It’s easy to be held captive to thinking patterns based on beliefs and obstacles faced when more of your time is focused on caring for your family or performing in a job, and you aren’t as tuned in to who you are and how God designed you.
- You may be uncertain of your strengths and not know how God can use you beyond your current role at home or work.
- You may know your abilities, but be unsure that you can reach your new goals since you’ve been on a different path for so long.
- You may be feeling the weight of emotions related to your kids launching from home and seem too stuck to believe you can move forward.
But remember God’s word says, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalms 139:15-16 NIV)
Where in your life do you feel powerless…held captive? Have you seen the face of your captor? Is it the same face you see in the mirror?
Sometimes there are EXTERNAL shackles that leave us struggling or stuck. In these times we need to lean on the Lord to help us find what He would have us do to master the situation.
However, there are many times when INTERNAL shackles leave us struggling or stuck. In these times, if we do not recognize that we are our own captor and take action to escape without giving up, we can remain enslaved, shackled, mastered by something for what could be a lifetime.
Replacing God-limiting and self-defeating mindsets with a victorious Christian mindset–truth of God’s word and who you are in Christ–is critical to confidently taking the steps necessary to fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
Areas of Your Thought Life to Replace with Truth
WHAT INTERNAL SHACKLES HOLD YOU CAPTIVE?
I’m not good enough
Maybe you are a captive to a “I have to be perfect” mindset such that when you need to move forward or make a change in your life, you have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality and either do nothing if you can’t meet your own expectation or become overly critical of yourself, feeling defeated even if you are gaining victory.
In your human eyes, you may not see every detail of how you are equipped to fulfill God’s purposes for you. But in God’s eyes, you are already perfectly made to do whatever He has called you to do. You are enough. Yes, you may have to wait on God’s timing and seek His power to transform some areas of yourself to prepare. But the core of who you are and your future potential is already fully what God intended.
What is the truth? “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV) “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB) (We are his “workmanship”; the NLT says “masterpiece” and the NIV says “handiwork”. )
In his “divine power” poured out when He designed us and still at work within us, we have been and will continue to be equipped and empowered for whatever God has called us to become or fulfill in character or purpose in our lives. Following His voice, His timing and His ways. “Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 NASB)
God can’t use me
Perhaps you struggle with self-doubt and think ‘I can’t be used’ and don’t believe you’re as valuable as God designed you to be. This may prevent you from stepping out to into the promises and power that He has for you. God can use you right now just as you are, just where you are. In fact, He wants to start using you right now so that you can grow and impact others for His glory through His power, and not your own.
What is the truth? “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NIV)
The limited perception of how we may see ourselves or of what others may see in us in the earthly view does not represent God’s plans for our lives.
God calls us in spite of our weakness so that He can display his power through us to draw us and those whose lives we touch unto Him. For God tells us that His “… grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:2 NIV)
I don’t have the energy
Maybe you just feel out of balance and so tired that you lack the energy to focus on the areas that you know the Spirit is urging you to grow in. Sometimes low energy may require you to address health, sleep or routine problems. There are circumstances that do cause fatigue and limit our energy that may not be so much in our control.
But if God is leading you to do something, He will provide the wisdom and energy you need. You may have to assess other activities you are spending time and energy on that might need to wait or be modified to reflect God’s desired priority for you. And when you adjust your life and adopt a Christian mindset where His will is first, you will find you can do what He specifically has called you to do.
Adding something new doesn’t have to be in a pace that hinders your health or other responsibilities. God’s ways will not cause disorder in another part of your life if you are seeking His plan and not yours.
What is the truth? “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:29 NIV) (The NASB uses the word “power” instead of “energy”. )
The key is to believe His word’s truth that “Christ so powerfully works in us ” the energy, power, strength or whatever we need to do His will.
There is of course time for rest. Jesus rested. Jesus calls us to come to Him when we are weary and need rest. And you don’t want to strive to the point of being out of balance.
However, if you feel God nudging you to move forward to change something in your character or to do something that feels bigger than you, you can trust God to give you wisdom for effective strategies and provision of His energy to meet the challenge.
I’m not ready
If you’re telling yourself “I’m not ready” when know God is urging you to do something, it could be that you’re stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ trying to be certain of every detail to feel prepared and confident. Or maybe you don’t know how to move forward in what the Lord is calling you to do, so decide you should not try.
Uncertainty of details or path is not a reason to delay beginning to explore what God’s will. He often reveals next steps to you along the way. It’s important to trust God in your time of need and let Him lead you. This is the time to seek God’s wisdom and power to help you build confidence based on who He is and who you are in Him.
What is the truth? “Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5 NIV)
God is the source of all wisdom. We do not have to seek to feel like we have it all together in the flesh to step out into His will. We can be confident that we will have competence to do what we are called to do because He will provide direction if we ask and believe.
Take Captive Your Thoughts to Create a Christian Mindset
The Source that Determines Captivity or Christian Mindset
Whatever your captor, all of these have one common source–your thoughts. Our thought patterns are mirrored in our words, actions, character and ultimately our destiny. So it is very important to examine your spirit, heart and mind to see what is being reinforced regularly in your life that may be trying to master you–whether it be related to natural tendencies, learned patterns, wounds from other people or experiences, or false truths you may be telling yourself.
Your Escape from Captivity to a Christian Mindset
So how do you escape this captor? By intentionally reversing your role from captive to captor. And yes, it is warfare–that you can win through God’s power. “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.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)
When doubts and fears start to whisper in your ear, make the voice of God’s truth louder. Pray and find scriptures that relate to your limiting beliefs. Meditate on and speak aloud these truths. Work to intentionally start replacing negative thoughts that don’t align with what is true in God’s word.
And how do we know that we can do this? A victorious Christian mindset is confident that “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 NIV)
And how do we know that it is worth the effort? “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)
He created you with a unique design and special purpose for your life. And He knows you have been in a season of stewardship over your family and home and He has been lovingly and excitedly awaiting your availability to walk in God’s purpose for your life in this next season.
You can believe that any thoughts are false that don’t align with expressing your great value to the Kingdom and your being perfectly equipped to step out into His will.
So take captive your thoughts, cultivate a victorious Christian mindset, and take hold of the vision God has for you and your life!
Christian Life Purpose Coaching Call to Action:
- Romans 12:2 (NIV) states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” What thought and behavior patterns in your life are hindering your transformation to Christlikeness? your discovery or fulfillment of your calling?
- Consider the area of life that you most want to change right now–where you most need to take captive your thoughts. Take some time to reflect on what that area of life would look like if it were ideal–not merely human ideal, but what God intends it to be. How would life be different and how would you feel different if you reached your full potential in that area of life? What Christian mindset do you have to adopt to grow in this area?