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A Game Changing Way to Hold Thoughts Captive

Updated: May 4, 2021

Written by Rob Daline

As I go through trials, I have negative thoughts that repeat themselves in my mind and quickly swell out of control. The thoughts get louder and louder. My heart quickens and my head starts to throb. It is hard to sleep. My mind moves so fast. I fear every worst-case scenario and let them become realities in my mind. I fear that I am doomed to repeat my failures. I fear that rest will not come. My emotions and thoughts feed on each other to create a monster of anxiety.

Holding thoughts captive is one of the areas that I am still very much growing in.

I have learned to voice anxieties to God in prayer and add the game-changing words of “but You”. Adding the words “But You” reverses my thinking and reminds me to think of Truth. As soon as I say the words “but You”, my memory is triggered to add a promise that God has spoken through His Word, a praise of His character, or a promise specifically directed to me in past prayer times with Him. This process of adding “but You” to praying my anxieties has been revolutionary in taking thoughts captive and preventing thoughts from spiraling out of control. The spoken word carries power. Through speaking His truth out loud, I am filled with His peace. Every time that I do this exercise, peace seems to immediately follow.

Personal Examples:

God, I am upset. My car was vandalized and insurance does not want to cover it… BUT You are good and You provide for me. I have a relationship with you – and because of this, I lack no good thing.

God, I am single and feel alone. I feel depressed and really sad because I feel regret for the mistakes and opportunities that I missed, BUT You are there. You work all things for the good of those who love You. You are with me, and you are writing my story. In prayer, I have declared that you are a better writer of my story than me. I have given you the pen. I love You and I know that You love me way more. I know that Your plan for me is better than I can imagine. (This was before I met Iryna)

God, I am in pain. My body physically hurts all the time. I can’t handle this… BUT You see me and Your name is “the God who Heals me”. I know that You will heal me for Jehovah Rapha is Your name that You told your people to call You. I know you have a plan for my healing. (This was when I was dealing with a long-lasting severe back pain)

God, I just sinned. I feel terrible. I do not feel worthy to even be praying to you. I feel so guilty and am overwhelmed with shame… BUT You are my righteousness! You sent your Son to die for me so that I could come to You at any point, including my worst. Even though this may be my worst, there are no heights or depths that could separate me from Your love!

God, I am so behind at work. I feel like I will never get caught back up. All the other people I have worked with are able to put in the extra hours through making the job their top priority. Others strive and get promoted, while I am reprimanded and my career is stuck. BUT You are my hope and I put my trust in You. You are the One that I work for. You are the one that I desire to hear say “well done, good and faithful servant”! I seek Your Kingdom and Your Righteousness and I know that You will provide!

The last year has seen its fair share of hardships, but we believe in a God who is a game changer. There is a global pandemic, ice storms, tornados, earthquakes, political chaos, and tensions all over the world – but Jesus is making all things new, is unifying His bride, and is coming soon. When sad things happen, the wisdom of the world tells me that this is the way things work and an effort is made to manipulate my thoughts. My thoughts are often influenced and I fall prey to the lie that my situations of hardship will never change. But turning to God has been a game changer as He is able and willing to change the game.

Try this in your own personal prayer time:

  • Voice an authentic anxiety as you pray to God out loud

  • Say the game-changing words: “BUT You”

  • Voice the promise/character of God that comes to mind

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