01-24-16 ETSB Escape Route_blog

 

Escaping The Statesboro Blues   “The Escape Route”    Believers Statesboro 01-24-16

Overcoming the Blues, Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

Listen online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

Even though we all deal with The Statesboro Blues from time to time, we are making it our goal to experience “inexpressible and glorious joy” that only comes through a relationship with Christ Jesus!

 

1 Peter 1:8-9  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (NIV)

 

Last week we discovered that we don’t have to be depressed or anxious about anything!  Instead, we can heed the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4-8 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.(NIV)

 

In order to walk in inexpressible and glorious joy we are watching what we think about (vs 8), and because of our prayers with thanksgiving (vs 6), the peace of God is also guarding our hearts and minds (vs 7).

 

Renewing Our Mind

 

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

 

How are we transformed?  By the renewing of the mind.  Notice it’s not steps to a different life; it’s not rededicating my life over and over again.  It’s about a total transformation of our mind and thinking.

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind then…

 

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; His good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

The Greek word translated as renewing is the word anakainosis (an-ak-ah’-ee-no-sis), meaning a renewal,

a renovation, it means to make better than new.  When the recordings of the past play, you wipe them clean, and you let the Word of God make your mind totally better than new.

 

Your thoughts really do matter.  Distortional Thought Patterns are like weeds planted in your mind and heart.  They grow up and become huge strongholds that can literally imprison you in depression and anxiety.  When the weeds are pulled up and the Word of God is planted within our minds, it will literally produce a harvest of the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23.

 

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We 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. (NIV)

 

Fortunately for us there are only Ten Distortional Thought Patterns that we need take captive and demolish.

Today, we are going to look at the ten most common thought patterns and combat them with the Word of God and correct thinking.  This is our Escape Route!  This is how we will Escape the Statesboro Blues!

 

Next Step:  This week I will memorize 2 Cor. 10:5 “We 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.” (NIV)

Distortional Thought Patterns

 

  1. What if” thinking

 

“What if I lose my job?”  “What if I lose my home?”  This “what if thinking” breeds anxiety and fear. 

 

We need to replace “What if” statements with God’s Word!

Focusing on “What if,” your fear grows; however, if you focus on God’s Word, your fear goes.

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I confess all things are possible to those who believe (Mark 9:23).

I will speak God’s promises and ask myself, “What does God’s Word say?”

 

  1. Catastrophizing

 

You can call this thinking “awfulizing” because the mind actually magnifies unpleasant events and transforms them into something more awful, terrible, or horrible than they really are.

(Making a Mountain out of a Molehill!)

 

  • Catastrophizing words include awful, terrible, horrible, unbearable, dreadful, devastating, intolerable, and hopeless. These are extreme words that transform a minor circumstance into a major stressor and create a lot of anxiety.  It’s like pouring lighter fluid on a fire.

 

  • To put the fire out, we need to use less inflammatory words such as unfortunate, inconvenient, difficult, bothersome, inappropriate, and uncomfortable, or disagreeable. STOP THE DRAMA!

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I will not awfulize, but choose faith-building words.

According to Romans 8:28, I know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

  1. Habitually expecting the worst

 

This is a common distortional thought process in both anxious and depressed people.

They are programed with Murphy’s LawIf anything can go wrong, it probably will.

 

“If something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen me.”  “My boss didn’t speak to me today; I’m probably going to get fired.”  “My husband is late for dinner, he is probably having an affair!”

“I have a headache, I must have spinal meningitis.”

 

Be careful!  When you repeatedly think about something, you create the potential for these thoughts to become self-fulfilling prophecies.  You don’t want to be a magnet for bad things to happen.

 

Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

 

Instead of expecting the worst, expect that something good is going to happen to you!

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I will believe and confess Ps 91:10 that no evil shall befall me,

nor shall any plague come near my dwelling and family.

I cast down any thought pattern that expects the worst, and I wholly confess that something good is going to happen to me and my family.  My loved ones and I are under God’s protection.  According to Ps 118:17 I declare that I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

 

  1. Leaping to conclusions

 

“The Grim Leapers” This distortional thought pattern causes people to mistakenly believe that they know what other people are thinking without having any facts to support it.  Their negative assumptions fuel depression and anxiety.

 

Begin to recognize when you are leaping to a conclusion, and challenge yourself to begin to expect the best of other people.  Have more information before you draw a conclusion.

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I will refuse to leap to conclusions.  I will practice love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:7 and always believe the best of every person.

 

  1. Black-and-white thinking

 

Everything is black-and-white and there is no grey.

  • You are probably a perfectionist who sees your work as either flawless or worthless.
  • You may perceive average as failure. In your mind there’s no “Second Place”.  Only 1st Place wins.

