Barefoot Devotions, The How To Series

How To Slay Your Mental Strongholds

I am going to be writing about my experience with mental strongholds and how I overcame the chains of anxiety and depression that ruled my life.  This is a very sensitive subject but after many weeks of talking myself out of writing this, I am doing it.  This comes from my experience and how I decided to battle these strongholds with the word of God, prayer, and a relationship with Jesus.  After years of depression and anxiety,  I realized that it was my outlook on my circumstances and the perspective that I had.  That perspective was steaming from the enemy and the lies he told me about me.

Lets Start By Defining A Stronghold:

Biblically speaking a stronghold is a belief that is a lie and has taken root and overpowered your ability to think or see clearly according to God’s view and what His word tells us.  This effects you emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.

Lets Look At The Cause Of Strongholds:

It is so easy to get caught up in negativity, a false belief system,  doubts, fear, and our circumstances.  We are trained by the media, by people, and the ways of the world to live and think according to their standards.  We must accept that we fight against unseen spiritual forces of the dark world and that this world is ruled by the dark forces.  Yes, that means demons and malicious spirits that are causing affliction in your mind, on you, and to you.  They have stealthily found a way inside of your mind and they are trying to take over.  Perhaps they already have.

For a cause to take place, there has to be a sin or a circumstance that negatively affected you.  Therefore, that leaves you dealing with the effects.  This could be your sin or even someone else’s sin that has altered your way of thinking and your way of doing things.  If you are unable to let things go, the memory that haunts you can have a negative impact on your life.  If we allow a certain thought to replay in our mind, we start to believe that thought.

Here is an example:  As a child and young adult, I experienced rejection from my dad who was an addict.  Although it was not intentional, his addiction stronghold was the cause of my rejection stronghold.

Ephesians 6:10 | For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Identifying Your Strongholds:

Identifying the areas in your mind that are strongholds require you to take examine your life – the past and present.  It can be uncomfortable at first but as we know from God’s Word, the truth sets you free! Once you begin to identify and see the parallels, you will rejoice in knowing the cause of your afflictions and reasons of why you think or do something a certain way.

Here is a list of the most common strongholds relating to the mind:

(Be in prayer with the Heavenly Father, ask Him to reveal yours to you, and be open to listening to His answer)

  • Rejection
  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Shame
  • Hopelessness
  • Worthlessness
  • Negativity
  • Anger

Lets Look At The Solutions:

Now that we have identified what a stronghold is and the cause, let us start taking a look at how we tear down the strongholds and replace them with God’s truth about you.

First, you must repent and turn from any sin that is unconfessed.  Once we have done so we will be able to break free from any sin that is causing negative effects.  You must remember that God has already won the battle and you must have faith to fight through.

Second, you must know and accept that God is sovereign.  He is the supreme authority and all things are under His control.  Without Him, you can not win. You need Him to fight a supernatural battle.

Third, you must believe and accept that you are forgiven, our sins and past are washed away by the blood of Jesus! You have the power to live free in Christ.  This is His desire for you!

2 Corinthians 5:17 | Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Fourth, you must act!

Great! So, how do you act?

This will require you to put your faith in action and when you experience the enemy placing thoughts or past memories into your mind, you must exercise your authority in Jesus Christ to reject your past way of thinking and replace your thoughts with all good things that are of Jesus.

Philippians 4:8 |  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

Accepting The Past Is The Past

Unfortunately, the enemy knows about who you were and all the things you have done and said that you are not proud of. There will come a day when he is smearing it in your face and putting every sordid detail back into your mind.

When you start remembering the past, you must stop replaying past memories. You can not allow yourself to be controlled by your past – no matter how painful and haunting it is! It happened and it can not be changed! Get your head out of the past and strain your neck to look forward into your future! Your past is not there!

Philippians 3:13-14  | Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12:2 | Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

You must ask the LORD to guard your mind and to help you keep your mind focused on what is right in the eyes of Him.

Every day you have to wash and bathe in God’s living word.  It refreshes you and each day you will learn something new about the characteristics of God and how he truly feels about you! To renew your mind is to spend time with the LORD, read the Bible, and pray daily!

