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Are Your Negative Thoughts Self-Defeating? It’s Time to Stop Them Now!

Do negative thoughts run through your mind and lead you to self-defeating behaviors? If so, sadly, you are not alone. A negative thought life leads us along paths not meant for us to take. They result in self-defeat by either over-compensating or under-compensating instead of living in the strength of God in us.

They result in us getting stuck, not moving forward, and not experiencing the fullness of a hope-filled life. (Find more about that in the detailed post: 17 Bible Verses About Moving Forward to Give You Hope!)

*(This post is part of a series to help you experience joy and wholeness through God’s love. Read the last post here about how His love is so radically different than the kind of love people can provide.)

Do negative thoughts run through your mind and lead you to self-defeating behaviors? If so, sadly, you are not alone. A negative thought life leads us along paths not meant for us to take. They result in a self-defeat by either over-compensating or under-compensating instead of living in the strength of God in us. Join me for a series to help you find joy in God's love and while doing so, live with purpose, wholeness, and healing.

Negative Thoughts and Self-Defeating Behaviors

Capturing negative thoughts and controlling self-defeating behaviors takes commitment to the process of allowing God’s Word (God’s Truth) to sink deep into your soul and overtake the noise of the world.

The world has much to offer, but we must be able to filter out the bad and soak in only the Truth. It’s what we call living in the world but not of the world. (John 17)

The devil and all his evil attack us left and right. Many of us walk through abuse and trauma of all degrees. The devil would like for us to receive those traumas as labels that tell us who we are. But those labels are not true. They are simply his tactic of utilizing lies and confusion. We are not the sum of those labels. We are who God says we are and He says we are His — created in His image, wonderfully created, marvelous, and victorious to name a few.

But How do we get there?

How do we tune out the world’s noise and focus on the Truth we find in the Bible written for us, God’s dearly beloved? It takes discipline to fight the enemy and the self-defeating thoughts he relentlessly whispers.

3 Intentional Steps to Stop Self-Defeating Negative Thoughts in Their Tracks

1. Recognize Lies

To protect ourselves against self-defeating thoughts, first we must tune into or be aware of all the thoughts passing through our minds so that we can recognize the self-defeating ones.

I love this meme.

We have so many thoughts in our minds, but we need to be aware of the self-defeating thouhts

Can I get an “Amen”?

But are we sure all those thoughts are healthy? In reality, I doubt it.

Amid those 3,241 open tabs, negative self-defeating thoughts labeling us as “less than” run through our mental newsreel.

Allowing those unrestricted runs is dangerous. We must take hold of those thoughts.

But how do we discern those that are truth from those that are lies?

Usually, lies settle a heaviness upon your spirit. They may be feelings of condemnation, depression, shame, or inadequacy. They usually point fingers and diminish worth.

To protect ourselves from self-defeating thoughts, first we must tune into our thoughts! Click To Tweet

3 Bible Verses to Help You Stay Alert to Your Thoughts

Below are three verses reminding us to stay alert to our thoughts. They are included in this week’s 7 Printable Scripture Cards found here.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. -1 Peter 5:8 NIV

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

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. -Proverbs 4:23 GNB

Do negative thoughts run through your mind and lead you to self-defeating behaviors? If so, sadly, you are not alone. A negative thought life leads us along paths not meant for us to take. They result in a self-defeat by either over-compensating or under-compensating instead of living in the strength of God in us. Join me for a series to help you find joy in God's love and while doing so, live with purpose, wholeness, and healing.

2. Pray Against the Lies

Prayer is always our first answer. It’s our direct line of communication with God. Our relationship with Him deepens through prayer. And if we are alert to our thought system and recognize the negative self-defeating thoughts, we can give them to the Lord in prayer. We can speak His Name against the lies and cancel their power.

A Prayer Against the Lies of the Enemy

Lord, Thank You for Your promise to deliver us when we cry out to You. I come to You and ask that You deliver me from thoughts labeling me as less than who You created me to be. I ask You to free me from any strongholds the enemy may use against me. Please continue to keep me alert to Your discerning spirit so that I may recognize self-defeating thoughts for precisely what they are –lies. And may I be strengthened to recognize and give each thought to You.

May Your truth be embedded deep within my soul, so that when my memory fails, my spirit will still recognize both evil and Truth. Protect me from the enemy’s attacks and make me brave. Hearing each call and following you without fear or insecurity. May I step out boldly in Your name pursuing all the dreams You have placed on my heart.

