Every day we are in a battle–a battle with negative thoughts that we must win if we want to experience real joy. Our thoughts defeat us and keep us captive to emotions like depression, anger, and fear. Perhaps you recognize some of these thoughts:
“This illness will never go away. I am going to be in pain the rest of my life.”
“He is so selfish. He doesn’t understand my pain.”
“I am a failure because I can’t work and contribute to society any more.”
The Bible tells us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We must recognize and capture these thoughts like a catcher snags a baseball in a ball game. If we don’t, they keep replaying over and over in our heads and keep us defeated by negativity.
You may notice that the above thoughts have an element of truth to them, but they also have an element of untruth, as well. Analyze the above statements for their truths and untruths.
The elements of truth:
1. The illness and pain may not go away.
2. Your spouse may, indeed, be selfish and not understand.
3. You may not be able to work anymore because of your illness.
The elements of untruth:
1. My life is hopeless because of this illness and pain.
2. He will never get it right. I need someone else.
3. I am a failure because I can’t work and contribute to society.
Because there are elements of truth that we cannot deny, we often subconsciously accept the negative thought without always recognizing the untruth. When we can identify the untruth and apply the truths of God’s word to it, we can have a different perspective and can then change our thoughts to reflect hope and truth.
New thoughts brought in line with God’s truth:
1. God will help me deal with this illness every day for the rest of my life. His grace is ever present and sufficient for my situation. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
2. We can work through these difficulties together and learn to better love each other. Sometimes, I am selfish, too. I don’t always understand him, either. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
3. I am not a failure because I can’t work. God considers me worthy enough to send His Son Jesus to die on a cross so I could have a relationship with Him. (John 3:16)
We can have victory over our negative thoughts when we rely on and claim the truths of God’s word! Becoming aware of these negative thoughts is important. To do this, begin writing down your thoughts as you go throughout each day. Keep pen and paper nearby throughout the day.
Once you have identified some negative thoughts, ask God to help you discern the truths and untruths in each thought. Then write these down, separating the truths and untruths like we did above. It may help to write them in three columns on a piece of paper: negative thought/truth/untruth. Next, ask God to help you find His truth about the negative thoughts you have written down. Write God’s truths in a fourth column on your paper. It may also help to write the Scripture verse that addresses the negative thought in a fifth column.
What is one negative, untruthful thought you can identify right now that runs through your head often? Write it down on a piece of paper separated out into five columns: negative thought/truth/untruth/God’s truth/Scripture reference. Here is an example:
|Negative Thought||Truth in Negative Thought||Untruth in Negative Thought||God’s Truth re: Negative Thought||Scripture Verse re: God’s Truth|
|I am so weak.||
I can’t do as much as I used to.
I can’t do anything and am useless.
|I may not be able to do everything, but God can strengthen me for the important things.||
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Click here for the Negative Thought Tool in printable form for your own use.
With God’s help, you can overturn each negative thought every time you notice it, and replace it with a thought that reflects His truth. As you do this, you will begin to change your thinking, and eventually, you will find yourself automatically thinking the new, truthful thought. Take life with chronic illness one thought at a time and one day at a time, and you will find each day getting a little easier.
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Disclaimer: The author and God-Living with Chronic Illness do not receive any compensation for references to specific products, ideas, people, or websites. The ideas posted are not intended as medical advice and should not be taken as such in place of your physician’s recommendations.
Hi! My Name is Laurie, and I am a wife, mom, nurse, and patient living with fibromyalgia. I understand first-hand what life is like with chronic pain and illness. My passion is to help provide others with the spiritual encouragement and resources that I so desperately needed when I was first diagnosed. Please join us on the blog and Facebook page for regular encouragement and hope. Welcome!