Do you ever have those days or weeks where there is so much in your head that is not cohesive that you have a hard time forming a sentence? Yeah, me too. Like right now, me too. I have really slimmed the things down in my life, but sometimes life has extras that you have to do in the day in day out survival. That is where I am. That is where a lot of you are, as well. You long to stop–to breathe–to clear the traffic jam in your head. Sometimes the circumstances do not allow for that.
Our church has a garage sale every spring for missions. Throughout the year, I will pack boxes to store for that sale. This month, I have a goal to take at least one box a week the month before the sale. The more I clean out, the more I see there is left to clean. Stuff…so much stuff. There have been carloads each week. It is freeing to simplify, but it is hard work. It takes intentionality–over and over and over again. When you are intentional with what you have, you know where it is and you may actually use it instead of treating your house like a storage facility.
Our minds work in the same way. God made us to have a beautiful capacity to think and to reason and to love Him with our minds. Rarely do we use our minds in the way that they are created to be used. We store useless stuff there instead of being intentional and engaging our thoughts and capacities. You tube videos, status updates, random pop culture facts, storylines from tv shows, feelings of shame and memories left over from decades, romantic notions of life that we wish we had, scenarios that are not real life, lusts, jealousies, envy, strife, anger, bitter thoughts, sports facts, fiction, random facts, all jumbled in the rooms of our minds. My heart and mind are feeling that. I scroll through news feeds reading headlines and they will not penetrate my mind because there is not room for an intelligible thought. I see people who need help and need to be engaged and I literally feel helpless because I cannot process one more thing. Mindless things fill my day–its like I need to run the kitchen disposal of my mind to clear way for real pondering, for purposeful living, for loving God and loving others.
We need margin in our schedules–some seasons need a lot more–i.e. with little ones (and some of you with aging parents). Let us not neglect the margin we need in our minds. Our brains are meant to deal with complex thoughts–to process truth, to see error, to engage the world in a healthy way. We cannot do this without cleaning out our minds just like we clean out our closets.
One and a half years ago I deactivated my facebook account for about 6 months in order to engage life in the here and now more purposefully. What a freeing thing! I think I was able to engage so much more in my mind then and also parent more purposefully. Right now, I think….do I need to get rid of my smart phone? So much mindless searching for news, trolling on facebook (and for what purpose–to find out who is pregnant or who is ticked or what character the person is from a tv show?), scrolling through instagram photos. This takes up precious time, but it also takes up precious space in my thinking and produces nothing lasting. The true things that I do read do not have room to penetrate. I nod in agreement and they bounce off into information space (like pong for you people who were born in the 70s and before:)).
We have so much information at our fingertips, and we are all the dumber for it.
- Is there room in our minds to meditate on what is true, noble, right, pure, excellent, praiseworthy (Phil 4:8)?
- Is there room and energy in our minds to take every thought captive to obey Christ and to recognize and take down the opinions that are raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5)?
- Do we even leave room to contemplate and treasure the knowledge of Christ?
- Can we process complex information in order to engage people who are in need of the Lord and to ask them questions to enter their lives?
- Is there space to be transformed in life by the renewing of our minds in order to understand the will of God (Romans 12:2)?
- Is there room in our minds to set them on the things that are above or are they filled to overflowing with earthly things (Colossians 3:2)?
- Is there room to hide His word in our minds which will penetrate our hearts and actions that we may guard ourselves from sinning against God (Psalm 119:11)?
- Do we remember that we have the mind of Christ if we are His (1 Corinthians 2:16)? That means the Spirit helps us discern who the Lord is and what He wants–it is a beautiful gift of understanding and the ability to love God with our mind.
Let us wake up. Let us take the time to clean out the recesses and the excesses and the ringing thoughts of our minds that we might love Him completely. None of us have excuse–none. If we are in Christ, we have freedom from these chains, but we have to wake up to the realities of our thoughts and the realities of what we are storing there. We can renew our minds with truth. We do not have to go on in a stupor. This world and your neighborhood and your family will be a different place because of it. If we cannot take the time to love the Lord with our minds, we certainly cannot love our neighbor as ourselves. Our thoughts and our hearts are intertwined. So, today, I ask what do I need to simplify? What do you need to simplify? We are not created to be half-hearted or half-minded creatures. Let us fully use what the Lord has bestowed.