Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Space Cadet?

Another day from the archives. The following post originally appeared December 26, 2006.

I ran across a sentence in the classic book, In His Steps that has been on my mind for days.

"She was never absent-minded, but often thought herself into a condition that left her alone in the midst of a crowd."

I'm guessing those of you who are part of the blogging community find yourself in this "condition" often. Am I right? Aren't blogs an outlet for the mess of thoughts running through our little brains? Don't you blog to get it out and give yourself permission to stop thinking about it? Rest assured you are not alone, my friends. For myself, I consider this thinking "condition" both comforting and disheartening, a gift and a curse.

It is a curse when I find myself thinking over things too much, giving them too much importance in my mind, making a small problem bigger than necessary. Getting lost in my head prevents me from seeing what is before me. I imagine conflicts that aren't there. It can isolate me from others and make me assume too much. At times it can be debilitating when, in my deep thinking, I don't get much else done.

But there are times I find the ability to get lost in my head very soothing. I can be in line at the post office and talk with Jesus as easily as chatting with a friend on the phone. I can wonder about His plans for me and where He's taking me while grocery shopping. In a church service, surrounded by people, I can worship Him without reservation because in my mind, He picks me out and knows my love. Watching a movie can be an intense experience as my wheels spin the whole time, searching for spiritual truth in relation to the human condition. In the midst of a deep conversation, I can flip through my mental lists of Truth and find answers I've been searching for. Being able to be alone in my own mind means I can enter the sanctuary of God at any time and soak in His presence. It is a tremendous gift if used properly (there's a statement and then some!).

And there is the problem. My mind is not always thinking right. It is just as easy to be irritated that the lady in front of me at the post office did not address her packages at home, as it is to have a conversation with Jesus. I am distracted by a roomful of people as I try to sing worship songs. I am more likely to go over my mental to do lists while grocery shopping (and bemoan my many tasks) than to focus on God.

The answer is simple in theory. For me, the only way to fight off the tyranny of my mind is through scripture. It is paramount. When wrong thinking or dwelling hits me, I have to meditate on some truth from the Word.

What do you do? How do you fight off the over analyzing thoughts and the temptation to shut everyone else out? How do you make your thought life pure? How can you be sure you are not merely lost in space?

1 comment:

Christine said...

I am also one prone to overanalyzing and retreating within myself. In some ways I think it's good to retreat into our "inner room" as Henri Nouwen calls it, as long as we go there recognizing that Jesus is there with us and He can transform our thoughts. Wallowing in negativity is harmful, though, and I'm constantly having to refresh and purify as I sort through my emotions. Ahhh, ain't it great being a woman? ;)