I’ve seen my children kidnapped more than once.
I’ve watched predators stalk my daughters and seen my sons run into busy streets. I’ve stood helplessly by while tornados destroyed our home and wept inconsolably over the mangled remains of our minivan.
I’ve been through a lot…and yet none of it is real.
When I became a mother, my mind unexpectedly transformed into a dangerous place. And with the addition of each of new baby it seemed my capacity for fear could expand just as quickly as they could grow.
If I’m not careful, a disturbing news story, a movie, even a prayer request can send me into a terrifying mental spiral. I begin to play the “what if” game. What if that happened to me? What if that happened to my children? If I let them, these mental nightmares can begin to control my decisions, disrupt my fellowship with God, and paralyze my faith.
Thankfully, we’re not left to fend off these thought-intruders alone. God’s word has supplied us with the Truth we need to fight and win the battle in our minds.
First, remember that fear does not come from the Lord.
“God is light, in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
As believers we are under assault from an enemy that wants to destroy us. And if Satan is not given the opportunity to injure our flesh, he will work to injure our faith. For me, just remembering that I could have an evil opponent behind these mental attacks helps me desire to gather my thoughts and fight back against his plans.
Filter your thoughts through the Philippians 4:8 Test.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Much of what we think on won’t even make it past the first five words. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true…” If it’s not reality, then there is little reason to dwell on it. If it’s not excellent or praiseworthy, why would we even want to think on it? If our thoughts can’t pass any part of the Phil. 4:8 Test, they’re not worth our time.
Take those thoughts (physically) captive.
“…we take every thought captive, to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5b).
It sounds silly, but when I realize dangerous, sinful, or fearful thoughts are trying to hijack my day, I envision this verse. I can see a hand (stay with me here!) reaching into my mind and removing the mental image. It helps me to visualize the taking captive because it reminds me that I do not have to allow my mind to run amuck. As believers, every aspect of our lives are subject to Jesus Christ, and that includes our thoughts. He is in charge, not them.
Pray (of course!)
When the what-ifs threaten to send you into despair, ask Jesus to remind you of truth and to remove the temptation to think about things that do not honor Him. Not only does scripture say that we can trust Him to answer any prayer that brings God glory (see 1 John 5:14-15), our prayers will do double duty and serve to distract our minds from wherever they were headed.
Remember who God is.
God is a kind and loving daddy who doesn’t allow anything to happen in our lives that isn’t ultimately for our good. (Romans 8:28)
One of my worst fears came true when I suffered a miscarriage a few years ago. And though the experience was devastating, it was not as I had “imagined” it would be. Instead, I was overwhelmed by peace. I was even able to rejoice though the difficulty because I felt God’s presence so closely.
Occasionally our fears do become reality, but that does not negate God’s goodness. When we remember who He is, we can trust in all His ways.
Take heart! We are more than conquerors.
We don’t have to let our fears drive our thoughts. Through the power of Jesus Christ, we can take control. We have the mind of Christ, after all, and let’s not forget it!
Hannah C. Hall
Hannah C. Hall has written eight books for children, including the bestselling titles God Bless You and Good Night, God Bless Our Christmas, and God Bless Our Fall. She has three new books out in 2016, including her first picture book, Would A Worm Go on a Walk? She also speaks and blogs regularly about seeing God’s beautiful character through the Hard, the Ugly and the Messy-Good. She and her handsome husband and their four children recently bought a small farm in the Arkansas country. She doesn’t know much about farming, but she does own a fabulous pair of cowboy boots. Come say hello at HannahCHall.com.