I’m excited for this year. Maybe it's because I think my head was filled with more negative thoughts last year than any other year in my life.
A few weeks ago, in a conversation with a friend, my thinking began to change. Well, I at least started to see how it can change. It begins by seeing that it is OK to have negative thoughts. Please, don’t hear me wrong. I’m not saying they are fun to have. However, I used to think if I have negative thoughts, well then, that’s who I am and that would be the kind of day I have too.
This illustration came to mind, and it helped me. Hopefully, it can help you as well.
See, I used to think of my head as only consisting of one room. When I have negative thoughts, I look around and that’s what the room looks like. You can see the lies you tell yourself hanging on one side of the room. You can see the negative and fear driven news taking up space in the middle of the room like that couch you would love to replace.
The room would be filled, and I would think “that’s who I am.”
I thought my job as a Christian was to make sure this room was clean. I thought if I was doing everything right then the negative thoughts wouldn’t be taking up any space. So this meant I must be doing something wrong, right? I must not be a “good” Christian. Maybe my Christian journey took a wrong turn.
In my mind, the negative thoughts proved something was wrong, which as you can imagine, easily created more negative thoughts.
But then my friend shared this passage with me.
3 Although we live in the world, we don’t fight our battles with human methods. 4 Our weapons that we fight with aren’t human, but instead they are powered by God for the destruction of fortresses. They destroy arguments, 5 and every defense that is raised up to oppose the knowledge of God. They capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10, CEB)
When I read that last line, “They capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” it helped me realize negative thoughts don’t define who I am. In some ways, they are a reality of living in this world.
Do you hear the action in these verses? They “destroy arguments,” and “they capture every thought.”
"He gave everything He had, His life, for me to be with Him. He loves me. I matter to Him."
Let’s go back to my illustration. I started to see two rooms in my head, where before there had only been one. Sure, the negative room was there, the thoughts coming my way that I didn’t want to have. There was also another room, a room filled with God’s promises and His truth. This room is filled with the truths we know throughout Scripture. He will never leave me or forsake me. I am His child, adopted into His family. He gave everything He had, His life, for me to be with Him. He loves me. I matter to Him. When He looks at me He doesn’t see my brokenness and sin, rather He sees me through the work of Christ, made new, holy and blameless.
Doesn’t this sound like a better room?
I started to hear those verses found in 2 Corinthians 10 telling me to move rooms. When thoughts come my way, I want to ask the question, what room am I choosing to live in? I realize that makes this all seem rather simple. It’s not. It’s a process, but it’s one I want to continue to live out here this year. I want to live in God’s “room.”
Hopefully this illustration can help you as it is helping me. There’s more to say, and we’ll revisit it next week.