I’m leading worship at the women’s conference in Redding this Saturday and the theme is “Taking Our Thoughts Captive.”
This one hits home. My entire life has been an exercise in taking my thoughts captive. When I was a child I had an overdeveloped sense of guilt (still do) and was convinced that confession was the only way I could get thoughts out of my head. My poor mother had to endure too many encounters with me sobbing my eyes out because I had “something terrible to tell her.” My confessions would usually end with a relieved response from her like, “Oh, is that all?”
As a young adult, my thoughts turned fearful. This grew worse the summer before I was married. Living in the country with no street lamps and only stars to light the dark finally took it’s toll on me. I doubt you’ll ever see this country girl go back to that way of life.
This “fearfulness” grew stronger in the first two years of our marriage. If Nick was gone, I “slept” on the couch.
And then I had my first child. My brain was flooded with a whole new kind of fear. The “what ifs.” Once, I had to pull over on the side of the road because I was crying so hard out of fear that Izzy would choke on a piece of meat.
I thought it would all go away on it’s own. But it didn’t. Much like a compulsion, it just got stronger every time I gave in to it. I would burst into tears over things that hadn’t happened and pray continuously for God to take my thoughts captive according to His will.
And then I realized that I had to do my part.
I had to stop giving into the fearful thoughts. When one jumped in, I had to push it away. It was hard at first. But the more I tried, the more I practiced “bouncing” my thoughts, the easier it became.
It was a long process… but here I am 7 years later… and I am bouncing my thoughts more easily. We tell people to bounce their eyes from images that cause them sin, but sometimes we have to do that with thoughts. We bounce away from the fearful thought and to something else positive. Like Sonic limeades or In N Out burgers… Yummm… see?
Two weeks ago, Nick went on an overnight trip, I slept in our bed. Not the couch. And I slept all night. This might not sound like a big deal, but it was a first for me in seven years. Cause I’m “bouncing” my fearful thoughts. It’s not easy, but I had too. I couldn’t spent my entire life living out experiences that had never happened. Grieving things I had never lost. And filling my brain with toxic worries.
God’s gift to me is freedom. It cost Him everything. I cannot willingly step back into those chains.
What are your fears? How do you combat them?