“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

All my life I escaped to fantasies. I daydreamed of being beautiful, being loved, being the center of someone’s world. I imagined what circumstances would lead me to a deep satisfying relationship with the man of my dreams, where we would live, and how I would be fulfilled. It always seemed harmless. Often I would insert my current crush into each scenario and comfort myself with ideas of his affection. I was more often than not able to separate the fantasy from the reality. There really seemed no cause for concern. In fact, it is probably a common pastime of any normal unmarried girl or woman beginning around age 10. I was normal, but the reality is that this normal is problematic.

I recognized it as a problem one day, at age 24, when I caught myself daydreaming about a friend on whom I held a secret crush. He had recently become engaged, and I felt a twinge of guilt. I had few boundaries in my daydreams, and engaged or married men were definitely beyond the boundary. What was more, just before this man became engaged, I had an open opportunity to reveal my crush and see where it might lead. In agony I had prayed that the Lord would give me wisdom, knowing my actions could cause huge problems for this friend and his girlfriend. The strong impression on my heart was to let him go. I knew it was the Holy Spirit prompting the impression, because although I felt the weight of sadness, I also knew a gentle peace at the wisdom of the thought. There was no guilt or condemnation, just a pure reality that this man was not mine. So later, when I found myself entangled in a daydream with my friend as the star, I knew I was wrong.

I must have prayed something like, “Jesus, I’m sorry. Help me not to do that, I know he’s not mine,” when another strong impression hit me. “Why is it more wrong for you to daydream about this man than any other man?” It never occurred to me that I was playing with people in my mind as if they belonged to me, when in reality no one really belongs to me. I tried right at that moment to stop daydreaming. The attempt led to one failure after another. I was addicted to this form of self soothing. It was the balm I used to hide a broken heart. I wrestled with myself and was defeated time after time. I hated my daydreams now, but could not escape them. The chains of failure weighed me down, and I felt lost and hopeless in this battle. I did not know who to talk to. I was ashamed of my problem. Finally, after several days of this, I found myself praying quietly after church, “Jesus, I can’t do this by myself. Help me. Who should I talk to? Who will understand and really help me?”

I turned to the side of the church and noticed an older woman in her 70’s. Her name was Jody Lundy. She was recently widowed, and that was all I really knew about her. But she glowed with a joy that was supernatural. She stood out so strongly, that I found myself compelled to go to her. I didn’t know what to say, and really could not bring myself to a full confession, but the Lord knew my heart and had grace on me. The conversation went something like this:

“Hi, Jody.”

“Oh, hi Beth! How are you?”

“Well, I’m struggling with something and I feel like God wants me to talk to you about it.”

“Okay!?”

“I keep having these thoughts, and I don’t know how to get rid of them.”

“Well, when that happens to me I just imagine a great big animal cage with Jesus standing outside. If I have a thought, I say, ‘No that belongs to Jesus,’ and I imagine myself putting the thought in the animal cage and Jesus closing it. If the thought comes back, I do it, again. In fact, I keep doing it every time it comes back. If it comes back 15 times in one minute, I put it in the cage 15 times and eventually, it stops coming back.”

“Thanks, Jody,” I smiled at her, realizing that was the most practical advice anyone could ever give me. It reminded me of a verse I had memorized several years earlier that spoke of bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I immediately set to work on my fantasies, “putting them in the cage,” taking them captive to the obedience of Christ. It brought me the freedom I needed, more quickly than I would have expected. I had escaped the ugliness of self-indulgence.

To this day, I use this practical wisdom for any thoughts that enter my head, good and bad. When my thoughts are in Jesus’ control, I respond in faith and love rather than fear and uncertainty. I also have a good friendship with Jody. She is a great wise woman, full of the Holy Spirit and willing to follow His direction in her life. It has still taken me some time to talk freely about the sin in my life. But the closer I get to Jesus, the less concerned I am about how people would judge me. I become more and more consumed with being free. I know that it is only Jesus’ love that could bring me to this place.



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2 comments:

    ceciliabrie said...

    all that time we were struggling with the same thing! I'm not sure how i finally got free, but i know i am now...and i can remember feeling so trapped for so long and had no idea what it would even feel like to be free from those thoughts. Praise Jesus! Reading this is a good reminder of what He has already done, and gives me hope for the future...

  1. ... on September 30, 2009 at 4:46 PM  
  2. Beth said...

    Thanks Brie! I'm glad you are my friend. You were so often there for me when I needed a friend to pray with who would not judge me, but just love me. :)

  3. ... on October 13, 2009 at 3:28 PM