Jennie Allen’s Get Out of Your Head was on my reading list for a while. As someone who’s spent many years thinking and writing about mental health from a Christian perspective, I knew I needed to get to it soon. And I’m so glad I did!
What I Loved
Allen focuses on what’s perhaps the greatest battlefield of our time: the mind. As she puts it, “The greatest spiritual battle of our generation is being fought between our ears” (p. 10). If the call of God for our minds is to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5), how do we do that? She outlines her approach in the book. I won’t give away all of it, but the basics are that we assault the lies in our heads with the truth of God. And because we’re constantly assaulted by lies, we have to cultivate a practice of rehearsing the truth, of replacing who we think we are with who God says we are in Christ. And we do that by noticing the patterns. One of them that I found helpful and easy to understand is the spiral from emotion to consequence. Every EMOTION leads to a THOUGHT. Every THOUGHT leads to a BEHAVIOR. Every BEHAVIOR affects a RELATIONSHIP. And every RELATIONSHIP has CONSEQUENCES. When we’re struck by an emotion, we have a choice, and that comes in at the thought level. Change your thought, and you change the track that follows.
The rest of the book draws from the author’s intense and personal experience in a war of thought, drawing out the resources she’s acquired for our use, teaching from a bit of modern brain research just how powerful our minds are and how much they shape who we are. If the teaching of this book is put into regular practice, it has the potential to lead to major changes in how you respond to all that comes your way.
Here’s a list of my favorite quotes.
- Our emotions were leading us to thoughts , and those thoughts were dictating our decisions , and our decisions were determining behaviors , and then the behaviors were shaping our relationships , all of which would take us back to either healthy or unhealthy thoughts (p. 8)
- Every lie we buy into about ourselves is rooted in what we believe about God (p. 15).
- If our thought lives are the deepest , darkest places of stronghold within us , all hell will try to stop us from being free (p. 35).
- You and I have been equipped with power from God to tear down the strongholds in our minds , to destroy the lies that dominate our thought patterns . We have the power and authority to do this ! Yet we walk around acting as if we have no power over what we allow into our minds (p. 38).
- When we think new thoughts , we physically alter our brains . When we think new thoughts , we make healthier neural connections . When we think new thoughts , we blaze new trails . When we think new thoughts , everything changes for us (p. 42).
- The battle for our minds is won as we focus on Jesus — every moment , every hour , every day (p. 47).
- Evil never wants to be noticed (p. 52).
- We are not made to think more good thoughts about ourselves . We are made to experience life and peace as we begin to think less about ourselves and more about our Creator and about others . “ Seek first the kingdom , ” Jesus said . 6 The greatest commandments ? Love God and love others (p. 56).
- All hell is against us meeting with Jesus (p. 70).
- We find ourselves in a generation that has made an idol out of the very thing God is calling us away from : independence (p. 88).
- Cynicism is always driven by fear of the future or by anger regarding the past (p. 127).
- When we are overcome by the grandeur of a snowy mountain peak or delighted by a beautiful song , when we sit silently in an old church and marvel at the way the sunlight seeps through the stained – glass windows , or when we’re delighted by our children’s squeals as they run through the sprinkler in the backyard , we let go of our “ it’s all about me ” fixation . We are freed from being the center of our own worlds for just a moment , and in doing so , we become more invested in the well – being of others , more generous , less entitled (p. 128).
- Beauty is evidence of something beyond ourselves . Beauty is evidence of a world yet to come (p. 139).
- We weren’t built to be the center of our own worlds (p. 151).
- Lasting joy will come only when God is in the center ; not when I am empowered but when I rest in His power (p. 153).
- When we’re weak , it’s actually a good thing , because Christ’s power is made more evident in us (p. 159).
- Only when we’re planted in the soil of gratitude will we learn and grow and thrive (p. 174).
- We don’t have to like our circumstances , but we can choose to look for the unexpected gifts they may bring (p. 182).
- It’s not easy to stop believing lies . We can’t simply sit back and wait for our minds to heal , for our thoughts to change . We train . That’s how truth gains the victory in the battle for our minds (p. 212).
What I Would Have Liked
I don’t have much to critique here. In general, I found the book encouraging and filled with resources. Readers should spend some time actually applying what they’re learning to their personal habits. And there’s a Study Guide you can get now to go with it. My point in saying all this is that you should always guard against only absorbing information when you read a book. You want it to lead to change. And for that to happen, you need to link what’s in the book to the concrete details of your own life.
Should You Read It?
Yes! This shouldn’t take you long to work through, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to reflect and apply what you’re reading. It was an encouraging read that I hope you’ll take advantage of!
Note: This post contains affiliate links.