As we continue working through different character flaws that lots of people deal with (including me), this week I’d like to tackle all-consuming thoughts. You know, those thoughts you have when you’re obsessed with something that’s happened, or something you’re worried about, and you can’t shake it from your mind. No matter how hard you try.
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In order to tackle this topic, I’ve enlisted the help of my new blogging friend, Cindy Schwerdtfeger. Cindy is a wonderful Christian writer! She blogs at Refreshing Faithful Hearts, and last week I was thrilled to share a guest post with her readers. So, this week, she’s a guest blogger here at Faithful Ninja Momma!
Cindy has given us her honest experience with overcoming all-consuming thoughts! I’ll hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find Cindy’s bio and follow info. Be sure to show her blog some love and follow her awesome posts!
Dealing with All-Consuming Thoughts
Have you ever had those all-consuming thoughts that you just couldn’t think about anything else? Or anger that raged like a roaring lion that kept coming back for more?
This is how I felt every time I thought about my old boss. My anger seethed. I wanted to call out about the injustice done to me. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.
The anger was tearing me up inside and I would end up in a hot mess of tears flowing down my face for the umpteenth time.
This anger was the result of a meeting I had with my boss and HR last year.
At this meeting, I was told that my job was being eliminated. I had the choice of taking another job within the company or take severance.
Honestly, I wanted to take the severance and run. But God had other plans in having me stay.
I needed to forgive him and let it all go. This is all easier said than done. But I had to take it a step at a time. And when the thoughts came back, I had to have a plan in place.
What to Do?
Whenever the consuming thoughts came upon me, I would pray, “Lord, take these thoughts captive. I don’t want to think about this anymore.”
God’s Word says in 2 Corinthians 10:5b, “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
In this passage, the Corinthians thought that Paul and Timothy were being wimpy because they didn’t boast like the other false teachers did and were walking in the flesh. Paul told the Corinthians they were walking in the flesh, but they weren’t fighting the war within the flesh. It was a spiritual war. He needed to fight this war with spiritual weapons of divine power not ones of the flesh. And if he was going to boast, he was going to boast in the Lord, not himself.
Any thought that is consuming us is from the flesh and it can become a stronghold if we let it. We need to use God’s divine power to help us. When these thoughts come, whether they are anger, worry, or a temptation, we need to ask God to take these thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. And He takes them away.
There will be times when something triggers the thoughts to come back. When those thoughts come back, we need to repeat the same thing again to the Lord and we need a plan for addressing the situation.
Breaking All-Consuming Thoughts Can Be Like Breaking a Bad Habit
Much like when a person has broken a bad habit and then tempted to do it again, they will create a new habit in its place. For example, if a person gives up drinking or smoking, they may avoid the places where this happens. The person will avoid going to the bar with friends and remove all alcohol from the house.
If there are situations where it can’t be avoided completely, for one reason or another (i.e. the person loves to bowl where drinks are being served), then they create a habit for when the trigger happens. They can drink ginger ale or a glass of water with lemon. Side note: I love water with lemon! It is a cheap beverage when you are out to eat!
What Did I Do?
In my case, I had decided to stay at my company and there are times I run into my old boss. If I see him in the hallway, I have chosen to go down a different hallway or take the stairs when he is waiting for the elevator. Sometimes, it is unavoidable. For those times, I’d smile and say, “Hi.”
However, there have been times when we were in the same large group meeting and he was doing a presentation. I could tell that I was starting to get angry. Then, I would grab my phone and open a scripture passage and read it. Or I would quote the main part from memory in my head. The passage I used was Philippian 3:13-14, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
With time, the anger has lessened. I still run into him and I say hi, but we don’t have conversations. The other day, he was in the same meeting as I was and there were only 5 people in the room. We both contributed to the meeting content and gave each other our attention, as needed. At the end of the meeting, he made idle conversation with those in the room and I even added to it. I was glad that I could contribute and still be kind.
The all-consuming thoughts of anger are gone but the discomfort is still there. I am now applying my new habit (quoting or reading scripture) for the discomfort as well. With God’s divine power, I am confident that the discomfort will lessen over time too.
Things to Think about:
- How about you? Can you find what thoughts trip you up?
- What verses can you pray to help you get through the consuming thoughts?
- What new habits can you put in place or verses to quote when the triggers come to trip you up?
Cindy Schwerdtfeger is a Christian writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a wife to Dave (since 1986), a mother of two grown kids who serve the Lord, one son-in-love, one daughter-in-love, and 3 wonderful grandchildren.
Cindy is a full-time Information Services manager by day and a writer at night. She teaches a women’s Bible study at her church and runs the sound for worship. Her focus is women who have been broken, living in doubt, fear or worry and need encouragement to receive the grace of God and the hope of Christ to live life to the fullest with the power of the Holy Spirit. Her website is https://refreshingfaithfulhearts.com or you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.