This week as we reflect on God’s Word, Jaime Sherman takes us to several passages to show how what we think determines our emotions and then our actions. She encourages us to take every thought captive, determining whether we’re believing truth or lies, and then in community with others, to speak biblical truth over one another.
By Jaime Sherman
My husband and I recently searched the Internet for a high-yield savings account. The first application we started online asked common questions such as name, age, social security number, and employment status with a pull-down menu listing a limited number of professions. This list was just fine for my hubby, who is employed full-time in a common industry, but when it came time for me as joint owner to fill out my portion, I learned I’m a nobody.
The short list of acceptable professions to choose from allowed me to be an ATM owner, a lawyer, or an engineer, to name a few, but not a partner in all things domestic, including rearing up a half dozen kids. I couldn’t even list “other.” In the eyes of this bank, I was unfit to open an account because I didn’t have an acceptable profession and thus no financial value.
Oh, how often we feel like nobodies in this world whether we’re applying for a savings account or scrolling through the touched-up, life-looks-so-perfect-on-her Instagram feeds. We embark on solitary, emotional rollercoasters through the world wide web, believing lies about our value and our place in this world. We stand face-to-face, listening to the voices of others, believing the words carelessly flung into the spaces between us. We each believe — at least at some point in our lives — that we’re nobodies.
That’s what Naomi thought as she looked at her life of loss.
“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi; when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (Ruth 1:20-21).
Naomi clung to lies, but she was surrounded by an amazing community of women who spoke truth over her when she was so blinded by circumstances that she forgot who her God was and who she was in Him. Her friends would later show her how the truth outweighed the lies. God’s faithfulness would never fail.
“Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him” (Ruth 4:14-15).
What we think determines how we will act. Like Naomi’s friends, we must speak truth over our sisters as we do life together, but this requires us to “buy truth and not sell it” (Proverbs 23:23).
Lies are foreign invaders in a believer’s life because they dishonor God and what He says about His children. Last week we looked at Psalm 139 and Isaiah 43:1-7 to see what God says about us. These are not conditional or once-in-a-blue-moon compliments from the Creator of the universe. No, they are truth and more powerful than any misconception placed upon us by others — or ourselves.
Scientists have recorded that daily we each have 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts traveling through deeply forged pathways in our brains, and of those, 70 to 80 percent are negative or rooted in lies. Just as the arrow on a spinner loops, so do our thoughts to emotions and then to actions. The pattern of emotions dictating actions affirms our original thought and forms our beliefs, even if the original thought was rooted in a lie.
But we don’t have to be stuck in this circular pattern. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man holds it back.” We can blaze new trails with the truth from God’s Word. In Romans 12:2, we read, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
This retraining is what counselors call creating new neuro pathways in the brain. The four steps are …
1) Say “STOP!” aloud, breathe deep, and exhale. This moves thoughts from the part of your brain where rational thinking takes place and out of the part that acts in knee-jerk, habitual way to protect the body.
2) Identify your thoughts and emotions, tracing them back to their origin. Writing them down helps.
3) Take captive every thought (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Ask yourself, “Is this thought a truth or a lie?” Remember, lies have no place in a story covered by God’s grace.
4) Finally, lay hold of the truth (I Peter 1:13-14).
As much as possible, engage your five senses in this exercise as you “buy the truth,” for Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!” The knowledge of Him is a sweet smell (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). We can hear His voice (John 10:27), and our hearts can feel His touch (I Samuel 10:26).
May we all be women like those in Naomi’s hometown who pointed her back to God’s faithfulness, who proclaimed the truth to a woman so scarred she thought the lies were her identity — that she was a nobody.
In God’s eyes we are all someone with a name He has given us and a calling that can never be taken away from us or downplayed by a watching world. We are His. We are somebodies.
Prayer: Lord, remind me to take every thought captive, to weigh the thoughts circulating in my mind in light of Your Word, to overlay Your truth with my thoughts. Remind me daily that I am loved. I am Your daughter, redeemed and brought into Your family. I am worthy and purposed (Ephesians 1:7). Give me the wisdom and the courage to speak these truths over my sisters that they will be filled with life and joy. Amen.