Seeking Truth Instead of Proof: Taking Anxious Thoughts Captive {}

Anxiety is the side effect of my upbringing. It causes me to flip every coin to see the downside. I study the negative. I abide in the cynical. I wait patiently for the other shoe to drop. I jump on a rat wheel of whys and what ifs and run until I derail.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:3-5 KJV).

That is my rat wheel verse, although I am slowly learning to reach for it sooner.

See, It is easy to be consumed by the pain when old scars flare up. Instinctively we scratch at them until they are raw and bleeding, but that doesn’t soothe the irritation. It aggravates it.

I love the words used here, casting down imaginings. Casting down means to pull down, as in destroy. Imaginations are reasonings, computations, and judgments. I would add fabrications and conjecture.

My brain never shuts off. It continuously analyzes and sums my thoughts. A+B=XYZ and so on. But it’s mostly speculation. I make assumptions based on observations. They may be entirely false, but because I made them, I treat them as resolute truth. These false “facts” comprise a fortification of sorts. So when I visualize casting down imaginations, I see myself throwing a grappling hook over my walls and pulling them down. I see the stones of judgment and pretension come toppling down.

One of my anxieties is that my husband is going to leave me. I see the signs everywhere. His side-eye when I say something absurd. His forgotten wedding ring on the nightstand. His exasperation when I forget something I promised to do, again.

I take all of those things and add them to the “proof husband is leaving” bucket. But none of it is proof he is leaving. In fact, my husband’s commitment and devotion are empirically proven through both word and deed over the course of many years. The man has never left my side. Ever. Yet here I sit, waiting for him to walk out that door from the slightest offense.

This is when I have to take thoughts captive. I have to step off my rat wheel, stop catastrophizing, and objectively look at the situation. I must seek truth instead of proof I am right.

The wedding ring on the nightstand says my husband was late getting back from the gym and forgot to grab his ring. The side-eye tells me my husband is listening to me. In fact, he is probably trying to discern my mood to see if that razor sharp retort he has loaded will be well received or if it is best left unsaid. (which is more evidence of his love.) And yes, he gets frustrated with me when I fail to do something I said I would do. He’s valid. But even in anger or frustration, he has never threatened to leave me.

But let’s take my husband out of this equation because it isn’t my knowledge of Nate that I am to measure my thoughts against. It is my knowledge of God. And I am not to make my mind obedient to my own goals or desires, but to Christ.

How do my thoughts measure up to the God I know?

“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered, So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Matt 10:29-31 NLT).

The God I know is sovereign. He rules supreme and has dictated every action for the benefit of His plan and His will. Sometimes, sparrows fall. Bad things will happen, but everything that happens will bring Him glory, and His glory is my goal.

God cares. The hairs on my head are numbered. That is how well He knows us. We are valuable to Him. He will take care of us and meet our every need.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:31-34 NIV)

In my anxiety, am I kingdom-seeking or self-seeking? Am I thankful for God’s control, or fretful because I can’t control?

In spite of the life-changing work God did and continues to do in his heart if my husband decided to leave, I would be okay. I don’t have to fear because I believe in God, and trust He will do what He says.

That is truth. From that truth, I can fashion the prison bars to hold my anxious thoughts captive.