So, if you know a bit more about me and Living Letter, you’ll know that part of the reason why I started practising calligraphy and lettering bible verses, was because of my struggles with anxiety. I used to find it ridiculously hard to sit and read without my mind wandering to all sorts. I found that writing out the verses meant they were easier to take in and remember. It also took a lot of concentration, so I had less chance for my mind to go somewhere else.
If you identify with being a Christian, you know the importance of having bible verses as ammo against attacking thoughts that Satan can put it your mind. Even if you don’t call yourself a Christian, you know the importance of focusing your mind on the positive things about you that are true.
God is Love. He is consistent, unchanging, gracious, good, perfect and sovereign. The bible verse says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV). We can rely on Him, and make Him the ultimate source of joy because all of the above is true. This is why I try to spend the majority of my time focusing on God, and His word. In my life, He needs to be on the throne; in other words, ahead of everything else!
I’ve had so many conversations with people who have the same struggle as me with anxiety, so I want to share what it might look like in practice, to put God on the throne, and not only manage anxiety, but experience real joy. I find for me it helps being able to see it in black and white. This is also a great reminder for myself, because I definitely haven’t completely mastered this!
- Acknowledge the thought.
This is what it means to start to take it captive. Take notice of the though you are having, and actually realise what it is before you convince yourself that it’s solid truth. The dialogue in your mind might go something like this for example – “I am so worthless”. “Wait, the thought I am having at this moment is that; I am worthless”.
- Discern whether this is a thought from God or from the enemy.
In other words, is the though condemning or edifying? If it’s the second, great. Dwell on it. If it is the first, which in this case it is, it is for sure from the enemy. Yes sometimes we can feel convicted, and need correction from God, but the bible speaks truth in Romans chapter 8 when it says, “in Christ there is no condemnation”. If you are feeling shame, condemnation, guilt or worthlessness, these are lies from the Satan.
- Find out what God would say about this thought.
His opinion is the most important. What does scripture say about this thought? The bible says “you are wonderfully and fearfully made” which means you have worth and serious value. “You are the salt of the earth”, you have been made for a great purpose. This is why it’s important to know your bible. Maybe some bible verses on the wall will help? Hint hint!
- Give it over to God in obedience.
Put God in His rightful place, and give the thought over to Him in prayer. “Dear God, when the enemy tries to temp me into thinking I am worthless, help me remember the truth, that I am precious in your sight, and have been made for the greatest purpose. Bring my heart and mind to your peace that passes all my understanding, and let your Holy Spirit live actively in me. Amen.” Leave it in His hands. His Spirit will guide you in truth.
- Yes, there is one last stage, and that is what you decide to do after.
A few things I would suggest are; first asking someone to pray with you, someone you trust, and respect. If it can’t be in person, it can be a simple text; “I’ve been having overwhelming thoughts that I’m worthless. Please pray for me. Thanks.” Then do something that you enjoy. Put on music, (make it a good choice though!) go out for a walk, try something new that can keep your interest!
This process takes practice, and it is not easy! I still have times when I can’t complete it, and forget to even try. But I firmly believe it needs to become second nature. Someone once told me, it takes doing something 28 times over before it becomes a habit. That is a lot of times to take thoughts captive. But note to self; if I did this every time Satan tried to temp me, I would spend nearly my whole day in prayer. That’s a pretty good way to be!
(Above print is available for purchase here.)