An Interview with
Out Of Your Head
by Jonathan Petersen - Bible
What if the greatest spiritual battle of our generation is
taking place in the space between our ears? Does how we think
actually shape how we live? What are toxic thinking patterns and
what does the Bible say about them?
Bible Gateway interviewed Jennie Allen (@JennieAllen), author of
Get Out of Your Head: The One Thought That Can Shift Our
Chaotic Minds (WaterBrook, 2020). It's currently #8 on this
month's ECPA Top 50 Christian Books list.
Why do you write, "The greatest spiritual battle of our
generation is being fought
between our ears"?
Jennie Allen: What we believe and what we think about
matters, and the enemy knows it! And he's determined to get in
our heads to distract us from doing good and to sink us so deep
that we feel helpless, overwhelmed, shut down, and incapable of
rising to make a difference for the kingdom of God. Even if
we're one of those who won't be shut down and we're loving God
and people as we go, a million toxic thoughts haunt us each step
of the way.
What does the Bible mean when it says
"take every thought captive" and "be transformed by the renewal
of your mind"?
dive into the inner workings of the brain confirmed what the
Bible says: we can take every thought captive (2 Corinthians
10:5). Not only can our thoughts be changed, but we can be the
ones to change them. With each positive choice we make -
stillness instead of distraction, for example, or community
instead of isolation, or surrender instead of anxiety - we're
training ourselves to use the mind of Christ that we have (1
The more we make these positive choices, the more reflexive that approach
becomes. We said that at first such a shift is possible through
consciously, deliberately interrupting our spirals. But as we
practice more, that shift becomes probable and then predictable
and then utterly instinctive to us. Eventually we get to the
place where we donít even realize we're interrupting our
negative thinking in order to choose mind-of-Christ thinking,
because the impulse has become so ingrained.
What is the thought that can successfully interrupt every
negative thought pattern?
If you've trusted in Jesus as your Savior, you have the power of God in
you to choose! You're no longer a slave to sin, to passions, to
lusts, to strongholds (Romans 6:18). You have a God-given,
God-empowered, God-redeemed choice regarding what you think
about. You have a choice regarding where you focus your energy.
You have a choice regarding what you live for.
We're not subject to our behaviors, genes, or circumstances.
We're not subject to our passions, lusts, or emotions.
We're not subject to our thoughts.
We have a choice because we're conquerors who possess weapons to destroy
How does what we think
reflect what we believe about God?
say I tend to feel worthless and invisible. And let's say I read
Ephesians and learn that God says he chose me as an adopted
child and I'm deeply loved (Ephesians 1:5). Even if I don't
overtly deny the validity of that premise, I still doubt it's
true for me. I nod at the truth, but I never fully absorb it and
believe it to be true of my identity.
say I'm married to a spouse who's typically distracted with work. I
don't feel seen in our marriage, which confirms my deep-seated fear
that I'm indeed worthless and invisible. So even in the most
inconsequential of arguments with my husband, I feel anxious and
start to spin every time he's short with me. I can't see all that he
has on his shoulders - I can't empathize with his stresses - and my
needs exceed his ability to ever meet them. Before long we're
full-on fighting constantly and don't even know why. My husband now
has become the enemy in my mind and can't ever seem to say what I
need to hear or be whom I need him to be. And the spiral of my
thoughts has now invaded my relationships and robbed me of joy and
No human is ever meant to be the person who fills our souls or holds in
place our worth. Only God can do that. But until I throw off the lie
that God's love isn't for me, my emotions, decisions, behaviors, and
relationships will remain twisted up in the mistaken belief that I'm
When we begin to think about our thoughts, perhaps for the first time, we
can stop the downward spiral. We can reset and redirect them. That's
our hope. Not that we'd wrestle each and every fear, but that we'd
allow God to take up so much space in our thinking that our fears
will shrink in comparison.
How can our thoughts be wholly consumed
by the mind of Christ?
self-generated declaration - loud and passionate though it may be -
can accomplish these interventions. Instead, we need a complete
transformation: our minds exchanged for the mind of Christ. We were
not made to think more good thoughts of ourselves. We were made to
experience life and peace when we think less about ourselves and
more about our Creator and about others.
"Seek first the kingdom," Jesus said (Matthew 6:33). The greatest
commandments? "Love God and love others" (Mark 12:30-31). Nothing
there about loving yourself more.
The only true self-help is for us as followers of Jesus to believe who we
are as daughters and sons of the king of the universe and to know
that our identity was secured by the shed blood of God's own Son.
When we believe that about ourselves, we think less about ourselves
and more about the mission we've been given to love God and the
people God puts in front of us, no matter our circumstances.
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours
The answer is Jesus. With the chaos in the world and the chaos in
our souls, we have no other hope. It's him.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App
and Bible Audio App?
with God is the foundation for every other God-given tool we have to
fight with. This is where our thought lives change. We begin here
because if supernatural change is what we want, we have to go to our
supernatural God to find it. I'm grateful for Bible Gateway because
it's an incredible tool to help us be with God as we go about our
Allen is a Bible teacher marked by personal authenticity and
vulnerability. She has published several popular Bible studies and
trade books, including Made for This: 40 Days to Living Your
Purpose, Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard, and
Restless: Because You Were Made for More, and speaks frequently at
conferences such as Catalyst, Q Conference, SEND (North American
Mission Board), and the IF:Gathering, as well as in some of the
largest churches in America. She earned a masterís in biblical
studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. Jennie and her husband,
Zac, have four children.
from biblegateway.com ~