Can I be honest for a second? It’s easy for me to get stuck in my head. I’ve always had a noisy mind, when I was little I couldn’t fall asleep unless I was lulled by the endless drone of talk radio. That whooshing and whirring, loud and purring brain of mine can feel like the entirety of who I am.
Jesus was a whole human who had a head and a heart and a spirit. He was an embodied, incarnate, integral person. His head and His heart were in perfect alignment to obey His Father. His thoughts lined up with what He believed (knew even!) to be true, and His actions followed suit.
But, that’s not always the way my mind works. Oftentimes, my mind dwells on the worst-case scenario, the ugly bits about myself, and the least lovely things possible. The phrases I repeat to myself are not encouraging or life-giving, but they’re the opposite. I tell myself “I can’t do this” and “I’m not enough”, and I wouldn’t say those things to my best friend or even my worst enemy. So, why do I tell myself such bad news?
Our thoughts are both indicators of deeper issues and can be problems in themselves. My thoughts often show me the wide divide between the Good News of God and the bad news I tell myself ten thousand times every day. This divide is the place to meet God, and to deal with our thoughts, we need to venture into the middle of ourselves, to the core of who we are. We need to look at our heads and our hearts; we need to look at the gap that stands in the middle; and we need to ask God to close it.
We need to learn to obey with our minds and our hands and our feet so that we’re living integrated lives, every part of us lined up to the glory of God.
Our loud minds can be quieted with God’s loving-kindness. Our wrongheaded thoughts can be put to death, and we really can live a life dwelling on — incarnating, really — resurrection truth. In order to live in this wholehearted and clearheaded integrity, we need to submit our beliefs and our thoughts to a God who is able to make sense of it all. I have tried, and I am convinced that trying hard is not enough. This kind of life change requires that we partner with a supernatural God.
We can change our whole world if we can change our mind. With God, it’s possible to do both.
Imagine how much more energy you’ll have to bring God’s Kingdom down to Earth when you’re not telling yourself “nothing is every going to change” all the time. Just think of the mental clarity you’ll have when you stop saying “I’m the worst” on repeat. We can free ourselves up to reflect more on God than compulsively running through a litany of ingrained negative phrases.
I need to tell you that we have the opportunity to be living, breathing examples of Jesus walking around in the world. We really do! But our flesh in not inclined to want to agree. And our brain, that beautifully complex organ that holds our thoughts is made entirely of flesh! Unreformed by God, we’ll go about our days frantic, worried, dour, or fussy. This is not the way of Jesus. This is not a Christlike representation of Him to a hurting world. Neither is this the way you would want to spend this one life you’ve got.
I am guessing you know the dichotomy I feel sometimes. What I really believe, on a head level, is not what I actually dwell on in my heart. And because I dwell on other things, what I really believe doesn’t make a home in me. It doesn’t change me. I want the power of God. I want Him to change me. But I’m walking around like I believe this fuss and frenzy here in front of me is all there is.
Now, this temporal world is not all there is. There is a perfect, renewed kingdom of God coming, and there is a foretaste of it here and now. We can almost hear it in the cry of a baby and the consoling words of its mother. We can catch a glimpse of it in the endless lapping of waves on the shore. We can sense it when we give a gift that costs us dearly. There is a deep satisfaction and peace that follow Jesus everywhere, and if you’re a believer, His Spirit has come t dwell inside you. This is good news!
I’m just telling you all of these good things so that you can contrast it with the bad news you tell yourself. Do you spend your time telling yourself that nothing’s ever going to change? That life is too hard? That it’s all just hopeless?
Why when we know the good news of Jesus do we repeat to ourselves the bad news of the world? Why when Paul writes that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) do we desperately hold on to our own bad news loops?
When you can take hold of your thoughts and tell yourself the truth, God will transform your mind.
Our old ways of thinking will fall away, we’ll have more energy to believe better about God, and we’ll live more whole-hearted lives chasing after the Lord. This is an age old spirit vs. flesh battle like the Apostle Paul writes about in his letters to the church. While it may seem impossible, we have the Spirit of God and Scripture to help us move forward in the direction of freedom.
The landscape of your mind doesn’t have to be loud and messy. With God’s power and truth and your submission and obedience, every single thing can change. Imagine the joy and peace that would flow from a mind that really believed Good News instead of their own bad news loops.
Written for Faith.Full by Hayley Morgan, author of Preach to Yourself.
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Announcement! Our fall Book Club pick is Preach to Yourself! Registration is now open, so who are you inviting? Leave a comment because we want to know! Sign up today right here! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full