Recently, as part of a prayer exercise, I spent a whole day keeping track of the conversations I had. I wrote down everything that I said and everything I thought for the entire day. There’s something about having to write down your conversations and your personal mind-ramblings that makes you more accountable than you would normally be.
One of the things that really struck me when I read through the notes I had made about my day was how negative my thinking could be at times. Instead of keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus and allowing my faith to grow, I was letting my mind wander through all the possible ways things could fall apart and not work out. It worked subtly in my mind until, overtime, like a wagon travelling over the same path – grooves formed and it became an established way of thinking for me. Now, before I go any further, let me assure you that I’m not speaking of anything sinister – these are struggles that I am sure we can all relate to and have at some point had to overcome.
Can I say that to some extent, the way you feel is dictated by the way you think, without someone assuming that I’m trying to write my own chapter of “The Secret”? Because we are fooling ourselves if we believe that the way we think does not impact our spiritual, physical and mental health. I’m sure we could all relay personal stories of negative or anxious thoughts affecting our feelings, our mood, causing headaches, etc . . . not to mention the spiritual repercussions.
Once I acknowledge that my mind needs to be constantly renewed by Christ it becomes a question of discipline and re-training. I have to be honest, at times it feels as if I’m completely at the mercy of my thoughts (or more correctly, my un-Christlike patterns of thinking) – getting the wheel out of the groove is hard work – but it’s not impossible!
None of us will ever be able to say that “we’ve arrived” – that our thoughts are always centered on Christ and His desires for our lives. But perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. It keeps us dependent on Jesus, accountable to each other and humble, knowing that we don’t have it all figured out. Let me finish with this scripture which has lately become quite meaningful to me;
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8 (The Message)