-Sarah Young (Jesus Calling)
Reading the words “voices of accusation” from the Jesus Calling app yesterday morning really hit me because it gave words to something I lived with for so many years. The voices of accusation I would hear sounded like, “You’re turning out just like your mom. How could what you do matter in this world? You’re all over the place, Carly. Get it together. You let other people’s thoughts and opinions rule you. Be stronger. You SHOULD be more happy just- look at what you have!” These voices of accusation ruled my thoughts, and therefore, my life. For YEARS!!! I was living in my own miserable, mental prison. (Hi! Want to be friends? I hear voices, and I’m admitting to living in my own mental prison. Hahahaha!)
Anyway, I’ve learned a few things over the past couple of years while living with these constant accusatory thoughts and feelings of shame. God is loving and specific when He wants us to learn something. Alternatively, the enemy is broad and condemning when it wants to mess with us. The “voices of accusation” above are certainly not specific or loving. They are broad and condemning. They are accusatory. I can now see the “accuser” had taken over my thoughts, keeping me in my own little mental self-loathing prison. I’ve learned that seemingly insignificant thoughts, if I allow them to, can take over my mind. I’ve started to look at my thoughts and decipher whether the thought is loving and specific, and if it’s not, I let it go. I needed to understand that those thoughts were not from God. God is not a God of shame. Plus, I know God does not want me to walk around filling my head with condemning thoughts about His own creation (me) all the time. That would certainly hinder the good works He has planned for me.
What I realized is my mind is not a prison, it’s a battlefield. It’s a battlefield of competing thoughts. During this time at home, I can’t think of a more important thing to remind myself. The thoughts and feelings that swirl around in my mind are real, but they may not be helpful or true.
For those of you interested, one thing I’ve found that really helps me combat my negative thoughts is to choose a specific affirming verse (from Priscilla Shirer’s study “Armor of God” (verses below)) that encourages me and challenges my negative thoughts. I’ll set my timer on my phone for 10 minutes, I’ll close my eyes and say the verse over and over again to myself until God’s truth about me really sinks in.
Armor of God Study by Priscilla Shirer
Here are some other resources that have brought great healing to me in this area– @coco.garrett (for her 101 Study), @brenebrown (for all of her books, posts, and podcasts/interviews), @priscillashirer (for her Armor of God Study), @stevenfurtick (for his “I Caught a Thought” sermon), and @jesuscalling (for the devotional that brought words to my “voices of accusations” condition). And to the very wise reader who shared with me the specific vs. broad concept- thank you, and forgive me that I can’t find your account in my dm’s to give you credit.