the thoughts that fail us

Our minds are peculiar in a complex and fascinating way. They ramble and direct, fill and empty; we rely on them for everything- memories, learning, processing, living. I could not write these words without it, and to fathom that is impossible. There are days it feels sharp, we understand and refine what we are currently doing, have done, and will be doing throughout that day. We think about things we don’t even realize, taking in our surroundings, and storing them in its proper place. It is constantly at work, and every now and then, I feel it fail.

For our mind to fail it does not encompass our normal definition of failure, but rather an overload, a disarray of information that flows too quickly for our mind and heart to line up, pick it a part, and figure out where it belongs. This is the knowledge we take in and emotions we feel, that need to connect with another part of who we are, and what we’ve seen and know. A task that takes time, takes discipline, and takes nurture.

This concept, to take care of our mind, is not something I’ve thought of before. Not in this context. On a day like today, though, where nothing seemed to slow down, nothing could collect, and everything was unsettled, I found myself weary. I was tired, tired of searching for understanding, exhausted from the intense emotions, and afraid of feelings that had no category- they were wandering around my head desperate to be taken.

It was a whirlwind of thoughts that had no road or driver. Both important roles to fill. I’m sure you’ve experienced this before. It’s the days we have no answer when someone asks, “what’s on your mind?” or “what are your thoughts on this matter?” The thing is, most of the time, I don’t realize I haven’t processed it thoroughly yet, and react inappropriately, or un-Godly. The damage this causes to your own heart and others is deeper than the surface. I desire to have a clean and pure mind to therefore have clean and pure conversation; to react, perform, and apply in manners that imitate my savior.

A concept that astounds me is the idea that Jesus walked among us, completely without sin. This means his thoughts were cleansed and purer than we could ever imagine. I cannot grasp the idea of such control and discipline. But what I can divulge, is the immense devotion I have to mimic it as close as possible.

1 John 2:6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

My obedience, our obedience, to God means taking the responsibility of doing as He did. I know that I will never obtain perfection, mastering sin and control, but those are not my concerns. Because of the cross I have already been made new and complete in Him, so my concern, my ambition, my plan is to run after Him, continually praying for a renewed mind with thoughts of Him.

So, when I say we need to nurture our mind, I mean fill it with the word of life, but in partnership with peace and time to do so. We need to slow down every now and then, step away from distractions of this world, and remain still in Him. Allow silence and solitude, calmness and dedication to train and soothe your mind. Without this, my mind can’t catch up with itself. Without this form of discipline, my actions start wavering from God and become reactive to human nature. Without a firm reminder, and moments of grace and patience, my emotions will, every time, get the best of me.

How quickly we are to fall into temptation of sin when the thoughts of our mind are weary. When we aren’t thinking straight, we crumble. When our minds aren’t constantly on God, we fail.

To me, when I think of my mind as an object-tangible, living and breathing-I realize how much of who I am is surfaced in it. Think about your personality, how you react to certain news, your humor, attention, understanding, all of it is weaved and worked within our thoughts. We process them through and release. So, when we are overloaded with life, situations, ideas, emotions, and take no time to look at them in a Godly way, we mimic our own sinful hearts rather than Jesus’ sinless nature.

 

Further scripture reading

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

This verse is referring to the endurance we are promised in tough times, and how to follow in Jesus’ footsteps through those trials. The cross was the perfect dedication and example of how we as followers are to live in the midst of unjust suffering. But we are privileged with confidence that we will and can overcome in, no matter the outcome, because it is only temporary. When our minds are oppressed with much of this world, we look at Jesus as the example. We go to our hill and pray fervently. We desire to follow His ways, and know that in those ways our minds and hearts will be made pure.

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