I am not sure when it started. Likely, it began when I sought out a “safe” place to go when my sister was out of control or when I was hurt from an interaction with someone. Whatever the reason, I would retreat into my special place of solitude and happiness: I would daydream.
Some of the daydreams were simply of the future: what I would become, how I would handle this situation or that, who I would have in my life—and these were characteristic of my younger years. It was not long after I hit double digits in age, though, that my daydreams became sexually explicit in nature as I fantasized about a man who would love me and care for me. It was just a daydream, I reasoned. There was no reason to worry, no sin in dreaming, and no motivation to stop. I was not hurting anyone. However, I did not realize at the time that I had built a stronghold in my mind.
Google defines a stronghold as, “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.” It also is defined as “a fortress or a place of security or refuge.” In my case, the daydreams and fantasies in my mind were places of security or refuge for me—a place for me to seek safety and shelter when I felt I might be attacked or hurt. What I did not understand was that God Himself wanted to be my fortress, the place where I ran for safety when I felt scared.
Throughout the last six years, I have made great strides towards renewing my mind and making God my fortress. Here are a couple of sledgehammers to help you begin breaking down any strongholds you may have in your mind:
- Accept that you have strongholds in your mind. If you do not believe that you have them, you will not be able to fight them. Your strongholds may look different from mine: maybe you try to control situations by planning them out in your mind before they happen. Maybe you retreat into your mind when you are around unsafe people. Maybe your mind stronghold says you need a drink to help deal with a situation. Whatever your stronghold, accept that you have it, and take it to the Lord in prayer.
- Acknowledge that only Jesus can give you the power to overcome strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” We are fighting against more than simply our flesh, which means we will need more than our own desires to break down these strongholds. The great news is that if we admit that we are weak and need Him, Jesus will come running to be our divine power.
- Admit your strongholds to a friend. I have had many accountability partners throughout the years, and that was a great step in helping me overcome some of the strongholds in my mind. Admitting my “stuff” to someone else was very difficult—our pride says no one wants to hear about our sins, and that no one else struggles with these things. However, the Bible assures us that when we admit our struggles to others and pray for each other, we can be healed (James 5:16). That healing from the Lord comes in many different forms, including acceptance from others.
We all have strongholds in our mind, but God is faithful and just to begin tearing them down—if only we will start with acceptance.
What are some ways you have broken down strongholds in your mind?