Jennie Allen has written about combining research on how our brains work with biblical truths about our thought life to come up with a message on how we can take control of our thought lives.
She says she saw women who were stuck in issues year, after year, after year. Even though their desire was to move past that issue, they couldn’t seem to do it.
Allen recounts how she went through a season of pretty intense doubt. She was waking up every single night, asking herself questions and really starting to believe lies about God and about herself.
Looking back, she can see clearly it was spiritual warfare. However, she didn’t realize it at the time. She just thought all these toxic thoughts over and over again.
She began a search for tying the Bible and science together. She found we have anywhere from 9,000 to 60,000 thoughts in a day. Of those thoughts, 85 percent of those thoughts, for most humans, are negative. And about 95 percent of our thoughts are repetitive from the day before.
That means that we’re thinking the same negative thoughts over and over and over again. If we’re having tens of thousands of thoughts, we’re thinking a lot of negative thoughts repetitively over and over.
She says she wanted to grab everybody by the shoulders and say: “Hey, you don’t have to live this way.”
She’s not saying that you can just snap your fingers, pray a prayer, and mental health issues go away—but you can change your thoughts. She believes in medicine, doctors and counselors playing their role in the healing process. Some of us have thought the same toxic thoughts for ten years, and that’s going to take more than just, oh, I’m not going to think that way anymore.
But she says that you can shift the way you think. You can interrupt it. If you’re thinking something specific and you’re honest about that, and you do start to discipline your mind and say to yourself: “I’m not going to feed that thought anymore; I’m not going to give that thought energy anymore”, that is something that’s in your power and control to do. That’s scientific and that’s biblical.
As much as our brains are shaped by negative thoughts, our brains are also shaped by positive thoughts. Those positive thoughts are just as powerful. When you really get in the practice of this, it really does start to change not just the way you think, but the way you feel and the way you live.
It’s not as simple as just thinking positive thoughts. Start with a mind map. List out what it is you thought about today. Start by noticing your thoughts so you can start to see a theme of what it is that you’re so worried about.
How do we ever go from believing a lie to believing the truth? We have to know what the truth is, and we have to know what’s a lie. You have to start to identify: what is the lie I’ve been believing, what does God’s Word say, and what is the truth that could set that life free?
Isolation is probably the greatest enemy to our minds. When Allen looked back at walking through her eighteen months season of doubt, she realized that much of that season was spent alone in the dark with the devil. He just told her whatever he wanted, and she never told anybody.
She found that the biggest start to her freedom was when she started saying: “this is what I’ve been feeling, this is what I’ve been thinking about.” Then she felt like people could speak into that and help her with it rather than her being so alone.
If you are struggling or feeling isolated and alone, please let your Journey family know. We love you. We care for you. We’re here for you. And even more importantly, the Lord loves you and cares for you and is here for you.