I felt like my brain was about to explode. I couldn’t do another thing until I got the words out. So I grabbed a notebook and just started writing. No rhyme or reason to the words, but dumping them from my brain. After looking at the words I had written, the source of my funk this last week was clearly evident.
Nothing nice. Nothing happy. Nothing encouraging or uplifting. Only negativity. Doubts. Worry.
I do this all the time. I know I’m not the only one. It’s all to common to find the worst things about yourself and pick them apart. Or even to find the good things only to put a negative spin on them. Like, I consider myself a decent cook. One point for the good side. But those cooking skills have caused me to gain weight, overeat, and feel gross. IF ONLY I WAS A BAD COOK! MY PROBLEMS WOULD BE SOLVED! In reality, my overeating is probably more related to my negative thoughts than anything else.
These thoughts are holding me back. Why even try to be better, do better, become better when I’ve already lost the fight in my head. If I think I’ll never make something of myself, why would I put the work in or struggle through learning? If I don’t have confidence in myself I surely won’t be able to stand strong against the criticism of others.
The Bible tells us we need to capture those thoughts and control them, change them to reflect the Truth of Christ. God doesn’t want us to sit around moping in our imperfections and wishing we could somehow measure up. He wants us to think about beautiful and lovely things, pure and admirable things.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
So I repeated my exercise. This time, writing down all the good and kinda good things in my head. You can see the paper is much less full than the first time. This was hard. For a mind that has been stuck in the negative for so long, seeing the positive and acknowledging it without any “buts” or “if only’s” is exhausting.
I’m letting those thoughts go. Or maybe, more accurately, I’m fighting those things. Those thoughts are going to want to slip in there. Quietly, unnoticed, until my mind is overtaken with negativity and self-loathing again. But I’m going to try to take captive every thought because I’m a new creation in Christ and there is nothing that His perfect, Cross-shaped love cannot overcome.
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 CEV
Oh Sarah, I love this! I am actually doing a Negativity Fast (and Positivity Feast) for Lent this year… God has helped me dramatically over the years and has changed my natural bent but oh how those negative self-thoughts still wiggle their way in and wreak havok! You can join in over at http://ignitinghope.com/negativityfast It’s free! I’ve never done it before – but it sounds like it may be right up your alley! xoxo
I will check it out! I love the idea of fasting from negativity and feasting on positivity. Thanks!
It is so wonderful that you posted this! Thank you for sharing. This is something all women should do, burn the bad. I burned my nasty thoughts one time with a ladies group but I know I need to do it again. It does seem that the nasty, negative thoughts are the ones that stick in your head the most. They bounce around and pop up just when you think you are going well. It’s like “Oh you got this down…but wait…remember that one time..” For Lent I took on working on my fitness, seems like maybe I need to go on a fast of negativity also.
I am also fasting from negativity this year. I am replacing it with gratitude and reading (only) about Jesus this Lent. https://fruitfulwords.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/lenten-ideas-to-help-us-focus-on-and-become-more-like-jesus/ I really thought I wasn’t that negative. Apparently I am more negative on account of (car) drivers and cell phone technology than I was previously aware. And in these three days I have been surprised to note how much I get down on myself.
I love your idea of burning those negative thoughts. I will be checking out the link KARRILEEA shared.
Behold I am making all things new! God has a way of reminding us of these words. Your post reminded me of the song “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. I think we all need to be better about focusing on the good rather than the bad. I know I too have been guilty of focusing on the worries first!
Love your honesty and I also struggle with the same thing, we girls are so hard on ourselves, aren’t we? The verse in Philippians has changed the way I view life, it is hanging above my kitchen sink so I never forget (because I forget a lot). I want to recommend a book to you, it is what God used to help me fully understand the verse.. it is called Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. I really like that you set the negative thoughts on fire.. such a great visual reminder. Thanks for sharing.
Sarah, you’re definitely not alone in this struggle. But I love how you used the Word and a tangible act of obedience to take a step in the right direction. Not for the sake of just seeking to be happy, but for the joy of becoming (and believing) more of who you already are in Christ. Just lovely.