Thought life

Whatever is…

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The Most Important of Seeds

Our thoughts are among the most important of seeds, yielding a harvest of good or of evil. May our thoughts bear good fruit, producing words and actions of justice and truth, mercy and love.

 

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Beware the Mind Invaders

Blog_UFOI’ve done stupid things, and I’ve done stupider things. And though I tell my kids stupid is a bad word, it’s just not possible to describe my most recent near-catastrophe without saying it was one of the stupider things I’ve done.

It all started with fear. Some rogue message appeared on my computer warning that if I didn’t click the link my computer would be infected with a deadly virus. I didn’t click the link. Yay, me. Smart choice. But throughout the day, I kept worrying that maybe my computer WAS getting sick and would shut down and lose all my treasured info. Hardly catastrophic on the scale of world catastrophes, but for a writer it would be quite devastating to lose a dearly beloved laptop.

Long story short, I looked for a reputable virus removal software, clicked the link to download, and that’s where it all went bad. Before I knew it, I was on the line with some outsourced customer service agent of some not-so-reputable company trying to take over my computer. As they small-talked me about the crazy weather and other random topics, they were subtly attempting to sneak info from my computer while implanting viruses.

Good thing my husband was smart enough to shut it all down and clean it all up before it was too late.

The same thing can happen with our minds. Fear sets in, leading us to seek defense. Somehow, in the process, we download bad info that attempts to take over our minds.

Take bitterness, for example. Someone hurts us. We fear they’ll hurt us again. Our defenses go up. Yet as we seek to protect ourselves, something insidious seeps into our thought life. While we initially sought to control our circumstances, we find we are the ones being controlled. Before we know it, bitterness rules our thoughts, words, and actions, if not paralyzing us completely.

The danger of allowing bad data to enter our thoughts applies in every arena, from self-hatred to racism to rage to depression. It begins with fear, moves to self-protection, then whammo! We’re the victims of a mind invasion.

When I realized what was happening to my laptop, it had to be shut down, rebooted, examined, and cleaned up. We had to put up a firewall, protecting my data from malware. We need the same defense when it comes to our thought life. And how much more valuable are our minds.

“Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.”
(Margaret Thatcher)

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Captive Thoughts

As a parent, I’ve become expert at many things by sheer necessity. Some things I never expected would be part of my job description. And some things I never wanted to add to the list. Like nit-picking. And I’m not talking about an overtly excessive form of criticism.

When I found out one of my kids (the one with a lot of hair) had contracted head lice from summer camp, I knew I’d be in for at least a week of hard labor. I’d been told that the miniscule squatters don’t typically gravitate to coarse, coily-curly hair, but apparently my kid was part of the .3% non-typical demographic. At the end of the ordeal, I’d clocked a full 24-hour day plus of examining, treating, separating, combing, and re-examining, and was prepared for weeks ahead of frequent preventative measures.

There’s no being lazy about it when your kid has head lice. If one small nit survives, the threat of re-infestation prevails. Every corner of my house was vacuumed, every piece of affected clothing laundered. Even precious stuffed animals were stored away in tightly closed bags for at least a couple weeks to ward of further threats. And I now know every detail of homeopathic head care I could find.

I apologize if all this is too much information, and I’ll spare you further details. But there’s something to be learned from everything, and I always like to share what I’ve learned…the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I’d like to think writing about something so drudgerous (yes, I think I invented that word) could maybe redeem the hours spent on the tedious task for something worthwhile.

Combing through my kid’s endlessly thick hair minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day…I had a lot of time to think. And one scripture verse kept coming to mind: “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” Just as I had to take captive every tiny nit due to its potential to terrorize my child’s head, I have to take captive my every thought. One small thought can yield a reign of terror in my mind…and life. And it can transfer to those I’m close to.

It might sound scary to submit your thought-life to Christ, but it’s not so scary when we know that he wants us to fill our mind with GOOD things.

The Bible says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” So taking my ignoble, unrighteous, impure, unlovely and unworthy thoughts and making them obedient to Christ is not only necessary, it’s good! And it’s survival.

Who can live with bitterness, rage, malice, and hatred reigning in their minds? Who can survive when evil rules over every thought? It’s not only a danger to our own mental health, but to everyone we know and love. Even the innocent bystander is not immune.

EVERY thought must be held captive and made obedient to that which is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Each day, we must stand on alert, combing through our minds for any thought that can take us off course. Our lives depend on it.

 

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Resolved.

blog_snowwalk

Resolved. This year. To spend more time living in the real world than in the screen-sized world. To spend more time in relationship with the real people in my real life than with strangers in the media life. And to think for myself, free from the dictates of modern media and social trends.

 

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Living in the Real World

blog_umbrellasI have an important question to ask you. It’s one that I’ve asked myself often, and with increasing measure as I move forward in age and life. Are you really thinking for yourself?

We live in an age where the media tells us to do this very thing. Think for yourself! Be your own person! Be unique! Yet this message comes coupled with the reality that our minds are not our own unless we’re willing to fight for them. For something that seeks to command our attention each waking moment also threatens to consume our minds.

Yes, the media tells us to think for ourselves all the while telling us what to think. It tells us to be our own person while dictating how we should act, dress, and respond. It tells us to be unique while insisting that if we are not in line with it’s values, we’ll face verbal persecution if not worse.

It saddens me when I go to family get-togethers and social gatherings only to observe this: all of us on our media devices, disconnected from the real world around us. We’re attached to our screens 24/7 minus the hours we sleep, and sometimes we don’t even sleep because the screen calls us from physical slumber.

But there’s a different kind of slumber I want to wake up from this year. It’s a screen-driven slumber. Though I’m thankful for all the friendships I’m able to maintain and all the family I’m able to stay connected with thanks to the gift of social media, I’m tired of being lulled to sleep by the light of a screen. And though there is good that can come from screen-time: inspirational quotes, blog posts, and programs, I want to free my mind from the excess baggage that comes along with modern technology.

Resolved. This year. To spend more time living in the real world than in the screen-sized world. To spend more time in relationship with the real people in my real life than with strangers in the media life. And to think for myself, free from the dictates of modern media and social trends.

 

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Whatever is…

Beyond_ThinkOnTheseThings

 

Source: Beware the Mind Invaders