And may Your love be forever planted in my heart so that even when the enemy uses another to attack my spirit, their actions will not leave me burdened with self-doubt. But most of all, Lord, I thank you for fulfilling my every need with Your unfailing love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer is our first strategy for everything. #selfdefeatingthoughts #truth #prayer Click To Tweet

2 Bible Verses to Pray Against the Lies of the Enemy

Below are three verses to pray against the lies of the enemy. They are included in this week’s 7 Printable Scripture Cards found here.

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” says the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 NIV

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV

3. Replace the Lies With Truth

Finally, to stop negative self-defeating thoughts, we must replace the lies with the Truth. After we recognize the negative thoughts as lies and pray over them, we can replace them. The void needs to be filled with what is good and true or the void will replenish with something else.

But thinking it is not enough. We need to speak it aloud! God’s Word sends the enemy running. The enemy cannot read our thoughts so let him hear the words of Truth spoken aloud! The more we train our minds to think about positive truth, the less chance the enemy will have to initiate the whispers. Below are a few examples of how to tangibly exchange negative self-defeating thoughts with Truth.

Replacing Self-defeating thoughts with truth. Examples of taking hold of our thoughts.

Grab your free copy of the above poster in the Library of Hope which is available to all subscribers. As a subscriber, you will receive both access to the library and occasional emails designed to encourage you and provide resources to help you break free of insecurity.

3 Bible Verses to Speak Truth Into Your Heart

Below are three verses to speak Truth into your heart. They are included in this week’s 7 Printable Scripture Cards found here.

I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. -Isaiah 44:22 NLT

So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them. -Isaiah 55:11 MSG

Recognize, pray, replace ... 3 steps to protect yourself from self-defeating thoughts. #truth #lies Click To Tweet

Want to Catch up With the Series?

Here is what you’ve missed:

1. 21 Days to Finding Joy in God’s Love: Week 1

Do you experience a unique kind of joy because of God's love for you? If not, you aren't alone. Often, we know of God but we don't really know God. But it makes all the difference in fully experiencing God and His unfailing love for you! Join me for this series filled with Biblical wisdom, Bible verses, prayers, strategies, and printables that will equip you to find joy in God's love!

2. God is Love and Why That Makes All the Difference for You: Week 2

If you have been hurt by someone, you are likely questioning love or friendship. Human love is very different from God's love because God is Love. Join the challenge to find joy in God's love so that you have healthier relationships with others and yourself. Discover what Biblical love is all about.

Why not Start Trading Negative Self-Defeating Thoughts for Truth Right Now?

You will never look at yourself, God, or others the same way again after this new 7-week Bible study by Lori Schumaker. Not only will you unravel the mystery of how God loves you, but also grow in your relationship with Him as you take time each day to meditate on what He has written about his own never-ending love for us. The Scriptures are beautiful and filled with truth that will set your heart free! This is a printable pdf ebook that works well on any digital device. Start experiencing the fullness of God's love today!

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  1. Wow! Lots of great suggestions here. Thank you for your clear, easy to follow ideas. God’s wisdom is in reach if I follow the Word. Joining you from Intentional Tuesday today…and glad I did!

    1. Debbie, I am so glad you found these suggestions helpful. And I SO agree! His wisdom is in reach if we just follow the Words He gave us! Thank you so much for visiting!
      Blessings and smiles,

  2. Lori, these are excellent tips — how common it is for us to allow negative thoughts to rule our lives..and what power these scripture you present offer to slay these demons!! I wrote about self-loathing today, and your blog really expands on the aspect of negative self talk!! This is such rich information! Thank you!

    1. Oh, Kathy, once again our hearts are in tune! I love it! I can’t wait to stop by your blog tonight!
      Many hugs,

  3. This is great, Lori. This really speaks of the power there is in Jesus’ name – “We can speak His Name against the lies and cancel their power.” I like how you bring out that we need to recognize the lies. Sometimes they are so built into our default mode that we don’t realize how much we are condemning ourselves. It’s hard. May we cling to the power in Jesus’ name and replace those lies with Truth!

    1. Hi Trudy, I love everything you wrote! Until I intentionally took note of the thoughts running through my mind, I didn’t realize how often those thoughts were condemning. That act alone stopped a good portion of that type of banter in my brain! But the root went deeper. It was seated in an area of hurt that the enemy used to attack. Those are the areas I needed to bring on the full power of the name of Jesus! Thank you, my sweet friend, for visiting and always contributing in such a beautiful way!
      Many hugs,

  4. Hi Lori! I just want to tell you that your blog has become one of my favorite blogs. You usually write about something that my family and I have recently been talking about. I agree that your message is clear and easy to follow. I will be sharing this one with my family.

