“The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think.” — Unknown

I recently wrote a devotional called The Weakest Warrior, where I spoke about my trouble with doubting the things God’s gifted me to do. Where I battle the feelings of weakness, inability and fear. As I was preparing this week's devotion, I realized today I am dealing with another side of this struggle. Today, it is not self-doubt, it is what others may think of me. The doubt they may have about me, about my ministry.

As negative thoughts of what others think began swirling out of control in my mind, I had a choice. I could keep letting them fly and let Satan win, quit everything, stop writing, speaking and podcasting, or I could stop the thoughts in their tracks. I chose the latter.

But how do we stop the mind games and turn them off?

The answer: Jesus and His words above mine and above the words and thoughts of others. (2 Corinthians 10:5.)

These are a few of things I practice when the battle of my mind tries to ruin the good work Christ started in me.

•Pray. As thoughts and words come against me, I pray. I ask God to show me who I am. Remind me of my why. I ask Him to remove the thoughts which aren’t of Him from my mind.

•Listen. I allow God time to respond to my prayer. I wait for His words about me to flood my heart and mind and then

•Ideclare them. I speak out loud His thoughts about me and my situation. I am chosen; I am loved, and with His help I am able. I declare His goodness, love and mercy aloud until all which is left are His thoughts about me.

Repent. I ask God to forgive me for putting the thoughts of others ahead of His. See, I realize when I am so concerned with the thoughts I think or the thoughts of others, it is because I have gotten my eyes off of my why. My life at this point has become about making a name for myself rather than Jesus.

Friend, I do not know what people think of you, what they say or what you may believe about yourself, but I know a man who has only thoughts of love and kindness toward you. His name is Jesus, and He invites you to join Him in conversation so He can sort out all the lies you have been buying and fill you full of His truth, grace, forgiveness and mercy. You get to choose. You decide if you will believe the mind games or defeat them.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things. — Philippians 4:8.

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