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3 Steps to Overcome Our Harmful Thoughts

Our lives move in the direction of our most frequent thoughts, whether harmful or helpful. We tend to think of our thoughts as things that just happen to us, but the truth is we have incredible power over them.

Harmful thoughts keep us from trying out for the team because we’re afraid to fail. They cause us to push people away so we never risk disappointing them, or keep us from opening up in a relationship because we think we can’t trust anyone. They drive us to resist God when he nudges us to trust him in new ways because we’re afraid we’ll mess it all up.

Here are three basic steps to overcome our harmful thoughts and begin to have power over them.

1. Recognize them

In our article 3 Filters to Put Every Thought Through we go over three filters that we need to help determine whether our thoughts are harmful or positive to us.

The article outlines three big questions that you should be asking yourself:

1. Is the thought you have true?

2. Is it helpful?

3. Is it kind?

If it doesn’t meet those filters, it’s probably harmful. Once you’ve recognized that, you need to move to step two.

2. Remove them

Removing harmful thoughts happens in two ways.

1. Make a conscious decision not to fix your thoughts on harmful ones. In other words, you’re going to have false or broken ideas hit you every day, but you have a choice to keep thinking about them or not.

2. Take inventory of your environment and ask yourself if you’re feeding those negative thoughts by what you’re consuming.

The entertainment choices in books, screen time, news sources or conversations all affect your thinking. If you are constantly bombarded by images that remind you of all the ways you don’t measure up physically, or how your success doesn’t look like their success, it will eventually shape your soundtracks. If you are constantly filling your mind with images that treat people as if they are just objects to be used for sexual gratification, it will affect the way you think about and treat people.

You’ll have to leave some of that behind if you want a transformed mind filled with peace.

Then the third, and the most critical step, is to actually replace those thoughts

3. Replace them 

You should replace harmful thoughts with the truth of God’s Word. Doing so is the most critical of all the steps because this is how to truly rewire your brain.

A great way to start is by writing down the truth of God’s Word to speak directly to your thought, repeating it to yourself and committing to believe it.

Write it, repeat it, and believe it. Write it, repeat it, and believe it.

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Today, pick one of the harmful thoughts that tends to pop up in your life. Recognize it, remove what’s feeding it, and focus on the truth of God’s Word that addresses it.

If you’re newer to the Bible and don’t know where to start, check out some of the verses below, or take a look at our bible reading plan Remix Your Negative Thoughts that goes deep, verse by verse, with practical takeaways.

2 Timothy 3:17 - God's Word equips me for every good work God has planned for me

Psalm 23:1 - I lack nothing.

Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:1 - I mean more to God than I could ever imagine.

Matthew 10:29-31, Luke 12:24 - I am valuable.

Philippians 4:13 - I am capable. I have what it takes because of because of the Holy Spirit living in me.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - I am a new creation.

1 John 4:9-10 - I am loved.

Joshua 1:9 - We can be strong and courageous.

Matthew 28:20 - Jesus is with me in whatever this day holds.

Psalm 46:1 - I can do hard things because God is my strength.

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If you’re looking for additional resources on mental health check out:

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