Entertaining Thoughts
How often do you compare yourself to others? If you read my Proverbs 31 devotion today you know that I confessed my temptation to entertain thoughts of comparison and criticism. As I grew up I chose to take comparison and criticism very much to heart and that contributed to a life of discouragement and defeat.

You and I are bombarded with airbrushed magazine covers and sixteen year old models selling anti-aging make-up everyday. We watch skinny starlets on our televisions and in movies and long to have their figures and lavish lifestyles. We allow ourselves to believe the lies from our enemy Satan that if we don't look like these women we see; then we are not worthy. We spend our time entertaining lies instead of taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.

Let me let you in on a little secret friends, The actresses, the ladies who appear on those magazine covers and even the sixteen year old selling anti-aging make-up are just like you and me in real life. It takes an army of hair and make-up professionals 3-5 hours to get them ready for their close-ups and agencies still spend tens of thousands of dollars on airbrushing.

When we entertain lies from the enemy we open the door to Satan and he rushes in with more lies and discouragement. Save yourself the trouble and a lot of headaches ladies. Slam the door on his lies and take every thought captive.

Here's an exercise I did with my small group a few years ago and the Proverbs 31 team did this for one another at this year's She Speaks Conference.
Have a small piece of paper or a blank bookmark for each person in your group.
Take turns writing down an encouraging truth about each person on the paper or bookmark.
Keep the paper or bookmark in your bible and read it once a week.
I'll share some of the precious truths my friends shared with me.
Favorite Princess
Sister
Encourager
Adorable
Gracious
Loveable

Get the idea? I would also encourage you to do this with your family. In fact this would be a great idea to do as we get ready for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Here's something we did on a regular basis when our sons were younger.
We would pass the salt shaker to each person at the dinner table and everyone took turns saying one encouraging truth about the one holding the shaker.

John 10:10 reminds us , "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
I encourage you to take every thought captive friends and do not allow the enemy to get his foot over the threshold of your mind.









26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zoe, Thank you for the devotion. They are words I need to hear constantly. Please pray for me as you have never prayed before. I am in the middle of one ripping, firey battle in my life and I feel as thought it is going to kill me. In ways, I wish it would. I wish I could run, find you so that we could talk. Unfortunately, it would take a super long time to get it all out to you. God knows all about it to be sure .... please just pray and enlist others close to you to pray as well. Thank you for praying.

Blogger Cheri Bunch said...

Great devotion, Zoe! Love your ideas on your blog post, too. Thank you for sharing openly! Blessings, Cheri

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your devotional and out of curiosity came over here to your blog. I was shocked to see how young you look. If you hadn't said fifty something, I would have thought thirty something! Thank you for your words of encouragement. We all fight the urge to get down on ourselves and need to be constantly on guard to fight Satan's lies. The scripture was so appropriate. Have a blessed day.

Anonymous Evalyn Elliott said...

Zoe,
God bless you for writing this devotional today. I have fought the demons of self-doubt, comparison to others and lack of self confidence since childhood. It has held me back from doing so many things I have longed to do, and in fact career directions that I feel are God's tugging at my heart. But God is faithful and I pray that he will heal that hole in my heart and wipe away the lies that Satan tells us. God bless you today.

I don't know how many times my husband tells me, "Are you going to listen to satan's lies?" It is always about my looks. I am 55 and I still get sucked into the "you can look younger thing". Your devotion was a sweet reminder again. Yes, I will still color my hair, exercise, and eat better - I do want to look by "best" but not to beat myself up for it. I am praying for discernment daily.

Anonymous joan taylor said...

Zoe, praise God for such a right on time devotion. I am currently fasting and praying regarding an out of control situation regarding lies and untruths that have taken root and permeated my thoughts. I will stand on 2 Corinthians 10:5 and guard my heart against the attacks sent from the enemy.

Blogger Zoe said...

Candice left this post:
At the beginning of each new school year as I am setting up my classroom and deciding on how to begin the year with a new group of personalities, I feel the enemy pushing feelings of inadequacy into my head. I am comparing my room, my teaching methods, my abilities to be effective, my connection with parents and students, etc. This leads to anxiety that paralyzes me to the point of not being able to do my job. 2 Corinthians 10:5 is going to be my mantra this year. It will be tattooed on my brain so thoughts that creep in to destroy won't be entertained! It is my sincere prayer every morning and evening and all through the day that I do nothing but share the love of Jesus and bring Glory to God. I can't do that with insecure feelings running around in my head. Thank you for guiding me to the scripture that will bring hope each moment of the day. xoxo

Blogger Zoe said...

