It’s Friday and that means, it’s time for another article!I wrote this article to hopefully give some direction to a verse that I believe is very important yet often hard to apply.What do you think?

Often times, our attempts to take our own thoughts captive ends up in an over analysis of ourselves, leaving us to feel more defeated than if we would have just tried to ignore the thought entirely. Making our thoughts captive, really doesn't work as easily as we would like it to. Here are some thoughts from a counselor’s perspective on some ways to apply the famous words of Paul, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5b

First off, name it. Write the thought down. Here is a common thought that we all struggle with from time to time. “I’m a failure.” This might not be your specific thought, but I am going to use it as an example. Did you write down your thought yet?

Next, name the emotion that goes along with that though. Sad, frustrated, lonely etc. For “I’m a failure,” I am going to say the emotion would be “Hopeless.”

After that; Challenge the thought! “I am not a failure.” We often take isolated incidents in our lives and treat them as our complete and total reality. For instance; just because you failed at one thing, or even multiple things, doesn’t make you a failure. Being a failure is a state of mind, challenge the thought like this, “I made a mistake in the past, but the past doesn’t tell me where I’m going, only where I came from.” Think of all the success you have had in your life, write those down too. If you need help creating a list, ask someone you love.

Then, create a plan for how you will handle this negative thought in the future and identify your desired emotion. “When I feel like a failure in the future, I will remind myself that isn’t the truth. I will remind myself of my successes. And I will identify what I can learn from the moment of ‘failure’.” Identify your current emotion (hopeless) and how you would like to feel (hopeful), then give yourself reasons for having hope.

Taking every thought captive is difficult, there is no way around it. You will have to rehearse your plan for how to deal with negative thinking many times, often with little success at first. But after time, it will become more common and eventually, it will become your default mode of operation. Rewiring your thoughts takes time, but it's worth the work.

By: Nicholas Smith, LPC