Scripture Focus: In conclusion, fill your minds with those things that are good, and that deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honorable. Philippians 4:8
Married young and now the mother of two, Rachel cycled in and out of depression as she changed dirty diapers, stayed up all night with her baby’s colic, and did her best to cope with her new full-time job: stay-at-home mom.
Her husband, who had always worked a lot anyway, seemed to prefer overtime to the prospect of coming home to a crying baby, a yelling toddler, and a depressed wife. So the more Rachel got depressed, the more Todd seemed to stay away from his house. The extra money was nice – overtime pay is helpful – but the marriage wilted.
Rachel, whose life actually was complicated and stressful, fell into one of the enemy’s oldest and best traps. She began spending hours in self-pity, feeling sorry for her situation. The more she thought about it, the more unfair her reality seemed to be.
As she let these thoughts flood her mind, she became critical and negative.
We spent some time with Rachel and the last thing we wanted to do was add to her burdens or give her a sense of guilt. God forbid! But we gently and prayerfully asked her to work hard at one thing: Saying a firm “No!” every time she felt invited to a pity party.
Instead of “going under” these negative thoughts, we urged her to rise above them.
Weeks later Rachel was a new woman. Her circumstances were much the same, yet her attitude had changed in radical ways. She had learned to weed out the negative and harmful thoughts that so often sprang up in her mind. This “mental gardening” resulted in a positive, encouraging wife and mother. In the days that followed, her husband began spending more time at home with his wife and children.
For your personal reflection:
Prayer: Lord, sometimes I am not even aware that my thoughts are so negative! I need Your help if I’m going to avoid feeling sorry for myself. I need Your help if I’m going to keep the weeds of self-pity and criticism away from my mental garden. Please help me notice when I’m thinking about the wrong things, or focused too much on myself.