New Tool: Thought Journal!

thought

LucyAnnMoll.com

The new “Transform Your Thoughts Journal” is a simple, effective, and biblical way of journaling your thoughts. As you change your thoughts, you change your heart and your life.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to part of the thought journal I developed for my counselees. You are welcome to download the article and the journaling pages. Next week you’ll find “Transform Your Thoughts Journal” under the “For Counselors” tab at my website: LucyAnnMoll.com.

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2a, NLT

Transform Your Thoughts Journal shows you how to replace life-sapping thoughts with uplifting, God-honoring thoughts. As the Holy Spirit transforms your thoughts, four things happen. You’ll–:

  1. Become aware of life-sapping, ungodly thoughts.
  2. See a connection among your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
  3. Exchange uplifting, God-honoring thoughts for ungodly thoughts.
  4. Experience better emotions and actions.

Your Thoughts Reveal Your Heart

Hand in hand with thought transformation are these two truths:

  • Your thoughts flow from your heart, which is the seat of your deepest desires.
  • A healthy heart is Christ-centered; an unhealthy heart is me-centered.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7, NKJV

Your heart reflects what is within you. It exposes your deepest desires.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heartand an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45, NIV

From your heart flow your thoughts, emotions, and actions. The influence of your heart on your thoughts-emotions-actions is powerful. A healthy heart is Christ-centered and has healthy, godly thoughts. An unhealthy heart is me-centered and has unhealthy, ungodly thoughts.

Your thoughts become part of your beliefs which form your desires. Your beliefs remain until new thoughts challenge them, and new beliefs result. Thought transformation is NOT behavior modification; it is renewal of your core BELIEF system.

Are you seeing the importance of thought transformation? And how your heart exposes your deepest desires?

How to Use the Journal

First, describe a difficult circumstance. Ask, what was going on? Here is an example.

“My husband and I have argued a lot ever since our teen got new, sketchy friends and began using marijuana and drinking alcohol.” This is the description of the circumstance.

Next, write your thoughts, emotions, and resulting actions. You may think your emotions come first. Thoughts do. Emotions and actions follow thoughts.

Your journal might look like this:

LIFE-SAPPING THOUGHTS EMOTIONS ACTIONS
“I’m a horrible mother.” Anger, fear, sadness Yelled at teen. Took away her phone. Cried.

Now select a real circumstance from your own life and try it yourself. You’ll benefit the most when you actually do the work of thought journaling. Reading about it isn’t enough. You need to learn this method. The best way: do it..

Below is a blank “page” for you to get used to this new method. hen you’ll get to move on to Part 2 of thought journaling. In Part 2 you’ll learn how to replace life-sapping thoughts with uplifting, God-honoring thoughts.

Your Turn

Difficult Circumstance (i.e., what was going on?): ___________________________________________________________________________________

LIFE-SAPPING THOUGHTS EMOTIONS ACTIONS

How did Part 1 go? Were you able to select a difficult circumstance and identify your thoughts, emotions, and actions? Your have started to become aware of your life-sapping thoughts and see a connection between them and your emotions and actions. This is a big step in the right direction!

Before you hop into Part 2 and exchange life-sapping thoughts for uplifting, God-honoring thoughts, would you mind doing a warm up?

Think of a happy circumstance in your life and jot it down. Then identify your thoughts, emotions, and actions that naturally flow from it. Did you notice that from a happy circumstance naturally flowed positive thoughts, positive emotion, and positive actions? The happy thoughts, emotions, and actions flowed naturally from a happy circumstance.

But real life has twists, turns, and potholes, doesn’t it? Your car breaks down during your vacation, your child is cut from the team, you get laid off. How do you conjure up happy thoughts in difficult circumstances?

In your own power you cannot. In God’s power, you can find supernatural peace and contentment, calm and happiness. He gives you everything you need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3). The apostle James writes,

“Count it all joy, my brothers and sister, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4, ESV)

Turn Your Thoughts Around 

Christians are joyful because we are saved and God is using your difficult circumstances to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. Dr. Frank Crane, minister and essayist, wrote, “Growth is God’s plan.”

Try to think of your difficulties as growth opportunities. Now let’s turn your thoughts around. 

In Part 2 of thought transformation you’ll see how to exchange a life-sapping thoughts for uplifting God-honoring thoughts. Let’s start with the “I’m a horrible mother” thought. The circumstance remains the same. You and your husband are arguing a lot ever since your teen began using marijuana and drinking alcohol with her sketchy friends. This was your primary thought, emotion, and action.