 

This thought pattern sets you up for failure, disappointment, depression, and anxiety.

You believe yourself and others that everyone is only one mistake away from total failure.

 

There is a great danger of falling into the trap of comparisons.  Comparisons are the opposite of contentment.  Phil 4:11 …I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Compare leads to despair.

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I realize that only Jesus was perfect and that I can never be perfect.  I choose to do my very best and not compare myself to others.  According to Ps 139:14 I praise you God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

 

(Mirror Talk) “I forgive myself, accept myself, and love myself unconditionally, even if I make a mistake.”

 

  1. Unenforceable rules

 

This type of thinking usually has a person trapped in anxiety.

  • They normally have a rigid set of rules about what should, must, or ought to be done. They try to put people and events into a neat little box.
  • They have unrealistic expectations because they have no control over circumstances or other people.

The more unrealistic and unenforceable the rules are, the greater the disappointments!

The disappointment normally plays out as worry, frustration, irritation, guilt, depression, or anxiety.

 

The only “should statement” a person needs to make is “I should practice mercy and forgiveness.”

 

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

If I give others mercy instead of unenforceable rules, I will receive mercy.

 

Replace should statements with “I prefer” and “I would like to.”

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I release all unenforceable rules and expectations of others.  I will show mercy and overlook how I think they should act or behave.  According to 1 Corinthians 13:5, Love keeps no record of wrongs.

 

  1. Labeling

 

Words do hurt!  Words can hurt emotionally and create a belief system that leads to depression and anxiety.  Like pulling weeds from a garden, we need to pull hurtful words.

 

 

Confession from God’s Word:  According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, I am a new creature in Christ Jesus!  I will not believe any negative labels placed on me, nor will I put any negative labels on others.  I choose to see myself and others the way God sees us; precious, beloved, and His child.

  1. Negative filter

 

This person usually discounts anything positive or good.

  • If he hears a compliment he usually discounts or discredits it.
  • He hears and remembers the bad, criticisms and the negative information.

 

He may be a “pit thinker”.  He overgeneralizes and takes one unpleasant circumstance and believes that it represents a life trend.  He makes statements like, “I will always be like this.” or, “I will never change.”

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I repent of negative thought patterns.  I confess Isaiah 61:3, saying:

God has given me a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

In keeping with Philippians 4:8, I choose to only think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy!

 

  1. Emotional reasoning

 

A person with this distortional thought pattern treats feelings as facts.

  • If she feels incompetent, she thinks she is doing a lousy job.
  • If she feels rejected by others, she believes she is worthless.
  • If she feels hopeless about taking an exam, she may not even show up to take it. She suffers with the temptation to give up, because her emotions are making her feel defeated.

A healthy thinker separates their feelings from their overall self-worth.

 

Negative feelings are a sign that you are thinking negative, depressing thoughts.  Use them as a trigger to change your thoughts to gratitude and thankfulness.

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I will not be influenced by my emotions or feelings, because the

just shall live by faith (Heb. 10:38) and it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6).

The truth in my situation is based on what God’s Word says, not how I feel.

 

  1. The blame game

 

Many depressed and anxious people are stuck in the trap of blaming others or God.

This is a “victim mentality”.  “I lost my job because my wife made me late by not having my breakfast ready!”  This person is not taking responsibility for their actions.

 

Blame locks you into your past, prevents you from examining yourself, and keeps you from removing thought patterns that are sabotaging your life.

 

If someone truly is at fault…Forgive them!  Forgiveness is a choice we must make; a decision not a feeling.  Choose today to forgive rather than blame.

 

Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (NIV)

 

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (NIV)

 

Remember “He that covers his sins will not prosper.”  Covering your sins leads to playing the blame game instead of confessing and coming clean and finding mercy.

 

Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (NKJ)

 

Confession from God’s Word:  I will take responsibility for my own actions and not blame others.  If others have hurt me or caused me pain, I will forgive them.

 

Dressed for Success

 

Tomorrow morning when you wake up, you will have to choose what to wear.  What will you put on?

You can put on some of your old clothes that are probably ready for the rag bin, or you could put on your new clothes and look nice. The choice is up to you.

 

The same is true with your emotions and mental health.  You can choose to use any of these ten most common distortional thought patterns, or you can choose to use the mind of Christ.

 

Ephesians 4:22-24 … put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (NKJ)

 

We are in Christ Jesus, Christ Jesus is in us.  We are new creations. Old ways of thinking must go away.  We have the mind of Christ, and we will believe what He says is true about us.

 

Therefore we choose 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 10:5 (NIV)

 

In doing so we will “Escape the Statesboro Blues!”

 

Life Group and Family Devotional Application

  1. Discuss the Ten Distortional Thought Patterns and the Confessions from God’s Word.

 

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