The CAST Model

“I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it,” said Trisha. “All the tell-tale signs were there that Nathan was having an affair, but every time I thought about it, I tried to convince myself that I was wrong. I’d get these pings in my gut. Little things that he’d say that would make me think, hmm, that doesn’t sound right. Too many things didn’t add up. I tried so hard not to judge him. Sometimes he’d leave for days on end saying he needed some space. If I questioned him, he’d cuss me out and say I wasn’t being a good Christian because I didn’t trust him. I was a mess. I was so full of anxiety and false guilt I couldn’t see straight. But in the end, I’d agree with Nathan. I’d tell myself I was too judging and something must be wrong with me because I obviously had trust issues.”

Trisha had an idyllic childhood with a father who adored her. Because of their wonderful relationship, she never imagined that a man could be anything but trustworthy. That was what part of what made her vulnerable to Nathan’s control and manipulation—she ignored her gut and was too trusting. She’d not yet learned that she had the right to trust her inner witness and choose her thoughts.

When Nathan’s affairs were discovered and their relationship ended, Trisha told Nathan she would have no more contact with him. Still, she struggled with guilt. Thoughts bombarded her on a daily basis. Thoughts like, “Maybe I’m the one God wants to use to change him,” or “Who will help save his soul if I don’t?”

I like Trisha’s word ping. It describes so well that little gut reaction when we feel like something isn’t right. If we ignore the ping long enough it doesn’t go away. Instead it grows into a huge mess. A mess of humiliation, guilt or shame. A mess of jealousy, disgust or frustration. A mess of fear, insecurity or doubt. Maybe you feel confused, overwhelmed, trapped or crazy. These feelings are the result of destructive thoughts left unchecked that we give entrance into our castle.

Trisha is learning how to trust her gut and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. “Now I recognize that those pings in my gut are my intuition setting off an alarm and I need to pay attention to them. In the past I didn’t know I had the authority to kick them out. The enemy still tries to use guilt tactics on me to try to convince me to take Nathan back. Now I know I have a choice. If I fall for the guilt tactics, I know my peace will be destroyed and I’ll invite the same mess right back in. When his lofty opinions try to wiggle their way back in my mind, I now use scriptures to replace his lies.”

 

When God’s Will Overrides your Own Wishes

Like Trisha, sometimes we get pings in our gut that warn us about discord, disaster or danger. But other times, the Holy Spirit guides us with God’s direction and discernment for good things—His plan for our lives.

When God showed me that John was His pick for my husband, I’m thankful that I trusted His voice and not my own judgement. Before we were married, like most other women, I had my list. I knew what I wanted. I wanted someone older, sophisticated and well established. Although John was nice, he didn’t have any of those qualities. He was younger, warm and authentic, (I usually say goofy) and still in college—the exact opposite of what I was looking for.

Before you conclude I was a cougar dating a college guy, let me explain. John had been in the military for ten years and was discharged with a knee injury. After his discharge, he went back to school. We were both in our early thirties. Even though John is only two-years younger than me, I was looking for a man about five-years old. Left to my own romantic discernment, I would have overlooked him, but I’m thankful God knew my list was defective.

It was a Wednesday evening after work on January 28, 1998. I’d invited John over for dinner. I still had three young children, so going out to eat was more of a chore than a date. After dessert, we plopped down on the worn blue sofa in my TV room when John asked, “Do you mind if I pray?” To this day, I don’t remember what his prayer was about, but what happened next, I’ll never forget.

An overwhelming presence of peace engulfed me and I felt my heart, not my physical heart, but the heart of my soul, knit together with John. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s the only way I can describe the supernatural experience that took place. I’d never felt this kind of love before and I somehow knew that this was a foretaste of the kind of love I could have if I chose to trust God with the selection of my mate.

In the natural, I wouldn’t have picked John. I didn’t think he was my type. This divine witness, however, overruled all doubt. The next morning I marched in the office and announced to my single coworker, Julie, “I’m going to marry John.” He hadn’t even proposed yet, but I knew in my gut that John was God’s pick, not mine. He wasn’t just a good choice. He was God’s choice.

My story can sound like a follow-your-heart kind of thing. For that reason, I want to make a disclaimer. Emotional highs in relationships can be so strong that we mistake them for divine direction. For one thing, the thought of marrying John was not my idea. I didn’t swoon over John and ask God to bless my choice and then take an emotional connection as a confirmation that God validated my choice. If I had my way about it, I would have asked God to choose the other guy I was dating. That would have been a disaster!

