The wibbly wobblies is what a friend of mine calls them. Those moments when you confidence and faith gets a little shaky. When you’re standing in faith for breakthrough, healing or a miracle and it seems that you’ve stepped a little to close to the edge of a cliff and if you’re not careful you’ll fall off. It’s as if fear has spread its tentacles and clutches at your spirit to drag you down and there is little you can do to stop succumbing to it and the terror that goes with.
It’s at these moments that you need to clamber with all your strength to safer ground. I guess that is what Paul meant when he said that we were to take captive every thought.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
It is about stopping and arresting the thoughts the moment they start to come not giving in to their power and pretence that they are truth no matter how logical or probable they seem.
It means turning to the Scriptures to remind yourself of God’s promises. It’s feeding on testimonies of faith and not giving the fear oxygen. It’s the declaring of God’s Word over your situation. It means not giving up, giving in, ever!
And it means putting confidence in God who specialises in the impossible! And who is on your side and will not let you fall!
“But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength.” (2 Timothy 4:17)
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
I love the hymn “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” . I love the simplicity of its message – turn. For a weary and troubled soul – turn. Trapped in darkness – turn. Lost – turn. To turn our eyes, our focus onto Jesus. Lysa Terkeurst wrote “we steer where we stare”. That really nails it. We need to focus on what we want to grow in our lives. For what you focus on you empower. In other words, what you turn your attention to will grow in your life and set the direction for your life.
It’s time to turn off distractions. Time to turn away from fear and temptation. It’s time to turn aside from worldly thinking and mind sets.
It is time to turn towards Jesus. To look fully and completely in His wonderful face. Turning our eyes upon Jesus means our lives become full of the presence of God. His eyes become our filter through which we view our world, our circumstances.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus….
2 am. And I’m awake. Wide awake. Lying in bed and wrestling with my thoughts. Somehow in the darkness of night it is easier for worry and fear to take hold. Whether it be financial or health worries or work stress, the thoughts can feel overpowering. Waking the next morning, the light of day makes them easier to shake off, makes them insignificant and ridiculous even. The concerns are often completely unfounded and extreme. But at night it’s an overwhelming reality.
For me, last night, it was thoughts on parenting – thoughts of failing – am I doing a good job, could I be doing more or things better? It was a train of thought that was proving hard to disembark from. That is until the words from 2 Corinthians drifted across my mind – take captive every thought, take captive every thought.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Even in the middle of the night, in the weird wakefulness that I had found myself in, I had a choice over what I could think about. I had a choice as to whether to let the negative thoughts I was having take root or I could take control and rid myself of them. I didn’t have to succumb to the thoughts that were flooding into my mind. And I know I’m not the only one – it’s an important enough issue to appear in the Bible! And in the Bible we find a solution…
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. (Philippians 4:8)
In other words what I call “happy thoughts”! It was time to change the track, well actually the train! So thoughts of the fun times ahead, of sunny beaches and hot pools, of hot air balloons and blue skies and lollipops…! And the grace of God as I parent.
How often do our New Year’s Resolutions feel like echoes from years past? That instead of walking down life’s road we find ourselves stuck on a treadmill, expending just as much effort, but nonetheless going nowhere. What is it that causes our New Year resolutions to falter and any change to be unsustainable?
The key to this lies in viewing the action required as more than just change but rather transformation. Essentially change is something that can return to how it was before. Take ice, it’s cold, hard and frozen. Yet it can be melted to become water. This water can be boiled to become steam, which after evaporation becomes rain. The rain comes down and we have water again which we can drink, freeze or boil. Transformation on the other hand is more like a bunch of grapes. We can stomp on them for a long time; keep the juice for a while before we finally have wine. This wine can never become grapes again. That is transformation. It cannot be undone.
Paul the Apostle encourages us not to “be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind .“(Romans 12:2) We are not to be “of” the world, conforming to its mould by taking on worldly rationale and values. To see our lives transformed, we must change our thinking to effect change in our actions. What thoughts we allow to take root in our mind is a choice and will determine our actions and ultimately our destiny. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
“When you sow a thought you reap an action, sow an action you reap a habit, sow a habit you reap a character, sow a character you reap a destiny.” (anon)
Words and thoughts are the fuel that the brain uses to reproduce. However successful or unsuccessful we will be is undeniably linked to the words and beliefs we tell ourselves. William James, a psychologist said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind.” Our mind is a powerful thing and needs to work for us and not against us.
So I guess, I’m adding watching about my thinking to my Resolution list this year!
It would be fair to say that sometimes my mind could be described as a monkey mind – a mind that jumps from thought to thought like a monkey jumps from tree to tree. Random and varied thoughts! It’s like aerobics are taking place in my head. I’m thinking about what is going on at work, what groceries I need, which child has an appointment to attend or needs money for a school trip, what to cook for dinner, when I can have another coffee! I find myself often quoting Scarlett O’Hara and saying “I’ll think about that tomorrow!”
According to researchers we all have approximately 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts a day! And of these many, many thoughts I have a choice as to which ones can set up shop and linger a while. I have a choice as to which thoughts to send packing. Our thoughts need to line up with the Word of God, and what God thinks and says about us. These are the thoughts that we can let linger, that we can ponder on a while. But when thoughts of fear, confusion, torment or doubt start crowding in, we need to set up a road block and not let them take up residence. We can’t prevent negative thoughts from popping into our heads, but we don’t have to invite them in to hang around in our head for an entire day.
It’s critically important that we’re vigilant about observing our thoughts. That we pay attention to what we’re thinking about. The mind is the placenta for the life that we live. As someone once said “every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.” Joyce Meyer also wrote in her book, The Battlefield of the Mind, “You cannot have a positive life with a negative mind.” Thoughts have an impact on our lives!
So I try to apply the wise advice from St Paul – “Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.” (Philippians 4:8)
Permission granted for the positive thoughts, the happy thoughts, the noble thoughts and the lovely thoughts to board!
I’m thinking of…..
I‘ve heard it said, that a woman’s mind is like Heathrow airport. Lots of arrivals and departures. Planes at Heathrow. Thoughts for the woman’s mind. At Heathrow they have planes arriving and departing every minute. We have as many if not more thoughts!
This morning as I was brushing my teeth, I had a weird moment as I became aware of the number of thoughts I was processing quickly….
Mental note – Library books go back today. Oh must write in Son’s reading log. Hmm boys have soccer training after school, must remember to pick them up from it. Wonder whether we should sign up for more training next term. That led onto what to make for lunch, thoughts on catching up with friends, to mental shopping lists, plans for later.
There are thoughts that we have though, that should not be given a landing zone in our mind. Those thoughts of doubt or negativity. Thoughts that put us down and say “who do you think you are?”. Thoughts that say you can’t do it, or you’re not worth anything. These thoughts contradict what God says about us. They contradict the truth. These are the thoughts that need to be told that our mind is a no fly zone. These are the thoughts that are certainly should not be granted permission to land.
Our thoughts need to line up with the Word of God, and what God thinks and says about us. These are the thoughts that we can let linger, that can have stopovers!
Time to talk to Air Traffic Controller!