As God pulled me out of my relapse, He showed me that I must believe His Truth and claim the peace of mind that only He can give. But my other issue, obsessive negative thinking, had taken control of my life. I had struggled with this problem before, and I thought I had defeated it, but here it was again. In my mind, certain negative thoughts and situations played over and over again, like a broken record. But I did not want to go there again. I wanted to banish the obsessive thoughts and regain peace of mind.
I tried to remember how I had combated this obsessive negative thinking before. During my relapse, I had coincidentally been thrown out of my routine by family matters and had been too distracted and disorganized to follow my usual habits of quiet time and prayer. But then one morning, I had just had enough suffering and pain, so I made myself sit down and have a devotion time. I had finally remembered how to fight those recurring negative thoughts. I needed time with God.
When I gave Him the chance, God spoke to me in a very dramatic and providential way. My devotion book at that time was His Thoughts Toward Me by Marie Chapian. In one particular devotion, the author shared some thoughts that reminded me of how I had battled obsessive negative thinking in the past.
The Scripture reference for this devotion was Philippians 4:6-8. Of course! Those were exactly the same verses I had read and embraced when I had faced this problem before. I looked back in my journal and—guess what—there they were. I was reminded that I can never control what others do but I can choose to believe that God is in control. I have to believe that He will finish what He has started in my life as well as what He has started in the lives of others. I have to yield every thought to Him so that I can truly have peace of mind as I wait on God’s time table.
Philippians 4:8 commands me to control my thoughts. “Finally, brothers, 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” (NIV). So that is what I did.
On a piece of paper, I listed all eight attributes that God was instructing me to think about. Next to each attribute, I wrote a positive personal reminder about the loved one who was causing me so much suffering. Then I posted that list where I could see it every day, and I read and reread it for weeks. I actively practiced filling my mind with what was true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Friend, come journey with me. Let us fill our minds with Philippians 4:8 and not with the cruel effects of this hostile world or with the evils and injustices of life. The enemy wants to defeat us through our obsessing over past hurts and situations, and he wants us to believe that we are not safe, that life is drifting uncontrollably. Dear friend, we are not going to fall into that trap again!
Instead, let us fall into the Savior’s arms. We are going to think good things. We are going to let God take control of those situations that threaten us. Let’s make that list of affirmations today. Let’s look at it and read it and believe it. Today, let’s change that ugly word relapse into the beautiful word renew. What about you? Is there a situation that you need to renew? Do it today. God is in control, and He can handle it. Give it to Him today, and live in freedom.