Sticks and Stones

 Day 13 Project 365

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names (words) will never hurt me”

We all remember hearing that on the playground growing up.  Chances are we might have chanted it ourselves.  If only that old childhood adage were true!

Sadly, sticks and stones may break my bones but words can also wound me.

Words!  They come to me in a flood. It’s that little voice in the back of my head.  It seems to pick the times I am already feeling under attack.  It likes to bring up hurtful things people have said and flash images in my memory of times I would rather forget.  It is the voice of the kids not wanting to pick me for their teams.   It is the voice of my ex-husband telling me that since I am so fat my kids will be embarrassed by me and reject me.  It is the voice of bullies picking on me for my clothes or my freckles.  It is the countless other words that  have been spoken over me or to me.

These things have become bricks in my tower.  They are the ones I tend to default too.  They tell me that nothing I do is good enough. That everything is my fault.  That if I was smarter or prettier or kinder or if I just tolerated more or accepted things as they are and didn’t expect more……  The list can go on and on.  And I know I am not alone.  I know that others can relate.  It is the comments of “you are as dumb as a box of rocks”, “are you stupid?”, “I am so embarrassed by you” and countless other, sometimes even innocent comments, that added together became not so innocent in our minds.  They have reduced us to a pile of rocks and sticks.

I have had more than a few times where these things have been over powering.  I have been faced with someone elses laundry list of things I did or didn’t do.  Regardless of their intent it hurt.  I found myself taking ownership of their junk.  Then I started to apply what I had been learning.  Slowly I started applying truth.  So today I made a list.  I got quiet and made a list of all the things that play on the tape that is in my mind.  I listed times and dates when I could.  I listed who it was that has said these hurtful things.  I listed how it made me feel and I listed the truth!  I had a stack by the time it was done.  Then it was my turn to bring some truth.  I BURNED THEM!  I watched them go up in flames.  I am not bound by the things people speak to me.  I am not required to be stuck in a pattern that allows someone else to belittle me.  I do not have to accept what someone else wants me to believe about myself or my situation. I am not my sin.  My mistakes do not define me.  Someone else needing to feel good about themselves or blame me to find peace is not my problem.  Someone elses denial does not constitute my acceptance of something that is not mine to own.  I do not have to stand for disrespect or abuse, mentally, emotionally, or physically.

I know that I must fill this space with TRUTH.  I know, because I have done this before, that if I leave this space empty the thoughts will creep back in.  So I must apply truth and daily.  Just like food and water is essential for me to survive, the truth is what I was created to crave. It is what will strengthen me and set me free and lead me to a purpose driven life.  The enemy wants nothing more than for me to believe that I do not matter.  That it doesn’t make a difference what little things I do right because I always fail.  Good news!  He is not the author or the finisher of my story.

One of my favorite devotional writers Mary Sutherland said this in a devotion on our thought life:

“Thoughts are real and powerful! Our actions, our attitudes, our habits are born in the mind … in our thought life. We can literally change our lives by changing what we think about. Isaiah 26:3 promises, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Peace and joy involve both the heart and the mind. Wrong thinking will lead to wrong living. The first step toward a right thought life is to recognize the power of our thoughts.” 

She goes on to say, “We must refuse lies and fill our mind with absolute truth – God’s Word. As we digest it, as we take it into our lives and saturate our thoughts with it, we will be able to discern between truth and lies. Life changing power is found in the Word of God! I read once of a tourist who, while traveling to Alaska during the building of the Alaskan pipeline, came across a road sign that read, “Be careful which rut you choose.  You’ll be in it for the next 200 miles.” We often allow negative thoughts to create a rut in our minds, giving them access to our lives. By filling our mind with scripture, we fill in those old ruts with peace and create new “ruts” that soon become right thought patterns. We are then thinking God’s thoughts, and when we begin to think God’s thoughts, our thoughts will become true.  One of the fiercest parts of my battle with depression is in my thought life. Yes, Satan is a liar! He wants to control my mind through lies because when I believe truth, the Holy Spirit takes over. When I feed my thought life a steady diet of truth, I am inviting the Holy Spirit to work! When I believe a lie, Satan steps in!  He sticks his hairy toe (I have never seen it, but I just know it is ugly and hairy) in the walls of my mind, hurling his destruction into every step I take. Friend, the enemy will lie to you about the way you look, your relationships, your worth and identity, your fears and dreams and your God. Do not surrender one inch of your thought life to him. Choose truth instead and stand firm!

The mind is a garden that could be cultivated to produce the harvest that we desire.

The mind is a workshop where the important decisions of life and eternity are made.

The mind is an armory where we forge the weapons for our victory or our destruction.

The mind is a battlefield where all the decisive battles of life are won or lost.”

(Author unknown)

As you go through each day, identify and record any negative thoughts. Read each thought aloud. Determine why it is negative. Apply a promise from scripture to each thought and pray, asking God to retrain your mind.”

Today I was able to take every thought captive.  I was able to apply truth.

On my walk tonight I breathed in deep and exhaled again and again. I breathed in thank you Jesus and exhaled I am free!

Today is an amazing success.

Philippians 4:8 (NIVB) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is

right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–

think about such things.

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