4 Steps to Take Your Thoughts Captive

4 Steps to Take Your Thoughts Captive
Can you easily stop thinking negative thoughts?

If you're like most people, the answer is no. 

It's not easy - it's also not impossible.

Scripture instructs us to "take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)

But how do I do that, and how can it help my marriage?

Here are some steps to take:

1. Recognize the negative thought.
Our feelings are a result of our thoughts. If you are feeling irritable, angry, hurt, or sad, notice what thoughts you've been thinking.

2. Once you've identified the thought, ask yourself, "Is this true? Is it factual? Is it possible that this is only my opinion or perception?"
Truth is something that would hold up in a court of law. If it's open to interpretation (e.g. obviously he doesn't care, he's lazy, he's self-absorbed), then it isn't truth. Sometimes we need to ask God for wisdom and discernment to recognize the lies, because the enemy can disguise these as truth.

3. Pray over the thought and release it to God. 
Thank Him for His willingness to take it from you, and for His mercy and forgiveness. Pray over your husband, or whomever else you had the negative thought. Praying for the person who hurt us can change our thoughts dramatically.

4. Replace the thought with something that is "pure, lovely, and praiseworthy" according to Philippians 4:8.
It's not enough to try and just stop thinking a negative thought. We have to replace it with a positive one. Pray over your husband, or whomever else you had the negative thought. Praying for the person who hurt us can change our thoughts dramatically. Consider their situation and view it from their point of view. Offer the same measure of grace you would offer yourself. Seek to assign positive motives for their behavior, such as they were truly trying to help, they really didn't mean to cause harm and just didn't recognize it, or they were so busy and could probably use some understanding and support.

When you change your thoughts, you change your feelings. When you feel more positive, you will treat your husband more positively. It sounds simple, but this can have such a profound effect on your marriage!

We hear all the time that we should take our thoughts captive, but the practical application and how-to are often missing. 

My prayer is that these four steps will be helpful in arming you to battle against negative, false, and harmful thoughts that do not serve you, or your marriage.

Sweet friend, how can I pray over you and your marriage today? Share in the comments or email me directly!

3 Things to Remember When You're in a Difficult or Painful Season

3 Things to Remember When You're in a Difficult or Painful Season
In the midst of the thickness, it can be very difficult to grab a hold of truth. We have to train our brains to take every thought captive and choose instead to focus on things that are "true, pure, lovely, and praise-worthy". 

Here are three truths for you to focus on in those times.

1. God is GOOD. 

It's important to remember this first, because everything else flows out of it. Everything God does is out of His goodness and love. He IS love. He created love, He created goodness, and He embodies them entirely. Every decision He makes, every situation He allows, is because He is GOOD. Just because you don't agree with what's happening, just because it might be painful, does not mean He isn't good. You can't possibly know what the alternatives were that the enemy was attempting to throw at you. Trust in God's goodness, that what He gives you and allows is so much better than any alternative.

2. God is WISE. 

We'd like to think we have all the answers and know what's best, but God knows better. He knows HOW to fix everything. Although sometimes it seems like He's not fixing things, or at least not at the speed we'd like, we have to look back at the first point - He is GOOD. Yes, He knows the WISE choice for every situation, and He knows the GOOD choice for every situation.

3. God is STRONG. 

Sometimes we can know that God is good, and we know He is wise, but we lack belief that He is strong enough to pull it off. Friend, God created strength. He IS pure strength! Not only is He wise enough and good enough to know what the best decisions are for us, but He is STRONG enough to carry out any task that is necessary. HE CAN DO IT.

If we can focus our hearts on these three things when we're struggling, our faith will grow and we will be able to watch miracle after miracle take place in our lives.


Friend, which of these three truths are you struggling with today? 
Which one is the easiest for you to believe?

Let me know how I can pray for you today!


What to do when you need a miracle

What to do when you need a miracle
Do you need a miracle right now, in some area of your life?

Are your finances in disarray, is your marriage in shambles, do you need a situation to be turned around completely?

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we read about a woman who needed a miracle. Her husband had died, and a creditor was coming to take her two sons as slaves. She had nothing.

What can we learn from her story?

1. Seek godly counsel. 
This wise woman sought counsel from the prophet Elisha. She didn't just go vent to her friends, or complain on the internet about her creditors and how cruel they were. She knew there was a man who knew God who could guide her in a righteous manner.

2. Obey.
When Elisha told her to go ask for a bunch of jars from her neighbors, she didn't ask why. It seemed an odd request, when all she currently had in her home was one single jar of oil, to gather a bunch more, "not too few" as he instructed. She did as he asked, and made sure her sons obeyed as well. She was an example to them of diligent and immediate obedience. There was no hesitation or questioning. {Side note: always, always weigh counsel against the Word of God - if you're being asked to sin or do anything that contradicts scripture, this is not godly counsel.}

3. Watch and wait.
As she poured into the jars, one after another, she saw them continue to fill with oil until she ran out of jars -  not oil. God provided as much oil as for the amount of jars the widow collected. No more, no less. And once they were filled, she was able to pay off all of her debts and live on the remainder with her sons - after she did additional work of selling the jars of oil.

Miracle accomplished! 

Notice that God didn't just grant her request in a split second, the way we'd like sometimes. 

