Pain is a universal experience that we all face at one point or another. It speaks a language that we all come to know and understand. Regardless of the places we’ve been or the people we’ve encountered, our experience of pain informs our lives by shaping our thoughts and behaviors.

For some, it produces dysfunction to the extent that it disrupts what God intended for us to experience and distracts from God’s goodness. Yet, God in His faithfulness, has provided the power to overcome and the peace to endure, in the person of Jesus.

Without God, it is easy for us to become overwhelmed by our pain. We sometimes feel stuck in the pain of previous or present circumstances. Instead of bringing it to the Lord, we wrestle with what we might otherwise exchange for rest.

In essence, anxiety is characterized by these distressing thoughts about our past, present, and our future. In response to the powerlessness that persistent pain causes, anxiety may cause us to shy away from managing essential tasks by way of procrastination or avoidance of confrontation, vulnerability, and skills-building. Anxiety may also prompt us to engage in dependent, controlling, or perfectionistic behaviors.

When faced with the possibility of something new and unknown, anxiety grips us and persuades us to settle for what we know – often to our detriment. Yet, we don’t have to remain imprisoned by our anxiety, pain and powerlessness. We may choose to shift our confidence and hope away from the potential of a negative outcome.

Instead, we may choose to acknowledge that in each unknown, there is potential for good, because God is the One who works all things together for our good, as those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Practical strategies for overcoming anxiety.

This shift in mindset is not an easy undertaking. Our thoughts and behaviors have been influenced by the pain of real experiences. God isn’t denying this at all; however, He does ask us to trust Him.

Instead of placing faith in what we have always seen and known, He invites us to anchor our confidence and hope in Him (Hebrews 6:19, 11:6). When we begin to stop the thoughts of anxiety and worry, we create space to fill our hearts with what God says about us and our situations.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Philippians 4:6, NLT


When anxiety grips us, we often experience intrusive and repetitive thoughts of worry and fear. Thought-stopping is a practical way that we can halt this stream of unhelpful thoughts. We can arrest what the Bible calls vain imaginations, whether we say the word “stop” out loud or pause to say it internally.

For some, it may help to write down the intrusive thoughts: transferring them from our mind to paper or device brings the thoughts into the open with the Lord instead of allowing the thoughts to secretly torment us, increasing feelings of isolation, anxiety, anger, and shame.

While thought-stopping is practical, it is also a spiritual tool to combat anxiety. In the space where we stop these tormenting thoughts, we exercise our authority in Christ. In doing so, we can trace patterns in our thinking, and partner with the Holy Spirit to apply God’s Word as the remedy for what distresses us.

The indwelling Holy Spirit has provided us the authority to overthrow the intentions of the enemy and interrupt the unhelpful chatter that masquerades as our own thoughts. Thought-stopping makes space for us to invite the Holy Spirit to reveal and advance the Father’s plan and purpose for our lives.

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NLT

Thought replacement.

Thought-stopping is more than just recognizing and owning intrusive and repetitive, unhelpful thoughts. Although we may halt these disruptive thoughts, we don’t want to stop there. Changing the quality of our thoughts involves continual surrender to the Lord. When we present ourselves as living sacrifices to Him, we welcome the total transformation that emerges as we renew our minds with the Word.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2, NLT

Our thoughts can reflect the mind of Christ, as we pray and learn to leave our problems in Jesus’ capable hands. We may shift and command our minds, asking ourselves if what we’re thinking is true, just, pure, or life-giving. Then, we can be deliberate in rehearsing and reminding ourselves about what is true, instead.

This doesn’t mean that Satan will altogether abandon his mission to steal, kill, and destroy; however, we can grow in confidence, relying on Jesus’ promise of abundant life. When we meditate on Christ’s fullness and embrace His promise by actively stopping and replacing our thoughts according to Scripture, we can count on the heavenly prescription that answers our pain.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8, NLT

Maintaining the mind of Christ.

Jesus was clear that when we evict the enemy out of an area of our lives, we need to fill those areas with the truth of the Gospel, continuing to apply ourselves to it, and applying it to our lives. When we don’t continually submit to the Word of God in a particular area, we leave a space for the enemy to return, and establish a stronghold in our minds.

In effect, this opening invites the enemy to increase in power, and makes our experience worse than what it had been at the outset (Matthew 12:43-45). While Jesus informed us of what could happen, He also offered a prescription for the root of pain and dysfunction: truth and goodness in Jesus Christ. Continuing to surrender every area of our lives cultivates the mind of Christ within us.

Maintaining the mind of Christ enables us to abide in the abundance of peace and prosperity. Although anxiety may often be triggered by external circumstances, it is our own heart’s response to the Lord and our outward conditions that shift our experience with it (Romans 12:1-2).

Let’s consider that God has given us all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Only our Father God has all power, knows all things, and is in all places at once; and we are not. We can trust Him and receive the blessing and benefit of Biblical counsel and strategies to stop, replace, and maintain the thoughts that support our ability to live in triumph over anxiety.

And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom.

Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. . . . For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13, 16, NLT

Next steps.

Wherever you are in your journey, this may be a time to pause and consider some questions with God. Embrace this space as an opportunity to explore what the Holy Spirit desires to reveal. Although the pain of your past or present may have led you on an unclear or undesirable path marked by pain and anxiety, you can trust the Lord’s guidance. He has led you here to gather resources, relief, and respite from pain and the weariness of anxiety.

“Anxiety”, Courtesy of Suzy Hazelwood,, CC0 License;”Reading the Bible”, Courtesy of Eduardo Braga,, CC0 License; “Pensive”, Courtesy of SOHAM BANERJEE,, CC0 License; “Victory”, Courtesy of Daniel Reche,, CC0 License


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