The other point I’d like to make is the need to wait for confirmation on what you perceive as divine direction. I was convinced that God chose John for me, but I knew I’d been wrong before. Because of my previous lack of discernment, I surrounded myself with wise counsel and waited for confirmations. I wanted peace to rule and refused to hurry. Over the next several months, God confirmed his will for our relationship in many convincing ways that I’ll tell more about in later chapters.

 

Physical and Emotional Alerts

The next time you feel a ping in your gut, pay attention. The Spirit helps us in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26) and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). God’s voice quickens our spirit, but you may also sense his guidance and instruction in other ways. You are a triune being. In other words, you’re not just a spiritual being; you also have a soul and live in a body. Therefore, it’s not uncommon that you may also notice other types of pings—pings in your body and your emotions. These physical or emotional alerts come in a variety of forms.

If God is trying to warn you about something, some of the most common physical responses you may feel in your body include a knot in your stomach or a racing heart. Other physical responses may include a change in breathing patterns or tension in your body. Your forehead may scrunch or you might find yourself crossing your arms or changing your posture in an attempt to defend something you discern, but can’t yet see. These symptoms often seem insignificant. That’s what can cause you to discount or ignore them.

You also need to pay attention to your emotions—the pings in your soul. How does your gut reaction make you feel? Ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment.

If the thought produces fear, take time to evaluate and listen. Is the fear is a warning from God or an emotion produced by a vain imagination that you need to surrender? Don’t just discount it because you assume that all fear is negative and needs to go.

When God is trying to give you direction about something positive, however, the emotional and physical responses may be different. Your eyes may widen in excitement and your body may feel a burst of energy. A sensation of joy may engulf you. Pay attention. You get into trouble when you let the voice of doubt derail divine direction. When God is trying to install vision, His plans are bigger than what we can accomplish outside of His strength. If thoughts like, “That would never work for me,” or “It’s too good to be true,” assassinate you, it’s a good indication that the enemy is trying to shut down what God wants to open up.

That’s when it’s important to slow down and examine your thoughts. You’ll often make mistakes when you ignore your God-given intuition. Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey said,

I’ve trusted the still, small voice of intuition my entire life. And the only time I’ve made mistakes is when I didn’t listen.

If the thought produces anger, sadness, confusion, despair, jealousy or hopelessness, or any other variety of soul-destroying emotions, ask the Lord to help you surrender your thoughts to Him. Of course we all feel negative emotions from time to time, but we don’t want to stay stuck there. It’s important to replace vain imaginations with a thought that will produce life. I call this the Philippians 4:8 test. If anything is true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable, think on these things. The more you prevent destructive thoughts from creeping into your castle, the more you will experience joy, safety and freedom.

CAST Down Vain Imaginations

Would you eat something poisonous? Unless you’re a Fear Factor fanatic or a Survivor addict, I’m confident you’d say, “Of course not!” You know that poisonous food will make you sick. In a similar manner, poisonous thoughts poison our mind.

When toxic thoughts intrude our mind, we have a responsibility to cast them out. Sometimes it’s difficult, however, to know which thoughts you should entertain and which ones you’ll kick out.

“I’m miserable,” said Trinity. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Every day Trey is mad at me for something. I just can’t seem to do anything right.”

Trinity grew up in an abusive home where yelling and name calling was common. “There probably wasn’t a day go by that my father didn’t blame me for something and tell me I was dumber than a one-eyed monkey.”

When she met Trey she didn’t think it was odd when he screamed at her or called her names. To her it wasn’t just common, to her it was the truth. Trinity believed a lie: if something went wrong, it must be her fault.

Sometimes, like Trinity, we’ve been assaulted with lies for so long, they become embedded in our belief system. The lies aren’t true, but because people that we trust or love tell us so frequently, we become desensitized to them and start to believe they must be true.

Here’s where we can get stuck. If we don’t recognize them as lies, we won’t be able to replace them with truth. When this happens, we have to dig deeper. We have to do some self-searching and identify the emotion. If we’re feeling anxious, depressed, fearful, angry, we can be sure that a lie is at the root.

We can’t just erase bad thoughts, however, we have to discipline our mind to replace them.

When I have thoughts that hinder my peace and confidence, I use CAST, a four-step process to help me eliminate trash talk and transform it into truth.

It stands for Check, Appraise, Shift and Treasure.

