Take Out Your Thought Trash

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Psalms 139:23-24, ESV

I struggle with intrusive thoughts on a daily basis. I could be walking outside of my home enjoying the fresh air when suddenly, BAM! Intrusive thought flies into my brain. Instantly, my mind is shaken from the peaceful state it was in and thrown into a full blown panic. I question if this thought is really true about me and/or if this thought means something about who I am as a person. So, for a while I just tried to not think about the thoughts that flooded my brain and I just let the questions I had about them float around in my brain. I thought that the more I tried to just not think about these thoughts and avoid the questions, they would naturally just go away.


This, however, was not the case. The more I tried to not think about them, the more I ended up thinking about them. The more I tried to push the questions away, the more I kept pondering about them. Then, God laid this thought upon my heart. This thought was that I need to stop putting these intrusive thoughts that flood my brain into a garbage can in my brain and take the trash completely out.


Here’s what I mean by that. When you have some garbage in your house that stinks, you can’t expect to throw it in your kitchen trashcan and never expect to smell it again. This may temporarily take care of the problem of having your smelling trash out in the open, but over time even though that garbage is in a garbage can, the smell will return and be even worse than what it was originally. The only way to completely get rid of that trash is to bag it up, walk it outside, and toss it in the dumpster far away from your home.


The same rule applies to our thought life. When we get that intrusive thought that says we are unworthy, incapable of doing something, especially like sharing our faith, or even that intrusive thought that seems totally contrary to what we actually believe, if we just push it aside and never actually deal with, it will come back even stronger in the future. It is only until we take time to deal with it, bag it up, and totally remove it that we find freedom from it. So, how do we do that?


The devil will always throw thoughts in our mind that are contrary to who we are and that seek to pull us away from God’s plan for our lives. When these thoughts come in, we need to stop and examine the thought. If that thought does not align with what God’s Word says about us and who God says we are, we need to bag it up. We have to assure ourselves that that is not an indicator of who I am or what I do. I am defined by who God says am I, which is fearfully and wonderfully made, and God sees my heart. He knows who I am truly am despite what the devil tries to flood my brain with. It doesn’t matter what flows into my brain, it matters what and most importantly who is in my heart.


Lastly, we need to spray some air freshener in our minds to rid it of any lingering smells by spending some time in prayer that God restores our confidence in who He says we are and that He would help us move forward and continue to experience His joy. We should spend time in God’s Word each day soaking up the truths He says about us to remind us of who we are in Him and to bring our thoughts and focus back on His truth. Then, the last thing to do to truly rid our minds of any lingering smells from those thoughts is to talk to someone else about them. Share your struggles with a trusted Christian friend, pastor, therapist, or mentor. When we have others who can listen, pour truth into us, and pray for us, that gives us the extra power and motivation to completely move on from those thoughts and start living the life God desires for us to live again.


“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”


– Psalms 139:13-18, ESV

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