7 Ways to Beat Negative Thoughts

Published on 10th August 2015
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by Dr Konrad Borg

We’ve all had to battle negative or discouraging thoughts at some point in our lives, be it worry, anxiety or anger. Many times if we let thoughts go unchecked, we can find ourselves later in a pit of negative thinking. Here are some practical ways to beat them.

1. Sunbathing

Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jn 8:12

The most important decision we can make in our journey to battle negative thoughts, is to spend quality time with God. Not prayer that is like ‘punching in’ and doing our duty, but a kind of prayer that is like sunbathing. Healing is more a presence than a present and we pray not so much to receive a gift but rather to be slowly filled with His presence. Jesus IS the light that dispels darkness, and where He dwells there is freedom.

Prayer

Jesus, give me the the desire and discipline to spend and ‘waste’ time with You, to be filled with Your presence.

2. Walking in His promises – memorising the Word

‘And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.’
1 Thess 2:13

Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6:17

We should memorise various scriptures which have the power to speak and work deeply in our heart. This is certainly not positive self-help or psyching yourself up. We ‘preach’ to ourselves, the word of God which has power to protect and release. As dark and difficult thoughts come to our mind we can hold on to a passage which will protect us and remind us of His love, protection and deliverance.

Prayer

Lord, speak to me through Your Word. Give me scriptures that I can hold onto, to give me hope for Your freedom and protection in difficult moments.

3. Treasure in the Field – Choices

‘”The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement,
he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”
Mt 13:44’

Our life is determined by the choices we make. Whilst we don’t have control over some of our negative thoughts and feelings, we do have control over the environment we place our mind and heart. It is difficult to be free from anxiety and fear if we keep choosing to get drunk or use mind altering substances which keep us back from moving forward in this area. It is difficult to receive healing from wounds if we keep choosing to expose ourselves to abusive relationships. We have to ask ourselves…. ‘How badly do I want to be free?’ If we have caught a glimpse of the freedom that God offers us, let’s make the sacrifices necessary to give away what holds us back.

Prayer

Lord, show me what are the things in my life that keep me from walking forward in Your love and freedom. Give the power to choose to walk in the road that leads to my own freedom.

4. Let God love you – exposing the boogey-man

‘perfect love casts out fear’
1 Jn 4:18

‘God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’
Rm 5:5

Sometimes, at night, children are afraid because they imagine scary things in the shadows of their room. The parent enters the room, turns on the light and says: ‘You see, there’s nothing there’, and the fear goes away. In prayer, as we learn to trust God, we start exposing different areas in our heart and our past which we may have been previously uncomfortable with. As God’s love penetrates these areas it strips fear of its power over us and heals the wounds that lie there. When we are afraid to hurt, it may easier to love than to let ourselves be loved but we have to learn to open up our hearts to Him. He is gentle and respectful and will never hurt us.

Prayer

Father, let me rest in You. Come inside the areas of my heart where there are wounds which still influence my life and heal me.

5. Trusting God more than the voices

‘If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.’
1 John 3:20

Sometimes the negative thoughts about ourselves are so strong that no matter how much we are told that we are valuable, it doesn’t seem to sink in. The Word of God is truth even when our feelings don’t match. Let’s believe it by faith even when our hearts and our thoughts put us down.

Prayer

Lord, sometimes I cannot shake off the negative thoughts about myself. Help me to define who I am not based on my broken feelings but on your word.

6. It’s OK to be candid

‘Oh, that You would tear the heavens open and come down, In Your presence the mountains would quake’
Is 64:20

It’s ok to moan with God and to complain sometimes. The psalmists and the prophets were candid and open with God. This is what an authentic, close relationship is like. I pour my heart and hurts to God and cry with Him.

Prayer

Lord, teach me to be fully open and to share my hearts and disappointments with you so that we can have a deep and sincere relationship

7. Strong in His strength

‘And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord.’
Jer 15:20

We may have tried many things to overcome those difficult thoughts. At one point we stop trying to save ourselves and realise that we need a Saviour. Our part is to bring ourselves to Him in prayer and to choose a lifestyle which does not interfere with His work. However we have to realise that salvation and freedom is something we receive, not produce. Putting away our pride we let God be God in our life.

Prayer

Lord, I give you the authority in my life, and accept you as my Saviour. Help me to stop doing your work and focus on doing my part.

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