Her obedience was necessary for the miracle to be carried out.

Friend, what miracle do you need today? Have you asked God what it is He wants you to do in order to carry out His will? 

I would love to cover you in prayer. Please share with me how I can pray with you, either in the comments or sending me a message.

Can you relate to this story?

Can you relate to this story?
Picture this: Christmas morning, you wake up, make a cup of coffee (or tea), and everyone gathers around the tree to open up gifts.

You're SO excited, because you wrapped up the PERFECT gift for your kid. They've been begging you for this over and over again, sometimes with tears in their eyes, for MONTHS.

As the pile of presents grows smaller and smaller with each gift opened, you see that shiny, beautifully wrapped, ribbon-laden box with the tag that has your child's name on it.

They reach for it, and you hold your breath as they tear off the paper and open the lid to see what's inside.

Overwhelming joy rushes out of them as they thank you and hug you and thank you some more. You can't help but feel like Best Mom In the Universe!

The next day, you notice the box is still there, with the gift still inside. A week later, it hasn't been touched or moved.

A month later, your kid comes to you with tears, begging for this one gift again. You remind them that you've already given it to them, and their response is, "But...I keep forgetting it's there, and when I remember, the instructions just seem too difficult!"

And this amazing gift sits unused, because your child has made the choice to not take hold of it.

This, my sweet friend, is what we often do with Jesus' gift of PEACE. 

In John 14:27, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

We beg Him for it, with tears in our eyes. He hands it to us in a shiny package called the Bible, wrapped in the Holy Spirit, and we leave it to sit unused. 

Does that sound familiar to you, even just a little bit?

Yes, His peace comes with instructions, but they are clearly laid out for us and simple to follow

Not easy - sometimes it's much easier to NOT follow them. Which is probably why we make the choice to ignore them, and then His peace sits unused yet again. But friend, that is OUR choice. God isn't taking that gift back, or hiding it from us. It's sitting right where we left it; we're just making the choice to ignore it and His instructions.

If you struggle with feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, worry, helplessness, hopelessness, or anything like those, please know that Jesus has already given you His peace. It is YOURS. It cannot be taken away from you. You can choose to ignore it, or you can choose to read the instructions and learn how to use it. But the gift is YOURS and the choice is YOURS.

I would be honored to talk more about this with you and pray with you. Please feel free to reach out to me at missiannsmith@gmail.com anytime! 

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Bursts of Energy - From the Outside, IN! (AKA - The Lazy Girl's Guide to Energy 😄)

Bursts of Energy - From the Outside, IN! (AKA - The Lazy Girl's Guide to Energy 😄)
When we talk about boosting our energy, we often hear things like "drink more water", "get some exercise", "take your vitamins", and other things we need to physically DO. 

But what are some external sources that can sometimes increase - or zap - our energy?

Exposure to Light

Have you heard of Seasonal Depressive Disorder? It's a real thing. That's when some people experience feelings of depression during the months when there is much less sunlight. The weather isn't as pretty, so we often stay indoors.

It's also common for people who work indoors under florescent lights all day to experience some symptoms of fatigue and depression, due to lack of natural light.

If you find this is the case for you as well, try making a habit of spending at least 10-15 intentional minutes outdoors each day. Even if it's cloudy, you can still reap the benefits of UV exposure and increased Vitamin D, which will boost your energy.

Scent

Our sense of smell is very powerful and can bring up a lot of memories. If we smell something that reminds us of something painful, that can drain our energy. Synthetic fragrances made in a lab with lots of chemicals can be incredibly draining as well, because our bodies weren't designed to process manmade chemicals. When we're around a lot of "fragrances", our bodies are fighting to work through those which means other functions (e.g. energy producing functions) can sometimes lag. 

It's helpful to surround yourself with natural scents that uplift and encourage you. Fresh baked bread or desserts are wonderful if they invoke happy memories. Flowers and plants are great choices. An easy way to access scents like this is with essential oils! Just be sure you know the source of the oils you use, because so many are mis-labled and actually contain fillers or synthetic chemicals to make them more cost effective (I will only use Young Living because of their transparency and commitment to quality).

What You See

Scientists tell us that many different colors can invoke certain emotions, which can greatly affect our energy. Surrounding yourself with bright colors like yellow, orange, and green can be helpful. More muted colors such as grays, browns, and blacks might drain energy. 

If you're able to paint your walls with colors that energize you, go for it! If that's not an option, some things you can do are to buy decorations like wall art, flowers, pillows, desk accessories in the colors of your choice. 

What You Hear

When you surround yourself with sounds of complaints, or the musings of the melancholy, it's easy to take those feelings on yourself. Negative feelings like these can very quickly suck the life and energy right out of you! 

If you find yourself listening to people who tend to complain a lot, make an effort to infuse the conversation with positivity, or consider spending less time with those people and more time with those who are upbeat. 

Take some time to think about the music, podcasts, and shows you listen to. Do you feel encouraged, lifted up, and optimistic afterwards? Or do they leave you feeling sad or downtrodden? What enters our minds via words and music can have a dramatic effect on our emotions, which can then affect our energy levels.

After evaluating these different external elements, what are some areas where you think you could benefit from a few tweaks or changes? 

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