Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taking Your Thoughts Captive.....

We've talked about how our family of origin and our environment has influenced our thoughts and perspectives of ourselves and our world. There is one other very important influence that ties it all together, in fact this influence takes those negative events or thoughts that happened or began in our childhood and keeps them alive in our adult minds.

This influence is the most deceptive and clever and needs to be recognized. This influence is the enemy of our minds, our hearts and our spirits, Satan, the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10), the father of lies and of all that is false (John 8:44). The Bible tells us that he accuses us day and night. He knows our vulnerable areas and that is where he attacks us in our mind.

For example when I was really struggling with self esteem issues I would be bombarded in my mind in certain situations - such as a friend that had this gorgeous house or I met someone who had the perfect body - It did not take away what I thought of them - I saw them as great people and friends but I would begin to think about how I just don't fit in - I'll never be as good as them etc etc. Some of it was coming from me but most of it was being feed into my mind by the enemy and I was embracing the thoughts, dwelling on them and keeping them.

The difference now is that if that thought even begins - I first state to my mind that I am not going there, it is a lie. Then I begin to think about all the good things about my life and who I am. At first I would have to do this often but as you continue to discipline your mind in this way it becomes easier and easier. I will always have to be on guard against certain ways of thinking and I know what they are. It is something different for all of us, for some it may be more worry and fears but we all have areas we need to be aware of and take those thoughts captive.

The bible says that we should not be ignorant of the enemy's devices (1 Cor 2:11). The word device is defined as "a scheme to deceive" One way the enemy uses his devices against us is to plant thoughts in our mind. Toxic Thoughts! (ones filled with anxiety, depression, lies or that are harmful to us)

As I stated above it is important to know your "weak spots" The enemy does not simply want to plant individual lies in our minds - he wants to and will create "strongholds" in our life through our minds.

A stronghold is defined as, a fortress, an area dominated or occupied by a special group. Strongholds are wrong mind sets and thought patterns that are based on lies so the enemy can dominate certain areas of our life.

Satan creates strongholds in our life by hammering and hammering negative thoughts into your mind until you are convinced he is right - he wears you down. He has a custom made plan to stop you from fulfilling God's purposes in your life and the greatest tool he has in your mind.

This is why it is so important to recognize those lies and to begin to systematically destroy them, defeat them, correct them, replace them and break those strongholds. It is never to late to do this.

This takes us to were our next posts will go.... to renewing our mind. We need to examine what we believe and begin to ask why we believe that way. Why do we have the worries we have, the fears, the feelings of anger or rejection. All of the toxic thinking you have are based on lies. The biggest one being that you have no control over it.

I will end with 2 Corith 10: 3-5 and next post we will begin the process of renewing our minds and taking every thought captive to obey Christ.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh, "For the weapons of our warfare are not 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"

Friday, October 22, 2010

You Have to Go Back To Go Forward Part 2

Last post we talked about how our family of origin forms some of our thinking but to a much greater degree I believe it is the world around us that forms our thought process and our view of ourselves.  School experiences, relationships with those outside of our family and the culture we grow up in.

We all have horror stories from school and as much as we laugh now or say it doesn't matter that fact is that the messages we were given in school has a huge impact on our thoughts.  The relationships with those outside of our family also have an impact on us - what they said to us, how we fit in, how we perceived ourselves in relation to our peers.  Early dating relationships and even beginning jobs and teachers all have had an influence on our thinking.

Again, as with our family of origin we have to take those messages that we have embraced as truth and realize they are lies and they are keeping us captive.

Some examples from my life:
I always struggled with my weight as a child and teen - I was called names at school always felt my friends (and they were :)  were thinner than me.  So one of my battles in my mind it to accept myself as God made me.  I do my part - I eat fairly well, I exercise but I in my mind will never be as thin as I feel I need to be.  For years I struggled with this, it hurt my self-esteem and confidence.  But although I am still conscious of it I no longer allow this to consume me.

My parents were older parents - my mom had me when she was 40 and back in those days 40 was 40 :) She was not someone that was conscious of style whether clothes or hair and we didn't have alot of money.  So I usually went to school with out the advantage of looking like everyone else.  In my perception everyone seemed to look better - clothes, hair, stuff they had.  Even going to their homes and seeing their rooms.  I always felt that I didn't measure up.  What that created in me was a discontentment throughout my life.  No matter what I finally obtained or looked like I still never felt as good or that I had as much as the others in my life.

