Let the Spirit change your way of thinking.
– Ephesians 4:23 (CEV)
Does your mind sometimes surprise you? A thought pops into your head and, like knocking over that first domino, sets off a chain reaction. Before you know it, the last domino falls and you’ve reached some ridiculous conclusion, leaving you wondering, “how did my mind get here?”
This happens to me all the time. Here’s a window into how my mind can run away from me if it’s not being controlled by God’s spirit.
My husband comes home from a run without our dog. He says that Henry probably just chased a deer into the woods and will be back when he gets hungry. I quickly conclude that Henry’s been eaten by a mountain lion, and all that we’ll find of the best dog ever is his black and yellow collar. I don’t think I can bear to search for him. How will I ever forgive my husband?
My close girlfriend for more than ten years doesn’t return my texts or calls for several days, therefore she must have moved on. I bet she thinks I’m too boring. She’s found better friends then me. I start to mourn the loss of our friendship.
Our daughter comes home with her hair dyed pink, purple, and blue. Uh oh, she’s running with the wrong crowd. She’ll start doing drugs, stop playing sports, drop out of school, and get pregnant. I’m going to be a grandmother before I turn fifty. Crap, I just gave away the porta-crib!
Am I the only one who jumps to crazy conclusions when I let my mind race? How many times have you worried yourself sick about something that never even happened?
The good thing is that we can STOP our thoughts before they run off the rails. God reminds us that the Holy Spirit living within us can change our way of thinking (Eph. 4:23). We are to take every thought captive and make sure it follows Jesus (2 Cor. 10:5).
Rethinking the three situations I described above, if my thoughts had been more aligned with Jesus, then when the dog was missing, I would have prayed for Henry’s protection, not labelled Dan as a negligent dog killer, and believed that he would be ok. (It turns out that he was just playing with another dog in the neighborhood and was home before Dan had the chance to shovel out the car to go looking for him.)
When my girlfriend didn’t respond for several days, I could have asked God for direction and lifted her up in prayer. I knew she had recently taken on more responsibilities at work. She needed my prayers and patience. Sure enough when she reached out to me, her message was full of love and apologies.
And when my daughter came home with colorful hair, it would have been much more like Jesus to ask her great questions like, “Why did you choose those colors? Do you like how it looks? Is it permanent or temporary dye?” I would have learned right away that it was slumber party silliness and would wash out in a few weeks. She was still in school with good grades and not even dating anyone. Good thing…I’m not ready to be a grandmother.
The next time your thoughts start to run away from you, STOP and ask God to step in and slow them down. He can keep the crazy train on the tracks.
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