Annonymous:
Just this morning as the alarm went off, I really did not feel like getting up and walking which is what I try to do each morning. I really wanted to hit the alarm and go back to sleep. But I started putting myself down because of my weight and I got up and went for my 2 mile walk. I am very critical about myself and my weight and feel worthless when I do not go for that walk each day. I started walking in April and was really up to the task. This summer and vacation have pulled me away from it. I know I have to get started again but it is hard. I know that weather I walk or not I should not get down on myself, but I have a friend that I work with and she lost lots of weight starting last October. Thanks for the devotion.

Blogger Zoe said...

Anonymous:
I am 59 y/o and continue to struggle with these thoughts of always being inadequate and never measuring up to others-please pray for me to be able to stop all of this mental self-toturing!

Blogger Zoe said...

Myjourneytolean:
Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I've been thinking through several verses on this topic over the past 5 days and this one came to mind yesterday. Then I got to work and this was the positive reinforcement that I needed. I plan on sharing a link to this in a blog post I'm working on for later today. Thanks. God bless!

Blogger JottinMama said...

Hi!

Your devo and post today....are right on. In so many ways and on so many levels. Excellent... spoke right to my heart in some areas that needed speaking too.

When it comes to worry, fear, anxiety, comparison, revenge - taking every thought captive is key. Such a good reminder for me today.

I listened to a sermon yesterday online about 'comparison' and the preacher (Robert Morris at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX) said that 'comparison is the highest form of ingratitude to God'. He made the point that when we compare ourselves and our lives to others.... we aren't being thankful for and content in the bodies/marriages/lives we have been given. He also reminded us that everyone has their issues and problems - that even those 'perfect' people have lots of problems and such of their own!

Powerful.

Thank you so much for sharing these awesome truths today! I hope you have a great week!

Blessings,
Kate :)

Blogger trammelllane said...

Hi Zoe! Thank you so much for your transparency. I struggle with this off and on. I was just reading in James how we are to "resist" the devil and not give him an oppurtunity. I wonder sometimes how much better life would be if I would just let the lies go and allow the Truth to just take over. God bless you and your ministry. I agree with one of the other ladies, you look beautiful! Once again, thank you! Blessings

Anonymous Andrea said...

Loved both your devotional and blog post today, Zoe! Thank you for such a good word, re: taking every thought captive to the Lord. I need this in the area of getting down on myself for feeling condemned for thinking I don't measure up, or am saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to people.

I, too, was shocked to find out, as you said, that you are 59! So am I! How 'bout that? You definitely look way younger than you are. :)

Love, Andrea

Blogger Zoe said...

Kim Said:
Thanks for todays message. I have dealt with feelings of inadequacy my whole life. Now I have a weapon to use against satan. I can reject his thoughts and replace them with Gods truths.
AMEN!

Blogger Zoe said...

Anonymous said...
I loved the today's message. It gave me peace when I read it. It helps so much! But after a while my bad and inadequate thoughts take place over over and over again. I don't know how to control it. It's destroying me...it's so painful.

Blogger Zoe said...

Anonymous said...
Thank you for this devotion. I woke up this morning battling the knot in my stomach realizing the spiritual warfare my household has been under. Your opening scripture was the stronghold of my prayers this morning so imagine my surprise to see it this morning. But not really a surprise, God's nudge letting me know I'm on the right track with my thinking today. Thank you!

Blogger Wander said...

I love this!! Great idea!
This weekend....I posted on my FB status....

HELP STAMP OUT LOW SELF-ESTEEM: Tell someone you love them and that they're awesome!

Just sayin! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zoe - Thank you for your words of encouragement today. I know I needed this today. I have been struggling with weight gain and trying to control it. P31 is a daily thing for me and it wasn't in my inbox this morning when I got to work. It came thru right as I was having negative thoughts about myself. Talk about God's timing. Your devotional was exactly what I needed. I printed it for my journal, so I can re-read each time Satan tempts me with those thoughts of being inadequate. I LOVE my P31 devotionals. Thank God for all of you ladies who encourage us and lift us up spiritually every day! God Bless you all! Phyllis

Blogger Zoe said...

