What Were You Thinking?

When I was writing Boundaries for a Better Life, I did not like my unanswered questions. I mean, shouldn’t we know what we should be doing and why?
People always answer those unanswered questions with, “We’ll know and understand in heaven.”
Will we?
To understand ALL the unknowns here on earth?
I question that. The Bible never teaches that.
We assume because those questions give us uncertainty and that because heaven gives us certainty—at least in our destination, we will know it all.
Knowing it all is a God-thing, exclusively.
I think, when we get there, all our questions will be irrelevant.
We’ll be so busy doing what we’re supposed to be doing—praising and worshipping God—we won’t need to ask God all our “why’s” from down here.
But that brings me to my point of this article, (sorry for the long intro), our misbeliefs give us a false sense of security.

Ever tell yourself how dumb you are? Or maybe I should ask, “When do you stop telling yourself that?”
Ever fight with yourself about your feelings? 
“I shouldn’t act so ugly.” 
“I shouldn’t let another person bother me.” 
“I shouldn’t let my past failures control my present actions.”
Know what I mean?

All that self-talk can really beat you up.

Someone recently recommended Telling Yourself the Truth.
Even as she told me to get the book, I was telling myself, “I tell the truth!”
But I did get the book.
And it has taking me awhile to read it.
In fact, I’m not finished with it yet because it’s a lot to process.
But the content was so relevant to what we’ve been talking about that I thought I’d address it now.
That self-talk is what we convince ourselves about other people.
Our husbands.
Our family.
Your husband does something for the 100th time. 
You’ve told him that bothers you. But he did it anyway, again.
Your self-talk gets to shouting at you. “He did it again! He doesn’t care about me. If he cared, he would remember that bothers me.”
If you continue going down this road of thoughts, soon you feel unloved. You feel abused. You feel like he has never cared for you.
You feel like you can’t be happy with him.
And all of a sudden, but not really so sudden, because you have been telling yourself these things over and over, your thoughts have suggested separation, divorce, and utter hatred for this man you have shared your secret self with.

This self-destructive thought pattern, not only destroys relationships, but wrecks havoc on our health, future, and life.
Medical journals are filled with how destructive depression is to the body. And though there are physical causes of depression, i.e. low vitamin D (make sure you are taking it!), often the medical world cannot identify why you are depressed. 

The Bible told us this would happen. 
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7.

What causes these self-destructive thought patterns?
It started in the Garden, when the serpent asked Eve, 
Did God say?
If God is enough, why do we doubt when times are hard?
If God knows best, why do we still do what we want?
If sin always has a consequence, what makes us think we can get away with it this time?
Because we believe Satan’s lies.

Those doubts, questions, insecurities suggested by Satan are lies we believe.

How do we change our actions?
By changing our thoughts.

But first we must recognize what lies we believe.
That requires a little digging.
We overspend.
Because we’re afraid we won’t have enough.
We believe the lie of the marketers that their low inventory is all there is. 
If we don’t get it now, we won’t be able to get it tomorrow.
And we believe them!
And buy, not one, but several.

Remember the toilet paper shortage?
Could we go without toilet paper?
The news promoted how awful it would be without toilet paper.
Could we even live with it?
Let’s analyze these lies.
Could we live without it?
Other countries use the bidet, a jet of water which cleans as you sit.
The first century Roman world used a communal sponge on a stick which was kept in a bucket of vinegar or salt water and reused, similar to toilet brushes.
Through the 1700’s corncobs were a common alternative.
The first perforated toilet paper rolls were introduced in 1890 and by 1930 toilet paper was manufactured “splinter-free.”
Now, I’ve really digressed and lost you in my rabbit hole.
Should you want to continued down this hole, here’s the article:
But we could actually live without toilet paper.

But back to my point…what was it?
Yeah, how our thoughts can give us a false reality.
If we didn’t have toilet paper, we didn’t die.
But some thought they might.
Our thoughts lead us to irrationality.
Yet we believe them.
We panic.
And change our lives to adapt to them.

Wonder why your dreams don’t come true?
Maybe because your self-defeating thoughts hinder you.
Because it’s easier to believe all those thoughts swirling inside your head then to change them to what is really true.
Know what I mean?

The apostle Paul wrote about this fight.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature, For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:15-20. 

