Enjoy this devotional from one of our FlourishWriters students
“I think I’ll just be happy today.”
The coffee mug captured my attention as I browsed the local drug store.I came in for just a few items but was charmed by their gift selection and local products.The mug was one of a dozen I glanced over before the saying caught my eye:
This came after a rather inauspicious start to my day. It should have held promise as it was a non-school day, and for teachers that can be worth its weight in gold. Yet I woke to a familiar weight on my mind and heart. The weather was appropriately dreary, matching my mood, as clouds had settled in. As I drove to the store, icy cold rain began to fall.
Have you experienced those days?The ones where you don’t want to get out of bed but would rather bury yourself under the covers and forget the world exists?Those days were my constant companion for several years.
During that season of my life, I struggled to find answers, solutions, or healing. I tried counseling, medication, running away, and even a new start. I prayed, journaled, read my Bible, quit church, restarted church. Mostly, it worked.
There were days–like this one–where I felt the progress and healing amounted to nothing. My discouragement ran deep as I realized how far I still had to go in my healing. As I dwelt on the darkness and discouragement, I ran my errands. The menial tasks never pause when you most need them to.
When my errands took me to the drug store, the saying on the coffee mug caught my eye since I definitely was not happy. But more than that, it made me pause. My thoughts and my perspective shifted. “I think I’ll just be happy today”– a cheesy slogan gracing the face of a travel mug, speaking to a deep-seated desire for happiness, and perhaps more deeply for joy and peace.
I remembered that passage in Corinthians, the one telling us to take captive every thought.This passage frustrated me because I wondered exactly what it meant. How do I take my thoughts captive when they are so overwhelming? I then realized I didn’t know the full verse, so I looked it up: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
The rest of the verse did not help me, until I read the preceding verses: “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
Things started to click. I cannot take my thoughts captive with my own strength; it requires supernatural strength. My struggles have both physiological and spiritual implications.Counseling and medication help, but I also needed my relationship with God.Taking my thoughts captive would mean focusing on God in new and different ways. I could trust that my relationship with Him would renew my mind (Romans 12:2) and renew my strength (Isaiah 40:31), and thus begin to transform the patterns of my mind.
Time passed – weeks, months, a year. Most days were better than others, but some were the absolute worst, like the day I drove to the drug store and bought a mug that reminded me that my thoughts, my emotions could be changed.
I learned to look for God in the simple moments of each day.
I saw Him work in big and small ways, surprising and tender moments.
I sought God, and He always waited to be found.
Slowly, I began to find a pattern, and I learned how to take captive my thoughts.I was not always successful, and sometimes, I needed a bit of a kick in the pants to remember what God was teaching me. But God was always gracious, offering tough love or tender concern – whatever I needed.
Today, I still struggle, but I have hope, confidence, and freedom.
Christ offers you hope too.
We have power in God to fight the battles and brokenness in our world and in our lives.He does not leave us on our own. He loves us too much to leave us in our brokenness.
God wants to transform us into new creations in Christ, and He gives us the power through His Spirit to transform.