    1. Oh, Sherry, you completely made my night! These are the stories that remind me I’m hearing God correctly! They step into my life chaos and moments of doubt, and affirm my heart! Thank you, thank you! I am so thankful your family is finding these topics helpful, too. I will for sure be praying God blesses those conversations and pours His love into every word!

  5. I’m dealing with a client who is struggling with negative ruminations and believing the lies that Satan feeds her, Lori. I’m going to be sure to share this post with her. It’s so packed full of godly and biblical wisdom–something every believer needs to keep at the forefront of their minds. Great post, my friend!

    1. Hi Beth,
      I will be praying for your client – the the lies of the enemy be silenced and that she feel and spiritually hear the love and truth of Jesus! I am so thankful these words can be put to good use! Thank you, Beth!
      Blessings and smiles,

  6. Lori, great post! The battle for our minds is always raging. Praise God for His liberating truth! I love the sheet on truths to replace the lies.

  7. Lori, this is great! I think it’s safe to say that all of us struggle with negative thoughts. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are being lied to! These are great tips to recognizing and overcoming those lies! Linking up with you at #Coffeeforyourheart

    1. Alisa, thanks so much for stopping by from Coffee for Your Heart! I love Holley’s little corner of the blog world 🙂 Thank you also, for your kind words. I am so glad you found these tips helpful!
      Blessings and smiles,

  8. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog – I found it at Christian mom blog support. I love simple phrases that remind me of how to apply truth. I will be thinking this week about recognizing, praying, and replacing when I have self-defeating thoughts. Your site looks like it is chock-full of some awesome resources. I will definitely be checking them out. God bless!

    1. Welcome, Liz! Thank you so much for stopping by to visit! I am so glad you found some encouragement and helpful tips! I so look forward to getting to know you better. Please be sure to let me know if there is anything I can be praying about for you!
      Blessings and smiles,

  9. I’m so glad I found your blog today! I love reading positive and encouraging thoughts and this is certainly that. This is a great post and very uplifting.

    1. Hi Renee, Thank you so much for visiting today! Welcome! I am so thankful you found encouragement here. Please let me know if there is anything I can be praying about for you!
      Blessings and smiles,

  10. Crystal S. Hornback says:

    Wow, Lori! These suggestions and scriptures are awesome! Thank you for laying it out plainly. I can’t wait to share this with our youth group students. We had a circle discussion on suicide last night (after two teens from our area committed suicide in the last three weeks), and one of the verses we shared was 1 Peter 5:8. Thank you for this truth and encouragement today! #livefreeThursday

    1. Hi Crystal! I love it when you visit! I am so very very sorry for the loss of these two precious lives. My heart aches for them, their families, and the community. I am so thankful you are there to minister to the hearts of these children and point them to Jesus – to the One who can fill those aching places and give hope in any situation. I will keep all of you in prayer, my friend. Please let me know if there is any additional or specific prayers I can add.
      Much love,

  11. What a fantastic post Lori! I was just sharing with my mother that former bosses of mine stated to me how overly self critical I was. I know that Satan loves to attack our mind especially where he sees areas of weakness. I love the clear way that you laid things out to help us conquer self-defeating thoughts. I plan to visit here more often and will be sharing what God has laid on your heart. So thrilled to have found your blog. You have inspired me to finish my current post! Have a wonderful weekend and God bless

    1. Hi Horace! Thank you so much and welcome! I am so glad you stopped by to visit and were encouraged by what you found! I am going to stop by your site to check out that post for sure!
      Blessings and smiles,

  12. Lori, welcome to Thought-Provoking Thursday! I am laughing so hard right now because I do literally have a million tabs open on this computer.

    I love your words here. The main battlefield is our mind in so many ways, and it’s important to have a good battle plan. You’ve given us some great marching orders.

    1. Ha! I do, too! Our brains kind of resemble it, don’t they?!? 🙂 It was so nice to meet you and find your community and link up! I want to make sure and add your link-up to my list page!
      Blessings and smiles,

  13. Prayer is always our first answer – It should be, but sadly we get so wrapped up in what is going on we forget the first thing we need to do. A great reminder, Lori. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. Hi Lori 🙂 Why is it that the best things for us are usually the last things we instinctively turn to? What a battle we fight with ourselves! Thanks so much for visiting and for hosting Thankful Thursdays!!
      Blessings and smiles,

  14. Thanks so much, Melanie! Your words are a blessing and so good for my heart! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Robin! thanks for visiting!

