It’s my pleasure to have Kamilah Browning Giraud as a guest on my blog today. I’ve known Kamilah a long time– since she was a baby! Recently, she has experienced a very challenging time with the illness of her mother. She shared with our church how she had to use “thought stopping” to get through that life-threatening time so that she could depend more on God’s Word than she did on the doctors’ diagnoses of her mother’s condition. I hope her words encourage you to “STRIKE” out your negative thoughts and live with the hope, positivity, and power that God’s Word brings!
Strike ‘Em Out by Kamilah Giraud
How many times do you go through a day and have “random” thoughts that are completely unrelated to your job, or to the task at hand? I’m sure there are some statistics that give an average, but I can even share with you that in the few minutes it has taken me to sit down and share the first few sentences with you, I have already thought about; how cute my co-worker’s shirt is (as she walked by my door), whether or not I will eat the salad I brought to work, or go to the cafeteria (as my stomach growled), and I even thought about what color I should get my nails painted next (as I looked down at the keyboard while typing). Now as trivial and harmless as these “random” thoughts may be, they all still served the same purpose–taking my focus away from what it is I have set out to do.
While some may perceive these “mental vacations” as healthy breaks, others might find them as nuisances. I tend to ignore them most of the time because if I gave those thoughts much thought, then I would not have time for anything else. This scenario can be a little entertaining, but what about more disturbing thoughts that sound like, “Why bother running, you’ll always be fat”, or “It’s too hard to save money and pay my bills, so I’m probably never going to buy a house.” And what about the thought that comes up that sounds like “Why keep trying? It hasn’t happened yet. I am fooling myself.”
These less trivial, less mundane, and certainly less entertaining thought can so easily surface throughout the course of the day and yes… they too serve the same purpose of taking your focus off that which you have set out to do. So then what type of recourse do we have against these thoughts? Well a good friend of mine name Paul, (whom I have actually never met) was imprisoned and wrote some most amazing letters that reflected how in spite of being in a place of true suffering, we can still choose joy. Even though I never met my friend Paul, and although his letters might originally been written in about 62 A.D, you cannot tell me that he didn’t address me directly in his letters too!
Philippians 4:8 says “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Paul understood how these “random” thoughts can come to steal your peace. See, I can bet while he was imprisoned he had more than a few thoughts that popped up serving the sole purpose of stealing his focus off of spreading the gospel.
Paul said to fix your thoughts, which to me implies the need to replace “broken” thoughts. Broken thoughts are the ones that shatter your dreams, and distort your promises. Broken thoughts are lies from the enemy, and broken thoughts are contrary to the truth. So let’s do what my friend Paul urges. Let’s fix those broken thoughts by using thought stopping, or what I call the STRIKE method.
Stop the Thought
Replace it with God’s word
Imagine what it looks like
Keep seeing it
Embrace the truth
As the broken thoughts begin to surface you can stop the thought. Many times that is an internal stop, but I have had to audibly say “Stop” in order to refrain from repeating the broken thought in my head.
As soon as you “stop the thought”, you need to replace it with God’s word. The truth–those thoughts that are honorable, right and pure. Replace it with things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
As you think on those things, imagine it and see yourself in the manifestation of it.
Keep visualizing the thoughts and keep seeing it. This is a faith walk, and we cannot be moved by what we see in the natural, so allow yourself to keep seeing through the eyes of Christ, and know that He sees His promises.
Embrace the truth! God’s word is true. As believers, we are not exempt from the suffering that’s inherent to human existence, but the good news is our faith gives us a different and hopeful perspective that is based on the truth. God is forever faithful and the truth is that He has plans for you to prosper and not to harm you. He has plans to give you hope and a future. That is the truth and you can embrace it.
Our thoughts may or may not respond to 3 STRIKES and be “out”, but if the negative thought comes to bat again, just as sure as a pitcher’s form and speed improves with practice, yours can too. All you need to do is throw another STRIKE.