This is just the way I am.
Those words defined so many years of my life, as I grew from a perpetually worried little girl into a dangerously anxious young woman. Fretting over piano recitals, class projects, and arguments with friends evolved into sleepless nights and panic attacks over my daughter’s health and my husband’s job security and my apparent inability to handle any of it well.
People close to me joked that as long as I was breathing, I’d find something to worry about.
Nothing about that was funny to me, though, as the web of anxiety in my mind strangled any dreams of happiness I may have had. I couldn’t change, though. This is just the way I am. My natural tendencies were toward anxious thoughts, and nothing could change that.
As I began to walk with Jesus, I learned how He wanted to commandeer it all — staking His claim on my mind and the storm of unhappy thoughts swirling around in there. I knew He wanted to change my thoughts . . . to renew my mind . . . to transform me from the inside out.
I knew it was up to me to take every thought captive to the power of the gospel.
Even so, I didn’t know how to just stop thinking the way I had always thought. If I didn’t think those thoughts, what was I supposed to think? The rutted pathway of negative thinking was so deep and worn that I literally couldn’t imagine my mind going in another direction.
I am learning, though, that our minds are not made for inactivity. They are lazy, though, and will take the path of least resistance every time. The only way for my mind to stop thinking one thing is for it to start thinking on something else. The only way to stop focusing on the worrisome aspects of life in this broken world is to intentionally fix my thoughts on even the most ordinary of gifts every day.
The only way to change the belief that I can’t change is to deliberately focus on the fact that Jesus says I can.
I am not condemned to a life of unhappiness. The way I am is not the way I always have to be. Changing my mind is not easy, but through small daily gains — choosing where to direct my thoughts — I am coming to believe in happiness again.
For Thursday, read chapter 12.
Head over here to join the conversation! This is just the way I am. How have you seen this Happiness Hijacker at work?
Jessica Bolyard is a writer and speaker with a passion for connecting the hearts of women with the heart of the God who adores them. Through her own relationship with the Lord and her journey with anxiety and depression, she has come to appreciate the subtle ways God lovingly draws us into intimacy with Himself in the most otherwise ordinary moments of life. Jessica lives with her husband and daughter in Georgia, and firmly believes that iced coffee, soft blankets, old books, and purring cats are the main ingredients for a perfect afternoon.Leave a Comment
Love this. Ty for the reaffirming message of Gods power to change my thoughts of I will listen and recognize I’m not the one in control ☺️☝️He is ❤️
I am so grateful ty
My life has been so stressful the last 5 years. Each and every day I consciously “give” it to Jesus. I MUST to survive. Then throughout the day when I find myself near “panic”, I have to take that deep breath and remind myself, I’m not in control any longer, He is….and oh, how He has blessed me; every single day and in so many ways. I wish I had the time to tell you how!! God Bless and ty for this wonderful chapter.
Jessica, thank you for this beautiful gift of reassurance from the Lord today. It has been difficult this morning, anxious thoughts running amok. Yet the Lord is so good to help me, to take possession of my mind with His peace. Its a journey, but He never leaves us alone to bear it alone. Jesus ever so gently asks us to let Him, to let Him carry the burden with us as He renews and transforms our thinking with His Word that creates and heals all things. Its trusting Him to be gentle with me, ever gracious. I love your words that say “The way I am is not the way I always have to be.”-how much hope that brings that He can and will if we will but take that first or the thousandth shaky step. May we each be blessed with His courage and strength to let Him, to walk with and obey Him in trust as we take each baby step of faith until we are boldly running the race 🙂
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
An, love your thoughts! I especially like, “if we will but take that first or the thousandth shaky step.”Beautiful imagery! I’m with you, taking another wobbly step. So glad we don’t do it alone. Thank you!
Donna Upshaw says
Amen girlfriend. It takes someone to teach us a new way Romans 12 does not just automatically come with birth ir rebirth. That’s why commited Christians are so vital.
Mentors who tell a true believable story are so necessary
God thank you for testimony of grace and redemption at every level. Thanks for sharing!
Nancy Ruegg says
My eye “just happened” to catch your statement, “Mentors who tell a true believable story are so necessary.” Circumstances have led us to a church of university students, young couples, and families. We’re among the very few over 50. Sometimes I feel awkward and out of place, but because our children invited us to attend this church with them (after we moved to their city), my husband and I have made our home there. Your statement helps greatly to affirm what the pastor and a few others have told us. (Maybe they weren’t just trying to be nice after all! 🙂 ) Thank you, Donna!
