Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

Crowded Out

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:6-8

At the breakfast table, Everly plopped down across from her brother Anthony. "I had another nightmare last night," she said with a sigh.

Anthony looked up from his cereal. "The one about a giant, hairy bat with a gazillion bulging eyes--like the creature in that movie you saw?"

"Yep," Everly said wearily. "That's the one."

"What's the big deal, Everly?" asked Anthony. "Why don't you just forget that thing? You shouldn't think about it right before you go to sleep. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn't think about it anymore at all!"

"Are you sure about that, Anthony? Let's try something," said Mom. "Right now, I want you to not think about a walrus wearing a red polka-dot swimsuit." She paused. Then she asked, "What are you thinking of?"

"Um, well…" Anthony sighed, figuring he'd might as well tell the truth. "In my mind, I see a walrus splashing around in the water wearing a really funny-looking swimsuit."

"Exactly! Just saying you won't think about something isn't enough," said Mom. "If you really want to stop thinking about it, try replacing those thoughts with something else."

"Like what?" Anthony asked.

"How about something that's beautiful?" Mom suggested.

"Like the woods around Grandma's cottage?" asked Everly.

"Or a humongous pepperoni pizza?" asked Anthony with a chuckle. "Now that's beautiful!"

Mom laughed. "Yes, both of those pictures are beautiful in their own way. Another idea is to think about a good story or song--maybe something you learned at church. Or try to think of a Bible verse that begins with the letter A, then B, and so on. That will help you remember the beautiful truth that you belong to Jesus, who is more powerful than anything bad you could ever think of."

"So it's kind of like crowding out the bad with the good, right?" asked Everly.

"You've got the idea," said Mom. "Crowd out those bad thoughts with good things."

Everly nodded. "Okay. Tonight when I go to bed, I'm going to try it." She grinned. "I know! Before I go to sleep, I'll try to think of Bible characters starting with all the letters of the alphabet--all the way from Andrew to Zacchaeus!"

-Mike Dize

How About You?
Do you struggle with unwanted thoughts that pop into your head? When you try not to think those thoughts, do you end up thinking about them even more? Replace them with better thoughts instead. Try counting your blessings, naming some from A to Z. See how many Bible stories you can remember. Share your scary thoughts with Jesus so He can remind you He is more powerful than they are. Let the beauty of His truth and love crowd out unwanted thoughts.

Today's Key Verse:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (NLT) (Psalm 139:23)

Today's Key Thought:
Replace unwanted thoughts
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