I spend a lot of time defending myself in my head.
Ideas are immediately followed by all the reasons they won’t work. Things I say out loud are followed by derogatory comments in my mind about why I shouldn’t have said that and how people are going to think I’m stupid. Sometimes, when I’m not doing anything particular at all, I get bombarded by all the reasons I should be doing something specific and how I’m worthless if I don’t.
I realize to a certain extent, that’s just the human condition. Everyone has doubts sometimes. And some people are more insecure, so they spend more time fighting the negative thoughts.
But those of us with anxiety have minds trained to run in circles like Olympic track stars combined with the negative thought engines of daytime TV.
How do I fight this?
II Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I remind myself often, I tell my mind, that God’s Word says I’m the righteousness of God in Christ. I read this verse out loud to myself every morning and I quote it any other time my mind is being particularly hostile.
Of course, I’m nothing in and of myself (Rom. 3:23), but I’m no longer by myself. I’m in Christ now.
II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sin and then rose from the dead to give me new life. And because I have accepted Him as my Lord, I carry His Name and have right standing with God.
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
When my mind condemns me, I have the option to fight back with God’s Word, and tell my mind the truth.
If I did make a mistake or a bad decision, that doesn’t give my mind the right to call me names and tell me I’m worthless.
Even if I sinned, I still don’t have to put up with the abuse.
I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
All I have to do is confess and repent and His Word says that I’m not only forgiven, but I’m purified from all unrighteousness. And what’s left when all the unrighteousness is gone? Righteousness.
I make it a point to tell my mind that – often.
I fully understand that I need to be teachable and open to the leading of others wiser and more experienced than me. And I am. My battle is not with instruction, it’s with condemnation.
Because even though anxiety can be a physical illness in the brain, the fact remains that I also have an enemy who is constantly accusing me. So, it doesn’t matter whether I’m fighting a physical illness with mental symptoms or a spiritual enemy; my tactics are the same.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
The blood of the Lamb is what gave me His righteousness. The word of my testimony is me telling the negative thoughts that they have no authority to stay in my head.
I can’t always control the thoughts that come into my head, but I always have a choice about what to do with them once they’re there.
And I trust the truth of God’s Word to lead my mind to a place of peace.
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
The effect is rarely instantaneous. My mind has been accusing me my whole life; it’s going to take a while to reverse those thoughts. But I know it’s possible, because God’s Word tells me it is, and I have experience doing so.
Medicine can help, because God can use it as a tool in our recovery. I take a mood stabilizer for my bipolar disorder, and it definitely helps calm the storms my brain tries to stir up. Medicine can reduce symptoms; but God’s Word brings peace.
Some days the chatter in my head is louder and more forceful than others. On those days, I have to quote scripture more often to counter the negative messages. But when I don’t give up, I win.
What scriptures do you use to counter the negative thoughts in your mind?
Photo credit: geralt