Have you ever spiraled? I'm not talking about ducking under the covers for the remainder of the day or the week. I mean those moments when anxiety seems to take over and thoughts about yourself, about your relationships, about your circumstances seem to come beyond your control? The kind that tell you that the worst case scenario is not actually the worst case scenario.
I am an external processor (hello, enneagram twos) and I need to talk out all the possibilities and that usually falls to my ever gracious and compliant hubby. However, many times he'll look at me and just say "Becky, you've got to control your thoughts." And while I so appreciate his enneagram eight-ness and honesty, it's also way easier said than done, am I right?
And what I've learned is that it's actually not about controlling my thoughts - or even taking my thoughts "captive" as Paul discusses in 2 Corinthians 10. But instead, it's about RENEWING our thoughts.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the RENEWAL of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
We renew our mind by knowing and understanding the will of God - what is good, acceptable and perfect. How do we discern this? By being in the WORD of God. By devouring it, understanding it, saturating our minds with HIS truth.
So instead of 'WHAT IF' we turn to 'WHAT IS'. We stop trying to simply control our thoughts and beat them into submission, but we turn over our thoughts to who God is and who He calls us to be.
Is it easy? Nope. Not one bit. It takes discipline and perseverance. But once we understand that this is essential in running our race unhindered, we will then understand the value of His word.
So how do you get in the word for yourself? You don't have to be a theologian to study the word or have a thriving, consistent, and active time with God.
Set a time and don't break it. Just start showing up. I've tried many different things over the years, but my best (and, frankly, only) time to spend one on one with God is first thing in the morning. I set my alarm for about an hour before my kids get up, I grab my coffee and sit with the Lord. I write, I think, I pray, I read, I listen to worship music. Sometimes all of those things, sometimes only one. Just show up.
Make a plan. Decide what and how you're going to study. Are you going to do a bible study or a devotional book? Are you going to be using an app - and if so, how are you going to make sure to stop the scroll (because I can't do that!) If you're going to read scripture straight up, what are you reading and do you need anything to do that?
Know your resources. Below I am going to list some resources to help you study scripture on your own, along with some devotional books + bible studies that I highly recommend.
My favorite resource for studying scripture is using the "interlinear bible" alongside a commentary. An easy way to get both is by using www.studylight.org. I have a highlighted video on my story about how I use it, you can click here.
BIBLE STUDY + DEVOTIONAL RESOURCES
Jesus Calling is perhaps my favorite devotional book ever. It's beautiful, it's quick and it's on point every single day. I highly recommend this is you are just getting started with having a regular quiet time.
Experiencing God is a wonderful, in depth, Bible Study. It goes great for the newer believer as well as a very seasoned one. I have walked through it twice, once being the teen version.
Restless by Jennie Allen is a wonderful bible study + book to do with a group of friends.