Conntecting the Dots

Overcoming Thoughts That Fence Us In

I’ve been preparing materials for an upcoming women’s conference at my church. The theme is “Don’t Fence Me In.”

First I brainstormed about the things that fence us in (limit, restrict, hinder, or imprison). Our thoughts quickly rose to the surface as the lead culprit. Here are several examples of how this happens:

  • We’re bypassed for a position we hoped to fill at church or our workplace. Our thoughts say, “Obviously you’re not good enough or you would have been chosen.” Before long they convince us that we have no strengths or skills to offer, and the fear of inadequacy or failure prevents us from ever seeking new and stretching opportunities.
  • We feel helpless against our cravings for sweets, and over time our weight balloons. We’re embarrassed about the way we look, and we feel lousy physically. Our thoughts say, “You’re ugly. You’re hopeless. You’re unloveable.” Those voices discourage us, so what do we do? We begin to loathe ourselves and seek solace in comfort foods. The cycle repeats itself.
  • We’re raised in an environment in which we’re constantly criticized. Our thoughts say, “Strive to do better. Settle for nothing less than perfection—that’s the only way you’ll please others.” They persuade us that anything less than perfection is unacceptable. We live in constant fear of making a mistake, berating ourselves when we do, and feeling like we’re hopeless underachievers.

The thoughts on which we habitually dwell eventually determine the direction our lives take. For that reason, it’s vital to give the Holy Spirit control over them. “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Life and peace—sounds like freedom, doesn’t it?

I’m painfully aware of how quickly my thoughts can take me down the wrong path, so I begin every morning by filling my mind with God’s truth as revealed in the Bible. Rather than believing the lies that can hold me captive, I choose to believe the truth because it holds the key to freedom.

Then I ask the Lord to take control of my mind for the day. When I slip into negative, critical, or fearful thinking, I quickly ask Him to take control again. Sometimes this happens more often than I care to admit.

I also post Scripture verses where I can see them often. These little visuals help me bring my mind back to the truth repeatedly throughout the day.

Finally, I talk to Jesus as I would a friend as I go about my tasks. Doing so helps to keep my mind focused on where it belongs–on Him.

Our thoughts can hinder our potential, our health, and our relationships with people and with God, but it needn’t be that way. We can enjoy freedom characterized by life and peace. That’s what I want. How about you?

#bgbg2 #OurThoughtsCarryPower #ThinkTruth #ChristianDevotions

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