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How to be free from negative thoughts

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How to be free from negative thoughts

Do you struggle with negative thoughts

Do you struggle with negative thoughts? Did you know that one of the greatest battles you will fight today is in your mind? It's true! When Genesis 3 happened, everything broke. And as females, our minds are one of the first places that we are susceptible to attack! Two of the biggest struggles for me are the battle with comparison and insecurity. {I know, I know, you're thinking I have it all together! {Ha!} Truly, I wish I did... but just to be fully transparent - I don't!} Battling against our own fears and negative thoughts can literally consume our time if we let it. But the GOOD NEWS is, we don't have to!! One of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:8, which says “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” It sounds so easy - so why do I struggle with this?

Self-doubt, fear, and the tendency to jump to unrealistic, overblown conclusions is something that everyone struggles with. And it's no wonder... did you know that we have 40-50 thoughts per second? I can't even wrap my own brain around that {no pun intended!}. Think about it... every circumstance, TV commercial, situation, everything you've read, heard, and spoken is playing constantly in your mind. Imagine how many thoughts we have that we’re not even aware of. Wow!

So how do we take control? Can we take control? Absolutely!

Where do we begin? First, I start off by spending intentional time each morning in Personal Development. For me, that means time in my Bible, followed by time reading something that's going to make me smarter! {You can see a list of my favorites here!}

Next, I ask myself these three questions when I become my own worst critic...

(1) Is this a legitimate concern or am I just afraid?

(2) What is the worst thing that could possibly happen? Is that realistic?

(3) God promises in His Word that He prepared me for good works that He would do through me. Am I trusting in His promises today or am I relying on my own strength?

Want to try this out? Write out the first five negative things you think about yourself or your situation today. Now filter it through another lens. For example, if I don't like the way my body looks, I can replace that thought with the reminder that I am created in God's image, for His purpose, and I am ENOUGH. If I'm disappointed with my current weight loss efforts, I can remind myself that one mistake doesn't mean I've blown it - my nutrition is not a one day event that requires perfect performance - it's an ongoing process of change, and change takes time. I can toss the old thoughts aside and exchange them for new thoughts.  And even more promising to me is that I can ask the Creator of the universe to change my mind, my heart, and my thoughts to see myself as He sees me - his daughter - his creation - adopted into His kingdom - worthy - forgiven - enough.

Whether you're struggling with negative self-talk, fear of the unknown, or battling a big and scary problem, you're always just one thought away from turning your situation into an opportunity for change, growth and progress. So today, let's take our thoughts captive and focus on all that is pure, noble, true, lovely, and right.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts? What's you're best tip for overcoming comparison and insecurity?

@@#Comparison will rob us of #joy! Best tips for overcoming negative thoughts!! #proverbs31@@

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Hearing God's Voice - A One Year Update

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Hearing God's Voice - A One Year Update

The number one priority in my life is my faith in Jesus Christ. My number one goal in life is that everything I would do would point not toward me, but toward Him. {And just to be clear, I fail miserably at this, which is another reason I am so thankful for the grace of God!!} As I was thinking about Halloween this weekend, it struck me - exactly one year ago today, we were packing up the last few things in our vehicles and heading here! After all of the life-change we've experienced this year, it's kind of crazy for me to think that we've only been here one year.

Because of my recent blogging changes {including this new website!} I didn't transfer my original post over. In it, I detailed exactly what made us decide to make the move up here - from the things that we prayed to the very clear ways that we heard God speak to us.

Below was my original post, published almost exactly a year ago!

Hearing God's Voice - A One Year Update

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27 ESV).

Many of you have already heard that in the next few weeks we will be starting a new chapter in our lives together. God has called us to a new church home, and we wanted to share with you exactly how He spoke to us. We have been so blessed by our church family here and are going to miss each and every person. But we are also excited to see how God will use us for His glory in our new home.

Our story begins several weeks ago, when my husband received a call from a friend. He was calling to ask if my husband would consider praying about a position at their church. My husband told him that we were really happy here and that we weren’t ready to consider moving to another church at this time. After talking for a while, they agreed that we would both pray about it for a week.

We had really good intentions about praying for God’s direction in this decision that week, but then several crazy things happened with different students in our youth group that captured our attention. By the end of the week, we hadn’t heard a clear answer to our question but we also hadn’t prayed very diligently about it. My husband spoke with his friend and we agreed to take one more week to pray, and so we began asking God to speak to us – praying that He would show us if we were supposed to stay or go.

