No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
I have spent a lot of time alone this year. It has been a first for me now that I think about it. For as long as I can remember, I have been busy, busy, busy taking care of people.
God slowed me down this year, and I have been on what some would call a sabbatical. I have spent a lot of time at home and have been right where He wanted me to be. There have been times when I would consider volunteering to help an individual or ministry with something or even get out and socialize with friends and things have happened to prevent me from following through with my plans.
I have lost count of the number books I’ve read. (A lot.) I have done large amounts of research on a variety of subjects. I’ve napped some, but learned that I can’t sleep at night if I nap during the day. Talked a lot to Papa Joe. Nursed Papa Joe back to health after major surgery. Ignored Papa Joe some. Talked to my sister on the phone a little. Prayed quite a bit. Read my Bible. Listened to endless amounts of worship music. Watched 12 seasons each of 2 different detective series on Netflix. Cried quite a bit. Asked God a lot of questions. Talked to myself too much.
Through all of it, I don’t believe I have ever felt God’s presence right beside me as strongly as I have during this year. I have learned to listen to Him, too. He is teaching me how to live life in a healthier way than I have ever done before. I am referring to emotional and spiritual health.
I have been an obsessive thinker for many years. What I am talking about is that I obsessively think about negative situations or potentially negative situations and rehearse in my mind what was said, what I should have said, what I will say next time, etc. The other part is that I will think about what someone is doing, maybe doing, maybe saying and start trying to plan in my mind how I am going to react to it. Now, this all happens in my mind when I am alone with nothing better to do or if something confusing has happened that I don’t understand.
Now, I am really taking my mask off here. I promise I am not crazy. People who have been wounded and still have people in their lives who wound them will obsess in their ways of thinking. I have never liked it about myself and when I find myself doing it I will try to stop, but when the mind takes off in that direction it’s like something takes over and one can’t stop no matter how hard they try. Sad thing is that when it starts, we don’t want to stop because we become convinced that we are right. This way of thinking will spiral me down into a very negative mode of depression if I keep it up. On top of that I will become very defensive and distrustful.
I know that this a common occurrence in the lives of people like me because I stumbled upon a few paragraphs about it in an Al Anon devotional book one day (this year). After I read this I started looking in the Al Anon literature that I have and found more written about it in their literature. This is the beauty of Al Anon. They describe things that the Bible also addresses and gives solutions for, but the way my mind is made, I tend to understand the way that Al Anon describes it. I can then take the concept of Al Anon’s solution and line it up with the Bible, God’s Word.
The solution was so simple. It suggested that when I find myself thinking in this direction and can’t pull away from it no matter how hard I try, that I should start focusing on whatever simple task that I am doing at the time. So, that is what I did the next time. I was washing the dishes, so I started whispering, “I’m washing the dishes, I’m washing the dishes, I’m washing the dishes, I’m………..” Eventually, I forgot to keep repeating the simple phrase, but a little while later, I realized that I had completely stopped obsessively trying to resolve the situation that I was trying to resolve with any mode of thinking. I had succeeded in casting the problem aside and ultimately giving it to the Lord.
“casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
There is lots of good healthy advice on how to conquer negativity in Al Anon literature. I assure you that Al Anon can be used as an excellent recovery tool. Especially by those of us who are, at times, a little too hard headed to apply some Bible verses to our lives as simple solutions.
So now, anytime I find myself starting to obsess about something in my mind, I do this. Whatever task I am doing, even if I am watching a movie. I start whispering to myself, very simply, “I’m watching a movie.” or “I’m washing my hair.” or “I’m sitting in a chair.” It doesn’t take but just a few seconds to repeat the phrase before I forget to repeat any longer and the obsessive line of thought that was trying to take over my mind is gone.
For a couple of weeks I did it quite often, but it’s funny, now the problem of obsessive thinking is not even bothering me very much. Hmmmm…..could it be?????? There is that verse that says…..
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7b
Hmmmmm! No question about it. Obsessive thinking is a ploy of the enemy and simply redirecting my path of thought is a very simple way of escape.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Love and blessings,
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