The Lord knew I needed to read your words today. Thank you for being faithful. I never-reading this again.
Auto correct, gah. Should be: I Will be rereading this again.
You could have been describing me! I’ve been a worrier since I was a little girl, feeling anxious about something almost every day and often coming close to panic. Family and friends would suggest drugs or “therapy” but I didn’t want that and I’ve always said this is just the way I am! Being a Christian, I’ve always known Jesus didn’t want me worried or anxious for anything but I didn’t know how to turn off the negative thinking and “change”. So I keep asking God to work on me, change me since I can’t seem to change myself. I see Him working but it’s still a struggle for me. The worrying and negative thinking is such a happiness robber! I pray for all my sisters out there who relate and may we all learn to let Jesus change us from the inside out.
Amen! You pretty much said what I am feeling. TFS
PY Pyshora says
Dear Cindy & John,. My name is PY, as in lemon or Apple pie!. My real name has few to no nicknames. PY was given to me by the students I worked with at an Elementary school over 40 years ago!!! I decided to keep this funny little name as it made/makes people smile…why? Because I too have dealt with depression, panic attacks etc for many years. I too thought that W/Jesus I did not have to go to a counsler (discovered there are caring, loving Christen, talented ones to be discovered who have helped me in my journey of faith & GRACE & GROWTH!). I also believe that since Christ does help is in many different ways that He must also help brilliant scientific research to help those of us who need still extra help w/our issues of darkness. Yes I do use medicine to help keep me balanced! And this past year @ my Vintage years of 81 that I had better find ways to help myself…so w/HIS help I FINALLY realized I could not think of two things at once. So my hubby created me a sign that reads:. I AM!! This is placed on the wall that I look at every time I wake up, get up, etc. My prayers for the day start with things like:. I AM: LOVED, STRONG, BOLD, FILLED W/JOY, HIS BELOVED CHILD etc. And during the day when the ‘other one’ tries to overcome me I start praying I AM…. over & over & it HELPS!!
Please don’t give up! Trust that he is always with you and there are times instead of two sets of footprints in the sand when He is walking beside you, there might only be one set of footprints as he carries you close to HIS <3
Beth Williams says
Cindy & Johni,
I totally agree with PY. God made people and gave us brains to become healers, therapists, and doctors. He also made medicine. I see nothing wrong with Christians going to counselors or using medicine to help alleviate anxiety and depression. I will pray for you both. May God bring about healing to your weary souls.
Jamie S. Harper says
I love this. Because I understand the place you describe and the healing that comes from the Word. I just keep waffling from thinking I will grow out of it to wondering if I will. I seems I always land in the Rock, even when I sometimes don’t know it. Thanks for sharing.
I love this. I am a senior and pretty much have always had a bit of anxious or negative thoughts. TYFS. I now have this sticky note on my wall…”the only way to change the belief that I can’t change is to deliberately focus on the fact Jesus says I can”.
Mayann Benitez says
My mind is like a machine that works all the time mixed up with so many details happenings past and present … it’s true what you said “to stop thinking on one thing is for it to start thinking on something else, to fix on good beautiful gifts of life everyday,” on God’s word!
Thank God that He has given us the ability to choose and the Holy Spirit empowers me to take captives every thought to be obedient to Christ ..it really takes patience to self.
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
Jessica, thank you! What a confidence booster to know God says we can, when we say we can’t. I’ve so been there! May God help each of us as we fight the battle of unbelief, one choice, one thought at a time with His grace and truth.
Nancy Ruegg says
You are SO right, Jessica. I’m old enough to have had plenty of opportunity practicing the renewing of my mind with positivity and praise! Haven’t reached perfection yet, but progress has certainly been made. Praise God for continually working on me. I appreciate your observation about our thoughts taking the path of least resistance. How dare they be so lazy?! Makes me want to whip them into shape all the more!
Holly @ beejoyful says
I am so glad to have found this today. I have experienced the ups and downs of anxiety since my teen years. Many times I have a difficult time controlling my thoughts but I remember that Jesus is not finished with me. It really does help to know that others experience this too and have found healing in Him. I am going through a worrisome time right now so your post was timely. Thank you for writing of your experience. God bless all who have posted here. In prayer for you.
Beth Williams says
I used to say those very words “this is just who I am.” Also claimed I have my dad’s genes-it’s in the family. It took a while for me to realize that I couldn’t continually blame others for my daily attitude. I had to changes in thinking and attitudes. Part of my change included exercise. Just going for long walks, lifting weights, etc. That made me feel better and changed my mood. Prayer is a big step also. Ask God to help you with your thought processes.