Capture Your Feelings
Scripture tells us to “bring every thought captive” and to dispute thoughts that do not agree with God’s truth. Thoughts that do not agree with God would be our rebellious thoughts. “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT).
How do I know when I am thinking rebellious thoughts? My emotions provide the “tell.” When I feel conflicted, convicted, less than, sad, depressed, or other painful emotions, I use a skill called “go to the balcony” for help to determine if my thoughts are rebellious or some other form of feeling.
When I “go to the balcony” I can look down, capture, and observe my thoughts. As I begin to analyze my thinking, I realize my feelings follow after my thoughts like little baby ducks follow their mother. Self-awareness is the first step to making change. Dr. Phil says we cannot change what we will not acknowledge. And Jesus tells us to “confess (acknowledge) our sins so we may be healed” (parenthesis mine).
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (James 5:16 NIV).
Some negative thoughts are blatant and easy to label as rebellious or going against God’s truth. Others require skill to recognize. There are patterns of thinking that can be learned to help us identify these thoughts, and we can change patterns of negative thinking when we become aware of them.
The checklist below is commonly used to identify dysfunctional thought patterns that cause internal friction. If you learn these patterns you will be able to identify and dispute certain destructive thoughts when compared to God’s truth.
CHECKLIST OF COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS
1. All-or-nothing thinking: You restrict possibilities and options to only two choices: yes or no. It is an all or nothing mentality.
2. Over generalization: You view a single, negative event as a continuing and never- ending pattern of defeat.
3. Negative mental filter: You dwell mostly on the negatives and generally ignore the positives.
4. Discounting the positives: You insist your achievements or positive efforts do not count.
5. Jumping to conclusions: You assume that people are reacting negatively to you without any objective evidence. Or you predict things will turn out badly without any objective evidence.
6. Magnification or minimization: You blow things out of proportion or minimize their importance.
7. Emotional reasoning: You reasoning is based on your feelings. "I feel like a loser, so I must be a loser."
8. "Should-ing” all over yourself: You criticize yourself or other people with “musts,” "shoulds," “oughts,” and “have tos.”
9. Labeling: Instead of saying "I made a mistake," you tell yourself "I'm an idiot" or "I'm a loser."
10. Personalization: You blame yourself almost completely for something you were not entirely responsible.
(Above points adapted from Feeling Good by David D. Burns, MD.)
Patti Hatton, MA, LPC