Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 NIV
As a teenager, I began to understand the truth in these verses. I often spent hours lying in bed, thinking and worrying that I would never be able to change, never date anyone, and believing my situation was hopeless. It was easy to fall into a destructive thought cycle. As I grew in my Christian walk I learned that if I put those thoughts into words, either on paper, or by talking to someone else – the insurmountable mountain I had created in my mind became a much more climbable hill. I learned that there was a solution to whatever my problem happened to be.
In the past 21 years I have become intimate with processing grief. My husband and I have attended GriefShare frequently over the past year since our precious son Joshua passed away. Often a person who is grieving will relive the final scenes of loved one passing away, or will get stuck thinking of regrets, thoughts of, “if only I had …” fill in the blank. I believe the text in Romans is key to breaking the cycle of destructive thinking. We need to be transformed in our minds, in our thinking, so that we can live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus.
Paul gives us a practical lesson in how to transform our thinking in Philippians 4:6-8. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, 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.”
I believe this battle for our healthy thoughts is difficult, but it is one we can win. First pray and ask God to help and give insight. Next, recognize the destructive pattern of thinking and confess it to God. Then work to realize when you are getting into a cycle of destructive thinking, stop, and replace the unhealthy thoughts with healthy, uplifting and God-honoring ones instead. At times, this might be something we need to do every hour, or even every 5 minutes. With God’s help and his perspective, it is a battle we can win. God’s peace can reign in your mind.
By Grace Hunter