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Totally Change Your Reality

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Our daughter and I watched a show with a cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy, together last week. The cat owner was a famous young woman who often tweeted about her cat and used some dreadful names for him in her tweets. Galaxy said something profound:

Words have power. What you speak becomes your reality.

He talked about how important it was for this woman to stop calling her cat these cuss word names, even on her Twitter account, and to use his real name. He talked about the importance of thinking about the good things about her cat and showing the cat some respect. Then he asked what she called her boyfriend, and she said she called him something like, “Stupid, stupid, stupid Todd,” when she was in a really loving mood. Yikes.

A woman stopping the negative, disrespectful, critical, condemning, hateful words is the first step on the journey to becoming a godly wife, too.

I learned when I began this respect journey that not only did I have to stop saying disrespectful things, I had to stop thinking disrespectful things. I also learned that as I stopped thinking negative things and focused on good things, godly things… my entire perspective and experience of my husband and my life dramatically changed for the better.

Whatever we focus on grows!

If I say to myself:

  • “I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. He should do this. He should do that. I deserve X, Y, and Z. He hurt me 12 years ago and I am going to rehearse every hurtful thing he has ever done to me over and over for the rest of the day. My life stinks. Nothing good ever happens to me. Everyone else gets to have a wonderful life and I am stuck with this garbage…”

Guess what results I will get in my heart, my attitude, my words, and my behavior?

If I say to myself:

  • “I respect my husband’s work ethic, the fact that he comes home to me every night, the fact that he has been faithful to me, the fact that he took out the trash for me last night, etc… (whatever good things you can find about your husband). He is a precious son of God for whom Christ died. God loves him deeply and wants what is best for him. He isn’t perfect and I am not perfect, but he loves me and he is God’s good gift to me. God will use my husband, even his sin and mistakes, to  help refine me to be more and more like Christ.”
  • “I am dearly loved by God. My life is such a gift from Him. God is good. I can trust Him fully. Look at all the blessings He has given me today. I’m so thankful for my church and my friends. I’m just going to sing praise songs to God in my heart all day today…”

What kind of results will I get in my heart, my attitude, my words, and my behavior?

If the lady with the cat changes the way she talks about the cat, she will probably have a different feeling and perception of her cat. Nothing about the cat would actually change. But her experience of him would change. Well – let me rephrase that. The cat would respond differently to her different demeanor, body language, tone, etc… So, some things could change in reality, not just in her perception.

As believers, we don’t just change our thoughts ourselves. We need God to change our thoughts. Our perspectives do change as God transforms our thoughts. But then, our sovereign God also actually has the power to change our reality in every possible way, not just our perception or a person’s response to us. So there is a BIG difference between “self improvement” vs. total transformation by the power of God’s Spirit.

Now, imagine the power and impact of meditating on Scripture all day every day and what God would do in my heart and life as I think about Scripture and pray Scripture to Him! His Word is alive and impregnated by His Spirit and always accomplishes His good purposes.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Matthew 12:35

God’s Word says that our words and our thoughts have great power. I believe that what we think becomes our perception of reality, too, not just what we speak.  Of course, God’s Words have infinitely more power than our words! Our thoughts or self-talk are the reservoir of all of the ideas we believe about God, ourselves, our marriages, and other people. What we say all day long to ourselves matters greatly! Meditating on God’s Word matters greatly! The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace! When we focus on and embrace God’s Words in faith – His Words become our reality – not just in perception – but in truth and in fact. This is why God commands us to think about only certain things to keep our thoughts from being contaminated with sin:

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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

It is impossible to become a truly godly woman until we begin to take our thoughts captive and discard all of the sinful, destructive, ungodly thoughts by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Every single one of them has to go as soon as possible!

When God’s Spirit is in control, He helps us set a guard around our hearts and minds and He helps us to evaluate each thought and motive against His Word. When we recognize a tempting thought immediately and shoot it down, refusing to dwell on it, and we choose to dwell on God’s truth instead, the sinful thought cannot take root and grow in our minds and hearts. If that thought doesn’t grow, but goes down the trash chute, it won’t come bubbling out later in our words, attitudes, and actions.

This is HARD!!!! Well, impossible on our own, really. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit and constant vigilance all day, every day. I don’t have the right to marinate in evil, sinful, destructive thoughts anymore. Jesus bought me with His blood. Everything, including my mind, my heart, and my soul belong fully to Him now.

This is why I personally keep a prayer journal. As soon as I start to feel upset about something or notice negative emotions or begin to battle with tempting thoughts, I go run to my journal as soon as possible and start writing down all the things I am telling myself. Then I write down the truth of the Bible about those issues. I have to very purposely reject the lies and ungodly ways of thinking or the disrespectful thoughts and replace them with godly thoughts. If I don’t have God’s Spirit’s power, I can’t do this. But when His Spirit is in full control, and I am in His Word and abiding in Him in constant prayer throughout the day, He gives me Light to see each thought with His eyes.

I might want to ask myself questions like:

  • Where did that thought come from?
  • Lord, empower me to see with Your eyes, to have Your heart and Your mind. Illumine the truth clearly for me in this moment.
  • Where would that thought take me if I really choose to dwell on it? What would the long term consequences be?
  • Is that where God wants me to go with my thoughts? Does it pass then Philippians 4:8 test?
  • What are my motives if I were to entertain this thought?
  • Is this promoting pride, unbelief in God, disrespect of God, disrespect of Greg, selfishness, etc…?
  • Is this thought promoting my will or God’s will?
  • Is this thought going to breed fear, anxiety, lack of faith in God, or idolatry of some type?
  • Am I feeling tempted to disobey God about something?
  • Why do I want to obey God? Am I obeying Him to get other stuff from Him or to have Him and please Him?
  • Are my motives simply to love God with all my heart and to bless and love others?
  • Do I have expectations I need to lay down right now?
  • God, I only want to think things that are pleasing to You. This thought doesn’t look pleasing to You, I reject it and choose to think about this other thought from Your Word instead about this subject.

Then, when my thoughts are pure and undefiled, I am walking in obedience to God, and filled with His Spirit – then He hears my prayers and His Spirit begins to also work miracles in my life on my behalf that go way beyond what my thinking alone could do. It is the prayer of the righteous man that is powerful and effective. If I want my prayers to be powerful and effective, I must walk in purity of heart and mind, and in obedience to God by His Spirit filling and empowering me. Then I have access to the sovereign God of the universe and His power is at His disposal to accomplish His good, pleasing, and perfect will in my life!

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

SHARE:

If God has been working with you on taking your thoughts captive, we’d love for you to share how you think about this and how you go about it – men and women are welcome to share. 🙂

RELATED:

Helping Our Children Take Their Thoughts Captive

Posts about Fear

Posts about Bitterness

Posts about Putting Things above God in Our Hearts (Idolatry)

Posts about Worry

Posts about Anxiety

Posts about Control

AN AMAZING WORSHIP SONG TO HELP YOU SET YOUR HEART ON GOOD THINGS:

115 thoughts on “Totally Change Your Reality

  1. I read this at 6 am and another blog about walking in the spirit (http://midwestoutreach.org/2015/04/16/white-knuckling-it/#comment-12798) and here is what my sleepy mind came up with— what if walking in the spirit was taken more literally meaning when we have those horrible thoughts (and my mind struggles with them daily) and instead of fighting them under my own power that I instead pray for help and “The holy spirit comes walking in (to take charge of the situation).” That is what I need to pray so I get a literal sense of what is taking place. Thanks for your insight.
    And I love Jackson Galaxy— (I make sure my bad cats watch him whenever his show comes on) His latest client was someone who was afraid of their cat named Darkness—she said the cat was possessed with the Devil…Jackson told them to change the cat’s name and he worked with the lady on facing her fears and seeing the cat in a different light. p.s. the cat’s new name is Jedi, which the owners explained in the Star Wars universe are those who represent strength and light.

    1. Esbee,

      YES! We MUST have the Spirit in control for us to even recognize or have any power to refute and confront sinful thoughts or temptation. It can’t be in our own power whatsoever. Praying for help is the perfect place to go when we face tempting thoughts!

      That is interesting about Darkness. Thanks for sharing!

    2. esbee, I read the link that you posted and it was a very good post. I liked what he had to say. Love hearing others’ honest stories about their struggles and how God is teaching and leading them. Thanks for sharing! And, I like what God showed you about Him (the Spirit) walking in to take charge. I think, for me, walking in the Spirit during moments of temptation (as the guy was talking about in his post) would mean offering up my temptation to God, being totally honest with Him about what I would like to do in my flesh and then asking Him what He would have me do and be ready to obey, in the power of the Spirit, whatever He told me to. I also think a big thing is remembering our identity in Christ, and reckoning ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. So, He’s walking in and taking charge and we’re letting Him……..OOOOHHH, just as I typed that I had a thought about the similarities between submitting to our husbands and submitting to the Spirit . A lot of times we talk the talk, but are we really submitting – are we really letting them lead, take charge? I know many wives kind of repel at that kind of language, but I just can’t get away from it especially when I read in 1 Peter that Sarah called her husband “master” (or “lord” depending on your version) and God was pleased with that! It’s definitely all about the heart attitude and I know when I really have the right posturing in my heart toward my husband, he responds immediately. It’s almost like he can read it on my face without my saying a word.

      Well, anyway – just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading that post.

  2. Dear April,
    Every day I thank God for this blog and all that your godly, encouraging and painfully honest ministry is teaching and reminding me. I pray that Jesus Christ keeps you and guards you from the enemy’s attacks as you serve Him so faithfully.

    For a long time now (in fact before I even started trying to be a respectful wife!!) I have found it helpful to pray two verses from the Psalms,on a very regular basis, and I hope others will find it helpful to try praying these verses in their own lives, as we all try to guard what we say and to take captive our thoughts. God’s word has power and so surely praying His word over our own (or others’ lives) gives our prayers power!…

    Psalm 141 verse 3: “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” This helps me to watch what I say AND the tone in which I say it!! I especially love this verse if I have any kind of ‘confrontation’ to have with someone, as it reminds me to be careful what I say. I have usually found that when I do speak up, “less is more”!!! God stops me from going on and on unnecessarily and also from saying anything hurtful. By praying this verse I can trust Him to be Sovereign over my word choice and my silence. 🙂

    Also Psalm 139 v23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This helps me in trusting God to search my heart and reveal to me any areas I need to repent of, or take captive to Christ. As you say, April, I have to be vigilant every day, against ungodly, destructive or sinful thoughts. I want to be free from any ways that are ‘offensive’ to God. Also, of course, the ‘anxious thoughts’ which at times in my life have plagued me terribly. But I am so thankful that as I am gradually letting go of control and fear, the anxious thoughts are also leaving!!

    Wow! I truly didn’t realise until I just wrote this, how much less anxious I am about everything since I started respecting my husband! 😀

    Much love in Christ to you April, one day we will meet in heaven! Yay!

    1. Sus,
      I can’t wait to meet you one day – here on earth – or in heaven – whichever God allows. 🙂

      YES! There is incredible power in the Word of God. God’s Word always accomplishes His purposes and is impregnated with the Holy Spirit. There is SO MUCH of God’s strength and goodness available to us when we pray the Word of God! Awesome, awesome encouragement for everyone.

      I love those two passages so much. Thank you for sharing!

      How I praise God that He is regenerating your heart and soul and that you are experiencing more and more of His amazing peace. That is what I long for everyone to find!

      Much love to you!

  3. This is such an important truth – blessing others with our words and our thoughts, choosing to look at the good in their (and our) lives rather than focusing on all that’s wrong. I remember hearing this on the radio a few years ago (maybe they replayed it, because I think this link is from October of 2014). The link is for the transcript of the program and in it is a powerful story of how God began to move in a very bleak situation after the parents started blessing their son with their words. Giving thanks to God in all circumstances is also talked about at the beginning of the program and I believe is key to our peace and joy in life. The title of this particular segment on Nancy Leigh Demoss’ radio program is called God is in Your Most Desperate Situation. https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/god-your-most-desperate-situation-1/

    Thank you, April! 🙂

    1. Jennifer,
      Thank you so much for sharing this! Yes, the power of our thoughts, the meditations of our hearts, and our spoken words and attitudes greatly impact us, our relationship with God, and our relationships with everyone else. Thanks for the link!