The model is simple, but following it can’t be a one-time thing. It must turn into a habit if you want to see permanent change. When a concerning thought comes to your mind:

CHECK your gut. Does the thought cause a reaction or tension in your body? Do you feel defensive? Nervous? A tightness in your stomach? Do you have racing thoughts? Often these and other physical symptoms serve as warnings that something isn’t right. Pay attention to your body as well as your spirit.

APPRAISE the emotion behind the thought. Is the emotion unhealthy? If so…

SHIFT your focus. Find a scripture that speaks life and make your thoughts agree with God’s word. Refuse to dwell on the vain imagination if it doesn’t agree with what God says about you or your situation.

TREASURE truth. Keep it before you. Meditate on it. Visualize it. Ask God to show you from His perspective what His truth looks like for you. Truth combined with meditation and vision is the most effective way to renew your mind.

Below is a list of common lies the enemy may whisper to you. Notice that the devil speaks in first person so you think the thoughts are your own. Boo hockey! He’s just good at impersonating you.

  • He said he was sorry so I should trust him again.
  • I should feel guilty for not helping him. It’s my fault. I should try harder. I can change him.
  • This is as good as it gets. Walk away from him and I’ll always be alone. I’m damaged goods. No man will ever want me. I’ll never be good enough.
  • My situation is hopeless.
  • I’m trapped. There’s no way out.
  • I’ll never get over my past.
  • I always pick the wrong guy.
  • The terrible things he says about me must be true.

When I first started learning how to renew my mind, I needed a cheat sheet. A list. A premeditated script so that when I was caught off guard and tempted to think, say or believe what I saw, I had a plan. I wanted to know ahead of time how I’d respond so old habits didn’t override my good intentions.

You’ve heard of premeditated murder. Every detail was planned in advance. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to kill our giants! Here are some CAST examples and scripture scripts to show you how to renew your mind. It’s time to destroy the evil whispers!

 

When the voice of condemnation says, “He said he was sorry so I should trust him again.”


Check
your gut: Do you feel a reaction or tension in your body? Your spirit?

Appraise your emotions: Do you feel pressured, confused, worried, paralyzed, numb, weak? If so…

Shift your focus: Meditate on these truths and say them out loud:

I forgive, but trust must be earned. (1 John 3:18). I am not deceived by empty words (Ephesians 5:6) or a flattering tongue (Psalms 12:2). I am not naïve. (Romans 16:18). Actions show what it is a man’s heart. (Proverbs 20:11). I don’t fall for men who claim to know God, but deny Him by the way they live. (Titus 1:16). I see danger and take refuge. (Proverbs 27:12).

Treasure the truth: How do these truths make you feel? Empowered, confident, in charge, full of courage, discerning? Now take a few moments and visualize yourself walking in truth.

 


When the voice of condemnation says,
“I should feel guilty for not helping him. It’s my fault. I should try harder. I can change him.”


Check
your gut: Do you feel a reaction or tension in your body? Your spirit?

Appraise your emotions: Do you feel bewildered, confused, worried, defensive, guilty, ashamed, inferior? If so…

Shift your focus: Meditate on these truths and say them out loud:

When others are foolish, it’s not my job to pay the price. (Matthew 25:8-9). Others ruin their life by their own foolishness. (Proverbs 19:3). They are responsible for their own conduct. (Galatians 6:5). Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it. (Proverbs 29:25). We all have to give an account of ourselves to God. (Romans 14:12). A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if I rescue him now, I’ll have to do it again (Proverbs 19:19). When he won’t listen, God gives men over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own ideas. (Psalm 81:12).

Treasure the truth: How do these truths make you feel? Calm, secure, relaxed, relieved, trusting? Now take a few moments and visualize yourself walking in truth.

 

When the voice of condemnation says, “This is as good as it gets. Walk away from him and I’ll always be alone. I’m damaged goods. No man will ever want me. I’ll never be good enough.”

 

Check your gut: Do you feel a reaction or tension in your body? Your spirit?

Appraise your emotions: Do you feel abandoned, vulnerable, inadequate, threatened, worried, rejected, helpless? If so…

Shift your focus: Meditate on these truths and say them out loud:

God’s presence will always be with me. (Psalm 139:7). He will not leave me or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6). I seek the Lord and I lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:10). I am chosen. I am God’s special possession. (1 Peter 2:9). I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14). I am God’s masterpiece. He created me to do good things. (Ephesians 2:10). He chose me before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless. (Ephesian 1:4).  As I delight myself in the Lord, He will grant me the desires of my heart. (Psalm 37:4.). I will not throw away my confidence; it will be richly rewarded (Hebrews 10:35). Whatever I ask in His name, the Father will give me. (John 15:16).

