When interviewing parents for my book, A Day in the Life, I asked several questions to help give me insight into their homes and lives. One of the questions I asked was this: “What are some of your greatest fears for your child?”
Then I sat back and listened. It didn’t take long for parents to share their deepest fears—worries that keep them up far into the night; nagging concerns they can’t quite shake. A knowing that at any moment a phone call could come alerting them to a life-changing situation. The plausibility of a police officer showing up on their door step, expressing his regrets. Most of the fears I heard were not simply vague concerns, but very real statistical possibilities for those who struggle with chronic mental illness.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend who shared with me some of the stuff she’s dealing with right now in her family. The pain she feels is real. In fact, it’s excruciating. We talked about how hard it is when fears, worries, negative self-talk, memories and other painful thoughts keep playing through our mind like an endless movie.
So what do we do when that reel keeps looping around in our thoughts; when we can’t shut it off and the mocking voice of our enemy grows more powerful with every lie he spews?
How do we stop those burgeoning fears, the negative self-talk and those stubborn, incessant what-ifs?
First, we hold up a STOP SIGN!
When that loop of fear or anger or negativity keeps playing, we need to hold up a stop sign in our mind to silence the voice of the enemy. Then we change the reel.
We’re told what to replace it with in Psalm 8:2.
You have built a stronghold by the songs of babies.
Strength rises up with the chorus of singing children.
This kind of praise has the power to shut Satan’s mouth.
Childlike worship will silence the madness of those who oppose you.
(Psalm 8:2, TPT)
This kind of praise has the power to shut Satan’s mouth. Childlike worship will silence the madness of those who oppose you.
A recent reading in the devotional, Jesus Calling, speaks of this very thing. “Worship Me only. Whatever occupies your mind the most, becomes your god.”
As I reflected on those words, I realized that, on this side of heaven, this must be an intentional, continual choice we make. To silence the voice of the enemy of our soul, we need to focus our attention and worship on the Lover of our soul.
What would happen if, today, we held up a stop sign to silence the what-ifs, and instead focused on the promises of the whatever’s!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:6-9, NIV)
May the God of peace be with you.