      Makes me think about John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God.
      Also makes me think about how God created all that exists with His spoken Word.

      God’s Words are POWERFUL. Sinful words are powerful, too. But thankfully, God is infinitely greater than the world, sin, or the enemy – and He – through His Spirit and His Words – can empower us to overcome anything!

      Much love, my dear sister!

      1. Yes! I also think of these two verses… Romans 4:17: “(as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’ ) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;”

        2 Corinthians 4:13: “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore, I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak,”

        I think it’s very important to remember that in and of ourselves, we have no power at all to change anything and we do not go around blessing others and envisioning changes in our circumstances and, in essence, begin demanding certain results from God. Our faith as we choose to thank God in and for all things and as we choose to bless others with our words, thoughts and actions is in our God who does the impossible, who loves to glorify Himself and rescue His children who have demonstrated great faith in His power and have obeyed Him as a result of that faith. We leave results up to the One with perfect knowledge and wisdom to write the best story that will bring Himself glory and us unimaginable good. Of course, this is what you already covered in your last paragraph, April. I guess I’m just saying it in a different way! 🙂 I love the way you expressed it and am going to read this whole post a few times!

        You asked to share about taking thoughts captive and, for myself, God has been showing me just how often I assume the worst about someone else’s motives. Wow. It is humbling when He starts showing you how often you do something like that. But, I am excited because I know He’s definitely the One doing this and whatever He begins, He completes!

        1. Jennifer,

          Yes, I do want to make a distinction here, too.

          If the lady wtih the cat changes the way she talks about the cat, she will probably have a different feeling and perception of her cat. Nothing about the cat would actually change. But her experience of him would change. (Well, his response to her would change because of her demeanor. So, some things can change.)

          As believers, we don’t just change our thoughts ourselves. We need God to change our thoughts. Our perspectives do change as God transforms our thoughts. But then, our sovereign God also actually has the power to change our reality, not just our perception. So there is a BIG difference between “self improvement” vs. Total transformation by the power of God’s Spirit.

          Very important point! Maybe I need to be more clear about that in the post?

          I had that same battle, of assuming evil motives in others. What a blessing for God to change our thinking and to expand and transform our understanding. How I long for everyone to get to experience this!

          1. I need to modify my comments here again…

            🙂

            Reality did change for the cat owner because the cat responded to the changes in the woman’s demeanor, tone, and emotions. So, her willingness to change the way she speaks about and treats her cat can change some things in reality.

            But God’s Spirit can change infinitely more things about reality than we ever could in our own power.

            I hope that makes sense!

          2. Dear April,

            (This ended up being eight paragraphs, oops! I hope this is useful. I’ve been asking for a change of mind for well over 20 years in one way or another. It really matters to me. The first part is general, but it is more on-topic in the second part.)

            This topic of changing our thoughts is one I have mulled over for a very long time. Thinking in terms of Romans 12:2 in particular, I think we /are/ able to change our thoughts ourselves, but that there are a couple of difficulties and a trap or two if we don’t fully engage our minds in pursuing God and his ways.

            Difficulty #1: Need of a target. “…that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect (complete) will of God.”(Rom.12:2) Without making the ways of the /Lord/ the focus and target of our mind renewal, we could replace our thoughts with just about anything else. This will still bring a transformation, but it will simply be moving from our original culture towards some other cultural ideas. Shifting to a new culture is a common thing in the world.

            Difficulty #2: We usually don’t have /any/ real awareness of what thoughts and perceptions actually /need/ changing in the first place. I think this is why Paul wrote “…and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” But, even so, we still frequently miss things that are in plain view because they feel so comfortable. We see our own ways as obvious common sense in the first place. We don’t question the precepts and perceptions we already use because we believe them implicitly. But, God tells us to “be transformed”, so those things we *believe* are *exactly* where we need to look for the thoughts and perceptions that need to change. The ones that are hardest hide fairly deeply in our assumptions. Besides that, simply misperceive ourselves frequently (think of Peter promising to die for Jesus).

            Trap #1: I mentioned above about the need to consciously search out God’s ways as our target. Frequently, we think we see the target clearly when we don’t. We may think that we are growing in God’s ways, but we are actually just learning the church’s doctrines and culture. The thiñgs we incorporate into our values and perception may be close, but not quite right. Those will likely be difficult to ferret out later. Unfortunately, humans are extremely adept at enculturation, and we do it subconsciously our entire lives. Finding God’s ways takes directed focus and searching. You have to be a Berean, and learning Hebrew and Greek won’t hurt any, either. (your 1st language was learned as a kid, why not give it a shot?)

            Trap #2: Fear. Trepidation is not a silly response. It is important to go on, though. If you have absorbed beliefs since infancy via parents or others, they likely serve a significant purpose. They at least help us choose actions that help us fit in and interact with others around us. Or, we hold onto them because they help us address fears or appetites without losing face.

            That second trap is where I get back on topic. The process of changing how to think about your husbands could involve a lot of watching how your own mind works. When you find something in your thinking and values that is different from God’s ways, fear could prevent any real change. Adding knowledge is a very good thing, but to the goal is to acknowledge Him in all our ways. Human hearts(minds) are deceitful, and it is dead easy to deceive ourselves into believing we’ve completely addressed some issue.

            A sincere man who loves God could easily, truly, offend his wife. Some wives adopt contempt (however sweet) as their underlying valuation of their husbands from the get go without any offense needed. Eventually, probably soon, those husbands will sin and provide “good reason” to disrespect him. The contempt will undermine his confidence, masculinity, ability to function well, maybe even cause severe depression. But, if it isn’t possible to change your mind for your husband’s sake, please do it for Christ’s sake. Do it that the “word of God be not maligned.” You can’t convince a man he is respected unless you actually do respect him, so it will be more than just a memorization or resolution you have to do. If your husband isn’t worthy of the effort, then please let Christ be.

            Some of us are crushed in spirit. A man can rarely face himself and deal with his life’s failures when he is in this state. Can you imagine having to look for work when you have had your confidence shredded? If your wife can’t see anything admirable in you, then how do you go out and sell yourself to some detached HR representative?? A wife can’t heal her husband, but changing how she perceives him and thinks about him will provide a place for him to begin recovering, and after some time, to possibly thrive. The only alternative is a wound in his spirit and soul caused by contempt that only grows, bringing even more humiliation your marriage and kids.

          3. Lover of Israel,
            Thank you so much for this, my dear brother! It is such a blessing. I really appreciate you sharing these traps and helping us to focus on searching for God and His will. So powerful.

    2. There are actually two stories in that link about sons…. The second one d the one I was referring to, but both stories are awesome!

      I really struggle with seeing the negative in others (and myself) and God is reminding me with this post and that transcript of the power of blessing. Thankful for the reminder and anticipating that He will probably be highlighting my negative thoughts on the days to come to really show me when and how often I do it and to do deeper work in this area.

      1. Jennifer,

        I used to always think negative thoughts. I didn’t know how else to think! For awhile, I used a rubber band on my wrist and snapped it every time I caught myself thinking a disrespectful, sinful, or negative thought and reminded myself to focus on Christ and His truth and His Word and good things (Phil. 4:8).

        I am sure God will be willing to show you the work that needs to be done as you ask for Him to illuminate those areas. It is painful at first, but then it is such a blessing to have Him clean out all the yuck and replace it with His Spirit and His truth!

          1. A Fellow Wife,

            It helped me to be conscious of my thoughts and to immediately stop and evaluate and realize what I was doing and that I didn’t want to go down that thought path again. I was so used to my thoughts just wandering and simmering constantly about old hurts, negative things, things I didn’t like, things I thought should change, things that I thought were wrong… That was almost every second of every waking moment. I had to learn to allow God to work in me to help me reign in the thoughts and not just let sinful, destructive, evil thoughts wander freely and roam anywhere in my mind. I also had to learn to recognize that negative emotions were a flag that I needed to do some heart work and write down my thoughts and motives and pray, asking for God’s help and His power to help me replace the lies and sin and hurtful ways of thinking with His truth and love.

            At first, I snapped that rubber band on my wrist A LOT!

            Much love, my sweet sister!

  4. Amen.. This was/is my downfall, but as I grow in my faith, and put this in to practice,it has changed my life, my marriage and most importantly….. Strengthened my relationship with CHRIST!😀 I feel closer to him bc I learn to shut up MY negative thoughts and take on His truths💗
    Praise the Lord

    1. That is exactly what Romans 12:2 is talking about:

      Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    1. Vindohini,

      This is where the greatest battle is for each of us – it is in our thoughts and prayers where we win or lose the fight. When God’s Spirit is fully in control, that is the only way we can have the power to do this. Praying for you, my beautiful sister!!!!

  5. There are a couple of quotes by the Puritan, Thomas Brooks that are beginning to help shape my thoughts and words about others shortcomings. At the heart of each quote is the recognition that any good in us is a grace given, so there is no room for pride; only humility.

    “Spend more time considering evidences of grace in other Christians than you do pondering their sins and weaknesses.”

    And….

    “Humility can weep over other men’s weaknesses, and joy and rejoice over their graces.”

    I’m trying to develop a habit of instinctively praying for others when I see their sins and shortcomings, and to think of how sin impacts God’s glory, rather than how it impacts me. This will probably be a lifetime battle for me.

    It seems the more time I spend meditating on God’s attributes, especially His goodness and sovereignty, and how those two attributes are always present and at work in my life, the easier it becomes to look at everything and everyone from God’s perspective.

    When God and all that He is, is my greatest delight, then I can look at everyone and everything that happens as a means to point me back to Him.

    I hope this makes some sense in my half asleep still rambling mode.

    1. Julie,
      I agree, studying God’s attributes and allowing Him control and trusting His sovereignty and goodness gives so much peace and joy!

      And I love those quotes! Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, the closer we are to God’s heart, the more humble we will be and the more we will grieve over the sins of others rather than rail against them with condemnation. And the more we will rejoice when we see God at work!

      Love this! Yes, it makes sense!

    2. Julie, I love those two comments! Thank you for sharing those.

      I had this moment recently where I was focused on something my husband had done wrong. I felt like God kind of jolted me with the thought that I was more worried about how the sin had affected me rather than my husband’s salvation. Sadly, that is true. Praying that God will give me an undivided heart for my husband’s salvation and his soul.

      I like what you shared at the end, too, although I have to admit that what God is showing you is probably deeper than you were able to articulate here. 🙂 What do you mean exactly that you can look at everyone and everything as a means to point you back to God? I would love to hear more about that!

    1. AnonyMan,

      That is SO true!!! When our hearts are overflowing with the power of God, the Spirit of God, gratitude to God, praise for God, trust in Him, reliance on His sovereignty – we don’t have to be worried or afraid. We can cling to His promises, knowing we can pray them and speak them into reality as we wait on Him and His timing.

      Very insightful! Thanks, my brother!

  6. now I wish I had cable so I could see this cat show, lol! May I share some experiences related to changing our thoughts so they line up with God’s reality? I have horses and like cats, they are feeling, sensitive creatures. I have noticed that on days when I am feeling weak or down or fearful, my horses pick up on it and respond differently to me than on days when I am calm confident and in a strong peaceful frame of mind. When I am having a weak down day, they are disrespectful stinkers and flighty, unsure. On days when I am more solid in truth and reality, they are respectful and less They are the same horses but their response to me is based on whatever skittish.

