Question: What were you just thinking? Just then? If a day in your head goes anything like a day in my head, the answer could be anything. From pondering the grocery list to reflecting on the meaning of life, the gears in my head are always moving. And not in a linear, predictable way. One seemingly mundane thought can lead to another, and another, until my mind ends up miles from where it began.
In the truest part of ourselves, we are thinking creatures. We think an amazing amount of thoughts, ALL the time. In the morning, we wake up thinking about our days, thinking that we wish that we had more sleep, thinking about the dreams we just had that were actually the thoughts we were having in our sleep. At the breakfast table we eat our cereal as we think about how stressed out we are about the day ahead. All day long it goes, thinking, daydreaming, worrying, but living our lives in our heads, many times much more than we do outside of our heads.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to NOT think so much? Take my dog Maybie, for instance. Do you know what she thinks about? Squirrels. And walks. That’s it. Literally. Sometimes I just want to spend a day in her head, looking out the window and waiting for my next walk. Thinking about… squirrels. I think more than my dog because that is how I was created. In the Garden of Eden, God created us in His Image.
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
And what does it mean to be created in the Image of God? What IS God?
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
God created us in His image, and in the Bible, His Image is described as the Word. So, When you think of it, our capacity for speech, for words, for thought, is part of what makes us image bearers of Christ. This ability to think, to reason, to observe and interpret the world and our lives is a sacred thing. In the Garden of Eden, we were created as real, thinking beings who spent our lives in the presence of God, walked with him in the evenings, and shared every bit of our lives with him.
Worry was not a thing.
Fear didn’t exist.
Our minds, our thoughts, were happy, joyful, creative places.
So what happened?
Have you ever thought about the fact that the first thoughts Adam and Eve had after they ate the apple were ones of anxiety?
Ack! I’m naked!
In an instant, a life of peace, a mind of harmony, was transformed into one of fear, anxiety, and self doubt.
When we began to doubt God’s goodness, we immediately began to doubt everything we knew about our lives, our selves, as well. The serpent keeps whispering his lies into our ears.
Have you ever taken inventory of your thoughts? Kept track of how many of your thoughts in a given day are happy ones, verses sad, scary, or anxious ones? If you are like me, the bad ones outnumber the good ones. And what’s more, the bad ones are the ones I pay attention to. Why? These ones are the lies…
But everyone does it. However, is this the way it has to be? In the world of therapy, professionals are starting to question the assumption that all of our thoughts are true, all are valid. How can someone who is socially successful feel in the depths of her heart that she is unlovable? How can a person who by societal standards is beautiful still believe with all of her mind that she is ugly, fat? How can a mother who is working herself to the bone to support and nurture her family lays awake at night, convinced that she isn’t doing enough? The truth is, we are all walking around believing lies, despite overwhelming evidence of that these things simply aren’t true.
We all live in a world where it feels as if there is an angel on one shoulder and a devil on another. One is whispering lies, telling us we aren’t good enough. The other is whispering the truth of God, that we are dearly loved, cherished, enough.
Which voice are you listening to?
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
Satan’s purpose is to steal our joy. To kill our confidence, to destroy our peace and our relationships with others. God’s purpose is to give us life, and life to the fullest.
But here is the thing. You get to choose which voice you listen to. You can allow words of life, or of death, to rule your brains every day. Which voice are you going to choose to listen to?
I am going to leave you with one final thought… words directly from God, in one of my favorite passages of the Bible- Philippians 4:6-9. These words have been so influential for me in the battle for my mind. Let these words wash over you and know, above all else, that you are dearly loved.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.