“Some days you’re the bug and some days you’re the windshield.” “Some days you’re the dog and some days you’re the hydrant.” “Some days you’re the hammer and some days you’re the nail.” I’m sure we have all felt like that at times. Some days for some inexplicable reason everything feels hard and laborious compared to days when everything feels effortless and easy. Just what exactly is going on when we feel hindered and pressured and annoyed? Is there some cause we are unaware of? Is something conspiring against us? Is it all in our minds? What makes us feel, at times, like we are walking in the mud?
Our minds, leading to the great citadel of our souls, serve as information registering machines. Whether we can appreciate it or not, whether we are conscious of it or not, our minds are not only thinking thoughts (which we will address later), but are also reading and analyzing cues in our environment and seeking to make sense of them. Our mind picks up every audible word said or sung even if we aren’t aware it is happening. Behind everything we watch and observe are messages to be interpreted and understood. All day long, you and I are being fed a steady stream of opinions and ideas about life and about how the world works. The mediums that man controls are chock full of man’s concepts and notions and things that have an appeal and things that are distasteful to man. Some things are good and useful, while others are subtle, evil and hurtful. Conversely, the mediums that God employs (think nature) contain messages that calm us and set our minds at ease. Even the colors God has chosen elicit a certain response. You cannot stare at a flower for very long without feeling a sense of wonder about how it came to be; how so much intricacy could be contained in something so small and so temporary. Years ago, our sources for information were far less complex and limited in scope. We still had access to bad news, but it wasn’t all around us. Today, through the marvels of modern technology, we are consumed with a perpetual stream of things to peruse and read and to consider. Many of the messages we receive seem to escape our reasoning altogether, yet their effect is felt in our hearts. There are images concerning what we should look like, where we should live and the kind of fun we should be having. There are more philosophies than there are stars in the sky, happy to inform us of some supposed truth concerning our existence. In this, we find ourselves bogged down without apparent cause. Due to the speed and variety involved, we missed the message, the one that served to assault our happiness and led us astray. Sometimes you find yourself walking in the mud because of the codes you were not able to crack; the ones that escaped your reasoning mind. There’s a reason people feel the need to take a break from social media!
Much of what mires us in the muck comes from the thoughts we are knowingly or unknowingly entertaining. We think so many thoughts in a day, the prospect of controlling them all feels impossible. Yet those thoughts we fail to control; to accept or reject, often lead us to a dark space. Thoughts of sickness and disease are so subtle, so slippery, so hard to perceive, that we miss them altogether. It’s not that we weren’t conscious of the thought, but rather that we let the thought go without feeling the need to challenge it. A funny feeling in your stomach here, an odd pain in your side there and before you know it you are feeling glum and despondent. It’s not that you’ve stumbled upon the precursor to a disease, but rather the fear of its potential existence has entered your awareness. Maybe it isn’t something to do with your health, but rather your finances. Maybe it’s some pending trouble or difficulty reportedly on the horizon. Whatever it is, however it gained access, it is still a thought, not a reality, and what you choose to do with it leads to how you will begin to feel. If your habit is to let things go, those things you let go will mount up and gather momentum. You likely don’t realize it (yet) but something or someone has stolen away your peace of mind and feelings of assurance and safety. With all of that going on in the background of your thinking, it is no wonder you feel tired and despondent. Behind all of the trouble, just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow, will be some fear, small or great, seeking to take away the happiness that is and replace it with the threat of what might be. It isn’t that bad things are preparing for you, but instead your interpretation that bad things are preparing for you. Some poor folks have only ever lived this way. You find yourself walking in the mud by your failure to pay attention to and to challenge your thoughts; those thoughts that predict or promise loss for you in some capacity. You have to hear it in order to do something about it. That’s what controlling your thinking is all about!
As unpleasant as it is to consider, there is evil working behind the systems of the world to bring you hardship and pain. All of us find ourselves confronted with this reality. Man has brought this evil upon himself by the choices he has made. Yet, God has not left us without remedy. In the same way that a loving parent warns their child of impending danger, God warns us concerning what is at stake in our day by day existence. The reason He asks us to control our thinking is because our minds are the battleground of the great competition. The way that evil gets involved in our lives is by the thoughts we consider and then unknowingly hold on to. The more you cleave to and consider some great fear, the more the likelihood of “its” appearance in your life. Conversely, the more quickly you recognize and refute the fear, typically by refusing to consider it any further, the less likely it is to have any impact in your life. That is the fight we all find ourselves in. To think that God has already assigned us some dreadful fate or for that matter some great benefit, is to take away our sovereign free will and our ability to choose. For God’s goodness to be fully realized in our lives it must first be held on to then deeply considered until it enters our heart (that great citadel) from whence our lives flow forth. In order for some catastrophic fear to play out in our lives, it also must be held onto and deeply considered until it enters our heart. Choosing properly what you will and will not think is the crux of the contest, the great competition in and for our minds. Sometimes, you find yourself walking in the mud because you are under attack by things you cannot see, but if you hold fast to what is true, not what might seem true, you’ll find yourself moving out of it.
Do you feel like you have been walking in the mud? Are you stressed and annoyed and agitated? Has the spring gone from your step and the things you used to enjoy become hidden from your view? Don’t despair for another moment. Take some time and get yourself quiet on the inside and think about what you have been thinking about. What is going on back there, looming on the horizon of your thoughts? What fearful considerations have you knowingly or unknowingly entertained? What have you been feeding your mind? What are you watching and staring at and observing so intently? And, if it still remains completely buried from your view, ask God to show you what it is. God is faithful and all clarity of heart and soul comes from Him.
We all find ourselves walking in the mud at times, but we don’t have to stay there.
Just some good thoughts…