    There’s a guy that used to come into my work; all of us ladies were a little frightened of him, he had some mental health issues and was loud, aggressive and talked rapidly in an insistent way. And he came every day and stayed for at least an hour and since we are a public service agency that wasn’t something anyone could refuse as long as he wasn’t out of control. I decided to do an experiment and treat him like he was a normal person who was rational and worthy of respect; I think he was pretty used to having people reflect back to him what he was reflecting to them based on his own inner life and outward behaviour. People were affirming to him the bad things he was believing , without even realizing what they were taking part in. Plus it dehumanized him and made him a mental health case instead of a person with value made in God’s image. So I just engaged him in conversation and acted as if his high pressure behaviours weren’t there. When he ranted about his “evil mother” I listened thoughtfully and asked him some questions about what he might be able to do to help himself and spoke honestly about my own struggles with forgiving people I felt hurt by. He listened carefully to what I had to say on that subject, to my great surprise. The next time he came and after that, he was much more calm, and his words stopped coming out of him like water from a high pressure fire hose. It was extremely interesting; I had gotten the idea from some christian literature I’d read about how the body of Christ can powerfully effect restoration in people who have become disconnected. People wanted to be around Jesus but not so much the Pharisees, for good reason. PS, Silver looks happy and sassy:)

    1. Patricia,
      That is really interesting! Jackson Galaxy talks about how cats pick up on people’s fear and anxiety, too. So fascinating that horses do, as well. Hmm… gives me a lot to think about! And, of course, people pick up on our fear, resentment, bitterness, anger, joy, peace, or whatever spiritual and emotional state we are in, too.

      I LOVE your story about the man who came to your agency. I have seen how treating people with respect, love, concern, listening to them, validating their feelings, and sharing God’s Word and truth with them can be such a blessing. So beautiful!
      Thank you very much for sharing!

      Silver is doing really well, thank you. 🙂 Greg put some bird feeders on the dining room windows – so he has a lot of squirrels and birds to chase – even if he can’t actually get to them. It gives him exercise and he likes to tear through the room from one window to another trying to pounce. 🙂

      When we are filled with God’s Spirit – the Body of Christ has SO MUCH POWER to bless, heal, and do good to other believers and to the world. I want to see us living at full strength in Christ individually and corporately! Can you imagine that!?!?

      Much love!
      April

    2. So true about horses— my horse trainer can get on any horse and it will do his biding because he is a confident rider. Others can get on the same horse and not get the same results because they are scared or lacking confidence. What makes this more interesting is that my horse trainer was one of those people who died (unsaved) and met the Lord! He came back knowing there is a God.

  7. First time commenter. I have a question for you that is somewhat related. Since I’ve been putting in more effort to take thoughts captive and being respectful to my husband, I’ve been having anxious/obsessive thoughts about it. I find myself being consumed/obsessed by it and it almost backfires on me – I end up doing the thing that I’m so focused on not doing. I hope that makes sense. Do you have any advice for me?

    1. Stephanie,

      It is wonderful to meet you! 🙂 That is a great question – and I think it is part of the process.

      Before I can answer, would you be able to describe a bit about where you are in your walk with Christ?

      Are you at a place where you totally trust Him and understand His sovereignty, or are there areas where you are holding things back and filled with fear?

      How long have you been on this journey?

      What are you saying to yourself?

      How is your time with God going? What are you praying about?

      How are things with you and your husband in general?

      Are you dealing with any really severe issues?

      Much love to you!

      1. Thanks for your welcome-ness! (Is that a word haha?)

        I became a Christian at 16 (I am now in my late 20s), but I am just starting in this journey to having a biblical marriage. I don’t know that I can or ever will be able to say that I totally trust God in everything, but I’m a work in progress. My time with God is good. It’s not regimented and I usually use the She Reads Truth app whenever I happen to have time during the day. I’ve been following the Lent reading plan even though Easter has come and gone – it just looked good!

        Perhaps an example or two will help. The other day I wanted to criticize my husband for the way he cooked eggs – silly, I know. I kept saying to myself “let it go, don’t say it, it’s not worth it.” And the more I said those things to myself the stronger the urge to blurt it out was until I finally did say something. It was probably dialed back to a 4 on a 1-10 scale of disrespect, but I still said it. So that’s what I mean by “I end up doing the thing that I’m so focused on not doing.” Another example is that even though I’ve been a Christian for 10+ years, I still struggle with using profanity. Not in an angry way, it’s just a bad habit I developed a long time ago that I haven’t been able to break. I’ve been praying a lot about this and asking God to change me in this area, but it seems that the more I focus on NOT cursing, the more it just comes out.

        1. Stephanie,

          I am really excited for you about your faith in Christ and about this new journey. 🙂 WOOHOO!

          God can get you to the point where you can totally trust Him with everything. That is not usually where we start. But it is where He can take us. 🙂 His perfect love casts out all fear. The more we know of His love, the more we know of His sovereignty, goodness, and character – the more we can fully trust Him and hold nothing back. That is the goal. But there is wrestling in prayer and wrestling with our fears and thoughts to get to that point.

          I would like to encourage you to set aside specific time for God each day 15-20 minutes (or more) to start with. I would love for you to read a chapter of Scripture and have a prayer journal – if that works for you. Write down your fears. Write down the blessings you have and the good things God has done and has given to you. Write down the things you respect and admire about your husband. Write down your sins and turn away from them, running to Christ.

          The only way to really “fix” these thoughts is that you have to have a good, healthy, godly thought with which to replace the destructive thought.

          So, instead of saying, “Let it go, don’t say it, it’s not worth it” – which are all true things…

          You can say to yourself, “I’m so glad my husband is cooking for me. Let me think about all of the things I admire about him and how thankful that I am that he is my husband… Let me ask him about his day (if he is in the mood for conversation)”

          And, if you still feel super compelled to criticize him – you may need to get busy doing something else instead of standing there watching him cook. 🙂

          If you prefer your eggs to be cooked a certain way, and he is cooking for you – you can say, “You know, I really love it when my eggs are cooked like X. Thanks for cooking for me, Honey!”

          If you are just being critical because you don’t think he is doing things right, then you probably don’t have to say anything. You can let your husband be a grown adult and handle cooking eggs himself. Does that make sense? I mean, if he is getting shell in your eggs that you have to eat – it’s probably good to say, “Oops, Honey, I think a piece of shell got in the eggs.”

          But if you are just beginning this journey – there may be times when it could be better to say nothing and just pick the shell out of your eggs later and enjoy your man’s company and the fact that he cooked for you.

          How do you want your husband to respond if you are doing something in a way that he doesn’t particularly like?

          Have you ever had a really controlling, critical person in your life? How did you feel when you were around that person? Did you think a lot of warm, fuzzy thoughts?

          The rubber band thing is actually a fantastic thing to do to help you stop using profanity. Snap your wrist with it any time you realize you are about to say a word or just said a word to remind yourself that you don’t talk like that now, your mouth belongs to God! And you can absolutely pray for God’s Spirit to help you. As you trust God more and open your life up for His Spirit to fill you more, He can empower you to do this stuff that you can’t do on your own. 🙂

          1. Thank you for your response! I really like your suggestion of replacing the negative thought with a positive one. I think that may prevent me from focusing so much on the negative thought.

            If I were doing something my husband didn’t like, I would hope that he would tell me in a pleasant way. I don’t want to keep doing something he hates or making food he doesn’t like just because I didn’t know he didn’t like it. I think my husband does a great job of this though.

            My mother was extremely controlling, so I definitely know how it feels to be around someone like that.

            I don’t think I can implement the rubber band trick. I have a history of self harm. With God’s helped, I am healed from this addiction, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to purposefully cause pain, particularly on my wrists. (Sorry, that was probably TMI, you don’t have to publish that part of my comment if you feel it’s inappropriate for your blog).

            Thanks again for your response. I recently finished reading The Surrendered Wife. I got a lot out of it, but I’m still working through some of the practicalities.

          2. Stephanie,

            That is awesome, I am glad you will plan to focus on positive thoughts.

            It is ok to share your desires if your husband is making food you hate. It’s fine to say what you would like. You can do that respectfully without criticizing him. How would you like your eggs to be cooked? 🙂

            Maybe you can use your husband as a role model about how to share things respectfully?

            Oh goodness, then please don’t use the rubber bands! Maybe some other signal to yourself – tapping the table or something – might help? I don’t want you to do anything that would remind you of self harm. Hmm. I wonder if I need to rethink this idea! I’m glad you mentioned this.

            Much love my precious sister! I praise God for what He has done in your life already and for all that He will continue to do!

          3. I thought of you and your situation of trying to overcome profanity the other day when I read this verse: Ephesians 5:4: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

            Pretty cool that God tells us what the correct response or what the appropriate/fitting thing is when we are wanting to use profanity — thanksgiving. I would think most times we are using profanity, we are frustrated at something that has just happened or are talking of situations or people in a negative way. Thanking God in and for all circumstances would be polar opposite to what our flesh wants to do in those times. But, it’s this humble attitude of trusting that everything that happens is part of God’s plan, we can trust Him in every single thing. All of it is refining us – to the person in traffic who’s not driving the way we want, from stubbing our toe, to our husbands who go off on guy weekends more often than we would want (ha! Trying to bring in some of my own situation here and remind myself of these truths as I ponder) ….God is using all of it in our lives for good and we can trust Him in everything.

            So, thank you, God, for my husband being away this weekend. Thank you for this sister who has humbled herself and who is battling using profanity. Thank you that You are aware of her battle and that You will keep revealing to her more and more about this issue. Thank You for the desire that she has that is from You that she doesn’t want to take part in that any longer. I pray that she will find rest in her righteousness in Christ and that as she rests totally in that, the profanity will just dissipate and become a thing of the past.

  8. This was an interesting post, and I needed to read it. I haven’t commented for a long time. I have the weirdest struggles. I definitely have a hard time taking my thoughts captive, but they are not usually about what’s wrong with someone else, but what is wrong with me. I was reading this and thinking about how hard this is, and I had to smile when I then read (in big, bold letters) THIS IS HARD!!! 🙂

    For example, I get upset because my husband still smokes. Now to be fair he never smokes in the house or the car because he knows it bothers me and we never wanted the smoke around the kids. Okay, points for courtesy. However, it scares me (for his own health) and he knows it. Sometimes he wheezes and it’s like he doesn’t even care. He says he really wants to quit, but he doesn’t. He says he wants to quit over and over and over and over and over again, but he never quits. So I know he doesn’t mean it. Actions speak FAR louder than words. I’ve prayed about it, I’ve shared with him how it scares me. He says he wants to grow old with me but he’s lying. How can he mean that when he knows each cigarette takes time off his life? I even told him how obvious it is that he loves cigarettes far more than me. He says that’s not true, but of course it is. If I went away for a week, he might miss me a little, but if you took his cigarettes away for a week he’d go absolutely nuts and be very cranky. It just proves where his heart truly lies. He would tell me my thoughts and words are negative, and maybe they are, but sometimes the truth hurts.

    The other main negative thing I struggle with is how quickly brunettes turn his head. He absolutely adores them, and yet freaks out if I even mention dying my hair. He does show me the respect of not staring or ogling, but his attention is definitely caught by brunettes. I have never seen him “check out” a blonde. I’m honestly not even sure why he married me (a blonde) and why he doesn’t want me to dye my hair to look more like the kind of women he finds attractive. It’s infuriating! Last night we were sitting in church and I was thinking to myself how ugly and worthless I am and how he should have never gotten married and how much happier he would be if he were free to pursue a woman he found attractive, and he was like “what’s wrong?” Of course I said “nothing” but he was suspicious. I hadn’t said a single word, but it’s like he somehow reads my mind. It’s infuriating! At times he’ll say something stupid like “you’re so pretty” or “I love your body” and I have to smile and act like I’m thankful when we both know he’s just lying because that’s what you’re “supposed” to say to your wife. He has never, ever turned his head when I walk by. I don’t think he even notices I’m there half the time. I don’t “catch his eye” like a brunette does. It makes me so sad that he went and got himself stuck with me.

    So yep, negative thoughts fill my head every day. I know my heart isn’t right, but it is almost impossible to get unstuck. Especially when you know your husband doesn’t find you attractive but tries to act like he does.
    So last night as I was wallowing in my self pity that I KNOW is wrong, I had the thought that maybe I should stop telling myself I’m worthless. It’s hard to understand, but I know I have worth to Jesus if He would die for me. So I need to focus on that rather than how worthless I am to my husband.

