by Paige Eavenson

Where the mind goes, the man follows.” Joyce Meyer

Popular author, speaker and televangelist, Joyce Meyer, has added yet another powerful resource to help us in our everyday lives. In her book “Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind,” Joyce follows up her best-selling book, “Battlefield of the Mind” with 12 strategies that will help you overcome every battle in your mind.

With our month of articles on overcoming mind games, this book pretty much summarizes what we all have been trying to say. Joyce’s writing is not only biblical but practical in so many ways. Joyce says, “Our thoughts lead us, charting the course for our lives and pointing us in certain directions that ultimately determine our destinations in life. Our thoughts cause us to have certain relationships; they determine how productive we will be personally and professionally; and they greatly influence the overall quality of our lives. We absolutely must understand the power of thoughts!”

I’ve had this little book on the shelf for months and I’m so glad this month ended up being the perfect month to pull it off the shelf and dive into the truths it has to offer. As a wife, mom and servant in the body of Christ, my time is pulled in many directions and my days can sometimes get overwhelming with all that needs to get done. Sometimes I just want to go back to bed and pray someone else will come handle all the tasks I have to accomplish in the day. Unfortunately, the maid and personal assistant don’t exist in my life; therefore it’s up to me to get the work done. If I don’t get my thoughts in the line, then my whole day just goes sour.

In order to really get this stuff in my mind and heart, I decided to print out the 12 Power Thoughts and put them on my fridge and in various places around my home. They are listed below so feel free to do the same.

As women who have many roles and things to accomplish before the year ends, let’s not let our thoughts get the best of us, but rather do as the scripture advises us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV),  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

For more information on her book “Power Thoughts” and Joyce Meyer visit her site.

Here’s Joyce’s 12 power thoughts to copy, paste and print at your convenience:

I CAN DO WHATEVER I NEED TO DO IN LIFE THROUGH CHRIST.

GOD LOVES ME UNCONDITIONALLY!

I WILL NOT LIVE IN FEAR.

I AM DIFFICULT TO OFFEND.

I LOVE PEOPLE AND I ENJOY HELPING THEM.

I TRUST GOD COMPLETELY; THERE IS NO NEED TO WORRY!

I AM CONTENT AND EMOTIONALLY STABLE.

GOD MEETS ALL MY NEEDS ABUNDANTLY.

I PURSUE PEACE WITH GOD, MYSELF, AND OTHERS.

I LIVE IN THE PRESENT AND ENJOY EACH MOMENT.

I AM DISCIPLINED AND SELF-CONTROLLED.

I PUT GOD FIRST IN MY LIFE.

 

Paige Eavenson and her family have been part of Grace Family Church for 13 years and she currently serves on staff as a women’s small group coach. A homeschool mom of three, Paige is an avid reader who loves collecting new friends and helping people get connected into small groups. You can learn more about Paige on her blog, www.sincerelypaige.com.  

by Becca Christensen

I was excited when I learned that this month on the Beautiful Blog would be about battlefields of our minds. This has certainly been heavy on my own heart in the season I find myself in and I know so many of you must be in similar seasons. So the next obvious question was which “Mind Game” to write about.

Leave it to me to pick a tough one going into the holiday week – brokenness. Brokenness is one of those scary Christian words like “patience” where the more mature you become, the healthier your fear of praying for it is. Not many of us truly want the Lord to break us, do we? But when I think about the Christian mind, I realize that seasons of brokenness can be when we need to keep our minds right more than ever. 

When we’re going through times of brokenness because of death, trial, financial problems, infertility, disease, or other spirit crushing hardships, it is easy to let our minds get the best of us. It is easy to tell ourselves that the Lord doesn’t care, has abandoned us, isn’t answering our prayers, and that no one understands what we’re going through.

The biggest lie I’ve told myself about being broken is that when we go through these times we have to “suck it up” and “fake it ‘til we make it.” If you’re as type A as I am, you know exactly what I mean. We don’t let anyone see us sweat, and we immediately form a plan to “fix” things. As I’ve studied the Bible though, I realize that the Lord uses these seasons to grow us before we move out of them and that requires us to really experience the broken season.

If you’re in a season in which circumstances have broken you, spend some time reading Psalms. My favorite is this, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:17-19)

When your mind becomes a battlefield, pray scripture over your life. Cling to the promises the Lord provides in His word. We are not the first to experience these times and will not be the last, but the Lord is sovereign in good times and in hard. He does hear us. He will deliver us. And he is close to us when we are broken.

I challenge you not to let your mind get the best of you when your heart is breaking. Cling to the Lord, His promises and His never-ending faithfulness. Use these times to grow closer to Him. Don’t tell yourself you’re not allowed to go through hard times. Just don’t try to go through them without Him (and solid Christian encouragers).

