(Below are Nicole's thoughts for Chapter 3 of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question or scripture in the comment section below each post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!)
And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. -Galations 6:9
In Chapter 3, Don't Give Up, Joyce Meyer encourages us to stay strong and never give up. We are reminded of Galations 6:9 and how Paul encourages us to do the same thing. How hard it is though, to keep pressing forward when we see no results or no end in sight. I think about my child having autism. On the days were I see some sort of praise, accomplishment or hope it's easy for me not to give up on this battle in my mind. However, on the days where we have a lot of stimming, behaviors and no connecting, Satan has lots of room to take over with negative thoughts and worries.
Joyce reminds us of Isaiah 43:2...
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. -Isaiah 43:2
In other words, God is with us every step of the way. I'm sure you've heard the saying of God will never give you too much that you can't handle. That's exactly what Isaiah 43:2 is saying while letting us know that God is with us through it all. On page 33, Joyce writes "The way God helps us make spiritual progress is by being with us to strengthen and encourage us to 'keep on keeping on' in rough times." We just have to believe.
Once we've made our choice to trust in God, sometimes we have to do so on a daily basis. Here Joyce shares with us Deuteronomy 30:19...
I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live. -Deuteronomy 30:19
Here is where Joyce teaches us to make that daily decision of following the flesh or following the Spirit. We are told how easy it is to follow the flesh because we've been doing so our entire lives. However, now that we want to follow the Spirit, we need to make this choice daily. I think about what Joyce says on page 34 "When we begin to feel that the battle of the mind is just too difficult and that we aren't going to make it, then we must be able to cast down that kind of thinking and choose to think that we are going to make it!" As parents of children with autism, I think we need to write this quote down and carry it with us throughout the day. It's so easy to fall down to the negative thinking. What will my son be like when he's older? What if he never gets better? Is it my fault that he has autism? What if he doesn't want to play with the other children? Will he ever say a word in his life? We've all been there. The scary part to all of this is that our negative thoughts are like a snowball effect. The longer we think them, the more negative thoughts come into our minds. I believe it's important in moments like this that we not only cast the negative thoughts out of our minds quickly but that we bombard our minds with the positive things as well. As Joyce says on page 43 "Our thoughts become our words." Let's start thinking more positive thoughts so that our children hear more positive words. If all we're thinking is more negative then positive, our mood will be negative, our words will be negative and our children will feel it.
I love how Joyce shares with us the idea behind God being our "computer programmer." In other words, he has to take a life full of the wrong way to think and reprogram us to think the positive thoughts. It takes time but she reminds us that he's the best "computer programmer" ever.
I think one of the best things that Joyce included in this chapter is the section called "Turn and Take Possession!" Here we read about Moses when he pointed out to the Isrealites that it's only a short journey to the Promised Land but it's taken them forty years to find it.
"The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, You have dwelt long enough on this mountain. Turn and take up your journey and go to the hill country of the Amorites....Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their descendants after them." -Deutoronomy 1:6-8
Joyce then asks us..."have you dwelt long enough on the same mountain? Have you spent forty years trying to make an eleven day trip?" I think I can be honest with you and share with you my answer. I have. I am stuck on a mountain and turning what should be a short amount of time into a long journey. It's time for me to make that daily choice, sometimes hourly choice, to get the negative thoughts out, never give up, have faith and trust in God that if my worries would come true that he would do what he promises in Isaiah 43:2 and I will not be overwhelmed, the fire will not burn me and it will definitely not overtake me.
As we come together to learn how to win this crazy battle between negative thinking and positive thinking, we thank you for always being there with us. We ask that you help us remember when a negative thought is overtaking us that we push it out of our mind immediately and bring in positive thoughts. We know that no matter what is brought our way, you have a bigger plan and are with us every step of the way. And we ask for your forgiveness when we allow the negative thinking to multiply in our minds instead of bringing it to you.