Have you ever found yourself crying uncontrollably? Or suddenly yelling angry remarks at a person? These things seem to come out of nowhere. One minute everything seems fine, and the next, your emotions have skyrocketed!!
Next question: Did these things really come up all of sudden? Doubt it.
In fact, I will absolutely, positively guarantee you that they didn’t suddenly spring out of existence. Oh no. That’s now how it works. You see, for something to explode, it must have taken root somewhere or other. There is always a thread you can follow. There is a string, you can trace back to the source of this sudden upheaval. A lot of times we’ll do that in retrospect. Innocently, we will ask ourselves: where did that come from? Where did this floodgate of tears come from? Where did this anger arise from? Innocent, innocent doves we pretend to be…
Let’s pick up that string now and trace it back, back to the roots, back to its birth. Let’s find the enemy.
But what are we going to do when that enemy is in fact ourselves? How do we defeat the giant when the giant is us?
There are two major categories of pitfalls in a person’s life: external and internal. The external ones are the easy ones to figure out: they are the struggles we can actually see, do, feel, touch. A few may sound familiar: alcohol, drugs, any form of sexual relations, gambling… but the other major pitfall is much harder to detect, for it takes place internally. And actually it usually must take place before the external pitfalls do. Most external thorns of the flesh have internal roots deep in our heart. But there are others that don’t bud so quickly: depression, anger, lust, low self-esteem, pride – these things take place daily on the unseen battlefields of our hearts and minds. These ideas, these feelings creep into our minds and start spreading like a virus. We think about them, and think about them some more, and then more, and more, and more, and the next thing you know you are having breakdown.
The question is what on earth do we do with them? For we cannot escape them. Daily, everyone is going to experience on onslaught of these range of emotions. We are human beings living in a fallen world. As Christians, we have a common enemy in satan who will stop at nothing to rip us apart and destroy us.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12
But heres the big kicker…are you allowing satan to spoon food you these lies? This is where your part of the battle comes in. And I swear at times I think, we humans set out to destroy ourselves.
I’ll never forget something Dr. Charles Stanley said in one of his sermons many years ago. It was something along the lines of this: “You cannot control what comes into your mind, but you can control what you do with it.”
Something that is a worry to you pops into your mind? What do you do? “Oh woe is me…” – NO!
Something someone said that hurt you and angered you pops into your head? What do you do? Think about all the ways to get him back? – NO!
You see thoughts left unchecked become giant thorns in our hearts and mind if we aren’t careful. By dwelling on something, we can turn a passing thought into a full blown mental breakdown or breakout.
One minute you start thinking about something that bothers you and the next you’re crying about it. One minute, you are thinking about telling your friend off and the next minute you are doing it…So easily and so quickly we take the tiny bait that satan drops into our mind, and we dwell on it, and we dwell on it, and before we know it, it is consuming our lives!
So WHAT is one do to when the enemy is within??
First things first: self analysis.
what is depressing you?
what is making you angry?
why are you worried?
make the list.
write it down, get it out. now ask yourself what God says about it. now burn the list.
If it’s anger: forgive people and forget. If it’s worry, remember God cares for every sparrow out there, so you can be rest assured that He cares for you. If it’s depression, the Bible says to set the heart on joy. Several times in scripture, God focuses on the aspect of joy. The apostle Paul found Joy in all places. If it’s low self-esteem, remember that Christ created you. He formed you in your mother’s womb which makes you special, His creation; there is nothing more special than that.
With Christ there is ALWAYS light at the end of the tunnel, but the first step is choosing to stand up and walk OUT of the tunnel. Pick yourself up, wipe away the tears,(or take a deep breath from the anger) and pop in some fruity gum or a chocolate truffle – something just to give you some spunk.
Then praise God for giving you life and then SHIFT your focus. Think about anything that is NOT related to your problem. Think about joyful things, thing about your next vacation, think about how much you love your parents, siblings, grandparents, significant others. Think about the amazing gifts and talents God has given you. Think about the fact that you are alive. Think about all of the amazing opportunities you have in life. A pessimistic person will never make it in life, for they doom themselves to failure right from the start. BE OPTIMISTIC! I know this isn’t easy, but try…just a little bit. A little bit goes a long way down the road to helping yourself.
Remember that dwelling on the internal battle is only going to make it grow: the only way to conquer it is to first surrender it to Jesus and then shift your focus!
Don’t destroy yourself…grab a hold on your mind and heart before it grabs hold of you!
Turn your thoughts and heart towards God, and He will take care of the rest.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” – Matthew 6: 33-34
Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light – Matthew 11:28-30
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil – Ephesians 6:26-27