It’s like the two black and white dogs fighting.
Which dog wins?
The one you feed the most.
Which “self” wins?
The one you feed the most.

So what are you feeding your “self”?
Thoughts of blame and self-hatred have no place in your mind.
I’m not saying, you should not be responsible for your actions, but those—“I’m so stupid, why can’t I do this right?” or  “I’m not smart enough to figure this out.”  Kind of thoughts should have no place in your mind.
Does God encourage those thoughts?
He’s like the kind parent, not berating you with your inadequacies, but there to help you through them.

I’m not saying to pretend you are strong.
“I’m strong! I can do this.” 
Those, too, are lies from the Enemy.

What should you feed your mind?
How do you know the truth?
Get into the Word.
Read what God says about you. 
I have called you friends. John 15:15. (Imagine a friend of God.)
For we are God’s handiwork (masterpiece). Ephesians 2:10.
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possessionDeuteronomy 7:6.
…You will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:18.
My beloved is mine, and I am His Song of Solomon 2:16.

These aren’t berating, ugly names. 
They are names God, your Creator, has given you, His child.

Instead of telling yourself all your foolishness, tell yourself how God sees us.
Turn your negative thought patterns to praise Him.
We must recognize our weakness, but if that is all we recognize, we fall short of what God wants for us.
Our weakness should drive us to Him.
Not keep us crippled.
By changing our thoughts to wonder and praise Him, we find His strength is what our weakness needs.
We don’t stay in our weakness, our thoughts soar with praise for Him.

See the difference?

I know I have simplified this process.
The book gives chapter after chapter illustrating how lies make us angry, depressed, or excuse our lack of self-control. 
Surface thoughts may not be the reason for our feelings.
By digging deeper into our subconsciousness, we gain understanding into why we think certain things.
It stems from a wrong perspective of God.
The more we know God, which requires getting into His Word, the more we truly understand who we are.

Fears are based on what we believe.
If we fear future food shortage, we stock up.
We don’t think it’s irrational to spend money we don’t have to buy food we don’t need today. Because we will need it tomorrow.
We fear the future.
But the future is outside our realm of control.
We are powerless to make it work for us.
But we do what we can today to control it.
We buy more food.
But when we go to the Word and read: 
My God shall supply all your needs. Philippians 4:19.
God becomes my supplier, not the stores, truckers, or farmers.
(Not that I don’t recognize God uses those resources to provide my needs, but He provides, in spite of those also.)

How does all this tie into the articles on boundaries?
Good question.
Relationships suffer when we believe lies we tell ourselves about others.
Our husbands leave their laundry on the floor.
We’ve told them it annoys us.
They still do it.
Soon we tell ourselves they do this because they don’t care what we think.
Over time, this proves they don’t love us.

I know laundry on the floor doesn’t determine a husband’s love, nor can anything else you can fill in the blank, but they can cause a series of destructive thoughts.
Now my husband doesn’t leave his laundry on the floor, that would annoy me greatly.
But he does mow my flowers. (In his defence, they are not flowers when he moves them, they are just green stems and leaves.)
Even though I’ve told him, not once but several times, those aren’t weeds.
I could get angry and convince myself this is just one more thing that proves my husband doesn’t listen to me, and therefore doesn’t care for me, and is even abusive to me. 
But I know my husband forgets.
And botany and identifying plants is not his strength, especially when he is mowing the yard and trying to make it look nice.
Instead of emphasizing what he can’t remember, I praise him for keeping the yard uniformly cut. And just move my bulbs to an area where he can’t mow them.
Our relationship is spared my destructive thoughts, and is actually strengthened because I interpret his actions  through a motivation of love. 
I exchange those thoughts that he did it because he didn’t care for me, and thus hates me, with thoughts of appreciation for what he tries to do for me.
That’s what I Corinthians 13:4-8 means when it says, Love…is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth….

See the difference?
The book gives many examples of wives thinking wrong about their husband. As they changed their lies to truth, their husband felt respected and changed how he treated her. Their relationship improved.
How many divorces today are caused by this wrong thinking?
All of them!
Remember the verse that I started with? 
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Think your thoughts aren’t important?
Here’s just a few verses that says, God knows differently.
Philippians 2:5 says, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 4:23 says, Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

What you are thinking matters. 
Take every thought captive to obey Christ. and think truth.


I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Thank you for your patience with me my love.

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