Ask if your thought is true. Is it a fact that you are a horrible mother? Chances are, you are a loving, stressed-out mom who feels scared, angry, and overwhelmed, searching for solutions to help your teen.

However, if your thought is true and you are a horrible mother – perhaps you consistently neglect your daughter or you consistently slice and dice her with jagged words, then confess your wrongdoing to the Lord and to your daughter, and repent.

Replace the life-sapping lie “I’m a horrible mother” with an uplifting biblical truth such as, “Even though my daughter’s choice to do drugs upsets me, God promises that he is with me, guides me, and comforts me. He is trustworthy.”

Begin your new thought with something like, “Even though _________________,

God promises __________________________________________.

New emotions and actions replace your old emotions and actions.

Here’s what it looks like:

NEW THOUGHTS NEW EMOTIONS NEW ACTIONS
Even though my teen has made poor choices, God promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it and to be with my family and me. Peace, hope With your spouse, pray and ask God for wisdom.

Thank God.

Smile

Transforming your thoughts is absolutely necessary to live the Christian life!

Friend, if this tool helps you, may I encourage you to subscribe to my blog so you can get updates, new material, and a free eBook: Putting Your Past in the Past. . .and Keeping It There? Thanks!



 Sharing hope with your heart,

lucy-signature-blue

 

 

Acceptance: God Isn’t a ‘Mean Girl’!

acceptance
Do you know that you have total acceptance in Christ?

It’s true, sister! God says so.

Ever met a mean girl or three?. I have. Eighth grade. Me, the new girl at school. Them, clique-y, bratty, “all that.” These mean girls were not God-like, though they acted like royalty, a royal pain in the . . .

God isn’t a mean girl. He welcomes you with open arms.

Many people want nothing to do with God and if that’s you, I get it. From age 8 to young adulthood, I didn’t want to talk with God either. Or attend church. Or wear a cross around my neck.

What I wanted most was the mean girls’ acceptance. Have you longed for acceptance too? What did you do to get acceptance? To belong?

In this article, you learn 1 reason why God accepts you and 3 responses you might choose.

God Accepts You Because He Accepts Jesus

Every Christian is totally accepted by God. Many Christians forget this truth.

Are you struggling with a bad case of spiritual amnesia? Isn’t it easy to forget all that God gave you when you believed in Jesus as your Savior?

Now we have received. . .the Spirit who is from God that we might understand the things freely given us by God. (1 Corinthians 2:12, ESV)

When you became a believer, you received an an inheritance. You are “in Christ.” Jesus is your brother (John 20:17), God is your Father, and all believers everywhere are your siblings. Together you share in your Father’s riches.

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:7, NIV)

Among these riches is peace with God. You have complete peace and acceptance with God. You were once hostile to God, just as I was the mean girls’ enemy, wanting their friendship, hating their rejection.

God knew that you and I were helpless and unable to ever be “enough” or “measure up” on our own. You could spend hours every day trying to please God — volunteering at a food pantry, memorizing scripture verses, writing fat donation checks — but apart from God you can do nothing (John 15:5).

What are two or three ways you’ve tried to earn God’s acceptance? Do you keep running on the spiritual treadmill? Are you ready to get off?

God himself took care of everything you need. Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. His sacrifice satisfied God’s wrath. Now you can approach God, confidently and boldly, knowing God accepts you because his accepts Jesus. He is the only One who could ever measure up.

You may have grown up in a home with the message, “I accept you if. . ..” You may be in a marriage with the underlying that condition, “I accept you if. . ..” This isn’t God’s stance toward you. He is not a mean girl, smirking, chuckling, turning his back. When have you felt rejected by family, friends. . .God?

God Wants You to Delight in Jesus

Knowing God’s wonderful acceptance deserves a response, doesn’t it?

Here are 3 responses you might have. The first one is obvious.

1. Thank God. When I opened an envelope from my Uncle Pat and saw the check inside, I shouted to my family, “Come and see this. Come and see this.” We delighted in the unexpected gift. The next day I wrote my uncle a letter and thanked him over and over.

Have you thanked God for the amazing inheritance he’s given you?