  15. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
    We must keep ourselves busy, productive and occupied with the truth about who we are. 🙂

    Thanks for another uplifting post.

    1. Amen, Lux! Right? It is such an intentional act. Without intentionally keeping ourselves busy with the truth, lies will run rampid! Thanks for visiting, friend!

  16. Lori, I love this series. While we have been bombarded with things that make us question ourselves and the world we live in we have been pushed to remember the good. Satan is truly trying to get to us, and although we are stressed and worried we know that we need to look to the good. Sometimes thoughts pop into my head and I am appalled by them, I immediately push them out and make myself focus on the good.

    I love this verse,
    Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. -Proverbs 4:23 GNB

    I try to live by this and I didn’t know that it was a verse, I’ve read the Bible through more than once, it must have stuck and I didn’t even realize it. Thanks for sharing it, I needed it.


    1. Hi Nikki,
      It is such good news that you have lived out this Word! I believe it is one of the ways God has protected your spirit throughout life’s struggles. Keep holding onto it … tightly! Thanks, Nikki, for visiting each week and for sharing your thoughts and little pieces of your life. I am thankful to be just a tiny part of your life! Please know I have you and your family in my prayers always!

  17. I’m going to try to remember: RPR “Recognize, Pray, Replace” What a terrific short way to kick the negative thoughts out and replace with loving ones! Thank you for sharing this, I know it’ll be a blessing to many women!

    1. Carrie, I’m thrilled those words stuck with you! And thank you for the kind words! I am receiving those words as truth that many women will be blessed by them. I would be humbled if God would choose to do that through the words I write! I love your visits – they always cheer my heart!
      Blessings and smiles,

  18. Lori,
    I think I have pinned, shared and tweeted every possible thing in this post. I absolutely loved how encouraging and strengthened I felt reading it. God is good and mighty in His ways. Thank for this great series. Thank you for sharing with us at Sitting Among Friends on Wednesdays, friend. I look forward to seeing you again next week.

    1. Hi Jaime,
      Thank you so much, sweet friend! Your words are such a sweet encouragement to my soul! And I am so very thankful these words encouraged and strengthened you. You are a treasure!

  19. Absolutely love the browser quote above. So true I think I really do try to work with 3,241 tabs open all the time and my husband or kids can’t understand my crazy rush around the house to finish dishes, laundry going a hundred miles an hour sometimes. lol I don’t think there is a day I don’t rush around. Great way to protect oneself from self defeating for sure you are always so motivating. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy these posts, Jenny! I had seen that meme before and it always made me laugh because that is my brain all.the.time! Then I crack up when I ask my husband what he is thinking about and he can honestly say … nothing. And mean it!! Ha! We sure are different creatures!
      Blessings and smiles,

  20. Fantastic post, Lori! I did enjoy the ecard humor of how many browsers we would have open! Prayer is so very important and vital to keeping a healthy mind. Thank you for sharing this wonderful advice and encouragement with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂

    1. Kelly,
      Isn’t that ecard a perfect description of our wound up minds? I love linking up with you and look forward to next week, my friend!
      Blessings and smiles,

  21. Katelyn Carlton says:

    I can’t stop worrying about making friends, having friends, and keeping friends and I don’t know why. What do I do??

    1. Hi Katelyn,

      I am going to email you privately. Right now, though, I am praying because I believe in prayer and that God works powerfully through it. He will make a way for you!

  22. Lori – I’m so thankful I found your blog today via Pinterest. I cried out to God re all the STUFF I’m going through right now and there you were. My thoughts lately have turned dark, which is very uncharacteristic for me, but I’m at a point where I can’t be all everyone wants or needs me to be. I feel empty much of the time – physically, emotionally, mentally. I can’t wait to dig into The Word with you to combat my negative thoughts. Thank you for your encouragement, teachings, and guidance.

    1. Hi Leigh,
      I am stopping to pray right now for God to fill your thoughts with His truth. For Him to block the lies the enemy wants you to believe and protect your mind, your heart, and your soul with His armor. I pray His Word embeds itself within your memory and upon your soul so that you can fight fiercely when the enemy strikes. Know beyond the shadow of a doubt, you have been created wonderfully — with and for a purpose. You are a child of God and He loves you beyond measure!
      Much love in Christ,