I can do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13
The most popular post here on Candidly Christian is titled, “3 Steps to Overcome Laziness.” So when Laurene Sandlin reached out about writing a post on self-discipline and how it can help Christian women conquer anxiety and overcome laziness, I was super excited. It’s a little different than our normal posts here on Candidly Christian, but I still wanted to share it.
Don’t read this thinking you have to try harder and do better, but remember that with God’s help all things are possible. Read it knowing that with God’s help, you can conquer anxiety and overcome laziness with self-discipline. Read it knowing that you aren’t the only one who struggles with these things and that every day, every hour, is an opportunity to rise above with Jesus.
Have you ever felt helpless about what you feel and the things that you do because of it?
The Cognitive Triangle
Whether it’s anger, anxiety, or sadness, I know I’ve been there, and I’ve been desperate for someone to tell me that it doesn’t have to be this way. What I’ve learned through Christian counseling has equipped me with the tools to fight back. One of these tools is the “Cognitive Triangle.”Have you heard of the cognitive triangle? Laurene is sharing how we can use it to overcome laziness and conquer anxiety on Candidly Christian. Click To Tweet
What you can see above is a strategy that I’ve been implementing into my life that has allowed me to not be a slave to my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors but to be in charge of them. After all, we have been seated with Jesus in Heavenly places and have authority in His name.
This triangle symbolizes the way we operate based on our thought’s feelings and behaviors. Simply put, our thoughts affect our feelings which affect our behaviors. The beautiful thing about this idea is that we can learn to change the way we think, feel, and behave.
For example, if you wake up on a Saturday morning feeling sluggish and unmotivated, you may decide to stay in bed until 2:00 PM. Your feelings dictated the behavior you chose and your thoughts for the rest of the day will most likely be harsh or negative. Your thought life at this moment may consist of words like, “You’re so lazy.” “You’ve already lost half the day.” If these are your thoughts, it will most likely cause you to continue to feel sluggish and unmotivated which then reinforces your behavior to continue to stay in bed or lay around for the rest of the day.
Now, let’s think of the same scenario but you are in control of what you do with what you feel. By waking up feeling sluggish and unmotivated, you decide to still get up anyways. You decide to shower, spend time in the Word, keep your routine and start the day.
What happens in this scenario?
Due to your feelings not dictating a similar behavior, you have most likely created new thoughts. Now your thought life at this moment is most likely, “That shower felt refreshing.” “Today will still be a productive day.” “I’m so glad I didn’t stay in bed all day.” As a result, you continue to cultivate feelings of gratitude and praiseworthy thoughts. This reinforces your behavior to be productive and hopeful to tackle the day although your feelings tried to tell you otherwise.
You can apply this strategy for almost anything in your life.
Personally, one of the ways I use this strategy is when I feel anxious.
If I begin to feel anxious, instead of zoning out and endlessly scrolling on social media, I do some sort of physical exercise. As a result, my mind feels a lot clearer, my body feels a lot lighter and my thoughts begin to slow down. I’m able to speak Truth into whatever it is that I’m anxious over.
Typically, I would’ve chosen to let my feelings of anxiety dictate my behavior by numbing out with Instagram or Facebook, which creates more chaos in my thoughts, and only heightens the anxiety that I feel. Now, I’m in control and anxiety no longer has a hold over me.
Self-Discipline Takes Time
I would love to say that this works 100% of the time but it takes self-discipline to begin to master this strategy and truly take your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors captive.
Just start small. Count the small victories.
Don’t feel discouraged if you can only seem to do this two out of seven days a week. You’re already making progress.
These things take time, but it has brought me so much freedom. Let’s find the courage together to throw off any feelings of guilt, frustration or hopelessness in this process.
Jesus is the best example to learn from. After all, He’s inviting you to let Him show you just how free you can be.With self-discipline and Jesus, anything is possible. Click To Tweet
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About Laurene Sandlin
Something I’ve learned throughout the years is that each of us is running a race that has been purposefully, and uniquely marked out for us. I’ve known this to be true for a long time, but to be honest, I’ve found myself on the sideline. Wounded. Afraid. And alone. I know that so many people find this experience to be extremely familiar in their own lives and that is why writing words of encouragement is so special to me. My hope is that slowly but surely all of us found on the sidelines will find the strength again to keep running. Together.
You can find Laurene online at forevergreen.blog