten it.

So, dear friend, be not discouraged, but be wildly encouraged: If he conquered the world, he can conquer your agony, your despair, your hopelessness and your fears.

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From Bad Self-Talk to A Good God (Linkup)

Bad Self Talk

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I think to myself:
You are not doing that right.
You’re coming off as a know-it-all.
Kids don’t love a mom who acts annoyed.
You always drop the ball with your husband.
You are being too selfish.
You are a continual mess-up.
God won’t bless that.

Condemnation. Like rain, it sure can pour down. Yet, somehow I have grown to think it’s an ordinary part of life.  It’s like a fly in the house. Sure, it’s annoying, but I can deal with it. Sometimes, it even becomes familiar. Provided it doesn’t bother too much, we can co-exist.

But I wonder, how much does it hurt me to co-exist with condemnation?

Because when I think of it, I see that self-condemnation left unchecked…
leads to self-loathing and self-loathing left unchecked…
leads to self-inadequacy and self-inadequacy left unchecked leads to…
a fear-filled turned-in spirit that doesn’t turn-out towards God or others in faith.

Condemnation may not injure our current actions, but it sure impacts our future ones. It may not hold us back from dreams, hope and a future in the present, but it’s lasting effects do bite.

And yes, friends, I do know that God says, “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus,” but sometimes I just don’t consider that in the moment – the moment when the thoughts move in as fast as a freight train.

Mostly,  in that moment, I am just trying to get by, to live the hand of cards dealt – even when they leave me flushed with thoughts of how much I lack, what I can’t do and where I can’t go.

Sure, I hate those cards, but at the same time I am used to them. That doesn’t make them right though.

Yet, as I stare intently at those cards, wanting something more, my eye starts to focus on the King, the King who wears the crown. The King who is high. The King who can change the game.

I remember his love, I see his royalty and I admire his crown.  I see something. I grab hold of something…

I realize the King’s love has already condemned condemnation.

Thinking of it in this way, allows me to grab hold of this truth.

His love is what changed – and changes – the game. And it is what changes my thoughts.

Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Prov. 4:25

If I can keep my eyes fixed on what is love – Jesus – my thoughts will follow him. He will lead my mind in truth. The King will teach me the right way to go.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Lu. 6:45

I know Jesus calls me towards obedience. I can’t help but think of this verse: take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?” 2 Cor. 10:5

I want to be obedient.

Next time, that hand is dealt and that fly buzzes, I am going to ask myself 3 questions:

1. How does Jesus see you in this moment?
2. Is this thought rooted from a place of Christ’s love?
3. Could I imagine Jesus speaking these words to me?

Perhaps, then, I can discard the things that trump his love and grab hold of the ultimate King of hearts. Perhaps then bad hands won’t be a precursor to bad actions. My eyes will be set on the King.  

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