How do you remain positive during unstable economic times and a global pandemic?
How do you stay sane during trying times?
How do you make your mind obedient?
How do you make your mind, mind?
By Taking Every Thought Captive!
I write this blog coming from a place where I have personally seen the face of mental illness and the battle for the mind. I battled with severe depression and anxiety for a number of years. Fortunately somewhere along the line, I found healing and in the process, I learned a few things about the mind and its power but moreover, I learned that all things were permissible in my mind but not everything was beneficial to me and I was determined to never be mastered by anything my mind willed.
In winning the battle for my mind. I went through vicious cycles that came in the form of meltdowns, relapses, and mistakes that happened after I had been momentarily volatile in stressful situations. I am aware that there is much material out there on this topic, but all I wish to do for this blog is give 3 principles that I used over the years and more frequently during the trial period of 2020 and 2021. I hope it helps someone as much as it has me.
1. Do not believe everything that you think
Sometimes what we think is far from true, the thoughts that appear in our minds do not always reflect or support the condition of reality and because of this, we should not assume that what we think is true regardless that it comes from within us. The world puts suggestions in our minds that are inaccurate, and we are flooded with those false ideas all the time and this results in corrupted minds that we should not always trust.
We tell ourselves things like ‘things aren’t as bad, things are better than they really are, ‘we’re doing okay/I am fine’ we tell ourselves ‘it’s no big deal,’ when it really is. I often advise against not allowing your emotions to feel what they need to. This is our body’s way of re-setting when it is overwhelmed. When you try to bypass that natural process, you cause worse damage. You would not continue driving an overheating car because the radiator can explode and the engine could catch fire, why would you do that to your body and mind!?
2. Guard your mind for it is the wellspring of life
‘The wise are always hungry for knowledge and the foolish feed on trash’
Just like there are three kinds of food for your physical body; food that makes you smart, junk food (simple calories), and toxic food (which is poisonous) the same is true in what you feed your mind. What you graze on [even in your spare time] all diligently develop and shape your thought processes and if it is garbage that you’re taking in, garbage will come manifest as involuntary actions. My advice would be to start filling your mind with things that develop your emotional intelligence. When confronted by difficulties, do not be anxious, but approach every situation with thanksgiving and try to find things you can be grateful for within the trouble. Try to learn not to resist against tough times, but rather re-channel towards gratefulness, this will turn your mind away from the things that could potentially crush your mind. It’s all about finding a positive perspective!
3. Stretch Your Mind
If we are going to fight the battle of the mind we need to learn how to stretch it – this is a crucial part of the battle.
The act of stretching the mind begins when we teach our minds to think BIGGER. Think beyond the current circumstances: Be a person with vision!
People with goals hardly perish because they have an overarching vision for their lives that serve as GPS coordinates that keep them in control even when skies are grey and overcast. Have goals, without them it is impossible to stay grounded when this world shakes you with uncertainty.
Concluding, I learned it was not enough just not to believe everything I thought. It was not enough just to guard my mind against the junk. I figured I needed to stretch my mind and imagination because I saw that I was faced with the constant need to outthink, out-dream, and outsmart this world and all its troubles.
I would say this to you as a reader, learn to push against internal and external resistance. Learn to endure the discomfort. Persevere through any current limitation until the discomfort decreases and the capacities to move forward increase. Do not give in to the part of you that offers all kinds of reasons for why you should give up. Strive, run the good race until it is finished.
Hold the vision and trust the process, this will give you hope. Hope will fuel your Heart. The Heart and all its good affections will overpower the mind. And in this peculiar coming together of the heart and mind, engaging your physical body you will find that you start receiving outward fuel that helps you get through each day.
Take it one step at a time, tomorrow will worry about its own problems.
Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith, Jon Bloom
Don’t Follow Your Heart: God’s Ways Are Not Your Ways, Jon Bloom
Think, John Piper
Craig Groeschel, Winning the War in Your Mind – Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
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