Taking Every Thought Captive

2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 | For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Every thought that comes to mind must be tested. Ask yourself – is it from our loving Heavenly Father or is it from Satan who is set out to steal, kill, and destroy?

With God there is life.

With Satan there is death.

With God there is truth.

With Satan there are lies.

With God there is hope.

With Satan there is hopelessness.

With God there is a future.

With Satan there is a past.

With God there is confidence.

With Satan there is fear and doubt.

With God there is boldness and bravery.

Life TruthHopeFreedomFutureConfidence BravenessBoldness (1)

Ask yourself, does this thought come from God or Satan?

If it comes from Satan, then you need to hold that thought captive, pray and ask God to slay this thought and replace it with His truths.  Seek His word and learn what He says in scripture.  Rejoice and praise God for the truth that He is replacing in your life.  Slowly, you will see just how each thought, especially thoughts that seem to be on repeat can cause depression, anxiety, and fear!


Hannah B.

P.S. I hope you enjoyed this blog and if you did be sure to leave a comment down below and share across all of your social media feeds!

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor and encourage you to seek professional help to determine what is best for your situation and I am not encouraging you to stop current treatments.  I do believe that with physicians and the hands of our great physician, you can be healed! Almost always, there is a root cause and I do believe that we need to get down into the roots to properly heal.

Barefoot Devotions

Jesus; Thy Name I Call

As I was seeking Him and praying for just an ounce of His refreshing goodness, I never intended for my most intimate prayer to Jesus would be on here for you but here it is.

No matter what you are facing, you are loved, you have a purpose, and I know a name that has the power to break the chains that are dragging you down. Though we walk through the wilderness, His light is always shining and waiting for you to turn it on.

Stay tuned, I have a story to tell but for now, enjoy the words that were once groans from my heart.

Oh, how I praise You, Jesus! Your sweet name tastes like honey on the tongue and it soothes the deep and dark crevices of my soul. 

Your name sanctions me to withstand the darkness that surrounds me.

The darkness that is on the verge of enveloping me. 

But Your love, Jesus, shines brighter than the darkness.

Your name is my saving grace.

Your name is the light by which I can see in the darkness. 

Jesus.  The name my soul yearns for, I call on You.


Wherever You call me, I will go. 

Through the wilderness, I will go. 

I am safe.

Through the darkness, I will go.

Though I can not see,

I am led by Your lamp upon my feet. 

Fighting through the shadows that cast over me, I will go. 

I am fortified by Your sweet name.

You alone light the way.

Your word is the light by which I see. 

Oh, how I praise You, Jesus. You have made a way through the darkness. 

Jesus, you have already overcome the darkness. 

Oh, how I praise You, Jesus. 

Jesus, You are the light. 

You are the way by which I see. 


Hannah B.


Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet. And a light to my path.

Jeremiah 10:6  – No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.

Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

John 14:13 – And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Philippians 2:9-11 – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.







Real Truth From Real People

One Hope for all consuming thoughts

Growing up was extremely challenging for me.  I am a deep thinker and an extremely passionate person.  I am a very empathetic person and it’s easy for the problems of this world to consume me and weigh me down.  I’ve always said I was an open book.  I was willing to tell anyone how I felt or thought about any given subject.  In some ways I was and in a lot of ways I was not.  I didn’t realize it back then but I struggled emotionally and couldn’t find a way to tell anyone how I truly felt inside.

Unfortunately, I struggle with a disorder called PMDD.  This makes it very difficult at times to see things with a clear picture.  I easily fall into a deep dark scary depression.  The best way to describe it is my perception literally changes. The thoughts and feelings are so overpowering and so overwhelming there is no way a normal person could possibly understand and help.  When a person goes through this they may or may not even realize it’s happening.  They hesitate to reach out. It’s embarrassing.  People assume you are just sad about a situation when in reality; you may not even know what your upset about.  It seems as if your mind has come up with some fictitious scenario and the reason you can’t talk about it is because what is there to talk about? “I feel annoyed, angry, hopeless, bored, miserable and uncomfortable and I don’t even know why.” I feel as if I am no longer in control of my own emotions or even thoughts to an extent.  I perceive that people are angry with me.  I am not as patient as I usually am.  I feel like I can’t get happy or joyful regardless of what I try.  Thoughts of suicide creep in.  Thoughts of how horrible my life are seep in.  I suddenly forget all the blessings God has bestowed up on in the last decade.  I argue with my husband and I misunderstand his body language and his words.  I feel like nobody sees me. I feel like I’ve failed as a mother, as a wife, as a Christian.  It’s an extremely scary feeling when it happens.  I am in a completely different state of mind. I make mistakes at work and can’t for the life of me explain why I did what I did.  To say the least, I am a total wreck.