Treasure the truth: How do these truths make you feel? Confident, secure, hopeful, safe, protected, secure? Now take a few moments and visualize yourself walking in truth.

 


When the voice of condemnation says, “My situation is hopeless.”


Check
your gut: Do you feel a reaction or tension in your body? Your spirit?

Appraise your emotions: Do you feel depressed, alone, tired, regretful, sad? If so…

Shift your focus: Meditate on these truths and say them out loud:

The Lord delivers me out of all of my troubles. (Psalm 34:17). I am not afraid. God has left me His peace. (John 14:27). He will make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8). My hope is a strong anchor for my soul. (Hebrews 6:19). The angel of the Lord encamps around me and because I fear Him, He delivers me. (Psalm 34:7). God has plans to prosper me, not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:10).

Treasure the truth: How do these truths make you feel? Safe, hopeful, encouraged, loved, important, valued, content? Now take a few moments and visualize yourself walking in truth.

 


When the voice of condemnation says, “I’m trapped. There’s no way out.”


Check
your gut: Do you feel a reaction or tension in your body? Your spirit?

Appraise your emotions: Do you feel helpless, scared, crazy, angry? If so…

Shift your focus: Meditate on these truths and say them out loud:

The Lord will be my confidence and keep my foot from being snared. (Proverbs 3:26). I give my burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of me. He will not permit me to slip and fall.  (Psalm 55:22). In my day of trouble, He will keep me safe. (Psalm 27:5). If God is for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31). I dwell in the shelter of the Most High and will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. The Lord is my refuge and my fortress. He will deliver me from the accusations and traps of the enemy. Under His wings I will find refuge. (Psalm 91:1-4).

Treasure the truth: How do these truths make you feel? Secure, safe, confident, encouraged, protected, accepted, calm, relaxed, trusting? Now take a few moments and visualize yourself walking in truth.

 


When the voice of condemnation says, “I’ll never get over my past.”

 

Check your gut: Do you feel a reaction or tension in your body? Your spirit?

Appraise your emotions: Do you feel devastated, hurt, controlled, frustrated, bitter, angry, resentful, cheated? If so…

Shift your focus: Meditate on these truths and say them out loud:

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves me when I’m crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18). Even so, I will not dwell on the past. God is doing a new thing in my life. (Isaiah 43:18-19). I will not fear, for God is with me. I will not be dismayed, for He is my God; He will strengthen me and help me. He will uphold me with His righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10). I can do all things through Christ’s strength. (Philippians 4:13). I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13).

Treasure the truth: How do these truths make you feel? Loved, appreciated, valued, respected, encouraged, strong, hopeful? Now take a few moments and visualize yourself walking in truth.

 


When the voice of condemnation says, “I always pick the wrong guy.”

 

Check your gut: Do you feel a reaction or tension in your body? Your spirit?

Appraise your emotions: Do you feel hopeless, humiliated, empty, alone, worthless? If so…

Shift your focus: Meditate on these truths and say them out loud:

I use wisdom and caution in relationships. (Proverbs 12:26). God is my shepherd and I hear His voice. (John 10:27). I am not deceived by a man’s words. I pay attention to his actions and by his fruit, I recognize ungodly intentions. (Matthew 7:16). I don’t trust in myself. I walk in wisdom and I’m kept safe. (Proverbs 28:26).

Treasure the truth: How do these truths make you feel? Wise, relieved, connected, grateful, enthusiastic, content, secure, hopeful? Now take a few moments and visualize yourself walking in truth.

 


When the voice of condemnation says, “The terrible things he says about me must be true.”


Check
your gut: Do you feel a reaction or tension in your body? Your spirit?

Appraise your emotions: Do you feel stupid, humiliated, empty, depressed, ashamed, inferior, intimidated? If so…

Shift your focus: Meditate on these truths and say them out loud:

I should stay away from a fool, for I won’t find knowledge on his lips. (Proverbs 14:7). God will make peace my governor and righteousness my ruler (Isaiah 60:17). Instead of shame and disgrace, God has everlasting joy for me (Isaiah 61:7). I am no longer deserted, for the Lord takes delight in me (Isaiah 62:3-4). His grace is sufficient for me. When others insult me, his power is made perfect in me (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Treasure the truth: How do these truths make you feel? Complete, peaceful, joyful, excited, loved, appreciated, understood, respected, important, valued? Now take a few moments and visualize yourself walking in truth.

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