The call came right after Katie got back from her lunch break. The health technician informed her that there were some abnormalities that were discovered in her last scan and that the doctor would like her to come in at her earliest convenience.
She could feel the anxious thoughts knocking. They were crowding in and piling on, one over the other. It felt impossible to stop them. It was like a rushing flood of water rising by the second.
- “Do I have cancer?
- How much time do I have?
- What will my family say?
- Is it going to hurt a lot?”
Activity in My Thinking
Although it happens so quickly, we have a choice in how we respond to a surge of anxious thoughts. Here’s a chart shared by my friend, Kimberly Yoder.
Thinking is the key!
You are either thinking lies or thinking truth. The tricky part is that thoughts fire quickly and are difficult to separate.
Your thinking begins to affect your desires. You find yourself desiring comfort, control, or to please people. It may not make sense to you at all, but it’s happening nonetheless.
Not only does your thinking affect your desires, but the desires quickly in turn begin to affect your behavior. It’s bound to happen. You express on the outside what is happening on the inside.
Finally the emotions follow in tow. They are more easily noticed. 🙂
In this scenario the phone call presented an invitation to allow anxious thoughts to permeate. Anyone would have concern, no doubt, receiving information of that manner, but there is another way we can choose to process the vacuum of ambiguity that follows such a call. We can choose to think truth (Philippians 4:8).
The Problem of Pondering and Projecting
You may say that the truth is that there are abnormalities and something is amiss in Katie’s body. Yes, that is true. Anxious thoughts usually start with basic information that is true, but they don’t stay there. The anxiety moves on into pondering all of the ‘what if’s.’ Those things are not necessarily true. And anxiety doesn’t stop there. It projects possible outcomes and fears that could be realized, and the tears begin to flow. Now we are dealing with outright falsehoods that have not taken place.
It is a delicate job to discover and unpack “lies” that influence our thinking.
The Deceiver is exceptional at suggesting lies that seep into our thinking. Remember how he did it in the Garden of Eden?
- Has God really said?
- God doesn’t really want your best.
- God can’t be trusted.
He loves to sow doubt about the character of God.
How do you unpack hidden lies and deceit that have burrowed deeply into your thinking? God, through His Word and His Spirit, can help decipher what you are thinking.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
When we discover ‘lies’ we are thinking about, we need to remove them and replace them with truth from God’s Word.
Katie pursues truth in this thought-test. Yes, she might have a medical problem. Yes, God is completely aware of all that is happening in her body. Yes, God loves her so much and is trustworthy. Yes, God has things He intends to do in her and through her, no matter the outcome.
She grabs her Bible and begins to search for and actively meditate on God’s truth and to give thanks for the promises she has in Christ.
- God says in Psalm 139 that He has all our days numbered when as yet there was none of them.
- God has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. Hebrews 13:5-6.
- God will use whatever He allows in my life to make me more like Jesus, His Son. Romans 8:28-29.
- I Corinthians 10:13 gives me the assurance that He has checked the test and will make sure that I can somehow make it.
- We can give thanks for the things above, trust Him, and begin to look for His fingerprints present. Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:15-17; I Thessalonians 5:18.
The positives help balance the possible negatives; the loving and meticulous providence of God counters the ambiguity. The whole concept of th(i)nkful centers on what you are thinking. There is no way you can be thankful unless you are first thinking the thanks. Somehow it evades us that what goes on in our thoughts affects who we are and what we do – keep a guard on your heart because everything in life flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).
Are you kicking out lies?
Kick out the unwelcome lying thoughts and instead welcome in the thoughts that are true.