Session 12

What’s in a thought?

Read Proverbs 4:23, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8-9, Romans 8:1, Proverbs 17:22, John 8:1-11, John 8:10-11

Have you ever been around that person who names what’s wrong more than they acknowledge what’s right? What are your first thoughts? No one likes the constant critic. Criticism with grace has its place, but constant criticism especially without grace drains the soul. “Stand with your shoulders this way, sit with your feet that way, pull in your stomach”, phrases that I received regularly as a child. You shouldn’t this…, you shouldn’t that…. The well-meaning adults in my life planted thought patterns and ideas in my head that would rob my joy later in life. “I wasn’t capable, my accomplishments were never enough, I had to do more, I wasn’t complete with imperfection, I wasn’t likeable/loveable unless everything is perfect, I’m failing if everything isn’t perfect.  

I was 6 months postpartum, sleep deprived, and learning all things new in this role as a mom. The scale and my body shape were my constant enemies. Every time I passed a mirror and saw my tired, haggard, fluffy self, my thoughts would run away with my inner critic. “You’re so fat!”, “Gah, your body is so ugly, that shirt looks terrible on you.” “Your hair is a mess, you need some make up, you look terrible.” I had nothing nice to say to myself in my thought life.  I didn’t see a new mom loving her child and caring for her home, instead, I saw every imperfection my body held. I didn’t see God’s beautiful creation, I could only talk to myself about everything that was wrong, because I was a failure since none of it was perfect. I was also still living with the lie that my circumstances defined my identity. My thoughts were a hot mess express.

But God interrupted, this time through an older wiser woman. She asked me what God had to say to me about my imperfections. I didn’t know, but I was about to study John 8. This is where the story of the adulteress who was set up to be stoned lives. You see, the scribes and the Pharisees had brought the woman to Jesus just after being “caught” in the act. They were testing Jesus more than anything, but they were expecting to stone her as they each held stones in their hands. But, Jesus spoke. His words that had them dropping their stones and walking away. It was His words in verse 11, “I do not condemn you either” that took my breath away. In that moment I realized every critical thing I had said to myself was condemnation, and if Jesus didn’t condemn me, who was I to talk to myself that way.

I had been thinking and speaking lies and condemnation to myself for years. Philippians 4:8-9 reminds us to think on right things. Romans reminds us we are not condemned any longer if we are in Christ, and 2 Corinthians tells us we will have to take our thoughts captive and make them obey Christ. So, if Jesus were with me, what would He say to me, or about me? He would say I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m His creation, including the parts that fluff out faster on me than on others. Yep, He even gave me that complexion that doesn’t glow when sleep deprived. I am His, and I’m righteous since I’m in Christ. There is more good to this girl than her imperfections.

In the months ahead, I would practice taking these thoughts captive. When the inner critic spoke, I would catch the perpetrator and make her speak the truth over herself. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.  Over time I was able to think on good things about myself, and not in a conceited way. I would just quote what the scripture had to say, the truth. Speaking God’s truth over my life brought the joy back. Understanding what condemnation did to me, set me free and spurred me on to be kinder to myself.

I think we all know our thoughts eventually lead to actions. So where are your thoughts telling you lies or condemning you?

What actions are the lies or condemnation leading to?

Do you know what the bible says about the lies you have believed?

Do you have experience in taking your thoughts captive?

Why should we take our thoughts captive?

Truth Takeaway: Thinking God’s truth about our lives sparks joy.

Scripture Memory: We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB