I spend a large section of my day inside my own head. Honestly, sometimes it is a dark and scary place. Inside my brain failures can take up permanent residence, evil thoughts reappear regularly and lust, anger, and pride try to distort my every thought. With all this ugliness inside my own mind, I must continually remind myself of the truth of my faith.
1. God Loves Me Anyway. I am sure there are times God is disappointed in my actions or angry at my mistakes. He is our father, and like any good parent, he gets frustrated with his children. Also, like a good parent, those irritations do not diminish his love. God the Father loves us and seeks the best for us even in our failures.
2. Jesus Paid the Price. Quite often I feel this need to punish myself mentally. I feel I am not worthy of God’s goodness in my life. He must be angry with me and my continual mistakes, and if he is not disappointed, then I am with myself. I deserve any mistreatment I receive. The good news of the Bible is that Jesus took up our sins upon the cross. He paid the price for my trespasses, and I do not have to wait for his angry hand to punish me and I do not have to punish myself.
3. My Past Does Not Define My Future. The great Apostle Paul was at one time the evil Saul who gave approval to murder. Yet, God saw something different deep inside him. Once Saul started to follow Jesus his life was never the same. The change was so great that even his name changed to represent his new life in Christ. I believe God sees the same potential in all of us. I do not have to be limited by the mistakes of the past.
4. The Power of God is Stronger than the Power of Evil. When the dark thoughts overtake my mind, I frequently stop and say a little prayer. In those moments, I ask God to give me the power to overcome the evil inside me. I believe the power of God is greater than anything that evil can throw at me whether that be ugly thoughts, guilt and shame or personal fantasies that seek selfish pleasure. “God give me strength at this moment” is a prayer I know very well.
5. Focus on the Good. Paul told the believers in the city of Philippi to focus on “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.” (Philippians 4:8) Whenever dark thoughts enter my mind, I have to force myself to flip things over and see the good. Sure, I made mistakes, but those mistakes made me who I am today. Sure, I sin and fall short, but I worship a God who offers forgiveness and grace. We, as Christians, have been blessed in so many ways. Don’t ever lose sight of the blessing you have received in your life.
I often wish there were some magic words that I could recite to make all the darkness go away. There simply is no effortless way to fix my messed-up brain. Every day I have to make an effort to renew my mind and tune it to the sound of God’s word.
Through the years, I have learned that I am not the only one to struggle in with these thoughts. If you struggle too, maybe these words will help you today.