    I’d also like to know why my husband gets so upset when I feel this way. The truth hurts, but it’s better than believing lies. And I have been doing a great job of keeping my mouth shut, so it’s not like I’m complaining out loud. But it’s almost like he can read my silence and that is unfair. I try so hard to keep all of this negativity inside because I know it bothers him. And I don’t want to share it here because I know it bothers others. But sometimes I just have to talk to someone and today is one of those days.

    So yes, I have a lot of work to do in my own heart and I don’t like it. I take one step forward and two steps back. Over and over again.

    But thank you for the post. The post, and the other comments, have already made me think.

    I dislike trying to change my thoughts. It seems like a losing battle sometimes.

    1. Becca,

      I’m really glad you commented – because I want to know how you are doing. But my heart is grieved! I love you dearly!

      The last time we talked, it seemed like you were making a lot of progress. What happened??

      You are believing the same old lies again!!! 🙁 Remember we talked about this issue with your husband. And I am pretty convinced from our old conversations that you have a man who genuinely loves you and who thinks you are really beautiful – if you will only receive his words as truth. I think the problem is with your receiver and self talk, not with your husband thinking you are “worthless.” Nothing you have ever shared about your husband points to him believing that. It seems that you believe that because of what your sisters told you years ago. But that is a lie! I know you hate working on your self talk. But you will remain stuck right here until you are willing to radically do this all the way with God.

      Let’s stop assuming negative and evil motives on your husband’s part. You have a great man. And you are beautiful. He really does think that. I wish you could accept that about yourself. 🙂

      Have you ever written out all of these negative thoughts like we talked about months ago and countered them with the truth of God? I had to do that over and over and over again myself. I believe you will need to do the same thing in order to overcome these lies through the truth and power of God.That is what it is going to take.

      Your husband gets upset because you are calling him a liar and you won’t believe the truth even when he tells you the truth. That is really disrespectful, my precious sister!

      Please look back over the comments we have shared and the comments from Robert and Amanda – and then PLEASE, PLEASE take the time and effort to really, truly write out all of these awful lies that you are holding on to that are destroying your soul and your relationships and please get rid of them!!!! I AM BEGGING YOU!!!!!! I don’t want to hurt you. I want you to get out of this awful prison cell!

      Yes, as long as you cling to these awful things you tell yourself, it is impossible to get unstuck. You have to let go of these comfortable pet lies that have been part of your thinking for decades. That is the only option – give them up and receive God’s truth and His power. It seems like a big sacrifice, but I promise that what you are giving up is garbage, and God wants to replace that with treasure. But you have to let go of the garbage before you get to have the treasure.

      Let God work on your husband about the cigarettes. That is an addiction. It has nothing to do with his love for you any more than your addiction to these toxic thoughts have anything to do with him. His addiction is about his issues. Your addiction is about your issues. Let’s trust God to work in his heart about the cigarettes. If he dies “early”, God is still sovereign. You will be ok if you are in Christ. God will never leave you or forsake you. Your hope is not in your husband but in Christ alone. God is sovereign over the day your husband dies and the day you die. God can empower your husband to quit smoking. You cannot.

      I am praying for you, my precious sister!

      1. I should probably not try to comment when I am getting the kids settled in from school and cooking supper! I end up commenting multiple times. So sorry!

        Becca,

        The awesome difference between how God would feel with you is that He can change your desires and give you the power to overcome this addiction if you will turn to Him and allow Him total access to your heart, mind, and soul. You can’t change your husband. But God can change you! And God can change your husband about his smoking, too.

        How is your time with God?

        I am really glad this post was a blessing to you.
        Sending you the biggest hug!

    2. Becca,

      I hope you might think about that whole paragraph about your husband and cigarettes in terms of you and these toxic, sinful, poisonous, addictive thoughts. Could this be kind of how God feels with you?

    3. I have been in that place where I could not accept my husband’s love for me or any compliment he gave me.

      It’s been a process of believing it and I think April is right on when she says that we are being really disrespectful of our husbands when we won’t believe what they’re telling us. Like she said, we are basically calling them liars. That didn’t sit too well with my husband and frustrated him greatly…..which shut him down….which made me feel even more unloved….which did cause him to look at other women because why would he want to invest more of his energy and comments on a woman who was sullen all of the time, hardly ever happy and didn’t believe what he told me?

      Even when he looked at other women, it was not NEARLY the big deal I made out of it. I am still working on this, but God is clearly showing me that I was believing a lot of lies about those incidents and the lies I told myself colored how I saw all of those situations. 🙁

      My husband has told me over and over again through the years when I’ve asked him why he loves me….”Because you’re you”. That used to drive me a bit crazy, but now I love it. He’s saying that he fell in love with the whole package and no one else has that package but me. God enabled him to fall in love with the person God made me. This is true of your husband as well. My husband loves long hair. Loves it. Guess what? I can.not.grow.long.hair. I have naturally curly hair that no matter how long it grows, just kind of gets stuck at a certain point and that’s it. 🙂 My husband didn’t fall in love with my hair and yours didn’t fall in love with your hair. They fell in love with us, the girls we used to be (and should still be, but growing more and more beautiful in godliness as the years go on). Don’t you think if brunettes were that important to your husband he would have made sure he fell in love with a brunette? But, you were so special that he fell in love with a blonde even though maybe his natural inclination is toward brunettes. Same with my husband. (Although, I might have it worse than you. My hair was longer when we met but as I’ve aged, the growth phase has shortened, I guess?).

      God is able to keep our husbands’ hearts turned toward us, but we can sure help the process by practicing the habits and attitudes that are shared on this blog (smiling!, being respectful, believing our husbands’ words to us, etc.). We don’t want to tear our own houses down by our choices and the things we choose to believe are true.

      I will say a prayer for you now. That God will heal your hurts and that you will by His grace begin to replace those lies with His truth. Love and hugs to you –

      1. Love this! Thank you so much for reaching out to Becca, Jennifer! I know that MANY wives are having these same struggles. And I know that this conversation will be a blessing to countless other women.

        Becca,

        We are praying for you!

        One precious sister in Christ has not been able to receive God’s love or her husband’s love for almost 21 years. She told herself terrible things – a lot of similar things to what you have been saying to yourself. Lies. Lies. Lies.

        She finally went to some really godly women at her new church and they said, “You have been ROBBED!” They prayed over her. She is healing and her faith is growing like never before. Her word for this year is “receive.” She wants to receive good things from God and her husband and others. She wants to stop rejecting love, grace, mercy, and all of those good things.

        I wish we could all lay hands on you and pray over you right now. This is the kind of healing I long for you to experience, my dear sister! Perhaps “receive” should be your word this year, too?

        Jennifer, than you so much for sharing. Beautiful and powerful comment!

        1. Hi April and Jennifer,

          Thank you for replying. I’ve written a reply four times. I deleted it three times, and the fourth time my computer locked up. Ugh.

          Anyhow, when I read this post about talking nicely I could see the point. I mean, especially with children. But talking nicely to myself does not come naturally and even feels incredibly stupid. So talking nicely to myself might be a good idea, but I don’t think so. I would feel ridiculous.

          My husband told me once that I have trouble receiving love, even from God. He’s right. You’re right. But I’m too old. I turned 40 this year and I’m too old to change now. Its so great that your friend found some good friends at church to pray for her. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable telling church ladies all my issues. I think that might be disrespectful to my husband, telling all the world who he got stuck with. How he settled.

          I miss Robert and Amanda’s blog. I hope they are well.

          I can’t write down my thought for a couple reasons. One, it feels very stupid. And two, I don’t really want anyone to find it and read it.

          My husband gets mad when I pull away from him. Like if we are in church and I notice him noticing a better woman he’d rather be with, I get uncomfortable and let go of his hand or move down the row a bit. It upsets him, but I’m doing it to give him space. It should make him happy that I’m honest enough with myself to know I’m not good enough for him.

          My oldest is getting ready to apply to college. I thought you applied for scholarships in your senior year. There was a nice sized scholarship he was planning to apply for, and when he checked it, you were supposed to apply by March of your junior year. A good mother would have been on top of that. I blew his chances. I was so mad at myself. My husband and my son were not mad at me. They should have been. They should both be furious with me for not catching that. It’s something only a disorganized, lousy mother would miss. They try to make me feel better by saying things like “don’t worry about it.” That actually makes me feel worse! I’d rather them tell the truth and say “you blew it because you stink at being a wife and mother.” We all know the truth, so why tiptoe around it?

          There is good news! The good news is I have gotten much better at keeping my thoughts to myself. I hardly talk at all anymore. I keep my negative feelings inside Instead of sharing them with anyone else. I think that has been helpful. Not necessarily to me, but at least my husband doesn’t have to hear it.

          Yes, I’ve got a lot of work to do. But I don’t always think it’s worth it. Things don’t change just because you write them down. I would LOVE to have a friend to talk to, but I don’t feel close enough to anyone to share such things. They’d think I was a complete idiot. That’s why I’m thankful I can share here. Sometimes I just need to say what I feel. Although I’m trying not to feel too much because being overly emotional is never a good thing.

          Jennifer, where you mentioned you would ask your husband why he loved you and he’d say “because you’re you” and it would drive you crazy – I totally understand that! My husband used to say things like that, but I knew it was just because he couldn’t think of any real reason to love me so he just came up with a cliche answer. Things like that drive me nuts. If you don’t know, just say you don’t know. I think it’s great that you can look at things positively. I wish I could learn to do that.

          I don’t want to be negative. Part of me would like to know what it feels like to be positive, but it just feels so very wrong. Even trying to think about it I start thinking “why are you trying? You are not the kind of woman who deserves positivity. Just accept yourself for who you are and try to move on.” Then I feel guilty for thinking that way and I get mad at myself for being a negative thinker and the vicious cycle continues.

          1. Becca,

            My dear, dear sister… the Bible NEVER condones hating oneself. It always talks about loving others as you love yourself. In fact, you can’t love others more than you love yourself. The way you love yourself IS the way that you will love others. You can’t give away what you do not possess. Until you can love yourself and receive God’s love for you – you will be stuck.

            I hope you see that the reasons you “can’t” change are excuses. Flimsy excuses.

            My friend who changed this year is 42. Interestingly, the lies she told herself actually made her physically VERY, VERY sick for a long time. Now she is experiencing physical healing, emotional healing, and spiritual healing. And I have seen women in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s change. So – age is not a factor when we are talking about God’s power to change people – THANKFULLY!

            You CAN write your thoughts down. It doesn’t matter that it “feels stupid.” Feeling stupid for 30 minutes to an hour is better than one more moment of continuing to believe poisonous lies. I suppose you could go to a professional counselor and pay her $150 per week to listen to your thoughts. But if you spend some time for free writing these thoughts down and truly examining their origin and whether they are true or God’s Word is true and you choose to reject the lies and receive God’s Word- God can and will absolutely change you in the most radical way.

            You can shred what you wrote down afterwards if you need to. I shredded many, many hundreds and hundreds of sheets of paper the first few years of this journey.

            The things you are saying to yourself and about yourself as a mother and a woman and a wife are NOT true and they are extremely unreasonable. I doubt you would EVER say such awful, hateful things to anyone else. You cannot love God and hate yourself. God gives you your value. You have value and worth because God created you. You cannot erase that with these lies. You can choose to believe falsehood as you have been doing or you can choose to reject them and to embrace God, His love, His truth, His light, His freedom, peace and joy. Your prison door is wide open. Jesus opened it. He broke off your shackles. You are free! But you choose to continue to sit in this dungeon. Please, please get up and leave this awful place and never come back! There is so much more waiting for you in Christ!!!!

            I’m glad you are not sharing your awful thoughts – but I am very distressed that you are still thinking all those terrible things. They are still incredibly destructive.

