I wonder if you are like me when it comes to certain issues? Do you assume that there are “givens” when facing trials in your life? These might be accepting limitations or perhaps doing some negative labeling of self (stupid, lazy, inadequate). But did you ever consider challenging those assumptions?
ANTS – Automatic Negative Thought(S) may be the problem.
We all have them – those fleeting thoughts that we just accept as true. But are they really true? Or could they be half true, or actually lies? Where do they come from?
My ANTS generally attack me in my self-worth (not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, attractive enough, etc.) If I’m not careful, I end up with an attitude of defeat (Why try? Don’t bother. It won’t do any good.)
All of our beliefs are gathered from our life experience. We collect them from parents and teachers and friends and self-evaluation. After a while these beliefs become second nature to us. We no longer question their validity. But circumstances in our life change and what may have been true at one time may no longer apply.
For instance, as children we are all relatively powerless and dependent on others. If those that we depend on are consistent and trustworthy, then we probably judge our world as ‘safe’. But what if that is not the case? What if I was raised in a very chaotic environment? Then I might believe that people and circumstances are not to be relied upon. If I carry that belief with me into adulthood, I will likely be fearful of the unfamiliar. My ANT will be: “You are not safe.”
But I am no longer dependent, I am no longer powerless – things are different. I am able to protect myself to a great degree. My ANT is not true. So what do I do?
I must intentionally capture these ANTS and wring any deception from them. I must dispute my assumptions by shining the light of truth on them. I cannot just reject them out of hand, because they may be partially true. Only reality is helpful here.
When I become aware of one of these ANTS, I can dispute it on the spot, or I can write it down to deal with later. I might have to ask someone I trust to help me break it down. But I must not leave them uncontested or they may rule my life.
From a spiritual standpoint Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44) – when we accept lies as truth, we are agreeing with him. This makes me uncomfortable, to say the least.
So my goal, and I hope yours, is to become a major league ANT killer.
In simple form:
1. Capture the ANTS
2. Examine for any false belief and replace with the whole truth
3. Tell myself the truth every time the ANT comes into my head.
John 8:32 (New International Version)
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”