Include with all this the influences of our culture - everywhere you look you are told what you need to look like, what you need to buy and how thin you should be - Every book, commercial and ad - shows pictures of perfection whether it be how you dress, look or your home and all that you own.  No one can possibly live up to these images.  A few years ago Dove soap came out with a very real video on how our culture is influence our daughters.  Here it is:  

Side note: We need to teach our kids these concepts and do all we can to help them to be confident people.  They are growing up in even a more difficult culture and environment than we did.

In both these cases I had to change my thinking.  I had to see that the messages that were brought into my life by early experiences where lies.  God made me the way I am and I choose to be happy with that.  I needed to begin to see all the good things in my life and what I do have not focusing on what I don't have.  In later posts I will give some tools to help with these processes.  And it is a process - when you have thought one way for years and years it takes time to reverse that thinking.

Next post we will talk about the third roadblock to our thinking -  "The enemy, the father of lies"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sometimes You Have To Go Back To Go Forward......

 In the process of changing and getting control of our thought process we first have to look at how our thought process was formed.  Well, we looked at in the last post how childhood experiences form many of our thoughts about ourselves, relationships and the world in general.  We all have positive things that we learn from our family of origin and we all have negative things.  What we have to do is number one make sure we have let go of any anger, bitterness or unforgiveness from our family.  That frees us to move forward - then we need to examine what negative messages we may have received and held onto.  Some of these negative message were made directly to us but most where given to us in modeling.

We tend to tag our kids with something that may have been negative for you or even a positive that then became an unrealistic expectation of you - she is the smart one, or he's our problem child, or she is our shy one, he's the one that I always depend on. You may need to let that tag go.   Personality and Birth Order ties in to this also.

Some examples of negative messages or examples are:
  • How conflict was handled in your home
  • Was your home one of peace and stability or an unstable household with people who always let circumstance control their moods.  
  • How people communicated their feelings in your home
  • How secure was your home, did you feel safe, did you feel loved, did you feel taken care of 
  • Did your environment promote confidence in yourself, where you encouraged and affirmed
  • Was there healthy discipline and structure in your home
  • Did you have fun and laugh
  • Where you emotionally, physically or sexually abused
All these factors and more contribute to how we think about life, ourselves and our relationships.  Of course the most damaging are the abuses but no matter what messages you were given you can reprogram the computer of your brain. You can replace the lies with truth.

Again a reminder, this is not to blame but to understand and to make sure we are not repeating the same mistakes in our families.  Once you look at the negative messages you have been given then you need to begin to see if any line up with God's truth and His Word and if they don't then they are a lie and need to be replaced in your mind with truth.  If conflict was not handed well in your family of origin then you begin to learn how to handle conflict in a healthy way - this is a process of changing your thinking.  Insecurities in childhood lead to low self esteem and lack of confidence so you know those are lies - you begin to see yourself as God says you are.

I have a list of affirmations that I give my clients and have them say them everyday until they begin to reprogram their thinking.  If anyone wants some copies just email me at and I will send them to you. 

As you forgive and understand your family of origin and the experiences you had you then need to look at all the positives you received from them and there were many, in fact God placed you in that family to make you the person he purposed for you to be so begin to acknowledge the negative messages and let them go, replace them with truth then embrace all the positives that came from your family.  As you do this you will look at your childhood in positive terms, because you will have a positive mindset with better thinking patterns. You will look at your childhood, your parents and family with an air of forgiveness and gratitude for all the experiences they have brought to you.

A few tips that may help the process:
  • Acknowledge that you are different from your parents and that it is OK.
  • Accept that your parents aren’t perfect (and neither are you).
  • Take responsibility for who you are today. Acknowledge what was troublesome about your growing up experience, accept it, and move on.
  • Realize that your parents are a product of their own growing up and life experiences.
  • Know that as an adult you are entitled to your own choices, opinions and decisions, even if they turn out to be mistakes. How else can you learn?
  • Understand that today you have the power to influence your relationship with your parents in a positive way, even though you’re still “the kid.
  • Stop trying to change your parents. Instead, think about how you can change your behavior so as to create better interactions with them.
  • Avoid old, toxic topics that are never resolved, and which only bring you pain.
  • Develop and enjoy interests and activities together, where you can participate as equals.
  • When issues come between you, treat them as problems external to you both, not as character flaws or as a battle to be won.
  • Notice and acknowledge the good things they have done, and continue to do for you. Thank them for these things.
  • Even if relations are strained, try to remain in contact, if only through notes, e-mail or voicemail.
 In rare cases even these steps won’t be enough. The pain you experience as a result of continued contact with your parents may be greater than any benefit you receive. 

