A Plan For The Rough Times
I just added this to my "Getting Through The Broken Times" post. But I thought I'd also post it here separately.
I've been through my share of anxiety and depression and all around bad times. And I think that, too often, we don't think of these times as spiritual battles. And so we don't try to attack them as spiritual battles.
But I think we need to change our thinking. We need to realize that bad thoughts and bad feelings might not just be "normal" or "natural." They might be supernatural, part of a spiritual battle.
And even if they are not caused by a spiritual battle, they might end up causing a spiritual battle if we give them free reign in our hearts and minds, if we let them become "welcome mats" for evil, if we do not tackle them before they get entrenched.
(Be particularly careful with bitterness and complaining. These can consume us faster than we realize. Check out this post. It's so right on.)
I think it's wise to have a simple plan in place for when negative thoughts and feelings attack, whether it's anxiety or depression or bitterness or whatever. And it might be wise to make this a regular practice every day, especially during a particularly rough time.
These steps are so simple and don't take long to do. Do them whenever you feel you need the extra spiritual help to face whatever you're going through.
Ok, here they are, taken right from the "Getting Through The Broken Times" post"
17. Have a plan to "pray, praise, read, and sing"!
When you find your mind crossing over to the dark side, when negative or complainy or panicked thoughts begin to fill your head, try some of the things on this list (in any order you want):
First pray out loud about the thing that's bothering you, sharing with God what's really bothering you or what you're afraid of, and inviting Him to handle it. Tell Him you trust Him. And if you aren't sure you do, then ask Him to help you trust Him. Ask Him to help you see things the way He does. Ask Him to send His heavenly angels to protect you from evil while you feel vulnerable and weak.
(If you think that what you're feeling or thinking is a demonic attack, then say this out loud, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command any demons to leave this place and to leave my family alone. I belong to Jesus, and you have no right to be here."
However, you should first consider if they do have any rights to be there - if you opened the door to them in any way by your choices, your mindset, disobedience to the Lord, by backsliding in your faith, etc.
You may need to get that in order first - confessing your sins to the Lord and asking forgiveness - before the demons will leave. If you've given them a right to be there, they will stay as long as possible.)
Second, thank God for something out loud - anything and everything you can think of. Write it down if you want. Fill your mind and heart and mouth with praise.
Third, read a Bible verse out loud that fits your situation or your fear. Read it out loud as many times as needed. Write it down. Turn it into a prayer. (For some links to some "spiritual warfare" posts, click on "War Rooms, Praying Scripture, and Spiritual Warfare.")
Fourth, sing a praise song out loud or listen to one on some sort of device. Music can speak to us in ways other things can't. Music can bypass our anxious thoughts and get deep into our souls. (For some links to great, encouraging songs, click on my "When Anxiety Strikes Playlist.")
Fifth, pray for someone else, for anyone or everyone you can think of who needs help. This turns our minds outward and helps keep us from getting too focused on our own little lives and problems and feelings. And this is particularly applicable if what you're upset over is that person. Turn your complaints right into prayers for them, instead of complaining and growing bitter.
(And sixth, if need be, tell someone you trust what you're going through and ask them to pray for you. Sometimes, we need others to help us, when we feel to weak to help ourselves.)
The reason I think this is a good plan is because evil thrives on negativity and fear. And we open the door to evil more when we give in to negativity and fear.
Sometimes, the fear and anxious thoughts are part of spiritual warfare. And so they need to be dealt with as such, with spiritual weapons. Pray, praise, read, and sing. Out loud. Doing these things is repulsive to demons. It will make you less susceptible to their influence and attack because it builds you up in the Lord and because it repels demons.
Turning their attacks right into prayers and praise is one way to turn the tide on them, to win the battle!
If you are going through a particularly hard stretch of time, make this a daily plan. You can never go wrong with more prayer, praise, reading, and singing!