            IT IS WORTH IT to take this stuff to God and to let Him help you sweep house. His peace and love and joy are WORTH IT. You are worth it! Jesus is worth it!

            Your husband was telling you the truth, my friend. He loves you because he loves you and he chose to be married to you. Why can’t that be the truth?

            How I pray you will get alone with God and cut out these lies that are killing your soul, destroying the intimacy and fellowship in your marriage, and in your family.

            You are listening to a demon, my precious, beloved sister! Refuse to listen to him anymore. Listen to God!!! Receive His Real Love and Real Life!

            All of us deserve hell. We are all wretched sinners. None of us deserve the abundant life Jesus offers us. But He loves you and He came to set you free and to pay the ransom for you. Receive that from Him! No, you don’t deserve it. I don’t either. But be thankful and receive His love and let Him teach you to love yourself with I Corinthians 13:4-8 love. Then His love will overflow from you into all of your other relationships.

            This isn’t about you being good enough or you deserving anything. It is about Jesus and His character and who He is and what He deserves.

            How I pray you will let Him come in.

            Much love!
            April

          2. Becca,

            I wonder if you ever feel there is some sort of security in thinking unkindly about yourself and assigning insincere motives to your husband when he speaks loving words to you. I wonder if you fear if you believe the best, then if you discover you were “stupid” afterall, that would hurt worse.

            The way you describe your husband, he sounds very tenderhearted toward you. It must be painful for him when you don’t believe his affection and attraction to you.

            If you imagine for a moment that he truly does love you and only wants you, not the brunette he just saw, how do you suppose your moving farther away from him might feel? I think it makes him sad.

            Have you ever given someone a sincere compliment and they totally deflect it? It’s disappointing when people cannot receive the joy of encouraging words. It’s like handing them a gift, they look at it amd say thanks, then put in on a chair and walk away, leaving it unopened.

            There is so much freedom in learning to find our identities in Christ! He didn’t make a mistake when He made any of us. You are uniquely created with your gifts, abilities, and blonde hair (smiling), and your sensitivity… to serve God in a way that is His plan, just for your life! This isn’t meant to exalt you, but to encourage you to embrace God’s good purposes in His designing you.

            Love to you, Dear Sister.

          3. Julie,

            Thanks for reaching out to Becca!

            I think your question in the beginning is a really important one. There is some kind of pay off that we believe get when we hold on to lies or any kind of sinful thoughts or behaviors. Finding that underlying motive or belief system will be a really important part of being able to let go of it, in my view.

  9. I watched that same show about the cat, and it hit me the same way it hit you – lots to learn! How about the part about Todd and the cat eating chicken together one night? I just felt like they were trying to fill a “love/respect” void in their lives! Anyway, taking thoughts captive has come to me three times today, so I know the Lord is wanting this lesson to be clear to me. Today, I pictured Jesus as the Master carpenter, & I asked him to smash the negative, ugly thoughts with His carpenter’s hammer!

    1. Renee,

      I felt there was a lot of love/respect void going on, too. And a big Jesus void. But the power of our words and our thoughts is something that is very central and key to us being able to grow in Christ – and a willingness to allow God’s Spirit to take control and to expose our sin so we can throw it out. Thank you for sharing that word picture. I love that!

  10. This was the best post I’ve ever seen! God has told us we have the power of life and death in our words. This is literal! And it applies to all areas of our lives and relationships. If there is one thing I would like to instill in my children it is this, choose life! In all our actions and our words and thoughts.

    1. Brooke,
      Love this! I’m so glad that the post blessed you. 🙂

      YES! How I long to teach our children these truths NOW! I cannot fathom if I could have learned these things much, much sooner. Yes, it is life for ourselves and for others when we choose God’s ways and His Words.

      I actually got to talk with our 8 year old daughter tonight about how to take her thoughts captive and pray and ask God to empower her. Her struggles are very similar to the struggles we face as grown women. And this is the age where so many of us embraced lies and then kept them and cherished and nourished them from that point on. I don’t want that for her! How I pray God will help her recognize sinful thought and lies and kick them out by His power, that He might renew her heart, mind, and soul even now and help her grow into maturity.

      No one explained this stuff to me when I was younger. What a difference it would have made. I can remember the awful emotions and the horrible things I told myself even in 3rd grade. Repeating those lies and destructive thoughts hundreds, thousands, millions of times creates so much damage! How I long for us all to reject the enemy’s lies and to embrace God’s truth alone!

      Much love!

  11. This is so encouraging and true. I thought a little time ago that my husband had changed but discovered few weeks ago that it wasn’t the case. It was painful but I decided to do what you said: try to love him unconditionally and don’t have any expectations of him. I just try to trust the Lord to fulfill my needs. It is not easy and some days, my unfulfilled needs in so many area are such a burden
    but I try to trust God and let them in his hand and rest. I must confess I’ve been focusing too much in his shortcoming and failures instead of his stenghts. But it is such a challenge to do so from someone who is always criticizing me, seeing my shortcomings, thinking I am not normal as he said, putting me down and yelling at me. It is so hard to respect someone who doesn’t respect me but I decided I’m up to the challenge, for my Lord and not for him. Thanks to continue to pray for us. I try to not lost hope that one day our marriage will be the one I pray for. Big hug. Sonia

    1. Sonia,

      I am so very sorry for the pain you are both experiencing. 🙁 Breaks my heart! But it sounds like your heart is in a healthy place, seeking to love and please God and to honor God by loving your husband and respecting him even though he is not loving and respecting you the way you would like him to at this point. I pray for God’s wisdom for you.

      What do you do when he yells at you and criticizes you so harshly, my sister?

      How is your time with God going?

      Praying for God’s power for you and for you to abide in Him, to cling to Him, to be filled with His Spirit and for Him to work miracles in your life and your husband’s life and your marriage for His glory!

      1. Thanks April. I feel in peace with myself and God and that’s the most important. If my husband never changed, well I’ll suffer till the end of my life but I will have a reward in heaven. I can’t do his part. But I still have faith and hope that one day, he will change. My time with God is going well. When he yells at me or criticize me, I decided to leave the room as quick as possible without a word. This last month, my cup was really full and I told him several times that he was always putting me down, criticizing me and that I was fed up with it. The result: we fought and it was worst afterward. So I decided as I can’t change me that the only thing I can do is protect me. The worst thing is when he said to our son bad things about me in my presence. It really breaks my heart as I try to no disrespect him in front of our son. But God knows. I’m tired to justify myself. One day, maybe in a long time, God will make me justice and he will have to give account of the bad way he treat one of God’s daughter. I pray God to keep me in that position and be faithful. My son is a consolation, even if I still suffer about the situation. I still believe it was God’s plan for me to marry him even if when it is so hard as 2 weeks ago, I questioned God about why he did that to me. On the other side, my husband try to provide for me the best he can, he still communicates with me even he doesn’t share his heart, he help me at home…. I try to look at the best thing cause the things that are laking are so numerous. But I say he thinks the same thing about me. I need to find my value in God and be dead to the enemy’s work in my husband life. Please pray with me that God will confront my husband about the open doors he has for the enemy in his life. There are hidden things and I pray God to reveal and to the Holy Spirit convict him of sin and repentance. That’s all I can do. Big hug to you. Thank you for the support (next month we will celebrate our 3rd anniversary….)

        1. Sonadewonderful,

          Congratulations on your new son! How is he doing? How are you enjoying motherhood, my friend? 🙂

          How I pray for you both and for God’s will and His glory. It sounds to me like you are in a much better place spiritually now than ever in the past 3 years. I trust God to continue this good work in you and in your husband.

          Happy Anniversary next month, my beautiful sister!

  12. Hi April. I’m not really sure my question applies to this post but wondered if you could point me in the right direction on your site or to a book. It is a great post. I want to come back and read comments. I’m really struggling with pride. And I acknowledge it. I know it is tied to the insecurity I have within myself. My question for you is how do I deal with it? Do I continue to confess and repent every time until I don’t struggle as severely anymore? I’m sure it affects my marriage and other relationships some but I think it hurts me more than anyone else. I feel in a vicious cycle. Thanks for any help.

    1. Tiffany,

      I think pride is the foundational sin for most other sins. I am really glad you can see it. That is the first step, and it only happens through God’s Spirit convicting us. You can search my home page for
      “I’m Right”
      “I know Best.”
      “But I’m a Good Person.”
      “Why Do I Have to Change First?”

      And you can search the terms
      “Idolatry”
      “Idol”
      “Martyr”
      “Boundaries”
      “Control”

      I think those might give you a good place to start. How is your walk with Christ?

      Yes, you will repent each time, but as you allow God to have control, He can help you catch the thought process before you act on pride and help you trash those thoughts and focus on His truth.

      Much love!

    2. Tiffany, I think it’s so interesting that you linked your insecurity with pride – that is exactly what I feel God has been saying to me about my insecurity. It’s the weirdest thing, right? There’s definitely some sort of self-focus in there….

      I don’t even have enough clarity of thought to be able to articulate any good encouragement or help to you, but just wanted to say I’m right there with you. I know God has shown me that my insecurity is linked to pride and I’m waiting on Him to continue to reveal what that all looks like, how it’s all tangled up, etc.

      So thankful we have the Good Shepherd who leads us. 🙂

      Just out of curiosity, would you mind sharing if you have any more insight into how your insecurity and pride are linked? If I think of anything else God has shown me, I will try to remember to come back here and share. Maybe God will reveal some things as we discuss it and bring healing as we “confess our sins to one another”.

      O.K., well, how’s this? This is embarrassing to admit, but I realized that I do have a little something to share about that stuff. Insecurity/pride – I want to be the most beautiful person in the room or area or whatever so that my husband won’t be tempted to look at someone else. Yikes! Hate even typing that. But, it’s true. And, so there’s this comparing that has been going on and ruining my ability to just live in the present with my loved ones when we go out in public. Obviously there are other sins in there as well (lack of trust, fear, looking at others based on their physical appearance rather than as people made in the image of God). One phrase that God has brought to my mind as I’ve been too
      beauty-focused is from the verse Psalm 50:2: “From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.” So, I think of God being “perfect in beauty”. His beauty is holy and perfect, with no darkness in it at all – nothing like any earthly beauty that I may have when my focus is on myself.. I just put my thoughts on His beauty.

      Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your comment. I seriously had just considered asking April to post something about insecurities and how they are linked to pride the other day, but didn’t know exactly where to comment to do that.

      1. I believe that insecurity is linked to pride because if we are insecure, we are looking for security in something other than God. Usually in Self. If we are looking for security in Self, not God – that is pride. Pride to believe that we can find what we need in ourselves rather than in Christ alone.

        Does that help?

        1. Interesting thought. I think a similar battle is the feeling like we’re “In trouble” with God.

          It’s a little bit of a tricky concept to me sometimes. I think you understand it, but we’re forgiven when we ask for it with a repentant heart (as far as we can figure out), yet we’re also being “worked on” by God. But to fret about today’s imperfections in the meantime and entertain condemnation is a lack of trust probably rooted in the same thing: feeling like we need to earn something on our own rather than obey one command from God at a time.

          I wonder how you look at that one.

          1. JC,

            We do have to guard greatly against thinking too highly of ourselves or trusting ourselves or believing that we can earn anything with God. That is ALWAYS a temptation in the Christian walk – but Jesus did ALL of the work for us, and even as we grow and mature, it is His Spirit’s power that gives us faith and that transforms us and that empowers us to obey God. It is truly not of us – only of Him.

            If I focus on worldly sorrow and guilt (being “in trouble” with God), I deny the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse me from every sin and stain. I refuse His grace, mercy and forgiveness. When I see I have sinned, the proper response is I John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

            I must turn from my sin in disgust and hatred of my sin – grieving that my sin grieved God’s heart, recognizing the great cost to Christ to pay for my sin. But then, I receive the mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love of Christ with joy, humility, and thanksgiving, allowing Him to give me this great Gift and allowing Him total access to transform my heart however He wishes. I must get rid of Self.