 

Becca Christensen works as an event specialist in the non-profit/sports world. She loves to bake, travel, read, blog, spend time with family, and root on the Indianapolis Colts. In addition to contributing to the Beautiful Blog, Becca attends Beautiful Monday Nights. You can read more about Becca on her blog, Oh, the Places You’ll Go.

by Debbie Altman

This was a hard story to share at first, because I’m the Pastor’s wife, and if anyone is supposed to have it together, it’s supposed to be me, right?  And to be honest, until six years ago, I was managing most of my life adequately with the grace of Christ, and managing to stay a little to the right of the fine line between sanity and insanity!  I was basically a responsible, mostly reasonable, contributing member of society.  I was juggling all the balls, multi-tasking, wearing all the hats.

But suddenly, I started to experience some unusual anxiety…almost panic attacks, seemingly coming from nowhere.  I began to do some research, and believed that it was related to peri-menopause, the time surrounding the loss of a woman’s menses.  During this time, your hormones are essentially freaking out and it can do some weird things to some women! 

Not too long after that, I realize now, I also had an unusually emotional and exhausting year which included a trip to China, a daughter getting married, planning a large wedding, and her moving away.  That year in ministry was also unusually stressful and busy.  All the conditions were right for a “perfect storm,” as my poor husband compassionately called it!  Something like we recently experienced with Sandy in the Northeast. All the atmospheric conditions were converging!  Spirit, soul and body were depleted, in upheaval or out of whack.   And while we can usually handle one or two of these aspects being stressed, rarely will we come out unscathed when all three are over-taxed. 

I began to suffer severe anxiety that led to depression.  I was short of breath with a racing heart, was having pain in my arms and legs, I had no appetite and lost 10 pounds, (if you know me, you know how much I usually eat!).  My hair started thinning at one point. I had stomach discomfort. I couldn’t sleep. I felt overwhelmed with simple, everyday responsibilities. I couldn’t make simple decisions, couldn’t focus. I felt useless and inadequate. I had a loss of confidence, motivation and energy. I felt irritable – wanting to jump out of my skin. I cried over the littlest things and could not see joy or hope in anything.    (Sounds like the lady on the Cymbalta commercial, you’re thinking. Yes, that was me!)  

I also felt a sense of dread that I was going to die, or that I should die, or it wouldn’t matter if I died.  It was irrational, but it was all so real to me and I could not “snap out of it.” 

I have always taught women that we are spirit, soul (emotions), and body, and when something is wrong in our lives, we need to look at all three areas.  So, I began to press into God, increasing my time in His presence and in His Word. I read books to renew my mind, talked to a counselor, asked for prayers of deliverance, sought out natural remedies, and had lab testing done to find out what was going on in my body.   It has been a journey and, I must add, a confusing, tedious and painful one.  I am convinced that my primary issue was my hormone imbalance, and have finally found a bio-identical hormone treatment that has calmed the anxiety.  Before that however, when I was so incapacitated by the anxiety, I did take some medication for it.  I want to say that we need to be very careful about casting judgment on other Christians regarding this issue.  If I was a diabetic, no one would judge me for taking insulin.  But when it is a mental health issue like anxiety or depression, there is sometimes a misguided belief in Christian circles that if a person would just be more spiritual they would not have these issues.  That is not always true.  There is a real physical and chemical component to these problems in many people.  Can you get somewhat anxious or depressed, and battle that with emotional and spiritual healing?  Absolutely!  But can you sometimes do all of those things and still have severe challenges in these areas.  Absolutely!  As I have shared my story with women, young and old, I have had them cry with relief and thanks that someone identified with them, shared their struggle and did not judge them for taking medicine that was needed. 

My experience with anxiety was truly a wilderness experience for me, and “a dark night of my soul.”  But God did do healing in me and took me to a new level with Him.  The experience of His unconditional love for me, whether I was “doing” all the things I normally do or not, was a treasure that I could not have fully gained without this trial. He ministered to me with His great love and wisdom, and spoke to me about things I needed to see in my life.  I learned to a greater degree, the power of female friendships, and fell even more in love with my compassionate husband.   And my heart goes out to anyone struggling in these areas.  As a psychiatric nurse, and minister’s wife, I always felt that I had a level of compassion for these challenges. But as many of us learn over the years, you do not fully understand someone’s struggle until you walk in their shoes.

For anyone walking through anything like this, I encourage you to have hope.  I’ve felt the hopelessness and can truly thank God for using all the means that He did to carry me back to a place of joy.

From the ends of the earth I call to you, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.  Psalms 61:2 

There is no one like God who rides on the Heavens to help you.  Deut 33:26

 

Debbie is the wife of Pastor Craig Altman, and together, they founded Grace Family Church 18 years ago.  She is a former RN and mother of a 27 year old married daughter and 26 year old son.  She is also known as “Nona” to her precious granddaughter. Debbie enjoys family, reading and the beach, and is inappropriately competitive at board games. 

by Leslee Stewart

The other day I was floating along in life, feeling like everything was pretty good, when a friend made a comment in passing that opened the floodgates of doubt and worry in my mind. Suddenly I found myself replaying our conversation over and over, trying to dissect each word, tone and facial expression of my friend, hoping to uncover the true meaning behind what she’d said.

