Don’t think. Think. Don’t think.
I’m exploring to see if there is actually some merit to this approach. I’ve always been a learner. I read non-fiction to learn. I like to be a student. I like to think.
But… there’s a dark side to thinking.
It’s one thing to explore new ideas and test hypotheses; it’s a very different thing to rehash and recycle unhelpful thoughts. Whether we want to define it as worry or anxiety, the kind of thinking that has us stuck on a destructive thought isn’t the kind of thinking any of us need.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, we’re told to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. And in Philippians 4:8, we’re told:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…
So, what do you do when your mind’s regurgitating negative thoughts, and you know it will only lead to a place (or you’re already at the place… anyone?) you don’t need to go? May I remind each of us of two proactive solutions? I’m glad you insist!
1. Recognize the Lie, Renounce the Lie, Replace the Lie
There’s always a lie behind our destructive thinking. The enemy is a liar. He’s called the Accuser of the Brethren. Maybe you’re believing a lie about you, or a lie about God. Maybe you’re believing a lie about someone else. Either way, this three-step process can bring you back to truth, stop the unhealthy thoughts, and get you back to what’s true, honorable, and pure.
2. Don’t Think
If bad stuff is being stirred up in your brain, turn it off by focusing on something good. Sometimes we have nothing left to offer and if we’re going to be able to live in the hope of Philippians 4:8, it means we need to push pause on our thoughts and let something else fill that negative space. Turn on a worship song. Turn on a podcast. Literally, break the unhealthy cycle with an interruption. Change the subject. Call a friend.
Negative thoughts lead to negative actions. In your weakest moments, if the only way to drown out the lies is to distract yourself and turn up the volume of something positive, then by all means, pump up the volume and chase the liar away.