Mental Models: A Coping Strategy?

So lately I’ve begun to think a lot about coping strategies and what God is trying to help me realise more strongly this season. Currently I’m in a season of the unknown in so many areas of my life. However one thing that started happening was in fact a year ago.

A year ago I was struggling in something. What I was doing was not pleasing God at all. Self control in that area was a challenge for me and the thoughts that were bombarding my mind were very distracting. It’s like when you see images repeatedly, and with more frequency provokes you to desire or do something to achieve it.

Yet God did not leave me alone even through the struggle. A dear friend of mine was also wrestling with a similar issue, and we were able to share in each other’s pain.

At the time, I knew praying and asking God to give me strength was key. Also meditating on God’s word as well because as I’ve mentioned the more something is repeated viewed the more your mind focuses on it or remembers the connotations attributed to it – be it motivating or descending to despair! In God’s word of course reminded me of the joy of His promises and life!

Yet when the negative thoughts come in… sometimes it’s just not so easy to pull up a bible verse to mind! And so I began to visually tear the negative thoughts apart and envision symbolically the goodness of God’s light and power!


I’ve just recently finished reading a book called Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull. In the later chapters he talks about mental models some of his colleagues use to keep focused and avoid anxiety. I’ll provide one snippet of it here and a link is provided below for more mental models mentioned.

Shelby M. C. Davis offers a sailing metaphor to describe this fundamental challenge of investing: “To sail across the ocean, you must balance making progress in fair weather with the ability to withstand the inevitable storms. Those who think only of the storms will never leave the shore. Those who think only of fair weather will never reach the other side.”

The question arises, how would that work in the context of knowing and reminding of the saving grace of God? Whenever I’m tempted to despair, faced with feelings of disappointing God, I know that I must not dwell in that. That I must not return to temptation but resolve to break this line of thinking. Thus God provided me a mental model:

Ephesians 6:13-18

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Which is… so incredible that I decided to make an animation from it!




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