My friend was clueless about how her comment had affected me. She was just innocently passing along some information that another person had shared with her – information about something I’d said that that person didn’t particularly like hearing. Even though I hadn’t done or said anything wrong to the person she got the information from, I couldn’t shake the idea that somehow, someone I’d encountered had registered a bad impression of me.

It’s amazing how quickly our mind and emotions can go from happy to sad. Some days it’s like riding a roller coaster – up, down, good, bad, pleasant, miserable. Why did I allow a simple comment from my friend send me on the mind games crazy train?

I let myself stew over her words all day long, until finally my husband asked me what was up. He could tell by my abnormally quiet demeanor that the cogs in my brain were on overdrive.

I shared with him how I was feeling and how upset it had made me. I felt deflated, defeated. It made me want to shy away from opening my mouth and speaking the truth – even when it’s done from a spirit of love and grace.

He pinpointed my mind-sabotage pretty quickly. It all boiled down to a lack of self confidence on my part. As much as I try and tell myself that, “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” it just isn’t true. Words can wound us. Words can open the door to self doubt. Words can make us want to temper who God’s called us to be out of fear of what others might think or say. No matter what I might tell myself, at the end of the day, I still want people to “like” me. And when they don’t, I struggle with how to handle their “dislike” of me.

My husband reminded me that no matter what others might think of me, the only thing that really matters is what God thinks of me. I am His daughter, the apple of His eye. (Deut. 32:10) He knows everything about me. His thoughts about me are precious. (Psalm 139)

Even though I “know” everything my husband was telling me, too often I forget it. I let the influence of others shape my self-perception.

In Romans 12:2 it says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” And Psalm 94:19 says, “When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”

That’s what I want – to change the way I think, to let God’s comfort erase the doubts of my mind and bring hope and cheer to my heart. God, give me Your confidence. Renew my mind. Help me not put so much weight in what others think of me. Help me to see myself through Your eyes – as Your precious child. Let me be a reflection of Your grace, love and forgiveness so that I might help others experience the freedom that comes from living fully in Your presence. Amen.

 

Leslee Stewart oversees communications for GFC Beautiful. She is a wife, stay-at-home mom of two boys and former communications executive. She openly admits she owns too many throw pillows, loves junky old furniture and can sing all the parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

by Elaine Morley

My husband and I were lying in bed in the early morning hours and God awoke my heart with a thought: “I have made you a better person, more kind, more patient … more like Me.”  I cuddled closer to my husband and said to him, “God has really changed me and I realize now I wasn’t always as good of a wife as I thought I was.  I’m sorry for the times I wasn’t as good of a wife as I should have been.” It was a very tender moment with my God and my husband.  It was a gift waiting for me as I awoke in the morning light and I was so thankful for it.

As I lay in bed for a few more minutes, I continued to think about how God changed me and how it has set me free from my past wounds. It has allowed me to shrug off the chains that were binding me to past regrets and past hurts.  An important part of my spiritual transformation has been learning to recognize God’s voice and to turn away from the lies of the deceiver.

You may call him the Devil, Lucifer, or any other name, but I always call him the deceiver because I let him deceive me for far too many years. That name also reminds me that he still lurks around waiting to find a weak spot in my armor.  His lies usually have a ring of truth to them or they prey on our human frailties. But they aren’t The Truth.  They aren’t God’s Truth.  Once you learn to recognize and deny the deceiver’s lies, your life will change like you never thought possible!  I know, because it happened to me.

A beautiful thing happened several years ago when I started to truly seek God and His word and His truth.   As I studied God’s word and went through small group studies about recognizing God’s voice, winning the battlefield of my mind, and even reading Christian fiction like the Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, God opened my eyes to how the deceiver works. He taught me to be on the lookout for the deceiver’s lies.

Are you feeling condemned for something you did in the past?  Do you feel shame over decisions you’ve made, paths you’ve taken, or things that were done to you?  Is a voice in your head telling you that you better not call yourself a good Christian, or a good wife, or a good mother because of what you did ten years ago, last year, or this morning?  If you said yes to any of these questions, I can tell you with absolute certainly that is the deceiver’s voice. 

God’s voice convicts us to confess our sins and then leave them behind.  He does not dig up old dirt and He does not hold things over our heads that we’ve already confessed and turned away from.  God does not shame us.  He offers us grace.

The thought that God put in my heart that morning didn’t make me feel condemnation or shame for how I used to be.  It simply shed light on how much I’ve changed and how far God has brought me.  It filled my heart with such joy and love that it took my breath away.  The focus wasn’t really on the past behavior; it was on how far I’ve come. That is what God does!  He celebrates who He has made us, He tells us to focus on what our next move is.  He reminds us that we already have victory if we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior because He died for our sins, our past regrets, and the paths we wish we hadn’t taken. He stands us up strong and tall so we can defeat the lies that the deceiver tries to plant in our heads.  He makes us strong for the battles ahead, not weak from dwelling on the past.

 

Elaine Morley and her husband, Paul, have been married for 20 years and have called Grace Family Church their home for the past seven. She has two wonderful step-children who still live in Minnesota, but visit Florida often. She serves as a Beautiful small group leader and loves the friends she’s made at Grace who help strengthen her walk with God.