If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Colossians 3:1-2 ESV
We choose what we think about. That’s a truth that needs to be said out loud over and over again. We choose what we think. In our culture, people tend to take a very passive view of their thoughts and think they can’t control them. Far too often, we choose to dwell on a dark thought, then claim we cannot stop it. We tie our identity to our patterns of thinking, and we make excuses for why we struggle to capture our thinking—we’re depressed, we struggle with anxiety, I’m just like my dad. That’s a lie the world tells us. We choose what we think about.
Now, I’m not saying that choosing our thoughts is an easy task. When we struggle with patterns of thinking that originate in trauma or abuse, when our perspective has been formed by generational strongholds, when we struggle with a habitual mindset, it can be nearly impossible to get on top of those thoughts. In fact, we can’t in our own power, but you can overcome those thoughts if you choose to access the power of Christ.
We are told time and time again in scripture that we are to “set our minds” or to “consider” things above. The human mind has the powerful capacity to draw its attention to whatever it chooses—unlike any other animal on this earth. Yet we don’t use it as we should. So often we get caught taking a dark thought, a worry, a temptation, and we roll it around in our head until that thought has control over us. The reality is what we set our minds on determines life or death. Our emotions are governed in large measure by what we consider; what we dwell on determines our mood.
If we let our minds constantly dwell on the dark, our heart will feel dark. If darkness reigns in our minds, we will bring that darkness into our marriages and our spouses are left powerless to change it. They see it, but they don’t know what to do about it. They don’t know how to fight it; they are defenseless in the battle for your mind. Many initially try to be understanding, even give suggestions for how to change, but when we choose to stay in the darkness, they will grow frustrated. That frustration at being powerless will lead to apathy, and that apathy is what leads many to walk away.
We must choose to open our mind to the light and our heart will feel the light. We must choose to consider His glory and His faithfulness. We must set on our minds on things above. So many people will simply pray for the dark thoughts to go away, then sit passively and wait for Him to remove the anxious or depressive thoughts. But that’s not how it works. God clearly commands us to do something. He says ‘set’—that’s an active word. It’s a choice. You must choose to set you mind on the things above.
If you struggle with dark thoughts, be active in the choice to shift your thinking and prepare your yourself. Take part in changing your patterns of thinking by having a plan in place for when the dark thoughts come. That plan starts with recognizing the dark thoughts and saying no to them. Call the dark thought what it is, and deny it access to your mind. But you can’t stop there—you have to fill the void in your mind or those thoughts will come back. You have to choose to set your mind on the things above to fill up that space. Make a list of the things you can do when those dark thoughts come—have a prayer written out to say when you struggle in your mind, or a memory verse posted on your computer. Blast some worship music, open a bible, make a list of all the things you are grateful for, or listen to a podcast. Have a friend at the ready to call, go for a walk or a run, find a way to serve someone else. Be active in the process to set your mind on the things above, and stop expecting your spouse to continue to understand “it’s my struggle.” It’s your choice.
Though it is our choice, it is impossible to change our thinking in our own power—that’s why He tells us to set our minds on Him. When you take that step of obedience, you can know that He will bless your life abundantly.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