John Evans taught people with illnesses to stop asking, “Why did this happen to me?” and just describe what is happening. He teaches them to replace the question “why do I have this illness?” with the statement “I have this illness.” He says, “Once clients can throw away the ‘why me?’ question they are on the road to aiding their own healing.” I can attest to this exchange of victim thinking for overcoming thinking because I had to first accept my physical suffering. Comparing my inability to do normal activities with others who could, only made me feel more hopeless. I would take the statement, “I have anxiety right now” and end it with, “but this too shall pass.” Reminding myself that I have had many bouts with anxiety but made it through them, empowered me to look underneath the question of “Why?” What was deeper and fueling my why? Did I need to forgive anyone? What lie am I believing? Is this manifestation of pain familiar? What do I believe this problem says about me? Do I believe I made myself a target for spiritual attack by focusing or speaking negatively? What does that say about me? Is there a correlation between my body pain and sharing insights revealed by God that He meant for me to pray quietly about? How does that make me feel, to know “I should have been quiet”? I found that these approaches didn’t have to find someone to blame because I could take responsibility for my feelings that surfaced and hand them over to God. Anxiety is often the culprit behind many physical ailments that can be triggered with a thought. The Lord says to be anxious for nothing because He knows why we are the way we are, He just wants us to ask Him for truth to dispel lies. It is His responsibility to uphold the promises of His word which tell me that as I look to Him I find strength to carry on.
With pain being a subject that commonly went through my thoughts, I was more responsible for my peace if I quickly recognized I felt like a bad person, did something wrong or it was my fault; I could then place those lies in His hand and stop the cycle of negative thinking. Since everything that has occurred in my life up until now has a determining factor on why I believe the things I do and how they have misguided my decisions based on experience, the best thing I can do is change my thoughts. After all, the only debilitating issue is the thought, but a thought can be changed. I suspect that all therapists who have studied behavioral modification techniques would be surprised to find that the truth begins in the Bible where we are told to “cast down imaginations and take every thought captive.” The original strategy against runaway thoughts was given to us by our Father in heaven where scientists, psychologists and medical experts have gleaned foundational information; they have the choice to hold that practice up to the obedience of Christ or not. But make no mistake, truth brings freedom and thinking on the truth has the ability to change one’s words, thoughts and self-talk for true wholeness, and it has always been a precedent set by God Himself.