          2. Excellent words of course. I thought on them a bit today. 🙂 It is the Lord’s power that enables us to repent and perform any good works He has for us.

            We do have to guard greatly against thinking too highly of ourselves or trusting ourselves or believing that we can earn anything with God.

            Very much. This is exactly what I thought last Sunday after a church I’ve been visiting for the past five months. The man I know told me about their “men step-up” “ministry” in which men have to earn their man-card, get holes punched in it by deeds like inviting people to church, reading a chapter in the Bible a day, or assisting in various women’s events (they have events for women all year in addition to their corresponding women’s ministry). Else, you get a “pink” card of shame. To me that raised a red flag for that reason, and I said the biggest message today’s men need is against the idea that men have to earn their value, earn love, and such. It made me think of Paul’s faux boasting–“are some servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind talking like this) I am more!” (:2 Corinthians 11:23)–and we’re supposed to have man-cards to compare with each other.

            I don’t know if there’s some way I should have avoided seeing the sentiment in such a way, but it’s like you say, there’s a huge pitfall to avoid for keeping things straight. Plus, I wouldn’t know why that sort of message would be exclusive to men anyway if it was a sound one–or maybe it’s just “marketing” as it were.

          3. PS, yeah, and also, trying to think of and pray about how I could contribute positively in an atmosphere like that–perhaps there is a way to work within the setting even if their message is to be avoided.

          4. JC,
            I will pray for wisdom about that too, for you. The name of the ministry kind of makes me cringe. I know how much many of my single brothers detest that “man up” message. And I am not sure that I like that card idea at all. But praying for wisdom for you and the leaders to do what will most help the men to grow in Christ and to disciple them in a way that honors Christ.

          5. Yeah it’s awful, and I can see the effect that has on torturing the men’s souls (who are agreeable to such messages) and then making them hostile. The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with being encouraged to do good deeds. But I just don’t see the talk of healing hurts, supportive, protective messages.

            “Be a man” might once have carried a sense of honor before feminism tore dignity away from manhood, as well as the value of a man’s life–and then all that’s left is shame and obligation. And yeah, like this “man-card” business it’s getting more and more blatant. It’s an attempt to reap without sowing loving seed as far as men are concerned.

            I don’t see what would go wrong with just taking notes about the ministry women tend to receive and doing the same thing with men.

            Anyway I won’t carry on–but suffice it to say, I am struggling to understand how/where I can reasonably fit in this culture for a genuine walk with Christ for the rest of my life. I got to know Christ best when I kept Christian culture at arm’s length and studied my Bible–your blog always reminds me of those days that I’m struggling to recapture! 🙂 (so does my own book)

            Thank you for your prayers.

        2. April, wow. You articulated that so well. That is the best way I’ve ever heard that explained where it just hits the nail on the head. I love it! I want to hang that on my wall, for real!!!

      2. Jennifer,

        I love that you are able to articulate what you are feeling – the pride and insecurity. If you can’t see what you are really believing and saying to yourself – you can’t evaluate it and get rid of the sinful thoughts. Thank you for your honesty and transparency. Praying for God to empower you and Tiffany and many others to repent of these prideful thoughts and to come to Him in true humility, acknowledging your desperate need for Christ and for His power to work in you so that you can walk in holiness, obedience, love, trust, faith, and the power of God.

        1. Self loathing is also based in pride. Let me see if I can explain this. When we believe that we can and should be able to be perfect or that we should be able to be “good” on our own, and we hate ourselves because we don’t “measure up” to our own standards – we are filled with pride because we believe we can do this without God. We are not humbly aware of our complete and total lack of any goodness and our absolute dependence upon Christ for any goodness at all in our lives.

          Does that make sense?

        2. Instead of thinking, “I want to be the most beautiful person in the room or area or whatever so that my husband won’t be tempted to look at someone else.” – I can think things like:

          – I thank God for the way He made me.
          – I accept the way He made me and what He made is good.
          – I am content with the body God gave me. I am confident in my skin because God made me and He gives me my value. I am confident in His love. I am confident and secure in His acceptance and in my worth as an image bearer of God. I will rest in God’s love and in His peace.
          – I long for the inner beauty that delights God that He cherishes so much – that of a gentle, peaceful, still spirit that is full of total trust in God and does what is right, not giving way to fear. That is what true feminine beauty is to my Lord. He can and will develop this radiant heavenly beauty in me.
          – It’s ok that there are women in the world who are more physically beautiful than I am.
          – I will rest in my husband’s love for me and in God’s love for me.
          – Even if my husband were to sin in his heart or even if my worst fears were to happen one day and my husband truly cheated on me – as long as I have Christ and His Spirit and His Word, I have all that I need. His perfect love casts out all my fear.
          – I am not going to worry about “what ifs.” I am going to live in today like Jesus commands us to do and I am going to trust Him with today and with tomorrow.
          – I don’t have to be the most beautiful woman. I am ok with my husband seeing that there are women more beautiful than I am in existence. My value doesn’t come from my external beauty.
          – My husband loves me for me.
          – I will put some effort into looking my best when I can. But I am not going to make outer beauty or thinness or any worldly thing into an idol.
          – I find my purpose, my fulfillment, my contentment, my peace, my joy, my greatest delight, my identity, and my Greatest Treasure in Christ alone.
          – When my husband is attracted to me, I will savor that. He married me because he loved me and was attracted to me. I can rest in that. But even if my husband changes his mind about me – God will never change His mind about me. Jesus will never leave me or forsake me. My hope is in Christ alone.

          1. I struggle with insecurity and pride. I know it seems like I’m a hopeless case, but some good has come from this journey.

            First, I have awakened to the fact that I have a pride issue. Before that used to sound really stupid to me, because how could someone like me, who feels worthless and ugly most of the time, struggle with pride? But I have learned to see that it is a form of pride and it needs to be dealt with.

            I went back and reread the post from January where we discussed “am I allowing a God to work or am I trying to do this in my own power?” And I reread my comments, and I sounded so hopeful. But, I also read my fear that I would pick this burden back up again, and that is exactly what I have done.

            Another good thing that has come out of this is that I will pray for myself occasionally. I pray for others all the time. For their health needs, financial needs, spiritual needs. I like praying for others. I do NOT like praying for myself. It feels wrong to demand God pay attention to me when my needs are not that important. That’s how I have felt for a long time. I actually felt wrong praying for myself. Selfish and sinful. But since beginning this journey I have begun to pray for myself a little bit. Baby steps.

            I constantly comment and delete, comment and delete. I want to be very honest and not hide anything. On the other hand, I don’t want to drag others down or fill their heads with negative ideas. I feel badly that the only thing I contribute to these discussions is negativity. Everyone is so positive and uplifting, I feel like my comments drag the group down.

            I also don’t want to become defensive. I know that I am a sinner and praise a God saved by His amazing grace. I get upset when people call that into question. Just because I struggle doesn’t mean my salvation isn’t real. I’m learning to rest in the assurance of my salvation and not react negatively when others call it into question. I don’t agree that I can’t love a God if I don’t love myself. Maybe I do have heart issues, maybe a lot of them, but my love for God is real. If I didn’t love the Lord and His mercy, and have faith in Him, I wouldn’t even be trying to change. I would have given up a long time ago.

            Another good thing that has happened is I have realized that even if I have no worth to anyone else, I do have worth to Jesus. It feels weird even saying that, but if I honestly think about the cross and what He did, then I must have worth to Him.

            So while it seems like I’m nothing but a Debbie Downer, there have been a lot of steps in a positive direction. And while I do seem to have picked my burdens back up again, I am sure I’m not the first person to ever do that, nor will I be the last. I’m just hoping I can get past this hurdle and start moving forward again.

            April, thank you for your blog and your thoughts and your genuine care for your sisters. I apologize for commenting and bringing down the discussion in a negative way.

          2. Becca,

            I don’t ever want anyone to apologize for bringing their real struggles and issues here. That is the entire purpose of this place. To bring our pain, our thinking, our struggles, our sin, and everything and to lay it out in the open before God. All of us are hopeless apart from Christ – and all of us have every reason for great hope in Christ! Even you! I already can see what He can do in your heart. I can already look into the future and see His victory for you. That is not any kind of difficult stretch for me – because I have seen Him transform many, many people and I have total confidence you are not “too difficult” for Him. 🙂

            What you are struggling with is not at all unusual. I think it is actually pretty normal and common – and I know that there are dozens and dozens of women reading who have the same struggles you do who don’t comment. I’m GLAD you are commenting!

            I’m glad that you are seeing sin more clearly. That is awesome!

            I hope that you will see that when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He taught them to pray for themselves and their needs daily. And when He prayed His high priestly prayer in John 17 – He prayed for Himself and He prayed for each of His followers, including you!

            Your comments are real – and they are where you are. I would love for you to not stay in this place much longer, but I want to address where people are. If we pretend that we do not struggle, we will never get to the roots of the sin issues and wrong thinking and we will stay stuck. I don’t want that for anyone! You are very precious to me. I pray fervently for you to find healing and wholeness in Christ.

            When I mentioned not being able to love God if there is hatred in our hearts, I am not questioning your salvation. I am quoting from I John where he talks again and again about that if we hate our brother, whom we have seen, we cannot love God whom we have not seen. I was stuck in that place for decades myself. I believe that would also include ourselves. If we hate ourselves, we cannot love God. We cannot hate a person, even self, and love God. Does that make sense? The hatred has to go. And in the two greatest commandments that Christ gives, He calls us to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and to love others as we love ourselves. It is my belief that we cannot love others more than we love ourselves. I don’t think that we can give the grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness of Christ until we have truly received it for ourselves. I sure couldn’t. All those years I was so prideful, I had no grace for Greg or anyone else. I had not truly seen the extent of my sin and I had not truly received all of the grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness of Christ, so I couldn’t extend that to anyone else because I had not fully experienced it. I hope that makes sense.

            So, I am not questioning your salvation or whether you have a relationship with God – but quoting what Scripture says about what will be true when we love God. Hatred, even of self, has to go. God’s love for self and others is the mark of our loving and knowing God well.

            Of course you have great worth to Jesus because you are His. We don’t have worth on our own as sinners. We don’t earn God’s love. We don’t earn His mercy or grace. None of us have any good in us. We have value because God made us. And we can have goodness only because Jesus is in us. But we are valuable and precious to Him. And as we allow Him to work in our lives, He fills us to overflowing with His goodness, His virtue, His worth, His holiness, His Spirit, His power, and all that He is and all that He has. It is ALL about Him – it is not about us.

            Maybe you would like to type out your list of things you tell yourself and Scriptures that you can use to replace the destructive thinking and share it here? You are most welcome to do that, (anyone is welcome to do this if they would like to). 🙂

            Much love, my dear sister! I know God can heal you. I know it will be a painful process at first – but that it will be much more than worth the pain and that the pain will lead to abundant spiritual life and the power and blessings of God in your soul. 🙂

          3. Becca,

            I am not sure how you receive and hear what I am saying – but how I pray you will hear my heart of love for you. You, and many, many other dearly loved sisters of mine have fallen into a terrible pit. I love you too much to leave you there. Especially when Jesus has provided a way out. I cannot be content to say, “I love you, Becca. Enjoy spending the rest of your life in that awful pit! Bye!” I want to reach out to you, to throw you a rope, or at least to shine a flashlight on the rope that Christ has provided – so that you can climb out. I know – more than anyone – that you don’t have to stay there and that Jesus can deliver you completely! That is what He did for me! That is always what I want for you and for everyone who reads here. Total spiritual and emotional healing and deliverance.

            I don’t think it has to take many years to find the healing and deliverance. But it does take a willingness to allow God to expose anything in your heart and soul that is toxic and poisonous and to get rid of it, realizing that it is destroying you and that God has something SO MUCH BETTER for you. Not only will His healing bless you, when you are healed, then you can also bless those around you.

