Monday, June 10, 2019

Just thinking....

When we have thoughts that are constantly gravitating toward worry, it becomes an all-consuming process that works over and over again in our brains until it eats us up! Did you ever really think about what worry is - not worry over worry, but think about what might be at the root of it? When we are spending our time in worry, we are really focusing all our time on reviewing over-and-over again what we have absolutely no power over - the control is really in another's hands! That seed of doubt, fear, frustration, and indecisiveness soon become a full-grown tree of worry, bearing repeated fruits of anxiety that we feed on and continue to mull over in our minds. We have no control over it, but it soon begins to control us - it draws us in deeper and deeper.

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. (Philippians 4:8)

If we can get our minds constantly in a place of frenzied activity (worry), then we have less ability to tune into what God wants to say to us about the situation. Activity shuts down the communication avenue with God in so many ways. That is why Satan is delighted whenever he sees us engaging in the thoughts of doubt and worry - they keep us 'moving' in ways that makes it hard for us to settle down long enough to hear what God has to say on the matter! The term "worrywart" actually comes from a comic strip in the 50's in which a character in that strip was constantly causing worry in others rather than being worried himself. There are both extremes to worry (fretting) - being so consumed yourself, or shifting it to others in order to avoid it yourself.

The first thing we need to embrace when dealing with our thoughts is that they are a matter of choice. Go to the local home repair stores during planting season. In the gardening section, there are these displays with tons of packages of seeds in them. Within each package you will find between 12 seeds (if you are planting something like pumpkin) and hundreds of seeds (if you are planting radishes). One seed is large and easily recognized. The other is quite small and many may slip through your hands unnoticed as you examine them. The same is true with our thoughts - there are big ones we easily recognize, place carefully into their place, or even dismiss entirely. I don't want a full garden of pumpkin, so I will likely not plant the entire package anyway! There are also small ones, not so easy to detect, but nonetheless capable of producing a bumper crop of growth! Especially when many escape our grasp without our even noticing.

Did you know that a rut is a track worn by habitual passage (something akin to worry)? Take that and apply it to your thoughts today - what "track" or "rut" have you created in your thought life? That which consumes your thoughts soon consumes your heart. Outward circumstances impact what we internalize so very well. Internalized circumstances soon become worries. Worries soon become tracks well-worn by habitual passage! We have power over our perspective in life - it begins in our thoughts. When we begin our thoughts with the instruction to "think on these things", we are insuring that we have the power to choose our thoughts. Perspective is the relationship we attach to the various input we receive - when we are actively involved in choosing how we view the various input, we learn to control the impact these things have on us. You have heard the saying "mind over matter" - I'd like us to begin to realize that it is "what comes into our mind matters"!

Worry is often a point of conflict in our lives - our minds think one thing, our heart knows another. We choose our response to that conflict based on the thoughts we allow to become the most central part of our focus. The same is true of hatred, anger, or bitterness - our minds entertain the thoughts of how we have been wronged, our hearts are challenging us to forgive as we have been forgiven. We choose our response to that conflict based on which thought we give the most attention to. There is no better place to have boundaries in our lives than in our thought life. When we learn to declare some roads as "off-limits", we are less likely to end up in the ruts of habitual passage! Just thinkin!

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