2. Rest in God’s acceptance. You and I make mistakes every day. When you screw up, do you step toward God and talk with him, or do you try to hide? Since God complete accepts you, you don’t have to act like an outcast. You are his precious daughter and he smiles on you. Agree with him you messed up and thank him that you have been forgiven in Christ.

3. Get to know God better. The God who accepts you wants you to enjoy him. Look outside — do you see the sky? He made the sky for you to know his greatness. Look at your hands — you have beautiful hands and beautiful eyes to see them. Every part of you shows his attention to detail, his plan, his creativity, his care (Psalm 139).

God revealed himself in Jesus and in his written Word. To know God better, why not take time daily to read the Bible? If you’re new to the Bible, begin with the gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which are at the beginning of the New Testament.

God Never Rejects You

When my husband and I welcomed home our eldest child, life turned upside down.

We now had a tiny baby completely dependent on us. She slept through the first three weeks of life, and on day 22, woke up a holy terror. Colic rocked her world and mine. I felt like such a failure.

Why couldn‟t I soothe her? Why won‟t she stop screaming? Am I an awful mom?

Our heavenly Father never ever sees you as a failure. When life gets crazy-bad and you wonder whether he really accepts you, God invites you to get a safe daddy hug. His arms aren’t too big to hold you. He won‟t abandon you. You are God‟s daughter. He accepts you.

Sharing hope with your heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Your Heart Is the Real You!

featured_lucyannmollYour heart is the real you, according to Jesus.

If you want to understand yourself, your spouse, your child, or anyone, you need to understand their heart as best you can.

Would you like to know what causes your fear of public speaking, or your spouse’s brooding, or your child’s backtalk, or a friend’s love of posting selfies on Facebook and Instagram? Then seek to understand the heart. You’ll never know your own heart perfectly — or theirs. Only God does (Psalm 44:21).

In this article, you’ll learn a basic definition of the heart, discover its three main parts, and how God transforms you.

The Heart Defined

You’ve heard a friend say, “I have a broken heart,” haven’t you? She means she’s sad. “Follow your heart” means do what your feel.

Usually people describe it as the emotional part of a person. Scripture suggests that your heart is your mind, emotions, and will. It is the center of your being. You can compare it to a control center. It controls what you think, feel, say, and do.

Proverbs 4:23 says it well:

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Everything.

And the picture isn’t pretty. Did you know that God nearly wiped out the entire human race? You hear about it in Genesis 6, just three short chapters after the Fall, when Adam and Eve took a bite of disobedience and sin entered the world.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)

The Bible says your heart “tricks or deceives us into thinking that our desires are pure, that we want what we want because it is good and God approves,” writes Elyse Fitzpatrick, the author of many books including Idols of the Heart.

As you struggle against sin, God will help you trust him. He will help you desire to do his will always. He knows your struggles, and he loves you completely. You are his. He is transforming you.

3 Parts of the Heart

“Heart” is the word the Bible uses for your mind and your emotions and your will altogether. Your mind, emotions, and will work together and influence one another.

Your mind: Your mind involves your ability to understand, reason, and discern. It includes your beliefs and opinions.

  • Taken aback with news from angels about her son, Mary the mother of Jesus “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
  • The power of God’s word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12)
  • As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7, NLT).

Your emotions: Generally, your emotions also include your longings, desires, and hopes.

  • But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation (Psalm 13:5).
  • If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts. . . (James 3:14).

Your will: Your will is the part of your inner person that chooses what actions to take. Your mind and emotions inform your will what to do.

  • Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).
  • Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth (2 Corinthians 12:6)

How God Transforms You

It is possible to change what you think, feel, and do with God’s miraculous help. You need heart change to change your life. Only God can do this.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7).

Your transformation is all God!

You were saved by faith and now you are called to live by faith.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7).

Living by faith is part of progressive sanctification, and you become more like Jesus Christ in your inner self. God renews your mind and your beliefs, and ultimately your desires. You begin wanting to do God’s will rather than your own. Your heart becomes increasingly Christ-centered. It is decreasingly me-centered.

Changing behavior is never enough. You need heart transformation to change the real you!

Sharing hope with your heart,

lucy-signature-blue

 

How to Stop Emotional Eating

emotional eating

You can stop emotional eating, whatever your size and shape. Hasn’t nearly everyone turned to food when cranky, tired, bored, or sad? Yep. When you’re upset, your emotions can “overtake” your brain and walk you to your fridge or pantry in search of a snack.

