When Jennifer Rothschild speaks to women about cleaning out their “thought closets,” she speaks from personal experience.
While she didn’t realize it, she was held captive by very destructive self-talk for many years. Though God had given her grace, there was a constant internal battle waging within her soul.
At the age of 15, she lost a majority of her eyesight due to a degenerative disease, and that fostered a set of insecurities for her. At this impressionable age, she began to believe lies that led her to think she looked awkward and boys would not want to date her, and she would never find a man to marry. These thoughts grew over the following decade.
“What I had was an uncomfortable self awareness,” she says. “It was normal to me—normal like cancer. It was eating away at my sense of wellness.”
Rothschild did marry a godly man when she was in her 20s and they have two sons together. One morning, after sending her then school-age boys to school, she found herself sitting at the kitchen table replaying negative thoughts—that she was not a good mother; that she wasn’t giving her youngest son the attention he needed; that she was not a good wife.
On this particular day, she had a turning point in her thinking.
“I will never forget that morning,” Rothschild says. “The Lord spoke and I listened. I knew He was telling me the only way to overcome destructive thoughts was to monitor them. I needed to be aware of what was going into my thought closet, because what we put in our thought closets is what we wardrobe our lives with.”
Rothschild says there is a direct correlation from thought to action. She quotes Anglican minister John Stott: “If you sow a thought, you will reap an action. If you sow an action, you reap a habit. If you sow a habit, you reap character. If you sow character, you reap a destiny. The lives we’re living now are a direct reflection of this principle.”
Feeling Is Not Fact
In order to maintain a clean thought closet, we must separate our feeling from facts.
“We are taught by the Apostle Paul in Scripture to hold every thought captive. We need to line them up with the truth of Scripture and the words of Christ. Every feeling is not a fact,” she explains. “We might feel like a big loser, like our husbands don’t love us. But what we feel about ourselves doesn’t necessarily match up with our true identity in Christ. We are who God says we are.”
The Goal: A Changed Thought Life
Rothschild has high hopes for the women who attend her seminar at The Cove on Sept. 10. She wants them to walk away with “the three R’s,” as she calls them: recognize, refuse and rephrase.
First, she wants participants to recognize what they say to themselves as they are examining whether a thought is true or constructive. “I’m not going to dwell on convincing women to avoid negative thoughts, because sometimes those thoughts can be constructive. For example, if you have an anger problem, the fact that you have one is negative, but it can’t be dealt with until it is acknowledged,” she explains.
Next, she wants to see women get in the habit of refusing the lies they replay in their minds. “I want to encourage these women to stand against such lies. Don’t allow them into your thought closet. Once you’ve achieved a high level of recognition, then you will have the ability to refuse them.”
Lastly, she wants to leave women equipped to rephrase these lies with the truth. “When I feel the temptation to call myself a name, for instance, I will hold it captive. I will then rephrase it with truth: I am not an idiot, though I may feel like one. I am—according to Ephesians 2—the workmanship of Christ. I allow that into my thought closet.”
Rothschild is passionate about being used to change the thought patterns and, eventually, the lives of women. Mostly because she remembers the depths from which God brought her.
“If a woman can leave the seminar equipped with these tools, that would make me so happy,” she says. “That is the path God has taken me on and it has brought me such freedom.”
*JENNIFER ROTHSCHILD is a celebrated author, songwriter, recording artist, and Bible teacher. Diagnosed at age 15 with a degenerative eye disease that would eventually steal her sight, she is the founder and publisher of the popular online magazine WomensMinistry.net and has been a featured speaker for Women of Faith and other national women’s conferences.
Ladies, want to hear Jennifer live? Register for this seminar now!