A friend and I were sharing our struggles the other day. She was being afflicted with the typical attacks of darkness. “I spend too much time at work and I still don’t accomplish as much as I should!” “I can’t do anything well.” “I am spread too thin.” “I am not giving enough time to my marriage and family.” And the negative flood poured all over the parking lot and ran around our feet.
I asked how much time she was giving to self- care. That too was non-existent. I told her I would pray for her. I also added that many of us are tempted with these negative thoughts. Asked if she had applied the cross to these thoughts she asked, “How do you do that?” Sharing my experience I told her once I recognize a negative thought, I try apply the cross of Jesus to it. The first challenge is to actually RECOGNIZE it is a negative thought! When we bring the cross to situations it changes a negative dash to a positive plus. The word says we are to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5NIV
Entertaining those arguments, pretensions and negative thoughts is like dipping your toe in a pool of black ink. When you withdraw your foot the droplets tend to color everything around you, much like ink in a water glass. The doubts and fears tend to overwhelm and color everything. The black colors can eventually obliterate clear vision.
The word says the Blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. No, having the thoughts is not sin. Entertaining and embracing the thoughts is sin. We are to walk in the light as He is in the light. 1 John 1:7 I do not presume to understand how, but the Blood of Jesus and our abiding fellowship with Him can cleanse us from all unrighteousness, even the defeating, discouraging negative thoughts about our self-worth and performance.
Reading Martin Laird’s A Sunlit Absence he comments on the value of maintaining connection with the Lord through a prayer word and your breath, inhaling and exhaling each moment just as it comes. One woman in his book had to come to terms with the fact that depression and panic attacks can even happen to people of deep spiritual realization. He comments that the path of prayer “knows only how to move through struggle; and the only way through is through – not around, over, under, or alongside, but through.” The idea of maintaining contact with the Lord each moment must start with a daily time of practice. No one maintains consciously abiding with Him all day without a beginning practice. Not Brother Lawrence, not Frank Laubach, not Martin Laird.
Choose to spend some time daily in contemplative, centering silence and see how it can affect your life for the good. Deepen your dependence upon the Almighty and He will meet with you.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8 (NIV2011)