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Control Your Thoughts or They Will Control You

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We all know the feeling of having something on our minds that we have a difficult time letting go of. Similar to an image or a catchy song that gets stuck in our head, commonly called an earworm, negative thoughts can be very difficult to remove and the more we replay them the more familiar they become.

Rumination is a psychological term for rehashing thoughts over and over. While it can simply mean being stuck in a mental cycle, that may not always be necessarily bad, the psychological term leans toward pessimistic thinking and feelings of what could have been. Some might worry incessantly about a conversation that embarrassed them, or having regret about a decision, and then live in misery over all the things they should have said or done.

The past is not the only area where rumination can try to distract us and cause depression. We can also worry excessively about what could happen in the future. To say the least, such thinking is not only very unpleasant and a joy thief, but it can generally become self-destructive if we do not learn how to control it. One psychologist described it as a turntable where the stylus runs in the groove of the record. Psychological rumination causes these memory grooves to get deeper and deeper, so it becomes more difficult to escape from the rut. What’s more, if we submit to the temptation of ruminating, we may become more upset than we were originally because the issue now becomes magnified or even exaggerated in our minds. We’ve all heard the common saying, “It’s all in your head” which helps identify that much of our worries are from our inability to control our thoughts.

We know that anxiety, fear, and sadness can haunt the mind and influence how we live and who we are. In the realm of good and evil, the Bible talks about an evil spiritual enemy whose mission is to deceive and persuade us to listen to his voice. He realizes the mind is the battlefield where he can attack those who are mentally and emotionally vulnerable to external influences. It’s no secret that if he is given access to our secret place of thoughts, he will prepare his ambush and release an assault of spiritual oppression upon us to distract and manipulate us into a destructive pattern of condemnation and pity. This is why we must build a fortress to guard our hearts and minds from his lies.

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Of course, we all have memories we wish we could have a second chance to make better, along with perceptions and fears that desire to paralyze us with dread. But if we spend too much time dwelling on spilled milk that we cannot change, our most significant regret will be that we could have used this energy to empower and enhance our future. Can you see what the enemy is trying to do? So, how can we develop a strategy to battle against these negative deceptions that are trying to steal, kill, and destroy? We can research and learn the reality of spiritual warfare and this will reveal what we are facing and help us develop an awareness of not only the tactics of the dark side but the glories of God’s presence. If we can grow stronger in spiritual discernment and comprehend where these dark thoughts are coming from, we can rebuke Satan in the Name of Jesus and pray and ask God for His help.

Revelation chapter 12 gives us insight into this dangerous entity called the accuser of the brethren, as the buttons of our vulnerable emotional areas will continually be his target until we learn how to resist him. Ignoring our accountability to control our thoughts and feelings will allow them to dictate our every idea and decision. We must decide if we are tired of being controlled. Emotions were never meant to lead us, we are created to be led by the voice of God, and it encourages us to know that we can overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony. It’s also very critical to forgive ourselves. We can ask others to forgive us for our failures, but God does not condemn us and wants to heal and restore our souls. Today we have a wonderful opportunity to take all we have learned and become more determined to enjoy the abundant life Jesus Christ has provided as we accomplish God’s will.

Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is an ordained minister, Christian author, and community chaplain. To read more about the Christian life visit: billyhollandministries.com

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