"For if you forgive people their trespasses (their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go and giving up resentment) your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their trespasses (their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go and giving up resentment) neither will our Father forgive you your trespasses."  Matthew 6:14, 15

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where do those thoughts come from??

I was planning to launch into the facts and tools we need to begin the process of changing and controlling our thought process but then began to think about my own journey (and it is a journey!) toward having better control of my thoughts. When I talk about how our thoughts control our life I am not just talking about a bunch of skills and tools I have learned but I really have applied these to my life. I am still learning and always will be, I sometimes find myself slipping back into old thought patterns but compared to where I was - it's so much better. So I know this works!

So I want to start with the basics today. Where do we get these thoughts? Why do we think like we do? Well, for most of us a great deal of our thinking came from the way we were raised, the world around us (school, relationships, work, culture) and the evil spiritual forces at work in our world.

I want to take a moment to say a disclaimer, Although a part of the way we think comes from how we were raised I want to make clear that we are not blaming our parents for our negative thought process. I always tell my clients, we are not looking to our family background to blame anyone but to understand so we can move forward. Our parents had their family background that influenced them and if we are parents I can promise you our kids will be one day say how our parenting negatively influenced them in some way. :) So keep in mind anything I say about my parents is said in the context of love and understanding that they did the very best with what they had. My parents had a very difficult family background. My dad had 2 alcoholic parents and my mom had a alcoholic dad and lived in poverty. I am sure I don't know alot of things that probably happened in their lives as people of that generation didn't talk about such things.

I am 53 years old. I really only really began to get this in the last 10 years and really applying it in the last 6. I wish I could have understood while I was still raising my kids how important it is to get control of your thinking. I realize now that I can live a life in which circumstances do not determine whether I am happy or not and stress does not have to overwhelm me. I now realize that other peoples behavior or my perception of their behavior does not have to affect me negatively. In fact, I have no one to blame for my anger, depression, attitude or any other feeling I may have but myself. Now they may have caused me to feel a certain way but it is totally up to me what I do with those feelings.

I certainly am still working on this and I'm quite sure I always will be but I used to be a very angry, depressed, unhappy, discontent, negative person. Now, most people didn't know that about me because I worn a very nice happy mask most of the time. But my husband knew and I'm sure my kids were affected by it. And if you were one of those unfortunate people that got on my bad side you definitely saw that side of me! :-)

But the point is that this was where my thoughts were most of the time and it affected me in every way. It affected my self-esteem and how I viewed myself. It affected my relationship with God. It affected my relationships with the people in my life. For example I was very sensitive and easily offended. If someone said something or did something that I "perceived" as criticism or judging me or the way I did something, I would spend literally days playing it in my mind - what was said, what I should have said, how could they, would do they think they are? I would create whole situations in my mind that didn't even exist. I would either avoid or shun the person after that or finally find out my whole perception was wrong. I would feel overwhelmed emotionally - I would lose my temper, spend days and weeks feeling depressed and angry and felt like everyone was better than me. I could go on and on but all I can say is that these negative thoughts and perceptions would consume my life. I hate to think how my hours, days and months I spend in a place of unnecessary emotional turmoil.

I finally began to see that I do not have to passively meditate on whatever comes into my mind not matter what someone says or does. I have a choice on how I respond to these situations and more importantly how I allow these things to affect me emotionally. I threw away my "excuse bag" and took responsibly for my own thoughts, feelings and behavior.

Next post we will talk about how our childhood experiences have affected our thinking especially about ourselves.

"Even if it's not true and you believe it - it is true for you and you are believing a lie"

"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" Romans 12:2

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Power Thoughts

Today's post will begin a new series on how our thoughts affects our life.   I'm reading the new Joyce Meyer's book "Power Thoughts"  and I would recommend it to anyone that struggles with their thoughts which is just about everyone. 

It says in Proverbs 23:7, "For as he thinks in his heart so is he."  If we think positive thoughts we become positive people and yet if we think negative thoughts we will probably be negative people and that will affect our life, our relationships and our success.

Neither I or Joyce are saying that we can think stuff into being - that is a humanistic belief but we need to recognize that our thoughts are powerful and it is a biblical concept that you see often stated in scripture.

In most secular therapy they use what is call "Cognitive therapy"  that is simply taking control of your harmful thoughts and replacing them quickly with healthy thoughts.  The only difference between that and what I am talking about is that instead of it being something we generate from within ourselves when we take our thoughts captive through Christ we are receiving more help and power from Him than ourselves - although I am a big believe that we always have to do our part first then God comes in and helps in the areas we can't. 

