"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" -- II Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV

Do you feel like you're in a battle today? A fight to keep control, maintain a good attitude, stay on top of your responsibilities, and do a good job for your family? It is a constant struggle, is it not?

But you know, the real battle is not the fatigue, the endless chores and projects, or even the challenge of homeschooling; the real battle is mental—the battle to control our thoughts, take them "captive" and hold them accountable to the Word of God.

To successfully homeschool we must keep our "guard up"—not against people (although sometimes it feels that way!); but against the enemy's favorite strategy: discouragement. Where does discouragement start? I believe it begins with a thought.

We hear a neighbor or relative discuss their child's success in school, and we entertain a thought like, "Wow, my child is missing out on a lot." Now, if it ended there, maybe we'd be okay. However, most times it doesn't. That one thought begins to taint our outlook with a shadow of doubt. We are now looking at our world through the lens of that thought. This is when we must go on the defensive and refuse to allow doubt, fear, uncertainty, or whatever…to take root! If we don't, we open ourselves up to discouragement and defeat—all because of one little thought. Do you think I might be over-exaggerating?

Consider this story: a young homeschooling mother was happily homeschooling her child. Upon receiving a letter from a pen pal, she noticed her child's handwriting was not nearly as attractive as the pen pal's. This mother began to dwell on this thought, and used this as a standard by which to measure her homeschool progress, or lack thereof. Within a few short weeks, this child was enrolled in public school. Was it due to the child's handwriting? No. It was due to a thought that took root and discouraged a mother.

I use this true example to illustrate the seriousness of controlling our thoughts! Sometimes, we may feel inundated with negative words from concerned grandparents, spouses—sometimes even from our own children. This is when we must know how to decipher truth from deception, and recognize when the enemy is trying to plant a seed in our minds.

Read our verse again. This is so powerful. We must take every thought captive and hold it up to what we know to be true: God's Word, our call to homeschool, God's ability in our weakness, the superiority of home education, the privilege of teaching and training our children in an atmosphere of love, faith, and security, to name a few. If a thought contradicts these things, we must be suspicious of it.

I want to encourage you today: You are not a slave to your thoughts. Be alert when someone speaks into your life—especially regarding homeschooling. It may well be a strategy of the enemy to get you off course—if you give that thought a chance to grow.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the truth and light of Your Word. Please illuminate this lesson to me, and help me to boldly take my thoughts captive this week. Reveal to me any thoughts of doubt, unbelief, or discouragement I may be allowing. Make my every thought be pleasing to you—in Jesus' name, amen.

A homeschooler for over 14 years, Sue Brage is known as "The Homeschool Encourager." She speaks and writes to hundreds of homeschoolers and currently writes a weekly email devotional called Weekly Word.  She is also a full-time writer for an international ministry in the Denver area. To receive your free e- devotional, or for more information about her ministry, please visit her website, www.homeschool-encourager.com.