Renew your mind

Fill Your Mind

As a Christian counselor for teens, I often encounter teenage anxiety and teenage depression in my office. I take the time to create a safe space for these wounded souls to come and find rest with Jesus, while also finding victory over their struggles. These teens caught in the grasp of anxiety and depression often report the same issue: “I can’t get away from my negative thoughts.” Whether it’s suicidal thoughts, self-condemning attitudes, or worries that seem to have no end, these teens desire to break free from the burden of their mind. 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2 NIV

Paul encourages the Romans to renew their minds. When I ask my teen clients how they are trying to cope with their negative thoughts after reading this verse, they often share with me that they try to “just not think about them.” The problem with this is that since there is no forward direction, stillness often brings back these false beliefs. 

Don’t leave your mind empty

Jesus shares an example in Matthew 12 of what happens when we leave our minds empty. ““When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation”” (43-45). In order to keep these negative thoughts away, teens must fill the space where the negative thoughts once were. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8 NIV

This verse in Philippians is a good reminder to point out hearts toward God. As teens begin filling their mind with Christ centered things, they leave less room for the negative things. Often, teens can understand the concept of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, but they wrestle with how to apply that in their lives. Here are some tools that can help them fight their battles with their mind.

Read your Bible

This may seem cliché, but the Lord is the author of all good things. As teens regularly read their Bible, they are clothing themselves in God’s armor (Ephesians 6:10-17). As God speaks to them through His word, they are able to learn more about God’s character and build their faith in His trustworthiness. 

Create visual reminders

Sometimes it can be difficult to pull yourself out of a negative space without external stimuli.

  • Place sticky notes on your side table, walls, or even ceiling to remind you to go to God when you’re spiraling at night. 
  • Set a memory verse as your lock screen on your phone to remind you when you are out. 
  • Make a bracelet that can help you remember to redirect your thoughts to gratitude. 
  • Find what external reminder works best for you and make preparations for when you get to a hard place. 

Choose your people

A solid support system is so helpful in the journey of redirecting your thoughts. Find the people in your life who you can talk to that will direct you back to Jesus. While peers who are also teens are important for many things, be mindful they may not always have the emotional or spiritual maturity to point you to Christ. However, adults in the church, such as a pastor or youth leader, can be great additions to support your mental health journey. 

Let us help you along your journey

Contact us today to learn more about or schedule an appointment for teen counsleing.

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