An emotion-driven woman an autopilot!

In this short article, I’ll share two stories of former emotional eaters–my mom and me as well as four basics steps to lifelong change. Then you’ll get a peek at my eBook Fit for Life.

What Is Emotional Eating?

It is eating food to bring pleasure or numb pain, especially when upset. You may feel lonely, so you eat nonjudgmental,  “friend”-ly chips. You may be sad or angry; iIce cream seems the perfect antidote.

Sometimes a person who struggles with emotional eating also is enslaved to destructive eating problems such as:

  • compulsive overeating
  • bulimia (bingeing and purging)
  • anorexia (self-induced starvationunder-eating, sometimes with over-exercising, for extreme weight loss)

Friend, if you have one of these destructive eating problems, may I encourage you to read Marie Notcheva’s book Redeemed from the Pit? The subtitle — “biblical repentance and restoration from the bondage of eating disorders — summarizes Marie’s own story of victory over eating disorders, specifically bulimia. If you want personal help, look at her profile on the Heart2Heart Counselor Directory on my website. She counsels by Skype and in person. 

My Mom, Compulsive Overeater

My mom struggled with compulsive overeating. Like some overeaters, she ate like a robin in public and at the family dinner table, and gorged privately. She wore her food.

Two hundred seventy pounds and afraid of the big three-oh-oh, my mom marched into her first Weight Watchers meeting, head high. She wanted to stop emotional eating and fit her old clothes again. She also wanted to lose the shame. A year later, she had dropped 105 pounds, the size of a whole — albeit small — person.

Her enemy – not her body or her fat cells or her husband but the father of lies (John 8:44) – had tricked her every time she turned to food for comfort. He convinced her she’d find love in food. When she stopped believing lies, she began to make changes for a higher purpose.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Me, the Skinny Glutton

I thought I was fat as I entered my teen years. I wasn’t. I just didn’t look like bird-legged Paris runway models, and this ate at me. (Pun, intended.)

Like a kid at a carnival, I peered into the fun house mirror and saw someone ugly: thunder thighs topped by a golf-ball-sized head. Me. Ugly me. .

I had “fat” thinking and counted calories every day, several times a day. I memorized the calorie counts of the foods I favored — from an apple to a bread slice to a square of cheese to a squirt of whipped cream. I wrote down everything I ate and added the numbers. If they went over my 1,500 daily allotment, I increased my daily exercises — crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, jump roping, jogging. If I was “good” and stayed under 1,500. I let myself have a small treat, like a cookie.

If I was “very bad” and topped 2,000 calories, I called myself every curse word I knew and on purpose overate to make myself feel sick. Yes, this was a sick sort of punishment that fit my imagined “crime.”

Can you imagine how legalistic I had become? Have you counted calories too and felt bad if you exceeded a certain number? How did you respond?

I was a skinny glutton with fat thinking and a sick system of rewards and punishments. It was godless, and I was full of pride — when I “succeeded” and when I “failed.” As I look back on the way I ate, I feel sad. . .and glad. How come? God changed me from the inside out. He can change you too.

4 Steps to Changing You

The perfect body eludes everyone because there’s no such thing. It also is the lesser goal.

The best goal is God’s process of change. The Holy Spirit empowers you to succeed. You won’t “lose ten pounds in a week,” as some quick-fix diets claim. You’ll discover something better: transformation.

God can transform you and give you the contentment you long for. These steps are filled out in detail in Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book Love to Eat, Hate to Eat.

  1. Agree with God that your current way of eating is sinful and cease from it.
  2. Become convinced that God’s way of disciplined eating is right and begin doing it.
  3. Change your thoughts and line them up with God’s thoughts (as revealed in the Bible), particularly in your eating habits.
  4. Keep on practicing these new thoughts and habit, even when  the struggle gets hard.

Fit for Life eBook

Would you like a simple and direct plan to win the battle with food? My eBook shows you process, step by step. It’s practical and easy to follow. It’s hope for real change.

You’ll discover how to:

1. Think well.
2. Speak well.
3. Rest well.
4. Drink well.
5. Dress well.
6. Move well.
7. Eat well.

Did you notice that I placed “eat well” last? This might seem strange to someone with food problems, but is completely in line with God’s Word. God’s purposes never fail.

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

As you think-speak-rest-drink-dress-and-move well — as God desires — you will eat well and break the bondage of emotional eating.

