“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts…?” Gotta love King David and the Psalms. I can identify with a writer since I write. He hashed out his feelings and thoughts on a papyrus scroll, me a laptop keyboard. David starts the Psalm out talking about the struggle in his mind: Thoughts, depression, oppression by the enemy. Then, as I often do in these blogs, he seems to be preaching to himself. Talking about trusting in God’s unfailing love, rejoicing in God’s salvation, and praising God because of His goodness.
This morning as I sat in my recliner with my cup of coffee and throw blanket, contemplating these verses I noticed it being a pattern: My problem/ my solution. My problem/ my solution. My problem/ my solution. Verse 2 My problem/ Verses 5-6 my solution. The more I sat there thinking about this it hit me. David laid out through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the battle plan for an anxious mind and depressed heart.
“Anxiety- concern or solicitude respecting some event, future or uncertain, which disturbs the mind, and keeps it in a state of painful uneasiness. it expresses more than uneasiness or disturbance, and even more than trouble or solicitude. it usually springs from fear or serious apprehension of evil, and involves a suspense respecting an event, and often, a perplexity of mind, to know how to shape our conduct.” Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Anxiety is the plague of the modern age. You’d have to be hiding in a hole to not hear the staggering statistics of those suffering this affliction. I have been one of the many who could have been counted in the numbers. But as the Bible has plainly said, “There is nothing new under the sun”. Anxiety has been around since the Fall and will be around till Jesus returns. But we have not been left defenseless. David stated it, “But I will trust in your unfailing love.” The key to what David said was not just in the “Trusting of God’s unfailing love” it was in the “will”/ choosing, the making of a decision to do so. It only makes sense that if we really believe in a God who does not fail and loves us deeply, there would not be room for “Wrestling with thoughts” of gloom and doom. It is what we “will” ourselves to set our mind upon. We can choose, “I will wrestle with my thoughts” or “I will trust”. You can’t have it both ways. However, that is exactly how I have tried to live.
My first visit with a professional counselor, who happened to be a Christian, pointed this out. She told me, “Janet, you would be surprised how much of modern Psychology’s solutions are actually solutions already pointed out in the Bible.” Then she proceded to tell me the verse in Philippians 4:8 was so true. ” Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.” The truth of the matter is to win in the war inside our minds, we have to exercise our will/ choose. We have to “STOP IT”, and “Start” focusing on Jesus. This may seem impossible. It did for me. If you have to, start with “God help me to have the power to choose Your thoughts.” He will hear, and He will answer.
The other day, I was talking to a friend about one of the current struggles in my mind. She told me something that is just plain true, but not always pleasant to walk out. She said, “I am going to sound like a broken record, but you have got to renew your mind.” A reference to Romans 12:2. It is the Apostle Paul’s version of King David’s Psalm. Renewing your mind from the thoughts of anxiety by “willing”/choosing to trust in God’s unfailing love. Renewing the mind from the thoughts of depression/sorrow of the heart by “willing”/choosing to rejoice in the Salvation of God- all He has saved me from. Renewing the mind from a defeated walk against the enemy of our soul by “willing”/ choosing to proclaim the Goodness of God in Praise. “Willing” to “STOP IT” when faced with the option of focusing on Lies, “Willing”/ “Choosing” to think about the “truth, nobility, righteousness, purity, loveliness, excellence, and praiseworthiness” of God. And to go a few verses above in that chapter in Philippians, to verses 6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When anxiety tries to take over the mind, PRAY and GIVE THANKS. Because not only is He worthy, but He is also Good, and HE wants us to have Freedom and Peace!