Anonymous:
My daily prayer time is spent in Proverds. I read a different proverb for each date of the week and then I reflect on what I learned and how I will change. Today was Proverb 30 and my reflection for today was that I would feel better about myself. Proverbs 30:15 says the leech has two daughters give,and give, this is how I had been feeling about myself for almost 12 yrs since I have been unable to work. I recently decided to add your daily devotions to my prayer time and it wasn't until I read your devotion that I even recognized this thought as a lie. I prayed that God would help me change and show me how, and through your devotion today I am able to begin that change.
God Bless
Changing

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zoe, I understand where you're coming from. I turned 56 yrs. old earlier this month but yet, when I return home to Minnesota to be with family, I find myself feeling like a 10 yr. old kid. Thank you for your encouraging words of love, kindness and truth. I wrote the scripture, 2 Cor. 10:5 down and plan to read on a daily basis. Just what I needed to hear today! God bless you!

Blogger fahnmamma said...

These words are so needed. I have gone through a job loss and struggle with feelings of worthlessness. I have come a long way in the process of healing.

I'm seeking the Lord for the next step for our future. The thought of doing something new brings back those neg.thoughts because.....I knew what I was doing in my job, doing it well, yet it I was rejected.

Thanks for being real and for the encouraging words! I remain steadfast (with some bobbles at times!) in knowing He is in control. I will Praise in the waiting =)

Blogger Joyful said...

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Blogger Joyful said...

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Blogger Joyful said...

Sweet friend, this is such a precious reminder to me today.

This morning I had opportunity to attend a "Women of Grace Cafe". I have spoken at this event in the past, but have only ever attended with my sisters. Although I begged my sisters to go with me this morning, they had no interest to attend. I had a choice, to not go, or go on my own. I never go to these events on my own for the very reasons you wrote about. Insecurity is major. Who will I sit with? Will I be left alone? How will I walk in there by myself with all these ladies looking at me? What will they think about me? Will I be dressed appropriately? It's unending.

Anyway, I thought, if I drove to Virginia on my own, surely I could walk into a room filled with women on my own. (Somehow the 16 hour drive to Virginia was easier...I'm just saying!)

I went...I did sit at a table all by myself...no-one came to join me. My head was making all these excuses. Trying to convince myself it wasn't that they didn't want to sit with me, but they probably assumed I had friends arriving, after all, who goes to something like this on their own.

Just before the program was to start a gal came in and came over to me, asked me if I was alone, and then invited me to sit at her table by the door. We had such a precious time and the morning was wonderful. The speakers shared messages I desperately needed to hear. I know God wanted me there.

When I left the Cafe and started walking back to our trailer (I was up north this morning), an older lady was walking my way, so I fell back in step to walk with her. Suddenly the roles had reversed and I was the one who was able to reach out and minister to this lady. No feelings of inadequacy. No comparison. No insecurity. Just two ladies, sisters in the Lord, walking together with Him.

Praying the Lord will continue to help me bring any thoughts captive that discourage me. They are lies from the evil one. God loves me and treasures me and I am His.

Love ya friend,
Joy

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zoe, I received your devotion earlier today. I glanced at once at work, one more time later at home and then as I was checking my email for the last time ...I was drawn to your devotion again. It is late. I should be in bed. I am tired. It was a long day. Tomorrow promises to be just as long. I really need to go to bed. Yet here I now sit with tears rolling down my face. God had something to say to me tonight and He, in His incredible power, used your words to get through to me. I am worthy. I am His daughter. He loves me -- with or without make-up; ten pounds lighter or ten pounds heavier. He loves me right where I am --- but He loves me too much to leave me there. I may not be the one choosen for that position I was hoping for. I may not get that change in jobs I have been praying for. But it not because I'm not good enough ot I'm unworthy...It is because my loving Father as other plans for me ... in His time. The enemy has nothings for me except worry and doubt and those are things I can do without. Thank you for writing these powerful words for the Lord to use to speak to me.

Blogger Sandy Cooper said...

Zoe:

Thank you so much for today's post and your devo. I wrote a post yesterday on a similar subject "Society's Standard of Perfection." One of my readers told me to come over here and check yours out.

Yours is way better, by the way.

I love that you hammer in the fact that what we see in the magazines and movies is fake--that it takes a team of hair and make-up artists and then a team of computer and photo experts to create the final image. I don't know why, but that is really something I need to remember all the time.

I've already started today--thanks to you--with the truth of God's word about myself.

Blessings,
Sandy

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