FIT FOR LIFE 

Your Biblical Guide to Getting Fit & Losing Weight

fitpaperbackcover

Click HERE to read a chapter. 

eBook -only $7!
($17 value)

btn_buynowCC_LG

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Sexual Sin: Finding Freedom


sexual sin artSexual sin wants to take you hostage, my friend.

Isn’t the world’s sex doctrine everywhere today? Surf the Internet, browse cable TV stations, flip though magazines, listen to lyrics — the world’s message on sex says, “Porn is normal and harmless. Adultery is fun. Something’s wrong with you if you’re still a virgin by the time you graduate high school. Experiment sexually any way you want it.”

The truth, the world’s just-do-it sex doctrine enslaves your soul. It enslaves your mind.

In my counseling — in person or by Skype — I bring the hope of the gospel to every sort of sexual sin. The Bible clearly teaches that if you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ your sins have been completely and forever forgiven (Ephesians 1:7; 4:32; Colossians 2:13-14; 3:13; 1 John 2:12).

What I’m about to say now is super important: Sexual sin is no worse than any other sin. Lesbianism / transgender identity / same-sex attraction — these are not the “unforgivable” sin. Nor is adultery (his or yours) or fornication (i.e., sex without marriage) or viewing/reading porn.

Yet sexual sin destroys relationships and opens wide the door to anxiety and depression and shame, even addictions. I cannot say it better than Dr. Juli Slattery, who wrote on her blog:

Consuming “junk sex” is immoral. What we eat only affects our temporal bodies, but what we do with our sexuality impacts our eternal souls.

I recently spoke with a woman who, after describing her promiscuous past flat-out stated, “I feel like my soul is dead. I don’t know how to connect with a man, and I don’t know how to connect with God anymore.” Although you may not be able to physically see the damage done by casual sex, there are women all around us who can testify to its destructive force.

In this article, you’ll discover 3 paths to freedom from sexual sin and to renewal.

  1. Share your story safely.
  2. Have an “escape plan.”
  3. Check your heart.

1. Share Your Story of Sexual Sin

Choose a safe person — a woman at your church, a counselor, a trusted female neighbor, or family member — to share your broken story.

What if you don’t have a safe person in your life? Then please contact me or another counselor on the Heart2Heart Counselor Directory at my website. In person or by Skype, I’ll listen. No judgment. Hey, I have my story too. Doesn’t every woman?

When you share your story, emotions like shame and fear dissipate. You sense hope.

2. Have an Escape Plan

A favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13 because it’s full of hope and promise.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

sexual sin artWhen sexual sin has infiltrated your life, you need an escape plan. The wonderful thing is, God has provided the way of escape. Every believer has the Holy Spirit living inside her, guiding her, encouraging her, convicting her.

You are not alone. God is with you and loves you deeply. He cannot love you any less than he does, no matter what you’ve done and where you’ve been.

God gives you wisdom too (James 1:1). Pray and ask God for the wisdom to devise practical steps when tempted. They might include–

  • names of trusted godly girlfriends to call when tempted.
  • specific Bible verses to think on.
  • Internet protection like Covenant Eyes
  • ideas to get you away from your temptation, such as going to the gym or hanging out at a coffee shop.

Remember, Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days in the desert and didn’t sin. (Temptation itself is not wrong.) Check out Matthew 4:1-11 and see how Jesus responded.

3. Check Your Heart

Ultimately, you and I do what we do because we think what we think. The Bible uses the term “heart” as the seat of our desires and motivations. When you desire sexual sin, your thoughts overflow to actions. . .unless you use your escape plan.

Freedom from sexual sin requires a heart set on pleasing God, not self.

Many Christian women want to end sexual immorality. They know it’s wrong. They are ashamed. Still, you are a sinner and struggle with the desires of the flesh. Like the apostle Paul, you do what you don’t want to do and don’t do what you want to do (Romans 5:17).

In counseling women dealing with sexual sin, I’ve discovered a two-fold process in renewing the mind and changing the desires of the heart

  • Correcting false beliefs about God.
  • Keeping a Renew Your Thoughts Journal.

If you’d like to know more about either, please contact me and I’ll send you a free download.

Be encouraged: Sexual sin wants to take you hostage but Jesus has a radical love for you, and his radical love changes you.

Sharing hope with your heart,

lucy-signature-blue