Feed It or Starve It

When it comes to fears, anxieties,and  insecurities (like double-thinking everything), we have two options. We can either feed these said fears and insecurities or we can starve them.

How do we feed them? By giving them our attention and thought. By dwelling on them and arguing with them in our head. By worrying over our worrisome thoughts.

How do we starve them? By ignoring them and refusing to give way to them. By not letting them get a foothold in our hearts and minds.

The gentle, quiet-spirited woman of 1 Peter 3 is “not afraid with any terror” (NKJV). She does not give way to fear, which means when fear comes knocking at the door, she shuts it out and does not invite it in.

Now this requires diligence and patience. If you are commonly giving way to these things, it is going to take real effort to break the habit. If you have already invited fear in the door, he’s a tough guest to kick out. But it can be done.

Pay attention to your thought life. What are you thinking about? If your thoughts are all about these things, you must pick your thoughts up and set them somewhere else. I compare it to changing the station. Don’t just let it go. Stop it. Kick it out. Set your mind on things above. Anything praiseworthy will do.

In Philippians 4:6, Paul says we are to be anxious for nothing, but to pray with thanksgiving. When we turn our hearts away from worry and give our concerns to God in prayer with thanksgiving, we are moving away from those things that trouble us. As we do this, the peace of God acts as a guardian around our heart and mind, which is the best kind of  protection. The next verse (8) tells us to think on all those things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and good. This is how we take our mind off the worries and fears and set our mind on other things. This is how we starve the worries.

This biblical principle of taking responsibility for our thoughts is helpful in many areas. When ever our thoughts are unedifying (the kind that displease our Father), we should change the station. We must turn away from the bad thoughts,  drop them, and think about something else. The something else doesn’t have to be something spiritual necessarily. It may be we should turn our thoughts to planning dinner or thinking about what we’re going to plant in our garden come spring. This is how we starve our insecurities. We cannot pet them and expect them to die out. We must totally ignore them, and they will go away.

Spurgeon said that we can’t keep the birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from building a nest in our hair. But if there are already some nests settled in, ask God to help you pull them out. Then listen to what kind of company you have been keeping with your thoughts. If it’s bad company, show them the door.

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18 thoughts on “Feed It or Starve It

  1. “Anything praiseworthy will do.”

    I think one of the best ways we can serve one another is be helping each other find those praiseworthy things. “Exhort one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13) and “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs [and maybe some songs about planning dinner or planting gardens]” (Ephesians 5:19) and “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). The more we do this for one another, the better equipped we’ll be to do it for ourselves.

  2. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

  3. When I’m really stuck in a funk-I find something to sing. All those school-day memory work psalms & hymns have served as excellent mind distractions-even when my heart doesn’t feel like praise.

  4. Thanks, Nancy. So relevant. At times, I have let my own thoughts
    convince my own self that what I only imagined was actually the truth.
    Thanksgiving to God for His directives.

  5. mmmm…perfectly put. Thank you! I love the Spurgeon quote…so often I’m surprised at thoughts I have…yikes…but I have learned that I don’t have to claim them, or even analyze their source…just kick them out. It helps to say the truth out loud too…not the crazy thought, but the truth that counters it! I often just quote Phil 4:6 as a prayer…Lord you said…and “everything” includes this _thought, fear, or worry that I just had_ SO…do the rest and finally…you promised to give your peace…He doesn’t need the reminder but I sure do!

  6. Oh yeah, and I love it that you said “anything praiseworthy will do.” That is so helpful…don’t have to try to get “super spiritual” replace the thought…so encouraging…

  7. This is very true. I am prone to worry and fear, but over the years, I have learned to do just what you suggest. It helps tremendously. I think of it as putting the fears on a shelf in my mind and leaving them there (after committing them to the Lord, of course). They cannot given free reign in our minds if we are to have peace.

  8. I remember when I was in my 20s and 30s, I used to look at older women and long for their confidence and security. They didn’t worry about what others thought of them and seemed at rest as they were. As I was listening to a talk by Bessie Wilson a few months ago, she said that as she has aged, she has realized more and more just how much God loves her. I think that is at the heart of our confidence, and with age, that truth is sealed in our hearts.

  9. Hi – good article!
    I was just wondering where the Spurgeon quote is originally from – I’ve heard it before but can’t find it anywhere else attributed to Spurgeon, or any reference to it’s original source…
    thanks!

  10. The principle works as well for other sinful thoughts–unjust anger and resentment at my spouse, for example. Lord, direct my thoughts to the true and praiseworthy things! (That has the added benefit of revealing the sinfulness of my thoughts and driving me to ask for forgiveness from Him and from Hubby.)

  11. Women can be great at fearing, telling lies to themselves, and believing them. So thankful for the Body of Christ, and fellow saints that help us remember the Truth and live by it.

  12. I looked around for a contact button, but I do not see one. I have a question that I would love to have you answer, if possible…

    Long story short, my sister-in-law (husband’s half-sister, raised nonchristian and not a believer still) recently told us she is pregnant with her boyfriend’s child. She is 26. There are a few issues here. (1) How to deal with this in regard to our mostly-small children, who all believe a baby cannot be had without marriage (we didn’t tell them that, they just deduced it). (2) How to support her in this time. It is so hard for me because she doesn’t think there is anything wrong with it, and she’s sort of excited about it (becoming a mom). I am trying to balance the fact that babies are blessings–and not the sin–with the idea that there is sin here that she doesn’t think she needs repenting of. I want to be a good sister-in-law, and I am totally clueless what to do. Help?

  13. Brandy,
    Since your sis-in-law is not a believer,you should simply treat her with kindness. We cannot expect a nonbeliever to act or live like a believer. So as you bestow kindness on her, ask God to open doors for evangelism. It may take a while. As far as the kids go, explain to them that it takes a man, not necessarily a husband, although God wants it to be a husband. As God opens doors for you, take your opportunities!
    Blessings,
    Nancy

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