A few days passed and we didn't feel like we had heard from God one way or the other, so my husband texted his friend that morning and asked if he had time to talk. His friend was in meetings all morning so they planned to speak that afternoon. Well, the same morning, God begin to nudge us by something that, honestly, seems so coincidental. As my husband was walking by the music office, he heard the song “Love is an Open Door” from the movie Frozen. He glanced in the window and saw they were watching a YouTube video. He thought they might have been watching a lip sync that he and I had recorded, so he stuck his head in the office to see. It wasn’t us. It was a video produced by the church that we were praying about visiting. We felt like at the very least, God was nudging us, showing us that we needed to pray more about this decision.

Fast forward to Tuesday, when we are supposed speak with his friend again. We still didn’t feel like we had heard clearly about what to do, so my husband decided to fast and pray. That morning, he reached out to a trusted friend of his who also served as a discipleship pastor. He asked his friend how he knew/decided to lead from the role of discipleship pastor rather than the head pastor role. The conversation was great and insightful. The thing that stuck with my husband the most was that his friend talked about not having the platform to preach, but instead having the platform to teach in many different areas and to be a blessing to people. Those words… “be a blessing to others…” really stuck out to my husband.

About an hour later, during what would have been lunchtime, my husband got down on his knees and prayed, asking God to speak to him through scripture like He had done before. After praying for 15-20 minutes, my husband opened up his Bible and decided to pick up where he left off that morning (Genesis 4). As he was turning the pages, the Bible flipped open to Genesis 12. Verses 2-3 were already underlined... verse 2 was at the bottom of the page and verse 3 was at the top. His eyes were drawn to the top of the right page – “that you will be a blessing”. The words from earlier rung in his mind, as he continued reading verse 3 “I will bless those who bless you…” and then went back to verse 2… “Go from your country, and your kindred, and your father’s house to a land I will show you.” This was huge to us, because a huge drawback of moving will be that we will be so far from my husband’s parents.

The three biggest concerns in leaving our current church were that we would be leaving too soon, that we would be moving so far away, and that we would be committing to a job that could be out of our comfort zone. In one short passage, the Lord seemed to be addressing each of these concerns.

My husband drove home to talk to me about what he felt like the Lord spoke to him. We cried as we read the passage together. The next day, I was reading my Beth Moore Bible study and a big portion of that was also on blessing (“Blessing has a substance to it. Authority.”)

From that moment forward, we began hearing from God every few days… here are a few examples of how He spoke to us:

  • This verse from my bible study: “He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
  • Words from songs we would sing in worship, such as the chorus from Oceans “You call me out to deeper waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail, and there I find You in the mystery in oceans deep my faith will stand…”
  • A sermon that my husband preached about something that was really on his heart regarding evangelism ended up being the same topic that the pastor of the new church preached (both around the same time).
  • Our pastor started a new sermon series about Joshua called “Next”. The first week, he spoke about how the journey always has a next step. Every step you take positions you to take the next one.
  • He also said that "God loves to lead us into places we’ve never been, doing things we’ve never done before."
  • My bible study also said things like “What you have been called by God to do is beyond your natural abilities, skills, or talents. God will use those, as well as you, to yield them to Him.”
  • And “God has an affinity for lengthening cords and extending boundaries with a person willing to be stretched by Him.”
  • The next Sunday, our pastor’s sermon included statements like “Following Jesus as Lord always involves next steps that build trust, shape character, reveal possibilities, and release God’s power.”
  • And “God will often lead you to places and in ways that are beyond your ability, but it will never be beyond His.”

The following weekend we visited the church. The visit was even more confirmation of God’s calling.

A few days later, we accepted the call to come to this church. It’s been such a crazy month, and we are so surprised how everything happened so quickly. Is part of us sad to be leaving? Yes. We love our church here. We have been so blessed by the friendships we’ve made, the people we’ve grown close to, and the students we’ve served. We are going to miss them so very much. And we are also incredibly excited to follow God. Being in His will is all that matters, and we are excited to see how He will use us for His glory.

We can say without any doubt that we heard God speak. We were listening for His voice, and we knew it when we heard it. And the thing is, you can know it, too. If you’ve never put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can – right now, while reading at your computer or on your tablet or your iPhone. The Bible says that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). More than anything in the world, the desire of my heart is that you would know Jesus Christ. That you would pray to Him daily and that you would hear from Him. At least 65 times in the Bible, God calls us to turn to Him. My prayer for you today is that you would know Him, trust Him, live for Him, and hear His voice.

I am so thankful for you. Please let me know how I can be praying for you and your family!

XOXO, Rachel

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