A nine-word text from a friend was all it took for pastor and author Louie Giglio to have a huge change of mind.
In the season Louie was in at the time, “Things were said and done [regarding him] that I didn’t feel represented the true story,” Louie told Hope 103.2.
Later, as the truth began to surface and Louie’s views were proved right, he messaged a friend to celebrate his vindication, thinking they would indulge with him in what Louie admits was a “petty” moment of cheer.
Instead, as only the best of mates can, Louie’s friend shut down his pride and simply said, “Don’t give the enemy a seat at your table”.
It was a necessary slap-in-face for Louie, and it highlighted to him how consumed his mind had become with this person and the problem, and how “the enemy” had weaselled his way into his thought-life.
That text has now become the title of Louie’s new book, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, where he deep dives into Psalm 23 and considers the table God “sets before [us] in the presence of our enemies”.
The “table” Louie realises, can be in the battleground of our mind where, in the midst of life’s hardest moments, we need God to bring us peace.
“Our mind is the place where God speaks to us,” Louie said.
“He speaks to us into our spirit and into our heart, but it comes to us through this machine we have in our heads called our brain. And our brain connected to our heart, makes up our mind.
“[Our mind] is where we process information about what we think about ourselves, what we think about the outside world, what we think about God and what God thinks about us.”
Developing the self-awareness to recognise the difference between fruitful and destructive thoughts, is part of what Louie hopes to offer readers.
“There are [thousands] of thoughts that come into our mind every single day, and we don’t know where a lot of them come from, and we can’t control that they come into our minds,” Louie said.
“But once that thought arrives, [we get to] decide which ones get to stay, and which thoughts have to go.”
Suggesting “the enemy” is impacting our thought life is a confronting idea for some, but in a world where mental distress is common, Louie believes we can forget the Christian discipline of “taking our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5)” and “casting our anxiety on God [because he cares for you] (1 Peter 5:7)”.
“The thing that I’m always working on is balancing the difference between destigmatising mental illness – which the church definitely needs to do – [and making] make sure we don’t normalise anxiety,” Louie said.
“God tell us, ‘Don’t be anxious because you can tell me everything that you’re concerned about, and I can tell you that I’m concerned about you’ (Philippians 4:6-7).
“Somewhere in the middle of you telling God what you’re concerned about, and the God of Heaven letting you know that He’s concerned about you, we can resolve to a place of peace and trust.”
Louie said when you’re struggling with mental health issues, know, “You’re not the only one. Seek help, get help and [know] God can help you.”
Louie’s book, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table is available now. Listen his full UNDISTRACTED with Laura Bennett podcast episode above, or the following video.
If you’re struggling, visit our Helpful Counselling and Community Services page for a list of support lines ready to take your call.