Breaking Destructive Thoughts

By Paula Marchman

February 2019
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The other day in session, a young man came for counseling feeling discouraged and trapped in his life with thoughts that condemned him as a “failure”. He shared that he did not compare to the other young men in his world and the more he did the deeper in the quicksand he slid.  He was drowning in his own thoughts of inadequacy and those very thoughts drained him of any strength to pursue his life.

So, he dragged through his days with loud, internal demands that drove him to do more and more leaving him with emptiness. Entrenched in this way of thinking he felt distanced from God and very alone. Those critical internal demands were also destroying his relationships with others and even with his Creator. No gratefulness, no joy…

Like many of us, he allowed the “slave masters” of  “I should, I have to and I must” control not only his actions but his very way of BEING. He was angry and struggling into doing more and more to the point of exhaustion- spiritually, physically, mentally, and even relationally!

Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.
— Elder Thaddeus, Our Thoughts Determine our Lives

This young man was drowning in a whirlpool of destructive thoughts about himself that became slave masters and were destroying his peace. Do we also give power to these words of coercion that sap our peace and trap us into helplessness?   Elder Thaddeus encourages us to nurture truths that bring us to our Savior, to be His beloved.  To allow our Lord to empower us to even change our thoughts to “ I want, I desire, I am blessed too….instead of I must, I should, etc….He encourages us to turn our attention away from our circumstances and the world around us but to focus on the Kingdom of God.

“I am so blessed to have work, I want to call my wife, I desire to cook for my family…..

This young man never thought that changing his internal thoughts could be so life-giving!  He came back the following week and excitedly shared what a difference it made just changing the language in his head that he was trapped in. Instead of feeling annoyed or resentful with his life he chose to see his service to others as an expression of his service to God through the way of faith and love in Him.

He chose freedom! He made the choice to capture and conquer those destructive thoughts that had enslaved him into meaningless actions. He chose a better way- a Christ-centered way of being in gratefulness, joy and opportunities to love.

What thoughts will you nurture today, what destructive patterns of thoughts will you choose to set free….?

Regina NasrallahComment