Detoxing from Emotional Toxins
by Billie Jauss
A dear friend sat me down and called me out of my constant complaining. We prayed, and I set out to understand what was going on.
My spirit felt like a rootless tree blowing in the wind, tossed one way and the next. The discouragement of trying to please others, and myself, beat me down. Doubt overwhelmed my soul. My negative attitude was affecting others.
As I evaluated the external complaining, I realized the base was negative thoughts bouncing around in my head. I had spiritual jet lag, a temporary condition of being spiritually unsettled while continuing to have an active faith.
I’m a list maker, so I began with a list of my thoughts.
I’m not good enough.
I’m not loveable.
No one likes you.
You aren’t qualified to encourage others.
When I read the list of these and quite a few more, I realized there is no other person on earth who talks to me the way I do. Nor would I ever speak these words to another human.
I knew I had to get control of my complaining and negative thoughts. They had stifled what God wanted to do in and through my life for far too long.
I’m a process person, so my next step after the list was to evaluate the thoughts. Where did they originate? Me, someone else, or a story I created from the first seed of negativity? Sometimes we never know. The reality of where they started helps in the process of detoxing from them. Processing the feelings that arise guides us to realize when they return in the future.
Next, I tried a few techniques to get rid of the negative thoughts, but the one that helped overcome the emotional toxins was terminating the deception by replacing them with truth, God’s Word.
With God’s Word at the ready, I made a plan to step out in faith. Take the toxin captive when it begins, ask where it came from, then feel the feelings of good and bad so we can realize its negative effect on our spiritual life.
We can’t sit on our couch and eat a big bag of potato chips waiting for God to move. We must get up and take the chips, moving one step, decision, and action at a time, making a plan and carrying it through to realizing God’s best.
In the summer of 2020, I saw God move in extraordinary ways during the biggest tragedy in my family’s history. I wasn’t ready for the catastrophe, but God had been preparing me as He pulled me out of my spiritual jet lag.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
God has given us an amazing gift of salvation that has set us free. We have the choice to stand firm in His love and mercy. With this freedom, we can release the yoke of slavery that keeps us bound. Leaving the emotional toxins behind opens the opportunities to glorify the Lord in all we are, say, and do.
Do you need to eliminate the negative thoughts holding you back from all that God desires to do? Begin with these five steps to DETOX from emotional toxins.
D-determine the distraction. Start your list of the thoughts you have throughout the day, over a few if needed.
E-evaluate the feelings. Take one thought at a time to feel the emotions. Try to focus on the time you first had the thought. What happened to create it? How did it make you feel then and now?
T-terminate the toxin. Write the deception in a column on the left side of a page. I like journals and sparkly pens to help. Search for Scripture that replaces that deception with truth. An example is Failure vs. Victory: Deception: I am a failure. I can’t do anything right. Truth: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
O-outline a plan. Make a plan to take each thought captive when it arises and immediately replace it with truth.
X-execute the plan. Take one small step each day to go where God is calling you.
Where will God send us? Exactly where He needs us. Be ready. Say yes before you know where you’re going.
Put your faith in play. One day at a time. One person’s story. Transformation. Healing. Work with all your heart. Leave His fingerprints. Have fun serving Him. The gospel frees us to take risks and not worry as we do.
We know we can’t, but God can and will use us for His glory. Fulfilling God’s call brings freedom, joy and peace of mind.
Billie Jauss is the author of Making Room and Distraction Detox. She is a speaker, and the host of the start small BELIEVE BIG Podcast and The Family Room. Billie and Dave, a Major League Baseball coach, live in Southwest Florida. They have three sons who also work in baseball.