Has this ever happened to you? My son finished his fourth year of college out of five and it is not cool to talk to his mom. I find out from my husband that he received two awards, one was for having the highest GPA in Architectural Engineering. So, I took offense and I thought, well, why didn’t he tell me when I asked what has been happening in his life. Why wasn’t I invited to the awards ceremony? Who was invited instead of me? My thoughts kept going like a fire. I could not sleep; I woke up depressed. All my muscles were tense with anxiety. I had the unhealthy belief that my son did not love me. I believed he will shut me out of his life, and I will never see my grandchildren. BOO-HOO. This example is only a smattering of how my thoughts quickly got out of control.
I know all thoughts are within my control. So, I told myself to STOP thinking those wrong thoughts and taking an offense. I talked to myself and acknowledged that I was disappointed because my expectations were not met, but that doesn’t mean it is the end of our relationship. The Bible teaches us to forgive, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and be thankful in everything. I refocused my thoughts on good thoughts and what I can be thankful for. I prayed and asked God to take my anxious thoughts and unhealthy beliefs from me and the resulting stress energy. I felt better immediately.
I decided to text my son to let him know I was disappointed when I was not invited to the awards ceremony and how proud I was of his achievement. He called me right away and told me (in a funny way) to get over myself and stop my pity party because the awards ceremony was not open to family and friends. I had a good laugh at myself. By that time, I accepted that those we love will disappoint us, and we will disappoint them.
So, where did those wrong thoughts originate? I asked God to show me where those thoughts flowed from. He showed me that I was feeling insecure about my relationship with my son, and my insecure feelings generated my wrong thinking and unhealthy beliefs. Could an unseen evil spirt have planted the thoughts that make me feel insecure? What is generating your thoughts? Hurt feelings, insecurity, disappointments, unmet expectations, etc. My short book on my website helps you to discover the sources of wrong thinking. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories
I know the topic of thoughts is vast and mind-boggling, but my research is specific to the influence of unseen spiritual forces that affect our thinking. Thinking about what controls our thinking and how our thoughts influence us is hard enough, now I have added the unseen spirit world. The Bible records many instances of how the devil influences people’s thinking. I use Biblical accounts because the Bible was written by God, as He influenced men’s minds to record His words. Therefore, the Bible is the authority on spiritual and relational issues. To learn more about who God is and the unseen spirit forces around us, read my post called, Four Realities of the Spirit World.
The following Biblical account is the first example of planted thoughts, which most of you already know or have heard of it. God created Adam and Eve in a garden and told them not to eat from the tree in the center of the garden. Satan (an evil spirit) takes the form of a serpent and climbs the forbidden tree. He causes Eve to doubt what God told her is the truth about dying. The devil tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit by enticing her to desire it and then persuaded her that if she eats it, she will be like God, knowing good and evil (see Genesis 3:4). This thought appealed to her pride. Interesting, the devil’s sin was pride, because he also wanted to be independent of God, which broke his relationship with God. The wrong thought then caused Eve to look at the fruit and desire to eat it. Her desire then compelled her to sin and eat the fruit. This process shows how unseen wrong thinking led to disobedience and separation from God.
Temptations also create thoughts of offense, which then generate unhealthy, false beliefs. Satan’s temptation may have caused Eve to think and believe: “How could a loving God keep such a beautiful piece of fruit from me?” and “Why should Adam and I not know good from evil and be like God?”
?? What were Eve’s mistakes?
Her first mistake was to reason with the serpent (the devil). Her second mistake was to consider disobeying God. The third mistake was to entertain the wrong thought and be enticed to look at and desire the fruit. And the ultimate mistake was to give into her fleshly desire and disobey God’s good and just command. The devil still uses the same temptation of living independent of God on all of humanity.
Until we recognize our thoughts and rule over them, they will continually control our beliefs, feelings, behavior, and destiny. We daily face temptations that appeal to our self-centered desires to live independent of God. Satan has not changed his tactics since tempting Eve. All unseen battles begin as a thought that is within our control. The girls in the prison system were told that if they withstand temptation for seven seconds, they can overcome the temptation. I encourage them to replace the wrong thought creating the desire for the harmful activity with a healthy thought based on Scriptural truth.
?? How do our thoughts dictate our actions?
My mind used to be controlled by thoughts of fear, which would cause my adrenaline to go up. Before I could stop it, I was in a panic—over nothing—except thoughts that needed to be taken captive. And because of all the conflicts from my past, I realized I was constantly in a flight or fight mode, which created stress in my body. I would sometimes imagine a confrontation with someone that would never happen. I would get all upset and angry because of wrong thoughts, which needed to be taken captive and loosed from my mind.
To learn more about dealing with unhealthy beliefs read: Identify and Replace False Beliefs.