            I never say anything to condemn you – my intention is to help you see the way out of the pit. If I thought there was no hope for you – I wouldn’t spend time reaching out to you. Sometimes I feel like you want me to just be happy that you are in the pit and leave you there. I can’t do that. I want you out of the nasty pit and up on the solid rock of Christ, finding total healing, restoration, reconciliation, cleansing, renewing of your mind, and total regeneration of you heart and soul for God’s glory and for your greatest possible benefit.

            I love you dearly and care very much about how you are doing and I want to see God work powerfully in your life! The choice is yours, my friend!

          4. I think a good question for all of us to ask ourselves when we realize we are feeling insecure is to say, “Where is my security?” “Upon what do I base my security in this life?” “What do I really trust?” “What do I think I HAVE to have?” “What do I believe I need?”

            Am I trusting in something other than Christ for my security? Is my only answer to the questions above – Jesus? If I am trusting anything or anyone else (including self), I must repent and turn away from putting my trust and faith in anything but Him and purposely determine to find all of my security, purpose, identity, etc.. in Christ alone.

            Our Identity in Christ – THIS Is My Security!

          5. Becca,

            I just wanted you to know, that no, you are not the only person to pick your burdens back up again…. 🙂 You know, God works in every believers’ hearts differently. Our walks with Christ are not all going to look the same. Some of us might have victory in some areas of our lives but are still weak in others. Some of us learn slowly and have to go through lots of heartbreak until we can hear what God is saying to us. That would be more my personality. But, I know my heart. I know that I have a new heart and that my true heart now is a heart in unity with God. I’ve learned that even when I have bad days or weeks or even a month, that that is not who I really am. The real me is joined to Christ, the real me is actually Christ living in me. I have learned that I can trust God in completing the work He began in me. That He is for me, He is never leaving me or forsaking me.

            You know, I used to get hung up on the idea of “surrendering” everything to God. I thought that meant that once I surrendered, I would be a perfect Christian. Ha! I read something by Andrew Murray recently that helped me realize that surrendering to God meant that I’m just giving it all up to Him. I’m entrusting my sanctification to Him. If I’m blind in a certain spot, if I’m just a hard-headed bull in others, then I am believing Him to do do what needs to be done in that. That’s it. He’s my only hope. I put no hope in my own surrender to Christ. None. I put all of my hope in God and His work. This is true resting in Christ. This is the rest that is linked to obedience and faith and is what Hebrews talks about.

            We can even trust Him with mistakes that we make (like yours, where you didn’t help your son with the scholarship in time). You didn’t purpose to not help your son in that. Your heart had no evil motives. And, guess what? God is sovereign over that. You cannot thwart God’s plans or purposes. What if God has better plans for your son? What if that would be the wrong thing for him and God is using that “misstep” of yours to steer your son in a different direction? Trust God to lead you in all of your life. Even if you had purposely disobeyed God and He had told you to do that and you didn’t, do you think that would have surprised God? No, and He can even redeem those things, as well.

            God’s grace really is much better than we can imagine. When we can get our minds around how big it is, we will grow in leaps and bounds in our Christian life.

            I think your main assignment is to ask God to show you how much He loves you and to heal your hurts. Your sin is already taken care of. You don’t need anymore guilt or shame, that’s for sure! You need to know that God passionately loves and cares for you. I remember reading in a Bible study that I did when I had first become a believer that the first thing that a believer needed to do was to settle it in their minds that God really loved them. Really, really loved them. I say, the next step is to realize who you are in Christ. That you are righteous, you are His friend, you are united with Him, etc. Here’s a list to help you with that:
            https://www.ficm.org/handy-links/
            There are lots of good books that would be helpful with this. But, you can just ask God to show you as you read in the New Testament how Christ’s death and resurrection have impacted you. These are the truths that Satan would love for you never to grasp. Because then you will stay in defeat. It’s pretty effective. A lot of Christians live there. But you can live in the victory and the truth that is yours in Christ already. All of these things about you are already true. Your feelings won’t change the truth. So, ask God to show you how to accept what He says about you.

            Have you ever considered telling your husband the things that you are telling us? I’ve found when I can be painfully honest with my husband and tell him things (such as you are telling us), it seems to be very good for our relationship. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but my husband (who isn’t even a believer) responds in beautiful ways to my vulnerability about my insecurities. (Of course, that’s if I’m focused on myself and don’t have ulterior motives of trying to get him to confess to something or whatever).

            Well, I’ve rambled enough already. I do appreciate your honesty. You definitely don’t sugar-coat things and that is a good thing. You are being honest and real about where you are. Hope you’re feeling better now that things are out in the light. God always seems to come through quickly when I just confess that junk and get it out. 🙂 Love you, sister.

          6. Jennifer,

            Love this. Thanks for sharing with our sweet sister, Becca!

            Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss might be a really great resource, too.

            We ALL do have much wrestling to do. I sure did. It can take time to surrender fully. And sometimes there are layers that we see one at a time. Surrendering and yielding is a daily thing. But at different times in life, it is much more intense. Yes, we all pick up the old sinful thought patterns at times. For the first 2.5 YEARS of my journey, all of this felt like total emotional and spiritual contortion. It took me until 2.5 years to begin to understand what respect even meant and what submission was supposed to be about. And that was just the beginning. I was NOT good at either of these things at all. I stumbled often and repented a lot.

            I don’t have the major wrestling with trusting God and with some of the lies I used to believe. I don’t have the major wrestling with respect and submission. But I must constantly be abiding in Christ – every single moment. If I take my eyes off of Him, or drift away, I will quickly crash and burn. And there will be new challenges and obstacles that will constantly stretch me and force me to have to grow and do more wrestling. Now I have different struggles and temptations than I used to. But there are still challenges and there are still problems and the enemy is definitely still after me – more than ever.

            I love the idea about putting all of your trust in Christ to do the work and no trust in yourself. I think that is very necessary.

            Thank you for talking about God’s sovereignty with the scholarship thing. BEAUTIFUL!!!!! And so true!

            I’m SO THANKFUL that y’all are willing to share and be honest about your struggles here. What a wonderful answer to many, many prayers.

            Thank you for letting me share my struggles, too. I’m glad we don’t have to do this journey alone. I’m glad we have Jesus and each other.

            Much love to you, Jennifer.

            Much love to you, Becca.

            I am praying for you!

          7. Hi April, Jennifer, and Everyone,

            I just wanted to check in and let you know I am reading your replies. It is a LOT to digest. Thank you for taking the time to reply, and for caring.

            Becca

          8. Becca,

            Take your time. This process cannot be rushed – the deeper and more thorough you are with it, the better. Much love to you, my precious sister!!! I am excited about all that God has in store for You. He is very good. And He has good plans for you and your family.

          9. I love these!!!! Thanks!!!

            I had actually prayed last night when I was struggling with this very same scenario. I thanked God for this particular woman’s beauty and her gifts and talents and the way He made her (even though I don’t really know her at all, just a few casual conversations). And asked that God would bless her marriage (she’s married, I know that).

            This list is awesome! Really! Should be a post in its own! I think I will copy and paste it into the notes portion of my google keep app on my phone so I can quickly access it when I’m hit with all those old thoughts/feelings.

            It’s always a struggle at the beginning taking thoughts captive, but it’s amazing how God really does renew your mind in that area — and then it’s onto something new – or maybe a deeper work in that same issue, but looks different than what you just went through! Don’t know if that made sense or not. 🙂 As my friend says….new ground for God to claim back.

            Thanks, April, for your thoughts in this and your other posts about the pride/insecurity issue.

          10. My last comment was a thank you for that huge list of ways to replace the lies with truth. It just didn’t quite go in the comments section where I thought it would!

  13. Hi April 🙂

    Wow, I recognize in Becca’s comments, stuff that helped me be destroyed and bring destruction to a marriage.

    The first issue I see is the belief that “feelings equal reality and truth”. Its better to regard them as lights on your dashboard that indicate there is a problem, than the whole gospel truth about something. Our feelings are usually clouded by our life experiences, hurts and beliefs we’ve developed over the years. One’s faith has to be shifted to God’s feelings about things as shown in the Word, because His feelings and thoughts are never clouded by sin, or hurt or anything else, they are always truth and reality. When we depend on our feelings, we refusing to beleive God. Our feelings will just continually reinforce themselves, leading us in an ever tightening emotional circle that chokes us to death, as we bend to a false reality and try to require others to bend to it to.

    The second issue I see is a root of rejection. When that root is there in your heart, no matter what someone says to you or does to love you, it will get cancelled out. So the solution won’t be getting your husband to behave as you like him to because he isn’t the problem, the root is. I agree that it is inappropriate for him to be checking out other women and that this is behaviour he should consciously refuse but aside from telling him how disrespected she feels by it, there is nothing a wife can do to control it and in fact, trying to control it can actually pour fuel on the fire.

    The greater weapon of warfare here is to be rooted in Christ and confident in our value through Him rather than reactive withdrawal into fleshly states and heart attitudes when we can’t get what we need from someone else; it’s self defeating to react to feeling rejected by rejecting and it actually plays right into the devil’s MO to kill, steal and destroy. In fact it amounts to repaying evil, real or perceived with evil. I think you are right that it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her. It’s a form of spiritual immaturity that needs to be corrected on his part but that is something the Lord can make him aware of. Prov. 21:1 says The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

    If God can direct the heart of a king I’m sure a husband is no problem for him. One thought about our feelings is that they can be part of the flesh that needs to be put to death. Our feelings tend to respond to how our mind interprets reality, so reprogramming our minds with truth will have the same effect on our hearts.

    I’d hate to see anyone destroy their own lives the way I did because of these kinds of responses. I remember once some ladies who did prayer and intercession in our church at the time trying to counsel me to stop agreeing with the devil’s definition of who my husband was. I was having none of it. If he acted like a jerk then to me that’s who he was and i was going to say so! It made me mad to be asked to uphold his value when I felt he was denying mine. What I didn’t get is that they were asking me to align my heart’s motives and thus, my words, with God’s intentions and plans for Him, and to agree with God as to how God valued him, and to move away from being so self focused on what I wanted in the exact way I wanted it. I wish I’d been mature enough to listen.

    My failure to listen resulted in my sin destroying a marriage/family/home. I could have been part of the solution but I didn’t have the maturity to take that kind of responsiblity in my life. I wanted to be taken care of, not have to actually be responsible to take care. My ex husband had some very immature behaviours including noticing every attractive women and yes, he actually preferred brunettes and i am a blonde too!

    I think because I was very needy and demanding in some ways,and would get mad if he did anything to negtively effect my self esteem, which was probably a bit of an idol at that time, this was to some degree a reaction on his part to my disrespect. The more I tried to control it, the worse it became. If only I’d focused on my attachment to Christ instead of to him, it would have turned out very differently. Hope this might have some helpful nugget in it.

    1. Patricia,

      How heartbreaking to hear your story.

      But how I thank God and you for your willingness to be transparent and to share it. How I pray God might use it to turn many wives to Himself.

      There is much hard-learned wisdom here, my precious sisters. Please listen to Patricia’s story prayerfully and see what God may desire to speak to your own heart and life.

      Much love! Thank you for this treasure!

      1. April, thank you for your affirming and kind words, they are balm to my very sore heart. I just spoke with my daughter, whom I have not been able to see for three years due to to distance and finances; she cried on the phone as she poured out her heart about how abandoned and rejected she has felt by me and how desperately she wants to see me to have just one day with me. She is now a single mom who currently doesn’t have much trust in the Lord, something I no doubt have had a lot to do with. Though she has the help of the fellow she is with, she struggles alot in making ends meet and managing her emotional struggles. I told her that I was praying for God to bring restoration and healing to our relationship and to provide a way for us. If you and any of the other ladies are so moved, I would sure appreciate prayer for my relationship with my daughter and the mess I’ve made of my life. I am pursuing repentance and healing right now in my life. Thank you for allowing me to share, sorry it wasn’t a very uplifting or cheerful post.

