How to Cure Poisoned Thinking


3 Simple Steps to a Positive Mindset

The most insidious aspect of poisonous thinking is that we are often unaware that the thoughts we are consuming have been tainted with lies. But whether we know it or not, acknowledge it or not, negative thinking will continue to poison our mind until we dig down to the source and reject it.

Even a little bit of poison affects the whole thing. Watch out for small, “innocent” lies. Like a baby snake who’s too young to regulate its venom flow, the “little” lies can often be more dangerous than the full-grown obvious ones.

The Antidote for a Poisoned Mind

Fortunately, God’s given us the antidote to poisoned thoughts. 

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Have you ever tried to round up every thought you have and test it against God’s Word? To say it’s difficult is a gross understatement. The skill requires Holy Spirit power, for sure!

But difficult is not impossible and this is important. Learning how to cure poisoned thinking by using the 3 R’s of cultivating a positive growth mindset is an critical component of a successful life. So let’s get started!

Step 1: RECOGNIZE negative thinking.

In order to rid ourselves of poisoned thinking, we must first identify it. We can’t cure something we can’t find. This requires a bit of mental gymnastics because we have to teach ourselves the challenging skill of thinking about what we’re thinking about. We need to observe, analyze, and evaluate our thinking patterns.

Observe your inner dialogue.

  1. Identify the thought. Pick a specific thought you suspect may be poisoning your mindset.
  2. Write it out. Be clear about what that mental message on repeat is whispering to you on a regular basis. Often, it’s been playing in the background of our mind for so long we don’t even notice it anymore.
  3. Identify what triggered that thought. What came just before it? (someone made a comment, felt pressured, failed at something, stressed, overwhelmed, bored?)
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5
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Analyze what you tell yourself.

Ask yourself some questions about the thought you wrote down.

  • Why do you think that? Do you really believe it?
  • How does that thought affect your emotions? What do you feel when you think that? 
  • Notice how your body physically reacts. Do you feel sick to your stomach? Does your heart flutter in excitement? Is your throat tight? Does your skin crawl? Physiological changes in our bodies are hard-wired to our emotions which are guided by our thoughts. Each one affects the other and the dominoes can fall both directions.
  • How does it change your perspective about the people and circumstances around you?
  • What action do you take or avoid as a result of that thought?
  • What purpose does this particular thought serve? Does it defend you from pain? Comfort you that it’s not your fault? Condemn you for failing again? Reassure you when you’re scared? Remind you what’s important?

Evaluate your thoughts.

And finally, evaluate how well that thought serves you. Does it even serve you at all? Or does it hold you back and keep you captive, forcing you to live small and stay stuck? Examine each thought and give it a score.

When I was in college, a wise mentor shared guidelines for godly speech. It has taken me far too many years to realize that what I whisper to myself is just as important as what I say out loud to others. Whether you’re talking out loud or silently to yourself, ask these three questions.

  1. Is it True? Consider the origin of the thought – its source..
  2. Is it Helpful? Does it encourage you to pursue all that God has for you or does it hold you back? Does it serve you well or are you captive to it? Who’s the master? Does it nourish your soul or leave you wondering if your thinking has been poisoned?
  3. Is it Kind? Is that how you would talk to someone you care about? Would you tell your dearest friend or your child the thing you are telling yourself? God cares deeply for you and he doesn’t like it when you talk down to yourself.
What you whisper to yourself is just as important as what you say out loud to others. Whether you’re talking out loud or silently to yourself, evaluate your words: Is it true, helpful, and kind? If it doesn’t pass all 3 tests, don’t… Click To Tweet

Step 2: REJECT the lies.

No matter how appealing or how long you’ve believed it, give negative thinking and the lies that breed them the boot. You can’t keep drinking the poison just because you’ve always done it that way or all your friends are doing it. If the thought is not serving you, it’s poisoning you. You need to spit it out.

Spitting out poisonous thinking is a lot like digging up weeds from the garden of your mind. If you want a fruitful mind, you have to do the hard work of pulling the weeds before they choke your harvest.

If you want a fruitful mind, you have to do the hard work of pulling the weeds of poisonous thoughts before they choke your harvest. #mindesetmatters # growthmindset Click To Tweet

Dig it up.

Cure Poisonous Thinking
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Trace the negative thought back to its root. Keep asking, “Why do I think that?” until to get to the core belief. You can’t just pluck of the obvious leaves. You’ve got to get to the bottom and displace the root.

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
~ Hebrews 12:15, NLT

Uproot the root.

Decide to stop believing it no matter how compelling it seems, how long you’ve bought the lie, or who told you it was true. Use the power of your no.

When you catch yourself thinking that negative thought again, tell yourself, “No! That’s not true. The truth is __________ because God says so.” Voice it out loud if you must but don’t give the lie access to your mind any longer.