I believe we have the ability to choose what we think and decide what not to think and of course we have an enemy that is constantly trying to influence which way that goes. So that is what we are going to talk about for awhile - again it may be 2 posts and it may be 20.  :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Anna's Kitty Party

The Kitty Cake
 I am trying to get back to my Life Coaching posts but I had one more family event I wanted to make note of...... Saturday we had a birthday party for my now 4 year old granddaughter - Anna.   My daughter (one of the most creative people I know) asked Anna what kind of party she would like and Anna said a kitty party so Debbie created a party around kitties.  Anna had 3 little friends come to the party and of course her sister was part of it too.  As each little girl came in they picked out a little kitty that would be theirs, from the adoption center - then they went to a station that was set up like a bath area and they cleaned their kitty's (by the way, these were stuffed kitty's)  they they went on to "Kitty Doctor Kaitlyn" to examine the kitties.  The girls all made collars for their kitties and played all kinds of fun kitty games.  Here are a few pictures of a wonderful and fun day.
Oh I must mention that Mango my "real" kitty was the host for the party!
The Adoption Center

The Host Kitty!

The birthday table

The Kitty plate (Debbie made these!)

Cleaning the Kitty's

Doctor Kaitlyn is ready for business!

Mommy and Nana (I'm writing out the adoption certificates)

making the kitty collars

Ending the day in the playroom.

Friday, October 8, 2010


My FAVORITE word! HOPE...... in fact I have this word all over my house - it's kind of like the 'hidden mickeys" at Disney World. :)

A few months ago I had the opportunity to go to Washington state to see my Sister and her family. I was having a conversation with my niece Ginger and somehow we got on the subject of HOPE and she was telling me how she has been reading about HOPE and how it can make such a difference in how we maneuver through difficult situations. She sent me an article recently and I am going to share the basic concepts of it in today's post. The way the author categorized the way hope can be applied to a situation was something I haven't seen before. So here it is - I have reworded, added the definitions and paraphrased it some but the basic content is the same. This was a article written by David B. Ward.

Hope: a belief and feeling that a desired outcome is possible.

Foundations of Hope
  • 1. Your belief (faith) and feelings that you have options to choose from to achieve your desired outcome.
  1. 2.Your belief (faith) that you are willing and able to act on those options
  1. 3. By the evidence you have that the desired outcome is possible (past experience, other peoples experience)
  1. 4.The feeling of connection to others who support or help you achieve the desired outcome. (other people, God)
Applying Hope to Your Situation:
  • 1.How you view your situation, particularly the obstacles that stand in your way. Your view of the obstacles often determines perception of your options. Conclusion: Look at what your obstacles are and how to remove them or work around them. Look at your situation as an opportunity to grow.
  • 2.Having a time frame in place to work on a desired outcome with an attitude of hope. Putting energy into action that will make our goal more possible instead of spending time debating in our minds whether the goal is possible. Conclusion: commit to a certain amount of time and put your energy into moving toward your goal.
  • 3.Actively look for and seek out evidence that you can achieve your desired outcome. Conclusion: Sometimes this will come as you tell others about your hopes, as your research this subject or look at what God’s word says.
  • 4.Having a greater connection with people who support you goals or can help you achieve your goals. Conclusion: build into your week connecting rituals. Weekly times of connecting with those who support you.

In Summary, HOPE can prevail as we discover options, work toward action, remember evidence and create connections.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

Monday, October 4, 2010

REAL Fall!

Well, I've been gone again for a week. Honestly, this doesn't usually happen but we had 2 vacations this year very close together. As I posted earlier in the month we had a great Alaska vacation but our family tradition goes on no matter what other plans there may be so this week we went on our Annual North Carolina Vacation. This is something that we have done as a family since my daughter Debbie was 3 years old and she is in her early 30's now...very early 30's :)

Anyway, we have gone almost every year since then - which would be about 1981 to Maggie Valley N.C. with few exceptionS. This is the 4th year we have gone with our daughter and her family. We are hoping for our son Johnny and his family to be with us next year.

If you really love family movies here is a link to see a movie I put together but I will warn you it's long! :)

And just in case you don't want to watch my longgggg family movie here are a few pictures of our week. Back to Life Coaching tomorrow!

At the Candy Store at Mast General - we are in heaven!!

Our little cowgirls

Trying on hats

Apples, Apples, Apples!!

Me and my best buddy!

Beautiful Falls in Deep Creek

Helping Papa feed the birds

Just doesn't get any cuter than this!

Me and my hubby!

We even met some famous people there!

All wet from the boat ride but having lots of fun
Papa and Kaitlyn....priceless