Mind Matters – Winning The Thought War

You know that show where they offer some person a ridiculous amount of money if they will just stay in a locked box with snakes and tarantulas all over them for 5 minutes or something?  CRAAAZY.   Crazy, I say.

I’ve never seen the show (nor do I plan to!!!  THANKS!!!) but for those brave few who make it through and win the pay out, I have to admire their control.  Mind over matter, and all that.

Because let’s be real: the hardest work you will ever do is in your mind.  Win the battle of your thoughts and you triumph.  It’s kind of ridiculously simple, but crazy hard, all at the same time.  In the Bible Study I just finished by Priscilla Shirer, she talked about how important our thought life is in maintaining spiritual, mental, and even physical health.  We can literally pollute our minds so badly with toxic thinking that it spills over and contaminates every aspect of our lives. (It’s The Armor of God study –  and WOW!  Did it ever kick my spiritual…derriere.)  So, ICK…I don’t want my mind polluted with toxic thinking patterns!

Now, all this is well and fine, but how can you ACTUALLY do it?  You know, in the little moments between sibling squabbles and dish washing and nose wiping and helping our kid sound out Dr. Seuss books?  Never mind when things turn nasty on Facebook, or someone makes a snide comment, or our spouse does something irritating, or the kids are well on their way to a life of organized crime (or so it seems when they are jumping off the couch FOR THE FIFTH TIME TODAY.)  This mind war stuff all sounds fantastic in my cozy Bible time with a cup of coffee and morning peace washing over me like a soft blanket, but it becomes increasingly blurry as the morning wears on.  I’ll be honest, by 10 o’clock, I’ve completely lost sight of winning the thought war, and am much more consumed with winning the sock war.  (As a side note, why is it SUCH an enchanting experience to a toddler to pull off socks? Oy!)  Aligning our daily thoughts in REAL LIFE is harder than letting hairy spiders crawl over your face. *shudder*

And then it occurred to me how much I need a different perspective when six tiny feet hit the floor.  How much my mind needs renewing in the moment the oatmeal and my temper both boil over.

How much I need to live out Philippians 4:8 and not Proverbs 27:15.  Renewing our minds is not another item on the to-do list…it’s the life-giving medication that preserves us from the toxicity of our own selfishness and silliness and agendas.  Oh, yes, I’m an agenda girl, and nothing brings out the yet-to-be-sanctified in me like a couple of roadblocks in the path of my expectations.  (Please don’t ask my family.  They would probably affirm this WAY too vigorously.)  I’m learning, really.  But it’s HARD.

So let’s get down to business.  How does a busy girl with a million things to do make the time to win the thought war?  Scripture is your secret weapon, my friends.  When I store up His thoughts and systematically replace my toxicity with His holiness…beautiful things start happening.

All of a sudden, I start to feel different.  That Bible-study-cozy-and-coffee peace starts chasing me while I’m chasing the sock-pulling toddler.  I find a smile bubbling up with the dish soap as His words wash away the ick that so quickly accumulates.  Gentle words come easier, and conviction pierces more quickly.  (I’m sorry is an oft-used phrase around here…and by His help, I’m learning to live the difference and not just say it.)  WORK IN PROGRESS, people.

This Bible is so much more than ink on tissue-thin pages.  There is sand-blasting power in those aged, potent words.  Holy power.  Mind-changing, spirit-renewing power.  Enough to change your life and mine, if we will just. use. it.

You know that negative chatter that feels so normal in your head?  It needs evicted.

It starts with one thought, taken captive to Christ.  Replaced with truth, one sacred verse at a time.  Then another.  Pretty soon, the truth pumping through you is doing the captive-taking work without you even knowing it.

Oatmeal boiling over isn’t the issue.  The change in plans isn’t the issue. 

My heart, flowing out of my thought life, is the issue.  When I remember that all things work together for good to those who love God and the present troubles are small and won’t last very long it’s easier to respond with a deep breath and a wet paper towel instead of a temper tantrum or sharp words.

This is practical.  This is game-changing.  There is nothing I need more than how to change my thoughts in the day-in and day-out of life on earth with my personality rubbing up against other personalities and circumstances.

Well, that, and maybe some socks that stay on little feet. 🙂


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