One of the most powerful ways to combat lies with the truth is what I call “Do the opposite”. I describe it in detail in my book on pages 116-118. When I start to feel defeated, I imagine what my enemy would want me to do, say, think, or feel and then I announce with conviction that I will do the exact opposite whether I feel like it or not. (Hint: you can download your own copy of my “Do the opposite” list of statements when you sign up for access to the Resilient Life Library. It’s free!)

Keep digging.

Since I’m not a fan of poisonous chemicals, my approach to literal weed killing can be described as death by repeated mutilation. Unfortunately, we don’t always get whole root on first try. Sometimes, it breaks off and pieces remain only to resprout later. There is great power in perseverance. Stick with it! Dont quit. Reject discouragement and keep going after it. Just. Keep. Digging!

Step 3: REPLACE lies with the TRUTH.

How to Cure Poisoned Thinking ~ Think Truth! #1 Recognize negative thoughts. #2 Reject the lies. #3 Replace them with the truth.
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Finally, get a good grip on a positive truth to take the place of the lie. Once you dig up an invasive weed, you need to fill the hole with a plant that will produce better fruit. Don’t leave the hole empty and hope something nice will drop in on its own. A new weed will fill it and it might be worse than the one you dug up in the first place. Be deliberate about what you grow in your mind garden.  Plant with intention.

“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”
~ Luke 11:24-26, NLT

Be prepared.

Decide ahead of time what truth you will claim. Have it at the ready for when you need it most. You never know when a rogue thought will sneak up on you and try to choke the truth. It’s okay if bad birds fly over your head sometimes, just don’t allow them to make a nest in your hair. Shoo negative thoughts away quickly before they have time to settle.

Embed the truth.

Think it. Speak it. Read it. Whisper it in a trigger moment. Post it where you will see it everyday. Memorize it. Circle it in your Bible. Highlight it frequently in as many ways as you can.

Fake it til you feel it.

Act like you believe it’s true even if it doesn’t feel true yet. You may be going through a rough spot and you’re having a hard time believing that God really loves you or is able to handle your problems. You might wonder if he gave up and left you. But whatever jumbled feelings you may have in the midst of your trial, they don’t change the fact that God has proven his love for you by dying a gruesome, painful sinner’s death on a cross and he has proven his power by coming back to life after that unspeakably cruel experience.

Your feelings don’t change reality. What so-and-so told you doesn’t change the facts. Line up your thinking with God’s Word and live like it’s true. Believe God anyway and eventually, your feelings will follow as you walk in truth.

Whatever jumbled feelings you may right now don’t change the fact that God has proved his love for you by dying a gruesome, painful sinner’s death on a cross and he has proved his power by coming back to life after that unspeakably… Click To Tweet

Leaky Pipes and Dangerous Lies

In closing, I need to share a little story with you to solidify the importance of fixing your poisoned thinking.

Has your city ever had to issue a “boil order”? We experienced this a few years ago and the whole backstory of the boil order fascinated me. (I know, I’m a nerd. I like it that way!) 

A pipe had broken and sprung a leak miles away from our home. The resulting leakage of water caused the water pressure in the whole system to drop. With less pressure coursing through the city’s pipes, the entire operation was in danger of being infiltrated by bacteria, germs and other gross stuff surrounding the buried pipe near the leak. 

Once contamination entered the pipe at the break, it could be carried anywhere in the city. So, everyone had to boil water before using it in any way, just to be safe. Schools shut down for days while the city worked diligently to repair the leak and ensure the water was safe again. 

Put Your Mindset under a “Boil Order” Indefinitely

When we don’t keep enough truth (God’s version of Truth) running through the systems of our brain, we too are vulnerable to leaks and contamination. A small bit of falsehood, once in our system, has the capability to travel to any part of our life and make it sick or even kill it. 

  • How many dreams have died because someone believed the lie “I’m not good enough”?
  • How many relationships are dead or on life-support because someone thought “It’s no use trying again”?
  • And how many hopes have been dashed upon the rotten shores of “God doesn’t care about me”?

If you think that clearing the garbage out of your brain and replacing it with life-giving truth is not important, you’re wrong. That thought itself is a deadly lie. Your mindset matters and you are the gatekeeper. You get to decide what goes and what stays. Don’t abandon this responsibility anymore than you would abandon the responsibility of not drinking contaminated water or serving it to those you love.

Your mindset matters and you are the gatekeeper. You get to decide what goes and what stays. Don’t abandon this responsibility. #mindsetmatters #truthmatters Click To Tweet

Put a boil order on your negative thoughts. Boil your thoughts in heat of God’s love before you ingest them and absorb them as your own. Whatever you put into yourself becomes a part of you. Choose carefully. Make sure a thought or idea is safe to consume before you wholeheartedly down the whole bottle. 

If you live on planet earth today, guess what? There’s been a break in the lines of thought and there are contaminates floating around in your brain’s water supply. It turns out that Woody of Toy Story fame was wiser than we thought. Someone has poisoned the waterhole and it’s the enemy of your soul.

Thirst most for righteousness and truth. Only then will you truly be satisfied. 

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