        1. Patricia,

          Oh, but this WAS an extremely uplifting post, my precious sister! Warning others to avoid the mistakes and tragedies you have experienced is the most loving thing you could possibly do with your situation. You can be a lighthouse shining out the warning not to come to these shallow waters, because you will wreck on the rocks here. I believe God may use your message to convict many people and to potentially save quite a few marriages. What could be more uplifting than pointing people away from the tyranny and destruction of sin toward Jesus?

          Of course we will pray with you.

          Lord,
          How I thank and praise You for what You are so clearly doing in Patricia’s life. I know that things are a big old mess. But I also know and trust that You are very capable of making something completely beautiful out of big messes. Thank You that You specialize in this very thing! Thank You for bringing conviction and true repentance to Patricia’s heart. Thank You for her heart for Christ and for restoration of her relationships. We pray especially for reconciliation, healing, and restoration for Patricia and her daughter. We pray for You to work in her daughter’s heart to draw her to Yourself and to trust You. Let Your work be so evident in Patricia’s life and heart that all who know her will see clearly and without a doubt that Jesus is there and that He is transforming her heart, soul, and mind for His greatest glory.
          In the Name and power of Christ,
          Amen!

  14. I haven’t even read the blog today but I just had to share this first!!

    This morning a friend, who went on a mission trip to Honduras and is now trying to adopt a child she met there, wrote me a message thanking me for my prayers.

    What she said in her message hit me like a ton of bricks! She said…..

    “We have always known this process is much more than just an adoption. There are “love assignments” along our journey – people we are called to serve!!”

    WOW!

    How many of us here are missing our “love assignments” ? When we have to deal with a grouchy unloving husband who says harsh things? When people around us so need to see God’s love and we are too busy trying to fix our marriage and don’t see that?

    I am so guilty of not seeing my “love assignments” ! What is my purpose here on this earth? My heart is crushed to think how selfish I have been wanting my needs met. How many times have I missed giving to and loving others including my husband because I was too busy licking my wounds?

    I see things a whole lot different today. Yes, this journey is about learning to respect our husbands but how many of us were given husbands who need to find God or find their way back to God and we haven’t seen that “love assignment” we have been given?

    How many other “love assignments” could we be doing for people around us while we are waiting for God to restore marriages?

    I hope all will forgive me for jumping off topic and sharing this. I just thought this message was just too good to let pass by.

  15. Thanks daisymae. I recognized myself in your post and being too much focus on my wounds and my marriage and letting passing by occasions of loving other people. Today was such a wired day. I buried my father in law. On my way back home, I was crying as a crazy in my car, not so much for my father in law that went with Jesus, but because of arriving of the end of the process of letting go of my control over my husband and marriage. During these almost 3 years of marriage, I pursued my husband in every way, trying to do everything that he will love me and fill my needs…. It is like if today, I got a revelation and I died to that life and I felt the Lord telling me it it was the end of this life and the beginning of something else. I decided to stop pursue him and if he doesn’t love me, if we don’t have sex anymore (well it’s such a long time anywhere….), I will learn to live without and will for God’s love alone and my son’s love, if he doesn’t feel my needs, I will pursue the Lord and try to love my husband as I wish he will do for me even if he never does it for me. I’m free and feel free for such a long time. I knew this for a long time but Just started to live it now. I want yo fulfill all my love assignments and open my heart and eyes around me. I believe it is a new life. I needed to share it to someone. Hope you can read that April. Big hug. Sonia

    1. Sonia,
      I am so very sorry to hear about your father-in-law. 🙁 What a trying time this must be in so many ways for all of you.

      But where you are spiritually – WOW. This is where you have to be to really start to trust and obey God and to be filled with His power. This is what it means to be “poor in spirit” and to “die to self.” BEAUTIFUL.

      1. Where Sonia is, is exactly where I *want* to be. I’m still licking my wounds. I’m still feeling the pain of being falsely accused, or being told my attempts at being a godly wife are fake simply because I responded to a situation differently.

        My heart hurts, but I’m not supposed to show it, because it only makes him feel like a failure and want to leave.

        I don’t know how to be joyful. I am working so hard to complete the “love assignments” I can see presented by God for my husband, because I do love this amazing man dearly, but when I do show that love and respect, and then two minutes later I am being criticized, I don’t know how to keep myself together. Especially when he says he’s done and threatens to leave.

        1. M,
          I don’t think you will find joy in your husband, especially as he is acting the way he has been from what you have described. But you can find joy in Christ.

          How is your quiet time going?

          Are you seeing a counselor soon?

          1. My quiet time is going okay. It’s the first thing I do every morning. I’m doing three different bible studies right now, Holy Women with an email group, Leviticus with Good Morning Girls, and True Woman 101 on my own. Each one doesn’t take too long, which is why I’m doing all three. I either listen to worship music in the car or the Revive Our Hearts podcast. I’m probably not praying as much as I should, though.

            I have an appointment with the counselor next Thursday. He doesn’t want to come; he said there is too much other stuff going on right now that he just can’t focus on that, and I told him I do understand that.

          2. M,
            I’m really glad you will be going back to the counselor. I think that having a neutral 3rd party may be really helpful as you try to understand what is happening.

            I’m glad that you are feeding yourself spiritually. Prayer is definitely very necessary. One thing that especially helps me is praise and thanksgiving. 🙂 Gets my mind where it needs to be.

            I am actually pretty confused about the behavior your husband has been exhibiting. So, I don’t know that I have the wisdom you need about how to approach him exactly. But I do know that God can give you the wisdom you need and I am praying for Him to do just that and that He might bring everything to light so that it all makes sense and that He might help you see what He desires you to do.

            Much love!

    2. Sonadewonderful, you and I are in a similar place. Your comment brought tears. I can feel your pain. But I know God has plan for you and me. So I am happy to have another sister join me on focusing on our love assignments.

      1. Amen. We are stronger when we are together. Let’s pray for one another every day to be able to stay on the altar. My biggest fear is to crawl down and take everything back in my hands again. I will pray for you and for me that God will help us to leave in his hands our marriage and focus on how we can bless at least one person everyday. Big hug to you my precious sister.

  16. I read a book called “The Tongue: a Creative Force” by Charles Capps about this–just lining up words with truth. I mostly like it for a list of statements in the back that are kind of rearranged Scripture passages that you can say (sometimes in the context of oneself)–truthful statements. I used to carry that around and repeat those passages throughout the day.

  17. Maybe Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy used for personality disorders existed long before it was called that. Most of those therapies focus on redirecting negative thoughts. This blog does it in a Christian way. It is used for people having Borderline personality disorder and women tend to have that disorder more than men.

    1. Hi Kimmy,
      Your observation contains truth. Just wanted to share what I am aware of so far on the subject if that’s okay 🙂 A disordered personality is one that is ordered around the wrong things; if you picture a person’s heart as having a throne in the center of it meant for God, when God is on that throne the world within in in order and peace and it works right; the lens of the persons’ heart is clear and reflects God with self in its proper place. All human beings suffer from the sin of idolatry with self and other things at center and God not being the center as is His right, but a person with a personality disorder has a hyper exaggerated form of it. The “god” on their heart’s throne is made of their heart’s focus on the terrible things they have suffered at the hands of others and what meaning they make of it as it relates to them. Self is very much at center, though its true that they have often suffered grievious harm, neglect and abandonment at a time in their lives when they were vulnerable, defenseless and unable to make sense of their terrifying world. There is both legitimate and totally understandable emotions but also very sinful and wrong responses. It kind of amounts to saying that I am justified in my treatment of others and the way that i live because I was so wronged. The therapies you mentioned make a difference in returning such a person to a whole and functional life precisely because they replace reality distortions and outright wrong beliefs with truth and reality. However, as someone who has struggled with such things in my own life, I can tell you that such therapies do ameliorate the gross suffering caused by such a distorted view of reality, but the core issue is still that all of life is wedded to self instead of to the God and creator who has a right to our obedience. until that central warp is corrected, life will still be wedded to self though happier and more well adjusted. Most of the things that work in this world work because whether by accident or intent, they align with God’s immutable laws and design. God’s word says that we are to renew our minds by replacing all the warped stuff with the truth of His word. The difference with the word of God is that it is a living book made of God’s words and His Spirit. God says of His word that it is the sword of the Spirit, capable of such fine discernment that it can penetrate even between joints and marrow, soul and spirt. No human made therapy can do that! Better than WD40, lol.

  18. Thank you so much April. Our 7 years old son is adapted well. I prayed during a long time cause my husband took care of him when he was 1 year and an half in Africa and the connection was only with him. But since the first day he saw me, he called me mumy and we are inseparable now. I changed work and teach in his school now (a French school) and I take him to school every day and help him with his homework. It is such a blessing of being mum. Sometimes it is work and it is not easy but It is so much simple than to be a wife. I leave my son on the altar, he is in God’s hand but I love him so much and he loves me so much as well. It is such a blessing!

  19. I had a horrible dream a couple of weeks ago. I dreamt that a lady doctor came to me a said you have cancer in your jaw and it will kill you. There is nothing we can do. I woke up so disturbed and went to work. I cared for a woman slightly older than myself and saw the cancer growing in her body and comforted her after the doctor had said the same words to her and her family. I see this all the time at work , but the dream made it all the more personal and the mention of my jaw got me thinking about what comes out of my mouth. If I don’t control my thoughts what comes out of my mouth will be destructive. It is sin and it does lead to death. Meditating on this thought more I did think that gluttony and over eating or eating the wrong food is a sin involving the mouth as well. Taking thoughts captive helps self control in the area of food also. I’ve been listening to a series of podcasts by dr michael youseff on his leading the way app on my phone. He goes into great detail about being empowered to overcome by the Holy Spirit. Its really encouraged me.

  20. One thing that’s been happening a lot with me in the last year or so is that I’ve been having conversations with God more like I used to–with better line-of-sight.

    I speak to God asking for feedback–something that helps me understand I’m on the right path!

    So am having conversations with God again. Oftentimes I am given distinct “strikes” of the Holy Spirit–a feeling that comes down from above, it’s an overpowering feeling that seems to “hit” me to confirm when something I’m saying is true. God has spoken to me a lot about “trusting” myself–i.e. my spiritual instincts for what I am perceiving, even when no one else seems to be seeing the same thing. This confirmation of the Spirit is just happening all throughout the days now, as God is ministering to the center of my heart.

    I’m debating this church I’ve been attending–how well I can “chew the meat and spit out the bones,” there. The pastor has some good things to say, but some of his ministry is very “crowd-control.” The sort of forgiveness that covertly says, let’s not make a big deal for sins committed against us.

    forgiving someone else, letting go of bitterness and human anger, is not possible until the offense is first appreciated for the injustice that it is!

    The Lord gave me insight into the punishment that awaits those who are responsible (including the complacent) for the hurtful situation of Christianity’s ministry–and lack thereof–to men: avoiding the discussion of hurts, injustices, and sins against them, we’re usually only good enough for talk about “duty” and “responsibility.” The foundation is not adequately laid that we are loved, worth supporting, worth protecting. That righteous indignation, I hope, is something I could help other men learn to overcome bitterness and hurting and feeling alone like no one cares. God cares, and that entails His anger.

    Obvious as such a thing should be (one of the two fundamental commands of Christ was “love your neighbor as yourself”), when I meditate on this, I am very able to release anger and bitterness, and certainly any temptations for a vengeful attitude: what could I do to any of my offenders that compares with what God will do anyway? And when I consider that, I’m moved to clean up my own act, of course, and then pray for God to bring all sinners to repentance for their own sake.

    And I remember how Jesus never, ever abandons me. He is always here: the things that comfort come and go but they are merely messages of Christ who is always here with me. 🙂

    I’ve had to confess this aloud sometimes when things hurt: the day when all things are healed, given meaning, and made right is already here in me! 🙂

    Luke 17
    21 Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].

    Isn’t that an awesome thought? That place where everything is made right, fulfilled, and healed, is already here within us already here to be claimed! It works! 😀

    And as for heaven “surrounding us,” that’s God’s message that His plan IS being worked out in our lives, speaking to us and nurturing us when we listen.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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