Devotion #80

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV

In order for us to have peace, all we need to do is to keep our minds on God; it’s as simple as that…or is it? Our minds can be easily distracted by the world. One moment our hearts are full of faith, the next moment they are full of fear. We need help.

When the peace is disrupted in our minds, it’s disrupted in our marriages. We are called to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)—part of that responsibility includes helping our spouses find and keep His peace. When one spouse falls into the pit of despair, it is the responsibility of the other spouse to help them to guide them out of pit. Far too often, we can be found scolding or mocking our spouse when they’ve stepped off the edge—that’s never how God intended our relationships to work. He designed us as helpers. We’re supposed to help one another. In these uncertain times, we should not only be keeping our own thoughts in check, but we should also be watching our spouse’s thoughts as well and gently guiding them back to His peace. 

Finding that peace comes when we recognize and capture our thoughts. We choose what we think about—we need to think about our thinking, and grab a hold of those negative thoughts when they come. This is incredibly hard to do when we are facing giant trials—that’s when we need to cry out to Him and ask Him for help to keep our minds on Him. If your spouse is struggling to capture their thinking, grab their hand and cry out to the Lord for them. Pray with your spouse or for your spouse, that God guards their hearts and their minds, and draws their thoughts to Him.

I have several strategies when my mind slips off Him and into the pit. When I noticed my thoughts in a dark place, I immediately start a prayer of gratitude, thanking Him for all that He has done in my life. I focus on all that He has given to me, and I stay there until the dark thoughts dissipate. If negative thoughts seem to dominate your spouse’s mind, gently speak words of gratitude. Thank your spouse for all they contribute to your life together or begin a prayer of gratitude with your spouse, thanking God for all He has done in your lives. Retell stories of His faithfulness to strengthen His Spirit in both of your hearts and shift the focus off of your struggles.

Another strategy that works is speaking His Word out loud. Call up a memory verse or open up a Bible and begin to read. Psalms is a great place to start when your heart is aching. Choose a verse and start memorizing it. There is nothing like the Word of God that will battle dark thoughts. I generally don’t get too far into my memorization and the thoughts are gone. Choose a verse to memorize with your spouse and post it around the house. This verse from Isaiah is a perfect place to start. When they begin to struggle, help them to repeat the words out loud. There is nothing like the power of His Word to battle our fears and anxieties.

I also crank the worship music to battle dark thoughts. Singing His praises at the top of my lungs always sets my perspective right again. Perhaps music is a way to soothe your spouse. Find the music that you know moves their soul to peace and have it at the ready for when they are struggling.

One final note on talking about our struggling negative thoughts with our spouses: the purpose of the conversation is to get our eyes fixed on Him again, not to wallow in the pit any longer. We need to ensure we don’t allow them to soothe us in the pit. Likewise, we shouldn’t allow them to remain there either. We gently listen to their struggles and make sure they feel heard, but we have to be careful not to let them engage in sinful behavior by complaining about a specific person or situation. We don’t want to hop into the pit with them. We are specifically told in scripture not to gossip or slander, or to be harsh in our words. Speaking negative or critical words out loud just opens the door for the enemy to take a foothold in our hearts. We listen to their struggle, then we grab their hand and head for the door.

There are days we may have to use these strategies multiple times in a day, but it keeps our minds fixed on Him. When we focus our minds on the Lord, we find our trust in Him and in His power. As we look at the story of Isaiah, we see that this wonderful promise was given in the darkest period of Israel’s history. With all that is going on in the world today, this verse should prove to be of special help to us. Keep your mind fixed on the Lord, and you will know His peace.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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