Have you ever come face to face with a real live rat? When I was living on the farm in Iowa. I did just that. Headed to the basement to get some of Mom’s canned tomatoes for the chili and only half paying attention. A couple steps down the stairs, I noticed it – a big fat rat just waiting for me to step on it. Immediately I ran like crazy back to the kitchen, closed the door, shook my arms and screamed. I was not going to allow the rat to get close to me, potentially bite me and infect me with some deadly disease. Did I mention I do NOT like rats?
Mom still needed the canned tomatoes. Identifying the rat was not enough, now I was forced to face the rat — it was the rat or Mom. This time I returned to the basement steps ready for war. With broom in hand I went to the steps, scared the rat away and continued on my mission with eyes wide open. We didn’t stop there, we also got the biggest traps we could find so when the rat returned he could be evicted permanently. To speed up the process a couple of our outdoor cats immediately became inside cats. Goal: replace the RATs with CATs.
There is another RAT that we encounter every day– the deadly RATs (really awful thoughts) that are constantly bombarding our mind and speaking lies that block our path of progress. If allowed to stay, they will keep us from happiness, purpose and from the tasks that propel us forward. Sometimes they hide behind other thoughts, creep in when words spoken to us hit our insecurities, fears and weaknesses. We find ourselves stopping dead in our tracks and are tempted to retreat and never go that way again. Just like the physical RATs, the same principles can apply to mental RATs (really awful thoughts) – identify & face, set traps and replace.
- Take time to IDENTIFY & FACE the RATs (really awful thoughts) are stopping your forward progress. Once identified, arm yourself with God’s Word to face the RAT equipped to scare it away. Apply 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” If it doesn’t agree with what God says about us, we need to take our “broom” and tell it to flee.
- SET TRAPS to keep the RATs (really awful thoughts) from having freedom to roam in your mind. The Promises of God are great traps to catch unwanted RATs. Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”
- REPLACE your RATs (really awful thought) with CATs (constant abiding thankfulness). Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In effect you are rooting out really awful thoughts (RATs) and replacing them with promises with constant abiding thankfulness (CATs) from God’s all inspiring, unchanging powerful Word.
Oh, by the way, we got rid of the rats but guess what came back the next winter, you’re right a new bunch of RATS. We set the traps, ran them off and and replaced them with a nice big cat, just like the last group. Having a joyful life is not a one-time decision but a daily process so every time a RAT (really awful thought) shows up be ready to face and replace it with a promise from God with a constant abiding thankfulness (CAT).
Want to learn more on this topic, sign up for “I’ll Be Happy When…” Event, March 25, 2017, 9:30 – 11:30 am. Hit the “I’ll Be Happy When” tab at the top to register.