Friday, January 18, 2019

When You're Stuck in Stressful Thoughts

By: Sarah Geringer

Lately I've been stuck in stressful thought-life categories. When I'm upset about something or stressed out, I tend to overanalyze and obsess about the topic. This wears me out mentally, emotionally and spiritually, because I am hyperfocused in one category.

This week, I watched an interesting webinar about using social media. The expert encourages people to pick a few content categories and consistently post in several of them rather than in just one category, so you appeal to your whole group of followers.

You probably already do this. You post about your pets one day, vacation pics another day, a funny GIF or thoughtful meme the next time, and maybe a photo of your children or grandchildren another day. I also like seeing yummy food pictures in my friend's feeds. The more diverse your social media feed is, the more interesting it is to new followers. 

After the webinar, I looked at my Facebook and Instagram feeds, and saw books, books and more books. Kind of like my thought life--focused on one problem over and over again. I need to make it healthier by shaking it up. 

This is the scripture that is helping me reorient my thought-life categories, and I hope it helps you reorient and diversify your thoughts in healthy, God-pleasing ways.

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

See how these thought-life categories are diverse and beautiful? How each one points you toward God rather than your troubles?

When I'm stuck in a stressful thought category, I force myself to think about something true, right or pure. When troubles overwhelm me, I can reorient myself to thinking about what is excellent and worthy of praise. Lovely thoughts inspire us to worship God. Honorable thoughts raise us up over our circumstances.

This isn't easy for an obsession-prone person like me. But I'm getting better at it with God's help. I still need time to process my stress, worries and cares with God and sometimes others. Yet I have a choice in whether to stay stuck in one thought-life category. I can set the stress aside and ponder all the good things about God's character and all the gifts he gives me every day. Meditating on God's Word throughout the day helps me do this.

How about you? Does another verse prompt you to reorient your thought-life categories when you feel stuck?

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from

Reflection questions:

1. In which category do your thoughts typically get stuck?

2. Which verse will help you deal with stress in a healthier way?


  1. That is a great analogy about social media and changing up our thought life to not hyperfocus on one thing. It's so easy to make your life all about that ONE thing that worries you! Great insight.

    1. Thank you so much, Betsy! Headed over to your site now.

  2. I get stuck in so many ways. I love the social media example. I've been shifting from talking about me to challenging readers to think about them and God. It's been a really good change, no matter what the topic is!

    1. I am enjoying your new videos and posts, Becky. Keep up the good work!

  3. Yes, Sarah, I so relate to this. I've been replaying a situation and someone's mean-spirited texts to me for days. I don't want to think about it or focus on it, but still I have.

    You brought some fresh insight to Philippians 4:8. Reminding of its diversity and how we really can reorient our lives to this habit. "When troubles overwhelm me, I can reorient myself to thinking about what is excellent and worthy of praise." Amen! Thank you!

    1. It's such a helpful verse, and I'm glad you're applying it to this hard situation, friend!

  4. I can relate to this in so many ways. The verse you shared is one of my main verses with this as well as, 1 Peter 5:7-8. I am learning how to cast those anxieties and cares on Him. I don't want the enemy to use my thoughts to bring me down. My battle is in my mind and in my emotions so often. I can stress over things, people, and situations very easily but I want to learn to allow God control over my thoughts. I desire to have the mind of Christ so I continue to seek Him and ask Him for help. Thank you for sharing, Sarah!

  5. He keeps us in perfect peace with our minds on Him. Isaiah 26:3 and He, Himself, is our peace. Ephesians 2:14.

  6. Just last night I did a mindfulness meditation exercise where she talked about how our thoughts can become addictive. She said when we find ourselves fixated on a thought to ask ourselves, is this useful. Much like the verse you shared. I have found 2 Corinthians 10:5 to be helpful, demolishing every argument against God and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

    Thanks so much for the encouragement to reorient our thoughts to be God focused.

  7. For sure, social media's endless striving can wear us out and create an anxiety that's 24/7, fueled by numbers of all kinds.


    It's one of the reasons I've chosen just to blog and do LinkedIn. And even then I need to be very careful ...

    May God help you to sift through it all and discover a gentle rhythm that works for you, Sarah ...

  8. I love Phil 4:8 as it gives us a variety of thoughts to think on. This is the best way to take control of our thought life as we know that God sees our heart and thoughts...may they be pleasing unto Him! Visiting from Worthy Beyond Rubies.


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