How To Overcome Destructive Thoughts
How To Overcome Destructive Thoughts
When You Can’t Just Stop Thinking About It
Today’s post is more personal than some because I battled some pretty dark thoughts for years. It was during the same time that I was struggling to overcome fear, and both of these issues fed off of one another and created a maelstrom of chaos in my mind.
As a believer, it was particularly frustrating because I felt like I shouldn’t even have these thoughts cross my mind, let alone set up tents there. Some people say, “Just stop thinking about it.” But… By trying to not think about something, you actually bring it into the forefront of your mind – producing the opposite result.
When I say that I battled dark thoughts, I’m understating the truth. I faced off with some wicked and evil thought patterns that would have resulted in a vastly different life had I not learned how to beat them. My prayer is that today someone will benefit from what I’ve learned about how to overcome destructive thoughts.
A Game of the Throne
Everything that you’ve been exposed to in life exists inside your mind as a potential thought. Everything you’ve ever heard spoken, everything you’ve ever seen or read, and experience you’ve ever encountered resides in your mind as a potential thought.
Beating the destructive thoughts is surprisingly easy once you learn a simple concept about how your mind works. I’m going to use a little analogy of a throne to explain it.
To begin, let’s imagine a giant courtyard filled with all of these thoughts that have in some way entered your mind. I like to imagine them as people or creatures that personify that thought.
There’s Only One Throne
As you look over the courtyard, you’ll notice that each and every one of these people and creatures are standing at the reading and focusing on an object in the center of the courtyard. As you look to see what they’re all focusing on, you will notice a very large throne that stands tall above the crowd.
This throne is majestic and has the appearance of authority and power. We notice that one of the ‘thought people’ is seated within that throne and is reciting its idea over and over without ceasing.
The Throne Guard
When we move in closer, we also see that the even though there is a lot of struggle to get closer to the throne, it is surrounded by a stone wall with only one entrance. At that gate entrance, there stands a powerful guard who only permits one person access to the throne at a time.
As we come closer, we are surprised to see that we are the guard. The guard is the only one with the power and ability to allow anyone access to the throne.
We watch as the guard points to a person in the crowd and calls them to the entrance. As we open the gate to allow this new person in, the ‘thought person’ who was on the throne immediately comes down and exits the gate while the new ‘thought person’ takes its seat on the throne and begins to recite its idea over and over.
The Rules of The Throne
- There is only one throne and it seats only one.
- The throne must always be occupied.
- You choose who sits on the throne.
Our Mind Only Has One Throne
Our society thrives on multitasking. We always seem to be doing at least two things at any given moment. Our mind is different though. It has only one throne. We can only have one active and predominant thought at any given moment. Try thinking the alphabet while counting out loud. It doesn’t work because our throne only seats one.
The Throne Is Always Occupied
If you are awake, you are thinking about something. It might be a daydream, but it is an active thought. Even people who practice emptying their mind, typically ‘go somewhere’ in their mind to empty it of thought. They’re replacing chaotic thoughts with a serene and peaceful thought.
You Alone Grant Access to the Throne
Each active thought was allowed access to your mind throne by you. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, you are allowing it to be there. The great power lies in understanding that you can, at any moment, open the gate and CHOOSE a different thought to sit on that throne.
How to Overcome Destructive Thoughts
What I’m going to share now is the technique that I implemented to conquer my own ‘demons’ of destructive thoughts.
One of my disciplines as a believer is daily Bible reading. Each morning, during my reading, I would select a verse that spoke to me in a positive way – sometimes they directly applied to the thoughts I was battling.
I’d take a couple of minutes each morning to commit that verse to memory. It only takes about as long as brushing your teeth and combing your hair.
Then, every time I noticed myself thinking about something destructive, I would open the gate and call that verse out of the crowd of thought people and place it on the throne.
Doing this is easy. Say it out loud once, and then begin to rehearse it in your mind. I would actually think about each word, and the meaning that they held.
What I’ve found to be true is that when you’re actively thinking about something positive, the negative and destructive thoughts cannot occupy you mind. The opposite is also true.
If you struggle with destructive thoughts, then I want you to find a thought that you can replace it with. This can be a Bible verse like I used, maybe a song that gives you hope, or a quote that particularly speaks to and inspires you.
Commit it to memory and then actively place it on the throne of your mind any time a destructive thought tries to set up residency in your mind.
If you’d like to use a scripture, here’s a link to Psalm 139 – It’s filled with some great verses that are good for hours of reflection.
If you have a verse you particularly like thinking about, share it in the comments, maybe it will be just the verse someone is needing.