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Lurking behind our mental couches, there’s a sneaky little ogre. He tiptoes among our thoughts, intercepting them with half-truths, doubts, and questions. He stirs up anxiety in our tummies and overthinking in our heads.

Feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or insignificant? If so, you probably know this ogre, too.

We tell our kiddos, “There’s no such thing as monsters.” But we have our own – and too often, we listen and respond to them instead of truth.

If one of those “monsters” hounds you, let me help you kick him out. Try this fun mental exercise:

1. Imagine there’s a small, ugly dude running through your thoughts. He’s shooting arrows at your peace of mind, fortitude, and confidence. Imagine your voice coming over a loudspeaker in your mind. You tell the dude his days are over.

2. Tell him he’s got three minutes to pack up. Set your timer on your phone and write down the things that have you worried or concerned. Imagine the ogre putting each one into his suitcase.

3. When the time is up, imagine he squeezes his suitcase closed. All the stuff you wrote down is inside. Picture your thought police coming up behind him and prodding him to leave. Watch him walk through the halls of your mind, exit through your ear, jump to your shoulder, and keep on going.

4. Once he’s gone, focus your thoughts on the scene he left behind in your mind. He did some damage. There’s clutter everywhere, repairs to be made, and cleanup to do. The only way to fix all that is with truth.

5. Here are some truths to help you with that process:

  • You are defined by the One who created you. What is a Monet worth if it hangs in a gallery? What if that masterpiece is moved to a less prestigious place? Is the art still priceless? Absolutely. Your circumstances don’t determine your value, either.
  • Your future is free from the success or failure of your past. Diamonds begin in the dirt. Whether it’s what you’ve done or what someone else has done to you, use that as a stepping stone instead of letting it become a stumbling block.
  • Relax in knowing God is for you. This is one of the hardest truths to live. In order to rest, you have to be still and let God show you that you’re free because Jesus took all your broken places. Our failure was crucified with Him. When we accept that, we can live without fear. If He loves us enough to die for us, then He loves us enough to help us fully live.

6. Your mind should be looking lots better by now. Sparkling windows, gleaming floors, shiny counters. Just be careful; the thought-gremlin is sneaky and usually finds a way to ease back in. Keep up your awareness, and next time maybe you’ll be able to show him to the door a little sooner.

Today, be at ease. You are worthy. You are free. You can rest.

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