Sometimes I catch it and I know when it has started and sometimes it creeps in.  I find myself crying uncontrollably, situations seem to pile up and are magnified and appear much worse than they are. When I say “depression” I don’t mean sadness.  This is one thing that I feel a lot of people do not understand.  On a spiritual level you can call it spiritual oppression.  The definition of oppression is prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. When PMDD hits It’s hard to talk about or even explain to people who do not deal with this problem. It’s embarrassing and I find myself constantly apologizing to the people around me for my behavior.  I’ve been told I view my behavior way worse than anyone else sees it on the outside.  It certainly doesn’t seem that way to me. I plan my life around PMDD.  I typically choose not to plan activities and events around this time.

Why explain all of this to you?  This is a real problem that so many people deal with.  This is what it is like to have a mental disorder.  When a person struggles with any type of mental disorder whether it be hormone related or something else, it’s debilitating.  It can render the most together person a complete wreck.  It is almost as if they are held captive in their own mind.  There is a saying that “the mind is the devil’s playground. “When I was growing up and I didn’t know anything about this, there were so many times I begged God to end it.  To just take me out of this world.

The only thing that I can truly say kept me from ending my own life was the fact that at 6 ½ years old I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart.  The Holy Spirit dwells inside of me.  And because of this I have always had hope. Every time the thought of ending it came into my mind, the Holy Spirit was there to remind me there is a true and living God and He created me for a purpose.  He knew my life before I was born.  He created all the outs I would need for all the captivity I found myself in.

When I go through an episode where I feel like the world is against me and that I can’t trust anyone and that nobody understands me, I am reminded that this is temporary.  That Hope is ALWAYS right around the corner.  No situation ever stays the same.  I look in the mirror and tell myself, this is not real.  This will pass.  It hurts so much but it will pass.  God sees me even if I don’t see myself.  He sees how I am feeling. When I am consumed with every horrible thought that enters my brain as if I am in the middle of a tornado, He is there waiting for me when it passes. He is my anchor.  If I can just manage to hold onto Jesus I know I will be okay when this storm passes.

For so many people that do not have that One Hope, anchor to cling to, it’s the scariest most painful thing mentally and emotionally a person can go through.  Sadly, so many people choose to end their life because they do not have that hope. I can only say that Jesus Christ is my anchor.  I know that even when I don’t feel like praying or reading a devotion or the bible that I can just yell and He comes to my rescue.  Sometimes all I can do is cry and yell and tell Him I don’t like the way I feel right now and I don’t understand.  The Holy Spirit speaks to my soul.  He reminds me that this will pass and I will come out unscathed.  And every time I do.

If you have felt this way or if you go through anything similar, please know that there is relief is right around the corner.  Hold onto that one hope that this is a season and even if you may go through it again, this one will pass and there will be relief.  Just run to The Lord and break off those chains and throw them away.  Cling to The Savior. Get so lost in His promises that you are only consumed with Hope.

Psalm 23:2-4 says; “2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

And Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

I’ve mentioned this poem before but I will mention it again, “Footprints in the Sand” has been my theme poem.  This poem describes a person walking on the beach with The Lord and looking up to see their life before them and looking down at the footprints in the sand. They see two sets but at the lowest and most hopeless scenes there was only one set.  This is when The Lord says He carried them.  It represents how God is always with us and we are never on this journey alone.  He is our one truest hope in a whirlwind of all consuming thoughts.

My hope is that you understand you have an out and it doesn’t have to be the end.   That you never have to feel that no soul out there could possibly understand what you are going through.  That we are acknowledging your thoughts and feelings and that the God who created you has a purpose for you.  Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Valerie Close