I used to think that I was the only one whose mind felt more like a battlefield than a place for ideas to grow. My thoughts are constantly running, oftentimes like a taunting play-by-play of the day’s events.
Event: Walking into a group.
Taunting play-by-play thoughts: You so do not belong here. You don’t fit in. They are all staring at you. (But at the same time) No one cares that you’re here.
Event: I find a seat.
Thoughts: See, no one sat by you, proof that you don’t belong. Oh wait, someone did sit by you. OK, say something. No, not that! Now you look dumb. You are so bad and small talk. Just stop talking.
Event: Someone asks me if I’ve finished something that I’ve been working on. (I have not)
Thoughts: They are so disappointed in you. You think you’re so good, but you can’t even finish that one thing. You should just quit.
My head is a fun place, huh? Super good times in my mind!
Ugh. I want these thoughts to stop. I long to turn off the hurtful play-by-play.
I truly thought I was alone in this experience (in fact, “You’re the only one who feels this way” is one of the many “thought mines” that explode in the battlefield of my mind.) So you can imagine my surprise when I realized that other people have similar thought mines!
And sadly, since misery does love company the realization helped a little.
But then again, I don’t want anyone to feel this way! Especially not my kids who are also very prone to these destructive thoughts.
So it got me thinking and praying about how to disarm our thought mines.
And while still a giant work in progress, I am beginning to SEE that finding and disarming these mines is possible if we:
- Identify the trigger
- Expose the thought mine
- Disarm with truth
Identify the Trigger
A land mine is typically detonated automatically by way of pressure when a target steps on it or drives over it….
Over the next few days, pay attention to the events (pressures) that cause your thought mines to detonate. Can you find a pattern? Are you most vulnerable to attack when in a large group? When tired? When dealing with your children? Husband? Family? Do you trip over thought mines more easily when you are facing a deadline? Facing a fear? Alone? Surrounded?
Begin identifying those situations that make you more vulnerable to thought mines. Write them down if you are able. In counseling they refer to those triggers as activating events. For many of us, our triggers are simply being conscience 😉 but we all have moments and situations which create more thought mines than usual.
For me, putting myself “out there” in anyway is the equivalent of me traipsing through a densely packed thought mine.
Expose the Thought Mines
A land mine is an explosive device concealed under ground for the purpose of destroying a target
As you are paying attention to your triggers, also start to take note of the automatic thoughts that “explode” in your mind. Record them if you can.
Write down the event and one or two thoughts you had about it. Don’t filter yourself or try to minimize your thoughts. We need to drag them out into the light, so be honest and just write them as they are. Counselors call these negative/harmful thoughts faulty beliefs.
Warning: some of our thought mines are ugly and mean and hard to acknowledge, but THAT’S OK, because they thrive and grow in silence and darkness. That’s why we are dragging them into the light. So that we can stop being harmed by their destructive forces.
A land mine may cause damage by direct blast effect, by fragments that are thrown by the blast, or by both.
Challenge with Truth
Now here comes the good part! Where we disarm and dig up our thought mines. Now that you have your list of triggers and thought mines, we begin to fight them with Truth. Are you tired of writing yet? Oh, I hope not because here’s where writing is so helpful!
Write truth! Get out your Bible or Bible app. Google will even be helpful here. Begin compiling a list of verses to combat the enemy’s thought mines. I know, I know…Bible verses as weapons? It sounds too simple, too childlike, too easy. But you guys, God doesn’t call His Word a sword for nothing! There is power, true power, in His Word. Try it!
If your thought mines tend to involve taunts of not being good enough, then look up verses about how God sees you. Verses like:
1 Peter 2:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:5, John 1:12 and Romans 8:35-39
If your thought mines detonate with taunts of being unloved then write verses like:
Romans 5:8, Ephesians 3:17-19, Jeremiah 31:3, Lamentations 3:22-23, Zephaniah 3:17
If your thought mines explode with accusations not being strong enough or capable enough, record verses such as:
Isaiah 41:13, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 23:4, Matthew 10:19-20, 2 Chronicles 20:17
Of course there are many different thought mines that bury themselves deep in our minds and so your list of truth challenges will grow and morph over time. But try to find at least one verse for each thought mine you find.
Then place your truths (preferably written on an index card) somewhere you will see them everyday. Memorize them. Recite them. As soon as a thought mine is triggered, speak that verse to yourself, or shout it out loud! Keep your verses with you and all around you as reminders that you have the power to disarm those thought mines before they fully detonate.
God’s Word is power.
Replacing our hurtful self-talk with God’s life-giving truth is the first step in disarming our thought mines.
Are you willing to give it a try?
Let me know if you do! And know that I’m digging up buried thought mines right along with you!
My mind may always be a bit of a battlefield (it’s part of my introverted introspective nature) BUT, I don’t have to take the assaults! I can stand up to the lies that infiltrate my mind, by firing back at them with Truth.
And lies have no power when confronted with Truth!