Faith

How to Recognize If Your Thoughts Are Lying To You

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I thought this friendship was terrible for me. And I was right. What I didn’t realize is that I didn’t want to hear it and I most certainly didn’t want to give it up.

Around that time I was dealing severely with depression and was honestly going down in a spiral. I met an old friend that I knew when we were kids, and we just began to spiral together. One day, my closest friend and mentor Sarah told me she needed to talk to me, and that she was concerned. I remember feeling like I knew where she was planning to take the conversation, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t willing to let this other friendship go.

The weird thing is, I knew having the friendship was so unhealthy, and yet I didn’t want to let it go.

Sarah pretty much told me the hard truth: that I needed to stop hanging out with this friend. Sarah was worried not only about me but ultimately my relationship with God. My soul.

At first, the conversation made me angry.

I got defensive and plenty of arguments came to the surface:
– just let me do this.’
– you don’t understand.
– who are you to tell me to give this up.

But I am so grateful she had that tough conversation with me because if not, I don’t know where my relationship with God would be. I would probably have continued to let my feelings and experiences control me and keep me isolated.

You see, we all have our go-to responses when things get tough. The things we have experienced in the past have taught us how to respond. And we label things in our minds. We develop preconceived notions and biases based on what we’ve gone through throughout life. And we filter conversations with God and others through those preconceived thought-processes.

But, what if how we think isn’t how it is at all? 

How do we fully let go of our preconceived thoughts and allow others to speak into our lives, or even more, let God have a say? 

This area was huge for me. My go-to responses were control, control, control. The moment anyone tried to express I needed to change, I felt the need to express loudly that I just don’t agree with you. With that way of thinking, I remained frozen.

Why did I hate the thought of someone giving me advice or even more challenging my thinking?

For me, it came down to fear and pride.

Fear of being manipulated; fearful that I was weak. Afraid that I had been doing it wrong. The fear of shame crept in every time.

This thinking was not only destroying my friendships, but more importantly, my relationship with God. I couldn’t honestly say I was able to get close to anyone wholeheartedly.

I had to allow God to change this thinking pattern.

4 Ways God Changed My Thinking:

1. God showed his design for community.

We were never meant to go through things alone or figure it all out. We were created for true relationships.
Does letting others in include risk? Of course, but without it we cannot fully have in-depth relationships, and we can’t grow.

I had to let God heal me from my church-hurt and the painful experiences with others in my past, to really understand God’s deep love for me and to feel God’s love through others.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

2. God showed his design for a renewed mind.

This one was extremely hard for me. How could I change the way I think? It’s who I am! How could I really change how I felt? From the moment we accept Christ we become a new creature, and it doesn’t stop there.

Renewing my thinking meant speaking God’s truth in my situations. What does he have to say about the opinions I hold? Applying it meant first saying I know nothing and God I need you to teach me. I am willing.

3. God showed the different ways he speaks.

I had to realize that God uses people. I wanted to pretend that I would be fine with only reading my Bible, while rejecting what other believers and mentors said to me. But that would be living in deception. I knew if I wanted God to heal me, I had to let people in as well.

He speaks through:

His word (Psalm 119:105)
The Holy Spirit (John 14:26)
Through People (This pattern is shown all throughout the Bible.)

 

4. God showed his plan for my life.

God is good, and he wants to reveal more of himself to us — including that he has a plan for our lives.

My view of God for so long was that he constantly was disappointed and angry. I felt too damaged, and honestly, as if I would never be what he is asking. The more I let go of what I thought I knew of him and my preconceived opinions with how things should be, the more he showed me who He was.

 

No matter what your background is — or what your experiences have told you about people, church, and God — I beg you to ask the tough questions:

How do you respond when difficult times hit?
Do others have the position to encourage you, to challenge you, to be there?
What thoughts do you hold of God and does he have the position to renew you?

 

Yours Truly,

Victoria Taylor comes from a family of four and her parents are from Sicily.  She is a lover of poetry, friendships, and all things funny. She recently got married to her best friend James and are expecting their first child in June! She currently leads a small group in the Orlando area for college-age women exploring and wanting to grow deeper in their faith and make some awesome friendships. (If you are in the area, check it out: https://goo.gl/j4YrEC!) 

You can follow Victoria on Instagram and Twitter!

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4 Comments

  1. Stephanie Liller

    January 24, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Thank you for sharing this article from Victoria. This is so powerful and I personally have experienced this recently with someone who has a difficult time accepting advise and wanted control in the situation. This resulted in a very toxic friendship because even after sharing God’s word with her and offering to pray with her she starting throwing some harsh stones that were very immature and unnecessary. My prayer is she comes to know how much Christ loves her and the blinders fall off.

  2. Meghan Weyerbacher

    January 24, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Wow this is powerful. I pinned!

  3. Kelly

    January 24, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    This post is so true. Sometimes we justify our bad decisions because we want to marinate in not-so-great behavior. Thank you for the reminder to remember our strength!

  4. April Boyer

    January 24, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Great post. It is a question going through our household these days. It is so helpful to remember how God speaks to us. Thanks Amaris!

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