Hey, Downward Spiral! It’s Time To Change Directions

Lately, I feel bored. Oh, trust me, there is plenty to do. As a single mom, there are always responsibilities pulling at my time and attention.

Still, boredom is a general state of mind, and I find it easy to distract myself with Instagram. Time passes quickly as I scroll through pictures of beautiful people doing awesome things.

I try to keep the thoughts in my mind at a hushed tone, but I hear myself thinking things like:

“Look at all those pictures of happy moms with their happy captions about their happy children.”

“It must be nice to go on a family trip to the beach. I wish I had a husband to play in the pool with my kids while I read a book.”

“She looks so cute in that dress. Why do I look so frumpy in everything I own, and she looks so cute? It’s so unfair!”

Boredom quickly turns to jealousy, and I end up in the worst of moods. I feel insecure, prideful, and judgmental. I don’t measure up to those other women I see. I snap at my kids. I pay my bills late. My idea of an adventure is binge-watching Fixer Upper and stuffing my face full of whatever I can grab in one arm-load from the pantry. I can’t remember the last time I fixed my hair, dressed up to go out, or put on a full face of makeup. (Let’s be honest, those face masks kill our lip gloss game, am I right?)

Spiral Up, Not Down

Some days, I feel like I’m spirally downward. Do you know what I mean? Can you relate?

We all have our issues. Most of us just depend on a cute hairstyle or smile to cover them up. Whatever is causing you to spiral—boredom, fear, loneliness, inadequacy—your spirals don’t have to keep spirally down. You can flip them around.

Identify Your Thoughts

First, we need to identify what is causing us to spiral. To do that, we need to know our thoughts, which is not always easy. We tend to notice our feelings and emotions first and don’t always pay attention to what we are thinking.

Here are a few questions that can help you reveal what captivates your mind:  

  • What do you talk about the most with your friends right now?
  • When your mind drifts, where does it tend to go?
  • What are the themes of the podcasts you’re listening to or the books you’re reading?

Take Every Thought Captive

Where attention goes, neural firing flows, and neural connection grows. Patterns you thought were fixed are actually things that, with mental effort, can indeed be changed…” –Dan Siegel, M.D. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA

I first heard that Dan Siegel quote in a book called Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen. I love it when clinical psychiatry backs up what the Bible teaches.

Whatever thoughts are causing us to spiral downward can be changed.

…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. –2 Corinthians 10:5

In this verse from the Bible, the author Paul tells us that we can interrupt our struggle and take our thoughts prisoners, so our thoughts can eventually change.

Right now, we are all facing new unknowns, and our thoughts are full of more chaos than ever before. Our mind is powerful. It can spark how our lives play out over the next day, months, or years.

If we want to shift the direction of our spiral, the mind is where we have to start.

Author Jennie Allen says:

“The difference in a mature 80-year-old and a bitter 80-year-old is largely choices. It’s not circumstances. You can go through horrid circumstances and not walk out bitter and cynical. We have power through the spirit of God to make choices. Largely, we’re constantly thinking about how we feel about something.”

Sounds Great, But How?

Here are a few ways you can begin to take your thoughts captive.

  • Spend time in prayer and fasting
  • Focus your attention on God’s truth, power, and grace
  • Identify your thoughts through journaling and honest assessment
  • Accept accountability from trusted friends and advisors
  • Seek counseling if you need it

It Was Always The Plan

Jesus freely offers us the mercy we need. He saves us for eternity, and He also saves us daily. He is powerful to rescue us from the thoughts that drive us into dark places. When we take our thoughts captive, we make them obedient to Him. 

It was God’s plan that Jesus would die on the cross to pay for the sins of the world. He was crucified and died for you and me, but he also defeated death when he rose from the dead. His final act made us forever right with our perfect God.

Friend, we have the most beautiful hope!

Anyone who puts their faith in Jesus is forgiven.

How can this truth change my struggle with boredom, jealousy, and insecurity?

My struggles and sins have not left me. I still wake up every day with a mind and a heart full of temptations. Because I believe in Jesus, I know I have been made right for eternity. But what about today?

To paraphrase pastor and author A.W. Tozer:

As God is exalted to the right place in our lives, a thousand problems are solved all at once.

What thoughts are causing you to spiral downward?

Today is the day that can change.

Lord, help my sister reading this to take her thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Help her change the entire direction of her life for the better.