Focusing on and talking about the negative comes easily to our sinful nature. We don’t have to try hard at all to find all kinds of things about which to complain. Negative thinking and speaking comes from a variety of sources:
- Believing lies about God, others, the world, self
- Focusing on bad things rather than good things
- Unbelief in God
- Lack of trust in His Word
- Feeling overwhelmed.
- Not saying, “No,” when we should
- A contentious spirit
- A bad temper
- A desire to control others
- Speaking death to ourselves, cursing ourselves
- PMS/hormonal issues
- Pain from something someone did to us or something we did to ourselves
- Self-hatred, hatred of others, hatred of God
- Questioning God about difficult circumstances/evil – why me?
- Focusing on someone’s sin against me – telling it to everyone around me rather than dealing with it in a constructive, godly way.
And, of course, the more exhausted, sick, in pain, or overwhelmed we are, the easier it is to focus on negative things.
But the cure is the same. And it is something we may need to repeat many times per day.
- We invite God to show us anything God says is wrong (sin) in our own thinking, motives, and words.
- We examine our feelings and identify them.
- We walk away from any sin in our lives and turn to Jesus and His ways.
- We ask God to help us tear out the old ways and we resist the lies and the temptations of the enemy.
- We choose to believe God’s Word and His truth.
- We fill our minds and mouths with His Words. We meditate on His goodness and His Words and build our minds on it.
- We allow His Spirit to have control.
- We choose to praise and thank Him for all He has done, is doing, and will do.
What does this look like in real life?
Maybe I am feeling really discouraged about my relationship with my man. Maybe I thought he was going to spend a lot of time with me this week, but he has to work a lot and we have barely been able to even text or talk on the phone, much less get together. Maybe I am feeling tempted to think things like:
- He’s probably glad he’s at work instead of being with me.
- Maybe I’m not really a big priority in his life.
- Our relationship stinks. Look at all my friends on Snapchat who get to spend time with their boyfriends this week. But not me.
- Of course I don’t get to have fun like everyone else. I’m cursed.
- God really must not love me or He would make sure to make a way for me to get to be with my boyfriend like I want to happen.
- I bet my boyfriend will break up with me soon anyway.
- He’ll probably tell me he found someone prettier he’d rather be with.
- I’m just doomed to a lonely life.
- He’s a workaholic and I’m never going to get to see him again!
- All I can do now is sink down into depression and eat a whole box of chocolates and watch a Hallmark movie and cry.
Here is how I can overcome this negative death spiral:
- Where is there any sinful thinking in my mind in this scenario? I am:
- Making negative assumptions that probably aren’t true about my boyfriend’s intentions toward me.
- Speaking death to myself in many ways. I am essentially speaking curses over myself in cooperation with the enemy.
- Jealous of my friends.
- Accusing God of evil motives toward me.
- Ignoring everything good in my life that I could be thankful for.
- Turning to chocolate for comfort when it truly can’t comfort me.
- Turning to a chick-flick for comfort that may encourage me to have even more unrealistic expectations.
- Maybe I am seeking contentment in whether I get to see my boyfriend or not and that may be why I feel so discontent.
- I feel tempted to completely freak out.
- I’m scared we will drift apart.
- I am tempted to act clingy and needy with my boyfriend.
- I am feeling sad, depressed, discouraged, upset, lonely, jealous, isolated, frustrated, impatient, and bitter. And worried, anxious, and afraid.
- I agree with God that I have sin in my life. Maybe I say something like:
- Lord, wow, I sure do have a lot of messed up thinking going on here. I need to stop right now and get all of this junk and poison out of my soul and mind. Please forgive me for making so many negative assumptions and assuming the worst about my boyfriend. Forgive me for being jealous of friends online. Forgive me for cursing myself and saying terrible, negative things to myself. Forgive me for speaking lies about You! Forgive me for turning to despair and depression and unbelief in You. Forgive me for turning to worldly things for security, comfort, purpose, and identity instead of to You. Those things will not satisfy. They will probably make me feel worse right now. I give my sadness to You. I give my feelings and concerns and desires to You. It’s not wrong for me to want to be with my boyfriend. But I want to handle this sadness rightly in Your eyes and not get sucked into wrong thinking.
- I get rid of all of these toxic ways of thinking and want to build my life on Your truth and do things Your way, Lord! I see the enemy’s plans to try to steal, kill, and destroy in my life. I resist him. I yield myself fully to Your Lordship and Your authority, alone. I refuse to open any doors to give the enemy authority in my life!
- I choose to believe Your Word in these areas of my life:
- Love believes the best about other people whenever possible (1 Cor. 13:4-8). I won’t let myself assume terrible things about my boyfriend. I know he is a guy who really does love You and who loves me. He is just busy right now. He’s working because he has to. It’s not a personal attack on me or an attempt to upset me. He has done nothing but be kind and loving to me. I have no evidence that he is working to escape having to be with me.
- I want to speak life to myself. So I choose to look at my identity in Christ and to meditate on Your Words to me about who I am in Jesus.
- I am chosen, holy, and dearly loved by God. Col. 3:12
- God has a beautiful plan for my life and will lead me as I trust Him. (Jer. 29:11)
- I am more than a conqueror in this situation through Jesus. (Rom. 8:35-39)
- God will use this trial to help me grow stronger spiritually and to conform me to the image of Christ and I invite Him to do just that. (Rom. 8:38-39, James 1:2-4)
- This is a chance for me to learn to be content in Christ alone no matter what my circumstances may be. It is hard to be away from my boyfriend. I love when we can spend time together. But I don’t want to let my circumstances rob me of the joy and peace Jesus has provided for me.
- I could use this time to myself to dig deeper in the Word, to pray, to journal, to sing to the Lord, or to serve others.
- I choose to close the door to jealousy by getting off of Snapchat since it is a stumbling block for me. And I choose to turn to You for comfort rather than to chocolate or a chick-flick. If romantic movies make me feel resentful, I need to avoid those things, too. If they cheer me up and don’t go against Scripture, that’s fine. But if they upset me or help me have unrealistic expectations, I choose to close the door on them, too.
- I’m going to spend some time in Your Word, receiving Your love, healing, blessing, favor, and comfort.
- I choose to thank You, God, for all You have done for me in the past, all You are doing now, including this little trial. And I am excited to see all of the good things You have in store for me in the future! I choose to sing praise songs to You today!
- I’m thankful for my man who loves the Lord.
- I’m thankful he has a good work ethic and wants to provide for himself, and that he is preparing to be able to provide for a wife (hopefully me) in the future.
- I’m glad he is responsible.
- I’m thankful for this extra time to spend with the Lord, my family, other friends, or doing ministry.
- I’m thankful I have a wonderful boyfriend. Last year, I was so sad because I didn’t have a boyfriend at all. This is just one week.
- I’m thankful that in Jesus, I can be content whether I get to be with my man or not, and whether I even have a boyfriend or not.
- I’m thankful for the things God is going to show me and teach me this week as I allow Him to work in my heart and life.
How has God helped you overcome negativity? We’d love to hear about it!
Would you like another example or two? Let me know!
Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ – VIDEO