Do you, like me, tend to carry a lot of “weighty matters” in your heart?!? Things that weigh you down emotionally and snuff out your joy? There IS a solution, and it’s in II Corinthians 10:5:
“…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
“Taking every thought captive” is a great idea, and I know what it means generally, but I have certainly not been very good at actually implementing this into my own life!
Analogies help me “see” things more clearly, which, in turn, helps me know how to do something that’s difficult for me. The Lord recently gave me a tool to help me understand and implement this concept of “taking every thought captive” – which I’m excited to share with you.
Not all thoughts are created equal, of course, so only certain thoughts need to be taken captive. The ones that need to be “made obedient to Christ” are those that concern me and weigh heavily on my heart; any thoughts in the atmosphere of my thought life that wreak havoc on my peace.
Here’s what I’d like the terrain of my mind to look like on a normal basis:
But when obnoxious, pesky, mood-darkening thoughts dart around in my head like an asteroid shower, whacking me emotionally when I least expect it, they drag me right down emotionally.
These thoughts run wild, having a free-for-all on the otherwise serene countryside of my mine, trampling my peace as easily as wild horses trample flowers!!!
Some days they can totally derail me, and knock the wind completely out of my sails.
The cumulative result is that the heaviness of these thoughts often tempts me to EAT in an attempt to quiet them down or numb them – which, of course, never works. In fact, it only adds yet another “weighty matter” to the whirling mix!
It occurred to me that this whole crazy, destructive process is not the Lord’s will for my life! It’s a LIE, not the TRUTH, that I have to live this way! Even if it only happens once in a while, it’s still too much!!! (But, for me, it’s more than just once in while; usually a few times a week.)
(Actual depiction of actual thoughts hitting my mind!)
God wants me to stop allowing these haywire thoughts to assail me and effectively mess up my peaceful pasture!
So, instead, I need to take God up on His offer of giving me a “spirit of power, and love, and a sound mind,” take the proverbial bull by the horns, and round up these thoughts, taking each of them captive, and put them all into a “corral” where I can deal with each of them, one at a time, as I have time.
These thoughts come in a variety of forms:
• Some are things I need to ask the Lord about and get His perspective and/or direction on.
• Other thoughts I need to bring to Him and surrender to Him.
• Others I need to drag out into the light before Him, confess as sin, and repent of and ask forgiveness for
• Others I need to soak in His presence and get healed.
• And still others I need to put in a back burner, put a lid on, and not even think about until the Lord brings it back to my mind to deal with – another time, maybe when I am more ready, with Him.
One thing I know for certain is that God does not want EVERYTHING to be out on the forefront of my mind all at one time. That just completely overwhelms me and freezes me in my tracks.
So that’s exactly what I did yesterday! Some rounding up of some “wild horses” and corralling them into a pen – on paper!!
Throughout the day, as thoughts came into my mind, rather than letting them harass me, I jotted them down, one at a time as they came.
By the time I got done, I felt pretty relieved and unloaded!! Of course, I still have much processing to do of these things, but I feel that they are now corralled, and waiting their turn to be tended to ~ because I have a lot of work to do!
I want to interject here that a major victory for me in doing this was that I did not get all perfect about it! The corral fence is very uneven and rustic, and my writing is just legible enough that I can read it later!
I would normally want to make a beautiful, straight, even fence and do my best writing, but instead I just let this be an exercise in dumping, not in perfectionism!
(No, your vision hasn’t gone bad – unless, of course it actually has gone bad. The reason you can’t read my writing is because I blurred it, only because several of my points are private and not for public viewing. 😉)
I have a little plan for what to do with all these concerns next, as in how to deal with them on this paper (which, by the way, is on the back of a page in my Fresh Wind Fresh Desire notebook…) Using a highlighter, I’m going to put a heart over each one after I’ve prayed it through.
If a concern is something I don’t know what to do about, I will ask the Lord to show me how to deal with it…
If it’s something that makes me sad, I will ask the Lord to lift the heaviness of it…
If it’s a mess I don’t know how to fix, I will ask the Lord for wisdom…
If it’s a wound, I will show it to the Lord like a child shows an “owie” to Mom or Dad and expects it to be taken care of and fixed…
At my age, (65, if you care; hah, I’m still 65 even if you don’t care!), I have fixed a good number of messes, hard things, and “owies,” both literal and figurative. Like the kind in people’s hearts.
But there are still many things I can’t fix, that I need to have my Daddy-God tend to, instead of holding onto them and letting them fester inside me.
Some of these matters I may end up coming back to many more times, and, if so, I will just put another heart – in another color, of course – over it! Some of them may end up with several layers of hearts on them if the matter is ongoing! At least it will not continue to be a pesky, pain-producing asteroid zooming around in my head!
And if a concern ends up answered and becomes a “done deal” that I no longer need to pray about, I will thank God for this, and then put an X through it.
And even if you have only a small number of weighty matters, you can still have just a small corral with only a few rounded-up “weighty matters”!!! Keep ’em under control before they get out of hand ~ and consume you!
I will close with a little amplification I did of Hebrews 12:11, as the Lord applied it to this new “corralling” tool:
“For the moment, all discipline (in taking thoughts captive) seems painful (or pesky) rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained (and whose thoughts have been corralled) by it.”
LOVE this!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! I so need to do this myself. I’m really struggling right now to the point of not going to church because I don’t want to be near people at least one day a week!!! (My job involves working with the public.)
Barb this is so well written and really spoke to me today. I love your corral page/illustration. I didn’t realize that I had sort of been doing this. Like the “God List” I make a ‘problem’ list of all the things weighing down my mind or heart. A purge to prayer list, if you will. I want to take it a step further and do what you did. You are a gem 💝
I love all your visual exercises and analogies. As a counselor, who works with kids, I love to do visual things like taking anxious thoughts captive. Great article!
Barb, My husband and I just want to thank you for the article. I’ve been struggling with this very thing and in fact we had just been talking about some of this when I opened Facebook and saw your article. We read it out loud on our way to work. Thank you for the Practical tool!!! The Lord bless you and continue to use you in this manner.
I love your step-by-step how-to teaching. You paint such vivid word pictures that really help me see and understand what you’re saying. Thanks for sharing, Barb.