"We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5b (NIV)
Have you ever been in a situation where something little felt really big? Maybe a look from someone that suddenly made you feel like they didn't like you. Or when someone doesn't return your phone call and you feel like it's an indication that you're not important.
Usually these things aren't true.
The look was just a look with no hidden meaning.
The missed phone call was just a slip on that person's to-do list.
But if we're not careful, those misguided feelings can create issues that distract us, discourage us, and trigger past pain that starts taunting us. They can fill our minds with thoughts that are not accurate.
It happened to me on a certain Friday. My sister Angee and I got up at 3:00 a.m. and were in line at a store thirty minutes later. I know. I agree. That's crazy.
But like a hunter stalking prey, I was after something. In this case, the buy-one-get-one-free washer and dryer. Angee was after a half-priced computer. When the store doors opened at 5:00 a.m., we both scored. Happiness abounded. Then we left to get some breakfast. This is the part of the story where the happiness faded.
In the drive-thru, my credit card was "not approved."
Let me get this straight. It was approved at the store just five minutes ago when I made a major purchase. But now for a little two-dollar bundle of egg, cheese, Canadian bacon, and an English muffin, suddenly I'm not approved?
My sister wasn't fazed. She whipped out cash, paid for my breakfast, and headed to the next store on our list. But those words "not approved" hung like a black cloud over my head. It bothered the stink out of me. I knew it was just some technical glitch, but that's not what it felt like.
When that girl leaned out of the drive-thru window and in a hushed tone said, "I'm sorry, ma'am, but your card keeps showing that you're not approved," it felt personal. Really personal.
Suddenly, past pain from other times I'd felt rejected and my current embarrassment started running their mouth inside my head. You're nothing but a loser. You are unwanted. Unloved. Disorganized. Poor. Not acceptable. You are not approved.
I wish I could tie up this story in a nice bow and give you a pretty ending, but I can't. It was anything but pretty. I felt awful. And I went to bed wondering if the Lord Himself might come down and say, "Lysa TerKeurst, I have had enough of your immature reactions. You are no longer approved to be a Bible study teacher. Look at you!"
But that's not the Lord's voice. Our Lord doesn't whisper shameful condemnations.
Spiritual convictions, yes. Personal condemnations, no.
As I stared wide-eyed into the darkness that enveloped the room, I whispered, "Give me Your voice, Jesus. I need to hear You above all these painful thoughts. If I don't hear You, I'm afraid this darkness is going to swallow me alive." Nothing came. I couldn't hear a thing.
I had a choice. I could lie in the dark replaying the awful events of the day, or I could turn the light on and read God's Word—His truth—which is the best thing to do when lies are swarming and painful thoughts are attacking like a bunch of bloodthirsty mosquitoes.
Lies flee in the presence of truth. Comfort comes into our pain when we bring it to Jesus. And while reading God's truth that night didn't change the fact that I needed to make things right in my thoughts, it gave me the courage to do so.
Dear Lord, please drown out the other voices ... please hush them ... and speak. I want to hear You above all the noise. Help me discern Your convictions and the devil's condemnations. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
For more encouragement and practical advice on how to remain self-controlled, check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Unglued. Available now!
The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.
Reflect and Respond:
Are there lies you have believed about yourself? Bring them to light. Write 2 lies down on a piece of paper.
Now get out God's Word and read about who He says you are. Use the power verses below to refute Satan's attacks against you and remember, Jesus doesn't speak in condemning tones but the enemy and our past pain often does.
Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." NIV
Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." NIV
2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here." NIV
© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105