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How to Take Your Thoughts Captive

Today’s post is an excerpt from my friend Chrystal Evans Hurst’s new book, She’s Still There. I love her down-to-earth approach explanation of how to take your thoughts captive. Don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post!


When my kids were small, they always asked me to turn on a night-light before I left their rooms and close all the doors so the monsters wouldn’t come in. When I turned the light on, they weren’t as afraid. They could see there weren’t any monsters. The light enabled them to know their fears were unfounded and helped them to experience the freedom of thinking, feeling, and acting based on what was really true.

Now, you might be asking, “What do you mean by ‘turn on the light,’ and how do you do it?” First of all, coaching your thought life is something you can learn and get better at over time. Don’t sweat it if you aren’t good at it now. You can learn. You can grow.

The goal is to take thoughts that are negative, untrue, and destructive and replace them with thoughts that are affirming, true, and constructive. You do this by renewing your mind—transforming the way you think through ongoing acceptance of right thoughts based on what God says is true. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (NASB).

Let me show you how this works.

Let’s say I found myself thinking this way: “I will never be able to accomplish my dreams.”

That statement isn’t true. You can shine the light of God’s truth on that lie: “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13 NIV).

The truth is, as we follow God’s direction in our lives, He is the one who will do the work in us so we can fulfill His purposes for us and the desires He has placed in us. That takes the pressure off our having to figure it all out, now, doesn’t it?

Here’s another one: “I am not enough. I’m not equipped. I don’t belong.”

The truth is if God put you where you are and if pleasing Him is your aim, then you are enough, you are equipped, and you can have victory over what you face. Second Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ” (NASB).

Let’s do one more together: “Since there is something wrong with my body because of illness or physical challenge, I don’t have the same value as others who have their health.”

The truth is you are more than your physical body. You have a unique soul, remember? God offers you the gift of the Spirit, which allows you to get better on the inside regardless of what is happening on the outside. Here’s the truth according to 2 Corinthians 4:16: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (ESV).

If you don’t know the truths of Scripture, it’s your job to search them out. If you want to know what God thinks, you can discover His truth in the letter of love He’s provided for you to read. He has promised that when you look for Him, you will find Him: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Search out the truth. Write down the verses or passages that speak to your heart, and you will change your incorrect patterns of thinking over time. Inundate yourself with the truth, and that truth will become a light that shines brighter than the dark thoughts that threaten to keep you from making progress. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Don’t be so busy staring into the darkness that you lose sight of the light. Even when the monster in your mind seems real and true, you must examine your thoughts in the light of God’s thoughts toward you, and then believe what He says. Even if you aren’t convinced, you still have to get up, cross the room, and turn on the light!

Your job now—and for the rest of your life—is to turn on the light in your mind, to embrace the truth, and to reject lies. Just because you think it, that doesn’t make it true. The truth is your weapon to war with the darkness that threatens to cloud your mind.

When you choose to think right thoughts, you battle against destructive patterns of thinking that threaten to keep the girl in you from emerging valiant and victorious.

In this life, there will be moments when you feel as if you have lost the ability to breathe. There will be times when you don’t know what to do. You may find yourself frozen and feel unable to move forward.

In those moments, you must choose to encourage yourself. Be your own coach. Learn to recognize the monster in your mind. Take note of destructive thoughts, then take them captive by shining on them the light of God’s truth.

What is one favorite truth from Scripture that gives you hope, stirs up joy, or motivates you to action? Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a copy of She’s Still There!


In She’s Still There, Chrystal authentically shares, from one girlfriend to another, the importance of the personal process and the beauty of that path. It’s a book of “me toos,” reminders of the hoped for, and challenges for the path ahead—to find direction, purpose, and true satisfaction.

Purchase your copy here on Amazon or wherever books are sold!

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27 replies
  1. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. . . One of my favorites, when I feel like I can’t, I remember this scripture. I have it posted all over my house!

    Reply
  2. Linda Rosario
    Linda Rosario says:

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me… Phillipians 4:13
    I have am reminded of this verse on a daily basis

    Reply
  3. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    “”Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭This is a good verse to turn to when I start looking at my circumstances instead of the Lord!

    Reply
  4. Kim Priest
    Kim Priest says:

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.
    Proverbs3, 5-6

    Reply
  5. Jessica Graham
    Jessica Graham says:

    “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25 NLT).

    I have a wall-hanging in my bathroom of this verse. There have been many times when I’ve looked to it during times of struggle or worry, and felt comforted. It reminds me that if I face things in life with the strength of the Lord and my dignity intact, the worry won’t feel so inescapable anymore.

    Reply
  6. Paula Kitchens
    Paula Kitchens says:

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2 ESV)

    I love this scripture it reminds me every time I am going through something that I feel like is knocking the breath out of me the Lord reminds me He is there with me.

    Reply
  7. Jennifer Schmidt
    Jennifer Schmidt says:

    You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4

    Reply
  8. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    Isaiah 40:31, Those who trust in the Lord will find new Strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

    Reply
  9. Alyssa Burt
    Alyssa Burt says:

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10
    9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    These verses speak to me when I have a negative mindset going on and I can’t get out of it. It reminds me that there are going to be tough times, but instead of being upset, to try to remain hopeful and find the lessen God is trying to teach me. Your post really reminded me to pray and to stay positive, thank you!

    Reply
  10. Maegan Dockery
    Maegan Dockery says:

    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

    I find fear holding me back far too often, and this truth always speaks to me when I need it most.

    Reply
  11. Julie
    Julie says:

    Gal 6:9 Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we faint not.

    I love this verse for parenting. On the hard days it reminds me that although we may not see results now or for some time, there will be fruits of our patient loving, guiding, and disciplining.

    Reply
  12. Julie B
    Julie B says:

    Proverbs 3:5-6 English Standard Version (ESV)

    5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
    6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

    Reply
  13. Dana M
    Dana M says:

    Jeremiah 29:11

    Because I am always so down on myself on what’s my purpose for my life and this scripture reminds me of His truth of that no matter what I already told you I created you in your mothers womb and that I have a plan for you and you will be purposeful and prosperous.

    Reply
  14. Beth Glidden
    Beth Glidden says:

    Proverbs 4:20-27

    Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.

    Reply
  15. Ayoka
    Ayoka says:

    Psalms 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

    My God is looking out for me each and every day.

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Ayoka, you’re the winner!! Email me the US address you would like your copy of She’s Still There to be shipped!

      Reply
  16. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Greater is he who is living in me, then he who is living in the world

    This reminds me that with Christ nothing in the world is too big for me to overcome

    Reply
  17. Autum Awalt
    Autum Awalt says:

    I absolutely love Psalm 23. I memorized it in July and have meditated on it since then. He is all I need. He is my Shepard. I will dwell in his house forever.

    “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Thank you for your article. I woke up this morning with the verse taking my thoughts captive on my mind. Your words are partial encouragement for me.

    Reply
  18. Karen Hughes
    Karen Hughes says:

    Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, thought the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, thought the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord: I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my God is my strength: he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!

    I have this posted on my wall to remind me that God is good all the time and that despite my circumstances I must choose to look at God and not my situation.

    Reply
  19. TaWanna
    TaWanna says:

    Jude 1: 24-25
    Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless in his presence with exceeding Joy! On to the only wise God our savior, be glory, Majesty, Dominion and Power both now and forever more Amen – this gives me LIFE!!

    Reply
  20. Tonya
    Tonya says:

    Isaiah 54:17 (ESV)

        no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
        and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
    This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
        and their vindication[a] from me, declares the Lord.”

    Reply
  21. Bryan Creasy
    Bryan Creasy says:

    Psalm 91:1,2
    He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord you are my Refuge and my Fortress, my God in whom I trust.

    Reply
  22. Joan s.
    Joan s. says:

    Isaiah 43:25“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
    and will never think of them again.”
    The God, my God, who knows all things chooses to forget my sins.
    If only I could as well.

    Reply
  23. Tanya W.
    Tanya W. says:

    “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

    Reply

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